Friday, November 1, 2013

BOTSWANA A 4x4 ADVENTURE - Part 2


The second day of packing up the tent in the morning and the realisation that this will be something we have to do almost every day sinks in. So, besides paying quite a high daily rate I have to make my own bed, pack it up and pack the car. For someone used to spending most of the day behind a lens this is certainly a bit of an eye opener. Okay, you can all stop laughing now!

We head out at about midday as the rest of the group does a quick flip over the Okavango Delta. These flips (which I have done in a helicopter on a previous occasion) are highly overrated and it is very amusing to sit and listen to the stories around the campfire that night. Nausea seems to be the main topic of discussion with a large contingent not even looking out of the windows at the view below. We spend the morning trying to find a blanket as the sleeping bag I bought from Outdoor Warehouse must be rated for the tropics. With blanket underarm we head out for Sepupa Swamp Stop.
This is about as inspired as I could become at Sepupa Swamp Stop
Very quickly, I might add, at this juncture it is obvious that this is not a 4 x 4 adventure. This is definitely a euphemism. The roads are wide, tarred, and certainly do not warrant the likes of a Jeep Rubicon. And we drive and drive. Finally, we reach Sepupa Swamp Stop. The word swamp in the title should have rung all the alarm bells, but it is one we completely ignored. Think the swamps of New Orleans - get it? We drive into a camp site where our little igloo is waiting for us. There is a team that breaks down the tents and re-erects them for us (this is supposed to make us feel that we are on a luxury safari I think). The picnic blanket now becomes our verandah or we will have half the Delta’s sand in our tent attached to our feet. The ablution block (a very important aspect of this trip) is not in the best shape. One loo (of two) is not working. So, being the enterprising owner of a Lodge I set about the repairs. Then into the shower and one little glance skywards reveals that the staff must all be very, very short. It would appear that they can only clean about 1,5 metres from the floor. The dust and cobwebs that adorn the ceiling are reassuring signs that the spiders can watch us shower and maybe even keep us safe while we are doing so.

While this is what I got to photograph on the Delta

This, I think needs no explanation
The following morning we hire a private boat to get to see the Delta up close and get my shutter firing. Can you hear the desperation in my voice yet? 3 days on the road into Botswana and I still haven’t been able to take more than 10 frames. Okay, that’s an exaggeration. 20 frames. We head out really early, only marginally delayed by the fact that the motor of the boat would not start. Then, the pilot starts weaving between the reeds at breakneck speed. I explain to him I am looking for wildlife to photograph and he slows down for two seconds for me to photograph a disappearing hippo. Off we go again. Finally we reach his destination, which we find out, is his own farm 14kms down from camp and he is trying to find someone to open a Lodge on the property. We obviously look like just the people who want another Lodge! Interestingly enough we pass the guys who are filming swimming with the crocodiles for Nat Geo. But, we don’t see any action so it is hardly worth a mention. We return to camp and I have maybe added 10 frames to my count. The rest of the camp has some serious Health and Safety issues so if you are a H & S Inspector I would steer well clear of this destination. You could suffer a fatal heart attack.

Then, next morning the larger part of the group heads for Tsodilo Hills but by now the withdrawal symptoms are raging and I need to see some animals. We head for the Shakawe/Mohembo border. And straight into the Muhango Game Reserve. Finally, something to photograph. Wrong time of the day and all that but we head straight into the Reserve. And within minutes I have photographs of elephants, roan, sable, and half a dozen other animals. But of course, nothing to write home about because the sun is high and we have to leave before sunset.
Finally, an elephant right next to the road. 
Roan and Sable in one pic!
A gorgeous little bee eater just waiting for me to snap a shot. 
And a baby ellie disconcerted by the Jeep 
This is what happens when you try to take photos in the midday sun.


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