(Note: I have no idea why the text is appearing in white strips. Still working on a fix.)
In Which My Heart Finds a Forever Home Away from Home
“Wilderness is not a luxury
but necessity of the human spirit.” – Edward Abbey
I had a preconceived notion of what the Okavango Delta looked like. It must be a vast swamp, I imagined, cut with water channels three to four feet wide in which people poled or paddled those little dug out canoes that were about the size of an average Nile crocodile through tall reeds and grasses. The Delta, however, has some of the largest crocs in the world.
Not for me. Not when hippos are notorious for charging and over-turning those little boats.
I intentionally cut off the heads of these men for their privacy. They are paddling a mokoro on the Chobe River.
But wait. I’m getting ahead of myself. When last I left you, I was dismayed about the long lines of wildfires burning through northern Botswana. I took a few photos as our pilot maneuvered around towering cumulus clouds and uprising smoke.
When we landed at the first airstrip to drop off two people, there were flames leaping from burning bushes along the edges of the strip. Oh, man, I was sure glad this wasn’t our stop.
A half hour later, it was our stop and we climbed out of the small plane not to clear air but as least we couldn’t smell the smoke. I looked around and saw a lilac-breasted roller on a nearby branch.
That’s a good omen, I figured. Maybe Murphy’s Law won’t catch up to me here. We were met by a lovely lady name Razi and were soon bouncing our way to Great Plains Explorers camp, about an hour away. Sand. I noticed the trails were made over sand. Softer than rocks but bouncy nonetheless.
We weren’t in the Delta per se, but in the adjoining 320,000 acre private Selinda Reserve of northern Botswana. The Selinda Spillway drains into the Delta. The Delta itself drains rainwater from Angola and floods a large area. None of the water reaches the ocean. Rather, the water is evaporated or transpired by plants. It is an oasis in a desert.
I borrowed this map from the Internet. Selinda Reserve is at the top of Botswana with a number 1 in it. Our camp is not listed.
We stopped for a few wildlife shots as we made our way to the camp. We were in somewhat of a hurry because we didn’t want to miss the late, short, afternoon game drive.
Common waterbuck, male. So-called because of its heavy dependence on water, males stand a bit over four feet at the shoulder.
And then we reached camp. Zowie! I fell in love with my tent immediately. I never wanted to leave here.
Just before four o'clock, we gathered in the common sitting area for snacks and fruit juice. Two of the people we met at Pangolin photo safari lodge were here and would be our game drive companions for a few drives until they left.
"How are you doing?" I asked the woman. She showed me her wet tee shirt and replied, "Learning how to cope with the hot weather." I looked at the little thermometer attached to my camera bag: 95 degrees Fahrenheit!!!
With that introduction, we were off to see what we could find in the Selinda Reserve. After driving through the riverine forest for a few minutes, we pulled alongside a beautiful waterway. This is not what I expected at all!!
Beautiful, beautiful Selinda.
This was not the first surprise Selinda had in store for me.