Wilderness & Change
I’d love to put up a short video or two but photos will have to do. I’ve barely had time to digest our week away; our US friends are still with us, leaving tonight, and it’s been busy since our return.
On our first day after overnighting in Maun in northern Botswana we travelled by mokoro (canoe, these days made of fibreglass) on the water to The Island and camped in tents. No electricity, no wi-fi, just pretty basic. The photo below was taken at the beginning, but the waterways got narrower and shallower as we were poled along in the blazing heat. The 15 billions tons of water have yet to come down to Botswana from Angola later this month or in May.
After 2 nights in tents, we got back to Maun and from there overlanded to Moremi where, after crossing the quarantine border we got into game country. By now we’d left tar roads behind and were on gravel roads. Elephant crossing the road, zebra and giraffe in abundance …
The staff had set up camp prior to our arrival this time on the banks of the river for the 2nd stretch. All was more spacious and also a shower and flush loo were in the encampment! I had my own tent. Two of our 6 had left us in Maun to fly to more comfortable lodgings – two nights of camping and roughing it had been enough for them. So we were four. Plus our cook and his assistant, and Joseph our guide who drove the landrover and sat with us at the supper table and told us stories. Of course, also no electricity – though the moon was full the nights we were there. This elephant was on the other side of the river. One morning at 4.00 I woke up to quite a bit of noise, a racket actually. The light outside was dim. But I saw 2 large shapes pretty close up and flapping ears – elephant, really close. In the still of the night they were drinking and eating and thrashing around. Unless they’re doing this they move so silently you can’t hear them, and blend so well into the bush, they’re visible one moment invisible the next.
We would leave in the landrover around 6.00 a.m. after tea, coffee, rusks, returning around 11.00 for a slap up brunch. Two are both strict vegetarians and both were delighted and impressed with Chichu our cook. All meals were delicious. We would relax until 4.00 p.m. and leave again for evening drive returning around 7.00 p.m.
These were hippos at sunset.
I snapped a fish eagle in flight with its cry –
I met up with my relatives which was a delight – I had tea with Anne, my brother’s widow and nephew David and his lovely wife and family in Anne’s beautiful home on the banks of the river. What was truly wonderful was hearing them speak of my mother and how much she was loved by all.
This photo is the tree under which my brother is buried and by which I spent a few minutes alone remembering him. The river is in the background.
I felt so full – of memories, love, warmth, small children, lush gardens, wildness, wilderness, and felt the wilderness in my own heart matching the outer …
We all felt the magic of the bush and our travels, getting down to basics. Each changed in some way …