We are not woken up by the heavy breathing of an elephant this morning, but by the rather stark “hello” from our guide. This also meant that walking on the pathways was safe again, which is also nice.
We chose to do a boat tour this morning after our breakfast, and it turned out to be a great decision! With elephants munching on the grass around virtually every corner, and lots of other animals showing themselves or basking in the morning sun, it was a wonderful boat tour. Unfortunately, it was cut short as our flight back to Maun was at 11:50, so we arrived back at the lodge at 10. This left us plenty of time to have a really early lunch and grab all our stuff to get on the plane. The people at Moremi Crossing have been really nice to us, and the place itself is ultimately serene while the scenery is stunningly gorgeous. If you ever find yourself in the vicinity, please visit the Okavango Delta: preferably from a camp almost inside the National Park. It will not disappoint you!
Our pilot today was Mitch, and the flight back rather uneventful. Only a short 20 minutes later we were at the Arivals/Departures hall in Maun, and after a quick call to the place where our car is parked we got picked up and brought back to the Duster.
We spent the rest of the day relaxing and fixing our front tyre as it has a slow puncture. This was skilfully mended by a guy from Tyre World for the hefty sum of 30 pula, which is about €2,75. Yeah!
Tomorrow, we’ll start our two legged journey to Windhoek with a long drive back to Namibia. With fixed tyres and enough air in them, we feel confident everything will go swimmingly. 😉
Today is our full day in the safari camp, which means we get fed and entertained at predetermined times. Our wake up call is at 06:30, and we have breakfast at 07:00. After this we embark on our morning activity, which in our case is getting ferried to the island where we will walk the bush by mokoro. Right before breakfast though, we wandered out on the walkway in front of our safari tent, and suddenly found ourselves the animal that kept us awake at night: a massive elephant. It was a regular in the camp, but we had to take caution around it as it still is a very big and potentially dangerous animal. We stood a while watching the guy, but decided to let him have his breakfast too.
The guide was tracking lions through their spoor, but we were unable to catch up with them. As they are lions, this also meant that most animals got scared off by them, so the walk was really beautiful and peaceful, but we haven’t seen many animals. The ride on the mokoro is especially zen, as it is traditionally a hollowed out tree trunk pushed by a guy standing in the back with a push pole, nowadays the boats are fiberglass but the propulsion soupy stem is the same. Without making any sounds you glide over the shallow waters through the hippo grass. A very nice way to start your day!
After the walk, we have an early lunch at 11:30, after which the siesta commences. We spent it basking in the sun and generally doing nothing instil the next (light) meal. This is at 15:30, when the high tea is served in anticipation of the afternoon activity.
For us it was another boat ride, on which we have seen a lot of animals! Elephants, hippos, Tsessebe, Red Lechwe, and many others. There was one downside to this whole ordeal though: the unseasonal presence of mosquitos. And a lot of them. They usually are only there around December, but they happen to be in the delta right now. Nobody knew why, and everybody thought is was odd, but we are kind of stuck with them. And yes, they do bite you!
Tomorrow we already fly back to Maun, but first: more food!
Staying in Maun is just the stepping stone for us, the first step towards staying at a private camp right next to the National Park. We have booked a couple of nights at Moremi Crossing, and today is the day we fly out to the camp.
First order of business: parking the car at the headquarters of the company owning the camp. It is called Under One Botswana Sky, and is situated a short distance from Maun International Airport. We parked the car, with plenty of time to spare for our 10:10 flight. The shuttle to the airport proved to be the car of the manager, and we were soon after this in the capable hands of a porter who was going to get our luggage into the right plane. For us, this was a storable bag of 10kg, and my backpack containing all our photo gear. Just shy of 20kg, we were pretty much maxed out on our 10kg per person maximum.
Checking in was a breeze, we were actually given our hand written ticket by the porter without even mentioning our names or showing our passports, and the security check was equally swift. We told the porter which bags contained liquids or knives, and they were immediately taken away and transported in the baggage compartment of the plane (under the belly). Our own bags had to go through a security scanner, we passed through a metal detector and we were in the holding area. A short while later, we were directed into a car, which lead us to our 4 seat plane, with a total of 5 passengers. Kirsten was the lucky one to sit in the seat of the co-pilot, I got the seat on the last row. The flight was short, bumpy and it passes over a fantastic scenery.
The camp has a rigid schedule: wake up call at 06:30 in the morning, breakfast at 7, and the morning activity starts at 07:30. It returns at 11, after which lunch is served at 11:30. This is where we arrived at the camp. After lunch, the siesta commences and lasts until 15:00 when a high tea is served. The evening activity starts at 16:00, and you come back at 18:00. You are then escorted to your safari tent, and are picked up by the guide at 19:15 for pre dinner drinks. At 19:30 dinner is served and a guide escorts you back to your tent. As elephants roam free in this camp, walking after dark alone is prohibited and a guide must accompany you at all times. The next day the exact same schedule is kept, and everything starts over.