We departed Maun August 14th on a small 3 seater Cessna to the heart of the Okavango Delta to stay 3 nights in a small 5 tent camp nestled on the edges of the reed and hippo filled waterways of the Okavango. The flight was about 20 minutes duration and the first landing attempt on the gravel runway had to be aborted due to a troop of baboons hanging around in the middle of airstrip. The second attempt was successful but several baboons waited until seconds before scrambling to the side of the runway. Joyce and I has both caught a nasty cold the day before our departure and we were hoping it would pass quickly so we could enjoy the next three days of mokoro trips through the flooded delta and morning and afternoon bush walks. Unfortunately this wasn’t to be. I felt a little better after the second day but still had a persistent deep cough. Joyce fared much worse and suffered a high fever and terrible cough which left her semi bed ridden for our three days at camp. On the second day the camp manager offered to fly her back to Maun to see a doctor but she declined and toughed it out for the rest of our stay missing all but one morning bush walk and mokoro trip and an afternoon walk on the day of our arrival. There was a doctor staying in the camp with his family and he had antibiotics but was sure this was a virus so unfortunately couldn’t help. The camp was rustic yet comfortable and our tent had a great mattress and was warm during the cold evenings. Our little outdoor porch faced tall reeds which created a buffer zone between us and the main channel and the hippos that waded nearby. We heard the hippos but only caught sight of them on our first morning mokoro trip. We had an outdoor open bathroom surrounded by bamboo walls and a bucket shower. For the shower you fill a bucket which is attached to a rope pulley system secured to a tree branch, hoist the bucket up using the pulley, secure the ropes and then turn on the spigot for a good 3 minute shower. Basic but very functional. Our camp abutted the Moremi Game Reserve which is abundant with wildlife and the big 5. When the delta flood is in retreat numerous islands are exposed so game viewing became a game of chance as you could never be sure which island the lions decided to swim to or where other wildlife might congregate.
We didn’t see any lions but for those who did it was only fleeting as they have a real aversion to humans and will make for the proverbial hills if they see or smell you. We saw plenty of zebra, giraffe, elephant, warthogs, water bucks and impala but still no lions however there is a certain excitement when only you and your guide hike through the wilds not really knowing what might be lurking in the tall grasses and bushy knolls that dotted the landscape.
Our three days ended quickly and we boarded our small aircraft for our short flight back to Maun to prepare for the next leg of our journey, 8 nights of wild unfenced camping through Moremi Game Reserve and Chobe National Park.