You'd never know what day it was. The silence. The tranquility.
Time passes so slowly. And everywhere looks like everywhere else. Reeds and water. And an immense sky.
Out Here, You Can See Forever.
I am a city dweller. In the city I might see as far as five blocks. Or four. So many corners and so many traffic hazards.
So much to be aware of.
And when you get out of town - its just miles of traffic and freeway and a slow, hot steel river.
Or fast. Depending on the time of day.
And if I look across the landscape there are many mountain ranges.
The terminator of vision.
I cannot see beyond.
But out here in the Delta - you can see Forever.
Flat. Unchanging. And relentless heat. And so much water.
You race out here on your skiff, and time slows down and then starts to slide backward. It's only minutes and today is exactly and precisely as it was yesterday. As it was millions of years ago.This is a time trip...
You can see this place was how it was hundreds of thousands of years ago. And when your life is done - the Okavango will be exactly and precisely, Just Like This TodayUnchanged.
Other eyes will come to see. See what you have seen.
In the end - this is your ultimate adventure.
Not into Okavango Delta.
But into your own perceptions of Your world, Your emotions, Your journey.
No matter how well or how badly you have seen your life and your planet.
No matter your conduct toward others personally or professionally...This place will change You.
It will change the way you see your planet.
It will change your perspective of your supposed existence.
Change the way you see the ones you love.
And you will be made humble to the real "Cycle of Life"
It will change your Life. And the way you look at Life.
This is what magic is all about.
This is what time travel is all about.
This is probably what the makers of "Jurassic Park" were trying to convey to their audience.Time. And the ability to re-visit it.
You get to have just one peek at it. Then your time is done, with that one peek.
You have the memory of Space and Time on this planet. But it will never be enough. It is only a memory.
To experience this feeling - you have to be here.
To where Time was not.
The Delta is a vast and sprawling space.
As an explorer...
Wonder at those slow moving elephants, munching away at the grasses. Wonder at those occasional grunting hippo that emerge now and then. Wonder at the carcasses of buffalo left by lions you cannot find.
Wonder whether those bubbles rising in the water are just the result of decaying vegetation, cat-fish just below the surface... or some other more challenging event about to unfold.The suspense will keep you alert.
Yes! Vey very civilized. The long weaving deck between the small plunge pool and the restaurant passes a vast open lounge and a shaded deck hanging out over the river. All of this overhung and shaded by huge trees.
Lunch on arrival was light and easy. The day being hot and blistering - one would want no more. But dinner was an event with a menu from heaven. By this time I am contemplating cutting back on my diet... I have to let my belt out a notch.
Next morning, while the rest of the team went on safari, I stayed at the lodge, browsing an interesting library and even more interesting guest book, enjoying the placid view across the Delta. As always our hosts were charming and the staff friendly and helpful. And leaving was not easy. But...
Xugana Island Lodge. Okavango Delta
It just gets better. Camp Xugana's offer of luxury in the delta is not to be sneezed at. Absolutely surrounded by trees, the reed-walled, thatched chalets offer solitude, privacy and views of the river.
The chalet is luxuriously appointed complete with ceiling fan and the de rigeur mosquito nets.
Our mokoro river cruise around the island was fairly interesting and calm. Until entering a pool full of hippo who were not that happy to see us. Ill-tempered, unpredictable and prone to violent territorial disputes...
Aah! There's seven hippos. Now there's five. Where are the other two? I ask myself in this fragile mokoro drifting serenely in the sunset. I can hear the theme from "Jaws"
playing... Dah duh... (pause)... Dah duuh..
Dinner was, once again, an enjoyable affair with a party-like atmosphere and a seemingly infinite buffet. Like everywhere else, in this place of water and rivers and tiger fish and bream, there is no fish for dinner. Beef, chicken and bacon - but no fish.
Yes there were fish. Giant cat fish lurked under the balcony at the waters edge and any food scraps thrown in the water brought a frenzied boiling of gaping mouths to the surface as the manageress happily explained that the fish knew when it was feeding time at Xugana.
The game walk next morning started early at a balmy 25 degrees. Two and a half hours later cooking in 36 degrees we trudged back to the boat and headed off to a hasty brunch and cooler but short-lived surroundings before embarking on our boat cruise to Camp Okavango.
Camp Okavango. Okavango Delta
Relief. Cooled by the breeze on the boat as we rip across the open water, winding rapidly through papyrus walled channels. I wonder to myself how these pilots know their way around.
There are no land marks and every channel and bend looks like the other one to me.
We arrive at Camp Okavango somewhere amongst a vast clump of trees. One can barely make out the lodge. But it must be there. There's a jetty, a bit of roof and two radio pylons.
Once out of the boats, and the enervating heat we meet our hosts. An absolutely charming couple. At the end of a lawn large enough to host a football match is an inviting pool. I am running into people from three and four days ago - who like us are reaching the end of their Delta Experience.
Luxury safari tents, a fan to circulate the stultifying heat and mosquito nets. Cool, private and quiet.
And a brief shower.
Spend part of the afternoon with our hosts in the bar before heading out on an afternoon boat cruise in a pleasant 34 degrees.
Many birds - but not much else at this time of day as animals seek shelter where ever they can find shade.
The highlight of the excursion was stopping for sundowners and snacks. Evidence of leopard and elephant - but everyone is waiting for sun down... which heralds dinner time.
Dinner was another African Choir - very good. While they were getting the patrons to seat themselves, I was targeted to join their conga dance... the assistant manager and a guide called Chili pulled me into the line and I was the only Whitey to join them.
he song was a humorous poke at eating too much potato and the way you have to walk in the morning to go to the toilet... which was a joke for me, because none of the travellers sitting at the table would EVER figure that out!
A speedy and excellent breakfast, followed by a short stroll to the runway for our 35 minute flight to Maun.
Rush Hour in The Delta - As Busy as it GetsAfter a tedious 10 minute wait,
watching buck cross the runway the planes started to arrive - and the excitement began. In less than 10 minutes I counted 9 planes landing and taking off
. Six planes had off-loaded and reloaded before we had even embarked - and when our two planes were ready to depart, a tenth plane was landing...
We're on our way home.
Talk about rush hour. Amazing to watch.
Ways that You can Experience Okavango DeltaOriginal Elephant-back Safari
Premier Romantic Fly-in Safari
Romantic Okavango & Savuti
Classic Family Fly-in Safari
Mobile Camping ExplorerFrom 'My Botswana Travel Journal' by Moreno Franco