Okavango Delta, Botswana
5 days - June 2019
It is by the road that we reach Botswana. At the border the contrast is striking, the 4 * 4 and people who walk give way to donkeys and carts and roads with huge holes (they are no longer potholes but ostrich nests at this level). We saw many ostriches .This changes us from the warthogs in Namibia.
The speed limits are not very clear, in the space of 100 meters, we see signs 30 then 120 then 60 then 80. So unclear that, we got a new fine of 30 euros ... Police officers very well equipped with a credit card machine and phones, big contrast with donkey carts around us.
We arrive at our base camp in Maun and discover at the foot of our cabin: crocodiles and hippos, less than two meters from us. From our safari tent (comfortable tent with beds and electricity), we have been lulled by their "screams" and noises of move and games in the water all night, a hippo is noisy!
The luxury of this tent: an outdoor shower and outdoor toilet. What a pleasure to shower under the stars!
Maun is located at the start of the Okavango Delta where we decided to camp and walk to meet the animals of the savannah.
Lukas, the moroko (the old) will accompany us during these two days of trek through the savannah.
It is first aboard a 4 * 4 that passes through the savannah to meet zebras and elephants, isolated villages that we start the trip to the delta. The animals here are not accustomed to cars and when we got back we got charged by a group of elephants who move the ears, the trunk and emit very strange sounds. Incredible feeling, they are real strength of nature!
At the end of the track we see a pirogue, a Mokoro.
This small boat that we handle with a piece of wood allows us to navigate and share the pool of elephants and hippos. Tall grass, papyrus and water lilies surround us, it's beautiful. We had a training on how to navigate it, not easy at all!
The mokoro all have a license plate, it made us laugh what a contrast to African roads.
We are very close to the water and the slightest false movement would cause a fall in the water. No worries, the crocodiles are only out at night apparently ... Not the elephants on the other hand and it is at a turn that we will be face to face with an elephant who was trying to cross the delta. Lukas did not see him in time, we are all impressed and he almost lost his stick and threatens our balance. The elephant is more afraid than us, he leaves. What an adventure !
Buffaloes are the most dangerous for humans. When touching the ground, Lukas leaves quickly in the opposite direction by handling the mokoro to perfection because a flock of male buffalo has spotted us (smelled us).
5 minutes later, we land and Lukas runs screaming to follow him and jump on a trunk. The reason, the flock of 200 buffalos still smells us and get closer. They apparently attack without showing any signs beforehand. To tell the truth, they seemed far enough but Lukas was on the lookout and communicated us his fear!
On the other hand, the next day at dawn, he has no fear of looking for and walking to meet the lions that were hear. When we told him we were a bit scared (we are on foot!) He reassured us: if there is a lion let him approach, look at him and do not move, he will not do anything to you. This is where we realize that we do not know anything about savannah. We are ready to get closer to buffaloes and hippos but not lions and in fact we must do the opposite. We would have finished on a skewer.
It's time to set up the camp. First of all we clear the ground of the elephants shit (so they come here, first news!) and some branches thanks to the machete. We then set up our tent, small carpet and sleeping bag. We are indeed alone in the middle of the bush.
As a "toilet", a hole 20 meters from the camp. To go "Bushie Bushie" at night, you first have to listen if animals roam (remember the presence of hippos, elephants, buffaloes, zebras and lions), then take out the flashlight (which we have forgotten btw) to check and finally decide whether or not to go out. We let you find out if Cedric came out or not during the night;)
We are in Survivor but we gained the comfort competition the first day, we have two matches for the fire and above all we were able to bring some food supplies. We are careful not to leave leftover sandwiches at the risk of attracting animals. The hippos will spend the night 10 meters from us, in their pool. Always noisy and true force of nature, their teeth and jaws do not inspire confidence.
Our night will be wonderful, at 8:30 pm, it is only 8 degrees, we warm up by the fire and go to bed. The sound of hippos and elephants lurking around the tent will lull us.
During our bush walk in search of animals, Lukas shares his knowledge with us. First of all if you get lost, no worries to rehydrate, it is easy to find water by compressing the elephant shit. Then we will not be bored, a game is very popular here: a kind of petanque with impala shit. If we are surprised to see Lukas take the shit with full hands, we will be even more surprised when he puts them in his mouth to complicate the game and spit them over long distances. We will just watch ;)
The machete will be useful to us several times in order to build a path. We share this bit of savannah with zebras, warthogs, elephants, giraffes, impalas, kudu, Calaos that we see so close to us. We learn to recognize the prints they leave and are amazed by the size of those elephants prints!
After two days totally isolated and disconnected from the world, we go back to Maun. It was an incredible experience, close to nature. It is amazing to share the playground and the bedroom of the big cats.
We loved this visit to Botswana, the rest being out of reach financially as Botswana privileged the development of a luxury tourism to tourism Backpackers.
But what an experience!
# We spent 3 nights at the Old Bridge Backpackers in comfortable tents, with outdoor showers. However it’s freezing at night! 35 euros (440 Pula) with shared bathroom, 50 euros (630 Pula) with private bathroom.
# it is with the old bridge backpackers also that we booked our excursion in the bush. Super guide and organization. We preferred the option "self catering" (we took care of our food) to "full catering" considering the difference in price. 1090 Pula for two days per person (85 euros) with tent rental, mattress and sleeping bag. (300 euros for the full catering option)
# be careful of speed limits in Botswana. We met more than a dozen patrols.
# To get a car into Botswana, 106 Pula.
# eat all your fruits and vegetables before the border, it is forbidden to go through the border with them.
Jul 1, 2019 - 11:44 AM
Pfiou, ça c'est l'aventure !!!
Christelle & Cedric
Jul 2, 2019 - 07:20 AM
Oh oui quelle aventure ! Un de nos plus beaux souvenirs de ces 50 jours en Afrique Australe !
Jul 2, 2019 - 07:32 AM
heureusement , pas de brochettes a la christelle, hi ,hi prets pour koh lanta
Jul 2, 2019 - 01:33 PM
Ça c'est une sacrée aventure ! Ça fait rêver !