This picture is to simply try and give you an idea of what it is like moving through the Okavango Delta. There are the boats, the mekoro, which are the primary transit through the wetness. Where you see trees in the background is an island. No trees, no island. The depth of the water depends on the season. In the summer, life is bad for polers. The islands get bigger as the water dries up. Winter is the best time of year for polers in the Delta. Lots of water, lots of tourists.
See all the weeds. This is the Okavango Delta in Botswana. It’s supposed to be about 18,000 square kilometers of lagoons, channels and islands. All the water does is attract a myriad of animals and birds. We came in one of the best periods of the year, winter, when the water is high. It’s easier on the tourists. It’s easier on the polers. The temperatures aren’t 100 degrees. The water is deeper than six inches. Much deeper. The spiders are out. As are their webs. Lucky me.
What did we do on our first day in the Delta? We went on a hike. Not a really long hike, just a couple of hours. We were on a nature hike. We all split up into groups and were taken by a guide whose job was to orient us to the Delta. We did local flora and fauna. We say a few wild animals such as Zebra, Wildebeests, Elephants, Wartehogs, Antelope, Impalas, etc. Remember, we were walking. There was no vehicle of safety between us and the animals. We were quite careful to keep our distance.
This is our camp in the Delta. If you look closely you can see one of the mekoro and a couple of people. Let me just say that the campsite was really small. We crowded almost 30 people in there along with mekoro and gear. I was impressed that they even found this place. Apparently, it’s a place that they like to use on their trips. The guides knew exactly what to do. The really were pros at setting up the campsite and getting organized. It really was a jungle out there.
It’s Almog (Israel) still smiling because I’m covered with spiders, spider webs, and other assorted insects. We’re making our way through the Delta to our campsite. Behind Almog is Boolee, our poler. He is following another mokoro. Behind us are six more mekoro. They’re following each other. I have no idea how these guys find their way around the delta. There are no signs as far as I can see. But I guess these guys have been out here pooling people around the Delta for so long that they know their way around. I had my compass with me but I need a good waypoint GPS to really be able to figure out where we were. Boolee said that we never really did get that far away from where we started.
This is the truck that took us to the Okavango Delta in Botswana. We took 17 people on the tour. We all loaded up in the trucks and drove to the edge of the delta. The Okavango Delta is one of Botswana’s top tourist attractions. We paid $145 per person to go spend 2 full days and 2 full nights with guides taking us through the delta and camping with us. The trailer held our gear as we had to take out own tents, food, cooking equipment and sleeping bags as well as any other items we needed. We had quite the little caravan going out to the delta. The trip was sponsored by the campsite/hotel where we were staying. Oh, and when we got back we got the Welcome Back to Civilization Buffet thrown in for good measure. What a deal!
Guess who. Guess where. It’s me. I’m on the Okavango Delta in Botswana. I’m in the front seat of the mokoro. That’s the seat that gets to fight off the bugs and the spider webs before the guy in the seat behind me has to deal with them. If I do my job right, the guy behind me almost never comes into contact with spiders or spider webs. The guy behind me, Almog (Israel), is smiling because he knew about the spiders and spider webs when he told me to take the front seat. "You’ll be able to take better pictures from up there." he said. The poler, Boolee, is laughing because someone who is passing us in another mokoro is asking him "Who made the old guy sit up front?"
Here we see the group loading up into their respective mekoro. The mokoro is a traditional dugout canoe. However, it is also permissible to have one that’s made out of fiberglass and sold at the local hardware store. I just know that we loaded up in them. There were two of us to a canoe, along with equipment. There were also a couple of surplus canoes for the surplus equipment. We had a lot of gear. Plus, the polers had equipment that they had to take. We had lots of equipment and gear. As did the polers.
We do toilet stops in places where there are no toilets and we do not expect to find any. The females go one direction and the males go another. This sign is a warning that there are wild animals in the area. Dave, the driver of the truck said that he had to stop to avoid two elephants that were crossing the road. My point here is that people who stop on the side of the road to relieve themselves need to be a little more careful in Africa than they do in the states. Then again, we have fences in America. There aren’t a lot of fences in Africa. That’s why you have to be extra careful when you bare your bottom there.
It’s the Spar supermarket that serves the Chobe area. Spar is a nice supermarket. It’s loaded with stuff. It has a deli and bakery. It has beer and spirits. It has fresh veggies and meat. It has frozen food. It is similar to any supermarket you might find in America, only it’s a smaller version. We usually find a Spar or a TM supermarket to stock up on food. I’m fond of the french fries at Spar. But, when I order them I have to call them "chips" like the British do or else they look at me funny.