Category Archives: Botswana
Today last year was one of the most amazing days of my life. We drove into the Okavango Delta in Botswana, sort of ‘lost” our way and nearly ended up stranded in water and mud, out in the wild. Luckily Gerrit, our driver knew what he was doing, and we were lucky!
We pitched camp, made a fire and ate quietly. Off to bed early to the sounds of the animals: hippos, hyenas, cats….nothing beats this!
The next day we left the Delta and headed back to South Africa, where we stayed at the Heia Safari Lodge outside of Joburg. Highly recommend the place – the zebras drink from the pool and giraffes and various types of “antelopes” run wild. A wonderful cross over back into the “real” world.
I know what a lucky girl I am (really). So in this spirit when I was going thru my photos from today last year, I had the pleasant memory that I was at a very special place: Elephant Sands Camp in Botswana. It was the second day of our big African tour last year and we spent a few nights at this really cool and low-key camp, where the elephants are wild and in the evenings walk thru the camp grounds to drink out of the swimming pool. I was astounded by how huge they are being so up close. At one point we had gone back to the 4×4 to brush our teeth when the elephants arrived to drink. They were walking thru the camp and we had to walk calmly from one tree to another, staying still as they strolled by us close enough to touch! They meander amongst the camping vehicles, with super light feet even managing to avoid tent lines. Amazing.
We had ended the day with ultra-light flights above the area, a really neat and sort of scary sensation, but the closest I’ve felt to flying.
The next morning we packed up the truck and tents, heading for the Zambezi River and the Great Victoria Falls!
If you ever need some addresses or tips on the area, I’d be happy to share my address book!
To wake up after having fallen almost asleep to the sound of monkeys, hyenas, lions, hippos, birds and the crackling of dying embers in the fire,
To have this view, out from the 4×4 roof-top tent,
And see a hippo running by, hoping to deftly slide into the water before you notice her,
To wake with a stiff back, drink instant coffee, a not care how you look,
To have to watch out where you are walking, because they see you long before you see them,
To have to endure long hours in a car, on bumpy and flooded trails, your eyes on the sky as it’s getting darker and you’re farther away from camp than you thought,
I can tell you honestly, there were more than a few moments during that day none of us thought we were going to make it. We got lost (even with GPS), because the roads were gone, flooded out, and we had to track-back to higher ground and find a way around. Or the numerous times we were still on the “road” but water cut it into two, and we got out to wade thru to see how deep it was, and wonder “Will the car get by?” I got a knot in my stomach more than once when the motor covered in water sounded like it was about to give out.
We had to make it to camp before nightfall when the gates close. We didn’t, but thank God the guardian couple were there to open them up, and bring us dry firewood.
The next morning I awoke early, because in essence I didn’t really sleep at all: too many unusual sounds, too tired, too excited!
The couple came by to chat, as they hadn’t seen anyone around for a while since the rains had flooded the roads. We discovered we had taken the “wrong” road. Really?!
It was hard to leave this magical spot, for I felt I had been for a moment in time, a “part” of the environment, albeit a visitor. It was with regret we folded the tents.
Several hours later, via a different road, we arrived back at the South Gate entrance from where our adventure had commenced.
Opening a cold beer, Chief Bumpy turned to us and asked: “Do you want to do it all over again?!”. He was serious. Did we?
Hello! No, I have not fallen of the face of the planet, but it felt like it sometimes!
We returned to France the day before yesterdays (Johannesburg to Cairo to Paris to Honfleur on the Normandy coast for an oyster dinner) – what a way to end an incredible voyage thru Southern Africa!
Our travels took us thru South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Namibia, with an original plan for 6 weeks, but we saw and experienced so much during these past 3 weeks, we felt it was best to come “home”.
So, when you are free, I have sorted thru the photos and posted a slideshow on our BumpyTours flickr page. Be prepared, as there are 500 images! Bon voyage!
Isn’t this guy magnificent ?! We stayed at Elephant Sands in Botswana on Day Two of our trip. What a cool place: the camp is totally open to the free roaming elephants. This chap was ready for a drink from the pool, so I sat down in a tiny corner close up to get this portrait. It’s hard to describe the feeling when you are so close and you realize these creatures are wild and can turn on you in a moment. I suppose awe is appropriate.
Later at night after our BBQ dinner, they came back to drink some more; we were spellbound viewing this group lit up by moonlight. Drinking from the pool by threes, then wandering around the tents. We fell asleep to the sound of them meandering by…