Life in Laos through the lens of a diplomatic wife raising twin toddlers.

Africa Journal – Botswana

My thoughts should be focused on our upcoming adventures in Laos and future travel in Asia, but I just dug out my Africa journals from my solo-travel back in 2002 so I’ll have to get a few more Africa posts out of my system before a total immersion into all things Lao within a mere two weeks. I have been saving some of these photos to post from that trip so that I can add the entries I made at the time about the experience, some of which is much more colorful and descriptive than the pictures I managed to take. And sometimes hindsight is more romantic than the actual reality and sure enough a lot of my writing back then involved who got on my nerves in the bus group I inadvertently joined, the number of ticks on the ground, fitful tent sleeping in wind storms, bee sting in the mouth from my soda can, and how lonely I felt towards the end of four months of traveling alone. Some entries were funny to read and reminded me of things I had forgotten about.  So instead of recalling dreamy memories that I can direct and edit at will after ten years of romanticizing that time in my life, I thought it would be fun to stick to the words I penned as I went along on my journey…

Africa – Day 78
Trail Blazers Camp, Ghanzi
“Long, hot drive today in Botswana. The Kalahari desert is actually full of low scrub bush with scatterings of Acasia trees…this desert is a whole stretch of land all the way from Namibia to Zimbabwe.”

“Tonight we get to sleep in bushman huts made of wood and straw – cute, pudgy, little huts for two people. Liza and I picked one without beds, lights, or mosquito nets, choosing to be as close to ‘bush-like’ as possible only using our mats, sleeping bags, mosquito repellant, and flashlights.”

“We woke up to a beautiful sunrise.”

The journey from Ghanzi took us to Maun, the capital city of Botswana where we overnighted at Crocodile Camp of which the only notable entry was, “We all went to bed looking forward to the Okavango Delta tomorrow!”

Africa – Day 80
Gunns Camp

“I was on the 12pm plane today into the delta. After a hot, bumpy, ride with a fantastic view of the delta river ways dotted with elephants and Great White Egrets. Happy to be off the plane before I threw up. We walked with our packs in the mid-day sun for 2km to camp. The wetlands is hard to describe. It is water and grass and sand with varied thickets of palm trees next to acacias, sausage trees, dry yellow reeds and fresh green tufts surrounded by lily pads flowering white. The wind blows ripples across the water and cools our delta sweat. Birds ring out from all directions, the Cape Turtle Doves and their ‘You’re definitely in Africa’ cries.”

“Being on the mokoros is the most natural, peaceful, way to see the animals and be with the wilderness without disturbing it too much. Sitting low in the water, we are barely visible through the reeds at eye level. Floating along the river were blooming lily’s and these delicate lavender flowers. The trees were silhouetted in reflection along the pools where water was so clear I could discern the underwater world below, a world probably even more mysterious than the one I can see above.”

“Upon setting out in the mokoros, we saw two elephants feeding on the wet reeds on the river bank. “

“On our walking safari we saw giraffes, zebra, impala, wildebeests, tsessebe, warthogs, and a herd of buffalo at very close range. It is a wonder that we could be walking in the middle of the wild and not get attacked by something. On the way back to our mokoros, the majestic Fish Eagle perched high in a tree bid us farewell with it’s unforgettable cry to our walking expedition.”

“Our afternoon sightings were magnificent – up close was an elephant in the river, floating among hippos, and more than 15 giraffes were brightly silhouetted in the evening sunset glow against the dark acacia bush, with grazing elephants along the river below them. Our guide described this scene as paradise.”

“Back at camp, baboons were frolicking through the palm islands across the river while giraffes grazed the upper reaches of a sausage tree while two elephants came searching for fresh greens. Yes, this truly is paradise.”

Africa – Day 82
Gunn’s Camp
“This morning we tracked a lion with her cubs! We caught a glimpse of her under a giant termite mound before she leaped up and herded her cubs away. I first thought we were mad to be heading straight into the bush after a lion, but then I could see that the tracks were continuous and fast, with little baby cub tracks that were sweet and awe inspiring to see. We continued tracking and caught a second glimpse of her disappearing again into the bush, and then lost her at the point where she intersected with a road. Still, it was one of the most exciting things I have done in Africa and will stay etched in my mind forever – to be so bold, so excited, so inspired.

This last entry pretty much sums up the whole purpose and the essence of my Africa journey.

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15 comments on “Africa Journal – Botswana

  1. ladyofthezoos
    August 11, 2012

    Thank you so much for sharing your travels! Beautiful pictures and poetic words!

  2. allthingsboys
    July 24, 2012

    Just amazing…and really great photos. I could feel and imagine very easily what it would be like there.

  3. transplantedtatar
    July 20, 2012

    What a wonderful, unexpected getaway! I’ve only been to Gaborone in Botswana (http://transplantedtatar.wordpress.com/2012/07/19/dumela-mma-seeking-mma-ramotswe/)–it was lovely to get a glimpse of other places to look forward to and savor when I am back. Thank you.

  4. Robin Jean Marie
    July 18, 2012

    It may not be your thing, but I’ve given you the Inspiring Blogger Award. http://bringingeuropehome.com/2012/07/18/is-there-an-award-for-procrastination/
    At least know that I enjoy your site. 🙂

    • Wanderlustress
      July 18, 2012

      Thank you. I am filled with gratitude and awe of the kindness I continue to find here. Inspiring!

  5. Pingback: Is There an Award for Procrastination? « Bringing Europe Home

  6. arranqhenderson
    July 17, 2012

    Yes, I second that, in fact all of the above! Lovely post, wonderful descriptive writing and beautiful pictures. I was in Uganda & SA in 2005 and in Namibia in ’09 and like you, I find the landscapes and wildlife of Africa the most inspiring place on earth. Would absolutely love to follow in your footsteps and visit Botswana and the Okavango Delta. Definitely at the top of my do-list! Great post, thanks for sharing. – Arran.

  7. Alex Khoo
    July 16, 2012

    Amazing post with great pictures captured! Thanks for bringing me to Africa with your photos!

  8. Dani
    July 13, 2012

    Love this post! The photos are just gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous and I love the journal entries. So much of what we write these days is editing for a wider audience, it’s refreshing to read things written in a particular place in time for no one but the writer. Can’t wait to see more posts!

  9. larkycanuck
    July 13, 2012

    loved this. did you use a local company to book this trip

    • Wanderlustress
      July 13, 2012

      I joined an overland tour group from Capetown called WhichWay Adventures. Hadn’t really planned on doing group tours but it was the easiest way to get through Namibia which I wrote about here http://wp.me/p2clok-fn.

      • larkycanuck
        July 13, 2012

        was it expensive or affordable?

      • Wanderlustress
        July 13, 2012

        Luckily, since it was the one that was able to ‘pick me up’ it was one of the less expensive ones. We slept in tents 95% of the time and ate whatever was on hand for them to cook/bbq which might not be for everyone.

  10. travelerlynne
    July 13, 2012

    Great memories to revisit in your mind and to share.

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