busyliz

4 Countries 5 weeks part 3

4 posts in this topic

 

 

cont Tuesday 6th June

 

We land at 11.25a.m onto a tiny, very green grass landing strip with the words Camp Okavango spaced out in white bricks. When we finally come to a halt after the smoothest landing imaginable we find a welcome party of six have walked the five minute stroll across raised decking to meet us. That is the first of numerous special touches this camp provides its visitors. If ever you wanted to get away from the world, Wifi, t.v. and all forms of hassle and stress in life this is the place. We are given hot towels the second we cross the sand road that divides the 'Airstrip' from the Camp. There is the most spotless toilet that wouldn't look out of place in a 5* Hotel (albeit with wooden walls and a thatched roof, but complete with marble sink!) We are in the middle of the Okavango Delta so there is an electric fence around the perimeter but it cannot be complete as Safari vehicles need to move supplies from the boat deck or airstrip. So when darkness falls we must always be chaperoned by a member of staff to and from our rooms. At night we listen to the sounds of Hippos just a couple of hundred feet from our balcony, Lions roar, crickets chirp and any number of Antelope and Giraffe wander around. 

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Our tiny mode of transport.

 

 

IMG_7350.thumb.JPG.323c34226ac7df217ef86078d994c3a2.JPGSwimming pool with a view of the delta, Okavango styleIMG_7361.thumb.JPG.915cac4374a5b8142346702090dd4334.JPGIMG_7366.thumb.JPG.d13f48b10d4ed086d83a59c030713b0a.JPGOur friendly Hippo who nearly came tooooo close!!! He really was that near.

 

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The 'Fire pit ' area during the afternoon, before they are lit.

 

 

We have a variety of activities planned by the staff for us so after a wonderful lunch we have time to unpack and chill before afternoon high tea, then we go off with our plane companions Denise and Mac for a river trip through a small part of the delta. We see small crocodiles, huge dragonflies and as is the custom here at 5p.m. everyday, no matter where or what your activity is, you have 'Sundowners right on the stroke of Five as the sun gently drifts down, Aaron our guide pours out our order agreed earlier of Beers and Wine, into glasses and passes around nibbles on a boat just big enough for the five of us! As we sit enjoying the moment, bobbing gently at the side of the water against the Elephant grasses and Papyrus roots we hear the lovely grand grunting of Hippos. With the sun so bright we cannot see any bubbles (a sure sign a hippo is near) but slowly it becomes apparent that 25 feet away where there are some reeds in the middle of the river, there are also a pair of ears that have popped up and two very beady Hippo eyes watching us! As our Happy Hippo gets ever nearer and Denise and I get more nervous (as you'll see from my rather shaky photo)  Aaron puts our boat into reverse and very daintily beats a retreat. At which point our Hippo friend turns, almost jumps out of the water and we see he is HUGE! Disaster averted, we continue our journey back to the Camp.

 

All our meals, and there are many of them are enjoyed in a wonderful large thatched open sided dining area.  The 'help yourself ' bar sited in another pretty thatched room, is full of good quality wines, beers and spirits for us to enjoy whenever we wish, in whatever quantity. There are also two lounges, a library, small infinity pool and an open seated area with two camp fires overlooking the stunning vistas all around us, which are lit every evening at dusk for us to sit and talk around. 

 

Wednesday 7th June

 

Oh for a lie-in! A wonderful guide comes knocking on our door at 6am to get us moving and ready to enjoy a small breakfast at 6.30 before climbing aboard the flat bottomed boat for a 30 minutes jaunt through the winding river delta towards an island where we are going to enjoy a walking Safari. Aaron will walk in front and four of us will follow single file and at the end will be Gee, our lookout guide. Aaron and Gee are in constant radio contact and they need to be. On Monday 3 Lions killed a Giraffe here and there isn't much of the carcass left, just a dreadful sound of the swarms of bluebottles buzzing around and a tree absolutely full of Vultures. Evidently the Lions have only just left and the birds are now waiting for all to be quiet and clear for them to descend and 'pick the bones'. At times I really do hate nature, I cannot look but the sounds and smells in the bush aren't always wonderful..

