Dumela mma/ Dumela rra
Bechuanaland was the official name for this country as it used to be a protectorate of Britain until 1966, when it became independent and known as Botswana. As a protected country rather than a colony, it was still run by the Tswana’s (at least for a certain period of time). Botswana has a small population of around 2 million and also has one of the stablest economies in Africa thanks to their mining, cattle, and tourism. However, it does still have an issue with HIV/AIDS, although numbers are slowly decreasing.
Day 8 Chobe National Park
Crossing over to Botswana was nice and simple. We got our passports stamped and then we were off on another game drive at Chobe National Park. This park has a high number of elephants, giraffes, eagles and birdlife. Unfortunately, no big cats. 😞
We did manage to see lots of elephants and we were within touching distance of some. There was also a cute baby elephant, who wanted to come out and play, but her mum kept stopping her. She was my favorite. We also managed to see some more giraffes, birds and other wildlife.
After the game drive, we were taken to a boat to cruise along the Chobe River. As we had already been on the game drive, this cruise was quite boring and our least favourite activity of the whole safari. It lasted about 2 hours, but it felt much longer. On the plus side, we did get to see a pod of hippos super close. They tend to spend more time in the water and pop their heads up. When they do, they make cute little noises and spin their ears. Surprisingly, hippos can’t actually swim, so whenever you see them in the water it means it is super shallow and they are just stood up. We also managed to see a huge crocodile chilling in the weeds. As this was a later afternoon cruise, we also got to see the sunset which was very pretty.
Day 9- Gweta
This was another travelling day and we arrived at our lodge in Gweata in the late afternoon. We stayed at the Gweta Lodge which was lovely. It was very picturesque, quiet and a lovely place to relax. They also served some of the best food we had on the whole trip.
Day 10- Maun
In the morning we were treated to a walk around the local area of Gweta. This was really nice as we got to know more about the local people, their lifestyle and just general life in their village. The best part of this was dropping into a local school, where we got to meet the cute kids (kindergarten) who performed several songs for us. The teacher also explained their curriculum and what they taught them.
After the walk, we made our way to our next destination, Maun, where we had some time in for the rest of the day to chill.
Day 11-12 Okavango Delta
Today we made our way to the Okavango Delta. After a short ride on the 4×4, we were greeted by many mokoros and our drivers. Mokoros are similar to punting and were traditionally made from wood and used to sail people and things along the Delta by the local bushmen. Being wooden meant they weren’t always safe and many fishermen have died from being attacked by hippos and crocodiles. Nowadays, the mokoros are made from fiberglass and molded into the canoe shape. Not only is this safer but it also saves the cutting down of trees. #winwin Mokoros are still the only form of transport allowed in the delta to stop the waters being polluted.
The ride along the delta was super relaxing. Luckily the organizers of the tour had brought umbrellas for everyone as the sun was beating down on us pretty hard and we need that extra bit of shade. I’m rather undecided as to whether I am disappointed or relieved that we didn’t encounter a hippo/crocodile along the way. The ride took about 2 hours or so and then we disembarked at our home for the night, Elephant Camp.
The camp was managed by a young man called Judge. He was a very superimposing man and super friendly. He was very charismatic and kind of wasted in that role. We were served some more traditional food for lunch and then a few of us decided to go for a swim. It wasn’t the best place to swim as whenever something touched us, we freaked out. It was an experience nonetheless. After the swim, we went on another walking safari led by the local villagers. This was such a big space that unfortunately we didn’t see that much. We did come across a herd of wildebeest and some antelopes/hippos in the distance. It was also super hot!
After we freshened up in our ‘bush-shower’ we sat down for a lovely 3-course dinner. The food was superb, especially considering it was also cooked in the middle of nowhere. When we had filled our bellies we were then treated to some ‘bush-fire’ tv. Here the local villagers (our drivers and campsite helpers) performed some local songs in Setswana. One song was about frogs, so Judge was jumping around like a frog. He also threw Mike and Wendy into the mix. That was my highlight. We also roasted some marshmallows over the campfire. That was awesome!
The camp was also the perfect place to see the stars and Judge was also very knowledgeable in the department and was able to explain many different constellations. It was the first time we had seen the Milky Way, Orion’s belt, the Southern Cross, Scorpius, and many more.We could also see Venus and Mars glistening in the distance too.
This was an early night for us as we had to get up early for a sunrise safari walk.
The next morning we were greeted with a 5 am wake up call and embarked on our little journey. Once again, it was a little disappointing as we could not see much. After breakfast, we left the camp, travelled back along the Delta and back to our abode in Maun.
Day 13 Khama Rhino Sanctuary
Today was another super long driving day but in the afternoon we stopped for our last activity of the trip, a game drive around a rhino sanctuary. Although there is a mix of white and black rhinos here, we only managed to see the white ones. We first encountered a family chilling on the roadside, father, mother and their son.
After saying bye to the family, we carried on driving and managed to see a mother and her new calf. The calf was adorable and around 4 weeks old, so we were super lucky to have seen her. This was a great moment and probably one of my favorites of the whole safari.
Day 14 Back to Johannesburg
Our last day took us back over the border to South Africa and we arrived back to our first lodge, the Safari Club. What a wonderful (and hectic) 2 weeks. It has been awesome and we will definitely remember this forever!
Now it is time to take a long hot shower and sleep. I’ll see you all in Cape Town!