Day 1 in the Okavango Delta

I’m not sure there’s anything quite like looking out at the sky at the stars in africa. Of course I’ve seen stars before but there’s a clarity out here that doesn’t really exist otherwise.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Today we woke up at the Sedia Hotel in Maun after spending the night camping. As I think I mentioned yesterday, lovely spot. I’d actually consider doing a vacation in Botswana and using that as a home base. Very reasonably priced, nice pool, bar, wifi, etc.

Woke up at 6:30ish (hit snooze a couple times), had to repack a bit to take only a very small bag with us, leaving most of the luggage behind, then packed up the tent and had a quick breakfast.

Two 9 seater open transport vehicles picked us and all of our stuff up. We had to bring the tents, mattresses, sleeping bags and all our luggage. The Intrepid truck remains at the Sedia for the next few days. Took us about 45 mins to get from the Sedia into the Delta, driving through a bunch of bush on very small roads, sometimes over quite bumpy or wet terrain. Was a fun ride.

We arrived at the waters edge and were greeted by about 20 locals all ready to help us get our stuff loaded into a whole bunch of two person canoes, with one local guide moving the canoe. It wasn’t rowing but instead something called poling where the guide stands at the back and pushes the boat along with a stick. The water in the Okavango Delta is only a few feet deep so you can reach the ground with the stick (or standing technically). It’s all bush, some paths within the bush but 9/10 we were making our own paths.

It was one of the most interesting experiences I’ve ever had. And just so visually amazing.

We ran into some hippos playing in the water about half way down so stopped to say hi to them. The whole trip took about 2 hours and was incredibly relaxing, except for the constant stream of insects jumping from the bush on to my lap. Overall, incredible experience.

Arrived at one of the islands out here in the Delta and got everything off loaded. Our crew of people who came over with us is probably around 15 now, so quite a big group to support us.

Got the tents setup – this will be the first time we’ve been somewhere for more than one night so we can actually keep the tent up which will be amazing. After that we had lunch (sandwiches) and then the afternoon to ourselves.

We were told we could go swimming if we wanted, and really – how do you pass up the chance to go swimming in the Okavango Delta in Botswana??? So a bunch of us did. Surprisingly just a short walk out from the island we hit a little “swimming hole” which was absolutely delightful. Minor scare when we heard a bunch of splashing (hippos are known to roam) but just turned out to be some bores who were quickly scared away.

Dried off after an hour or so and returned to camp. Bunch of people were playing cards so thats how I spent most of my afternoon. Had a short rest before the meet up at 5 (15 mins or so) then we got ready to go!!

Long pants were a requirement – quite strong and large bush to contend with. We split into 3 groups and went off on our hike! Planned for an hour it was just a bit of an intro. Tomorrow morning we’ve got a sunrise walk which will last about 4 hours.

The walk was lovely. You can’t capture with pictures the incredible scenery. It’s not possible. I can simply say I stopped several times and just looked around, stunned at the beauty that surrounded us.

We didn’t find much in the way of animals – some were running around off in the distance so I sort of saw them but not really. Tomorrow we expect to see more. We would up staying out for just under two hours and saw the most wonderful sunset before returning to camp for dinner.

Our guides cooked us a fantastic traditional African meal which was delicious. The fire was going, we talked about the plans for tomorrow and then played some riddles and games for a bit before the group started to turn in.

Up at 5:30 tomorrow and it’s already almost 10 so I’m going to wrap this one up. Tomorrow we have a full day in the Delta then the following day were back to the Sedia for one night.

From Africa…Good night!