 

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Vultures awaiting the dinner gong (Or when the Lions vacate the dining room!)

 

 

We have a terrific walk for around 3 hours, reading the signs and following tracks of Elephant and Antelope. We see a few Giraffes and also a large herd of Red Lechwe which are similar to Impala but thicker set. We find various bones of Buffalo and Hippo that had been hunted around 2 years ago and learn so much incredible information from Aaron. He's a fantastic guy, but birds are his forte and each and every feathered friend that passes over head he tells us their name and all details that are relevant.

 

We have brunch on our return to camp and after a siesta it's time for high tea at 3pm followed by a Mokoro trip. Mokoro were hollowed out wooden canoes used as sole transport by the villagers. Now to preserve our planet they are made of fibreglass. They have 3 seats, one each for Peter and I and Aaron sits at the rear as Chief Pole Master. It's all a bit 'Just One Cornetto!  but we cruise very sedately along tiny waterways through the reeds looking at the fabulous bird life, numerous colourful lilies and tiny frogs along the way. Peter manages to get Aaron to let him take over as Poler for a while at which time we realise what a specialist job it is as the depth of the water at times is less than a foot deep. But as we finish, the sun is going down and as the canoe station is sited at the end of the Airstrip, a long table complete with perfectly starched white tablecloth is strangely in place. Oh, this is sundowner time! Yes, the table is full of beers, wines, nibbles and sodas so we watch the sky turn the most incredible red as we drink and chat. A perfect end to a relaxing day...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Views from a Mokoro

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Dinner is served in our wonderful thatched roof open sided barn like building. Twenty two guests and always a couple of guides and a couple of management staff join us. It is an amazing performance from start to finish as one member of the waiting staff introduce the others including the chef who then tells us in minute detail what has been prepared for us to eat. Then all the staff sing their amazing African tunes and dance around the table to welcome us. A superb choir they are and every guest is clapping and cheering them on. Now, at last, it's time to eat! 

 

Thursday 8th June

 

Today I decide to rest. It really has been a hectic 8 days since we left England and with all these very early mornings and busy, busy days it's the day I felt enough was enough and my morning consists of a lie-in until 8 and a wander around the Camp photographing anything that moves, which includes Squirrels, Swallows, Antelope, Giraffe and various unnamed birds. I sat by the pool writing my blog when Peter arrives back from another morning walking Safari. Peter, Manick, Aaron and Gee have had an interesting time and viewed Elephants, Giraffe, Warthogs, Wildebeest and Impala as well as an array of birds. The highlight of the birds was an amazing Eagle Owl. The afternoon we decide on another Mokoro trip with Aaron and 5 other couples with their guides join us. We enjoy and blissfull hour gently bobbing along through the reeds and grasses before Peter midway through our return journey swaps with Aaron to the bow position to take up the poling, totally.

 

The Lesser striped Swallows feeding and building nests at the Camp

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The bar - Funny how there is always a photo of the bar in my reports😄

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Another African sunset and we arrive back at the Airstrip for our Sundowners and all the guides give us a show of their dance moves whilst Gee plays on his homemade Guitar. Later we enjoy large glasses of wine by the fire pits when the drums are played by a staff member to get us to sit down to our final dinner at Camp Okavango. We love every meal the very versatile chef has prepared and I go to our free bar to pour ample measures of Drambuie and Glenfiddick for Peter and I to toast a fabulous few days at what I feel is the best secret in Africa. Tomorrow we move on.

 

IMG_7422.thumb.JPG.62cef4b2577bc80335ca5e472d18ccda.JPGSundowners at the makeshift bar at the end of the airstrip - they don't do that at London Heathrow!

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On photo #1, is that @busyliz in full safari gear :)? In Botswana, do they not have G&T at sundowner time :unsure:?!

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Yes It is I in Safari beige and boots, regarding alcoholic beverages anything that was ordered was available!! The chilled S. African wines were a delight, especially a Rose to compliment the sinking sun🤗

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I especially like the frog on the reed.  Some beautiful sky and cloud shots.

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