B: Botswana

Botswana lies on the borders of South Africa, up north from us. It also borders Zimbabwe, Angola, Namibia, Mocambique and is entirely landlocked. It’s a 2 hour international flight from Johannesburg to Maun.

I fly with local and US friends on Saturday 16th April to Maun, two weeks today! Truly, a going into the unknown, as is any going into the bush, the wilderness. It is a going outside but also inside into our own wilderness of the psyche and it seems that some connections are made while in that liminal space –map botswana

from space-botswan

We overnight in Maun – the next day or 2 we are on water, transported by mokoros, those dug-out, flat bottomed canoes carved from wood. We’ll be on the Okavango Delta … a man will be standing at the top end of the mokoro, poling/navigating us – probably two passengers per boat – with his oar. And we take in the sights and the sounds –

okavango delta

I think I will die and (hopefully) go to heaven if I hear the cry of the fish eagle. If I also see it swoop from high to take a fish in the water in its talons and soar up again to its high perch, it will be heaven all over again – I don’t think I’d care too much if a hippo or a croc in the water suddenly decided it had its eye on me –

I don’t know why this has such a strong primal feel for me – but the pure animal cry of it gives me goose-bumps –


The waterways are filled with lilies of all colours – this one from google: ‘almay stock’ on the Okavango

lotus on okavango

I’ve been there before, each time a soulful replenishing experience. The last time was 6 or 7 years ago with my friend Liz, here in Johannesburg. The time before was many years ago, maybe 20 years or so – a prize that my husband won from entering a medical competition – and the time before that was 26 years ago – many many elephants outside our tent on their way Β to the water hole –

My US friends arrive on Thursday 14th April. Susan Schwartz, Jungian Analyst from Phoenix, Az., will give a talk to the Jung Centre here in Johannesburg on Friday 15th April: ‘Longing to Belong – Otherness, Culture and Jungian Psychology’ – and then we fly out the next day. My husband is not coming as he is too fearful of contracting malaria.

After 2 days on the delta (probably camping overnight in tents on the banks with a fire and guard on watch all night long, to warn any wild animals of getting too close – and perhaps each of us if we’re brave may elect to keep watch in the dead of night) we return to Maun from where we overland to Khwai. I don’t know much about this at this stage. We’re there for 4 nights I think. We’re all in the hands of my nephew David S, son of my late half-brother David who lived in Maun for all of his adult life –

I hope to visit the tree at which he is buried, on the banks of the delta, at his home in Maun and pay my respects. And to see Anne, his widow who lives there –

Botswana – two weeks to go –

53 Comments on B: Botswana

  1. This sounds like such an amazing experience. I have always wanted to go on safari, but I confess Botswana wasn’t a place I’d thought to do so. I’m looking forward to learning more about your trip.

    • Thanks Wendy – as we know life is what happens when we have other plans – but I reckon I’m about as planned as could be:) Have got the antimalarials, air tickets, paid my deposit …

    • Thanks Annette! Am only going Saturday next week! My ‘prescheduled’ A-Z posts are mostly psychological .. am working my way through them – hope it’s going good with you. Am loving your mythology posts!

  2. Oh, my, Susan. Truly a soul/spiritual journey for you, I should think. I believe you will be changed, having grown spiritually, upon your return. Thanks for sharing your Botswana stories and itinerary with us.

    Travel fair and well.

  3. Ah! You remind me so well that, in life, we must make our own (often solo) adventures. Thank you so much for this gem today Susan! As always when the words and message are needed, as if by magic they seem to appear. Botswana sounds like a divine return-trip for the Soul. Safe travels, enjoy greatly! I’m very much looking forward to hearing more of your travelling tales. Blessings, Deborah.

    • I read the other day of a woman (local) whose husband just did not like travel, so off she went into parts of Africa completely on her ownsome – that pulled and connected with me in some way .. and so yes, it is true I think that at times we are the solitary traveller .. (which we essentially are and, if fortunate, do have at times a pilgrim alongside to share the journey – or at least are aware of the longing to have such a companion – in my instance) ..

      Thank you for coming by dear Deborah πŸ™‚

    • I’m glad we didn’t see the elephants storming outside our tent Sharon, we were practically under the bed … no one at the camp warned us of the elephants’ route to the water hole. Thank you for coming by!

  4. This sounds magnificent and so utterly out of my experience. A spectacular primal place. May it be all you hope it to be and even more with never imagined gifts. And may you hear the fish eagle cry.

    • Thanks Elaine. I think visitors to our country, when they go on safari or to the bush, get that primal connection – some are overwhelmed by it. It’s a different kind of something to say the beauty of Cape Town, the space of the Karoo, the energy of Johannesburg –

      And yes, I hope the hear the fish eagle cry – thank you!

  5. A trip into the wilderness of the psyche — that says all all, Susan. Thank you. Batswana looks amazing, the images here one more beautiful than the next. The cry of the bird … yes, something very primal. Waiting to hear all about your adventure.

    • Thanks J.H. It’ll be an adventure, thanks for coming along for the ride – the N to T posts are the ones in the A-Z while I’m there in Botswana and if I can, I will put in at least a footnote or a photo of the time there.

  6. You are an adventurous woman, Susan. I look forward to your tales about Botswana and more alphabetical connections.

    My only knowledge of Botswana comes from a book or two from Alexander McCall Smith’s detective series set in that country.

    • I loved McCAll Smith’s stories set in Gaborone which is just over one of our northern borders with Precious Ramotswe the detective in the agency (made up of only her!)

      Maun is much further north – I hope to give you some flavours of this in later posts. Thanks so much for coming by Marian.

  7. So evocative. Know that Africa will remain an undiscovered country for me. But love to learn about it.

    If the fish eagle is an osprey then part of each year they spend in places like UK… Scotland. So more chance of seeing one of those.

  8. Oh Susan WHAT an ADVENTURE!! It would be so interesting to see such natural countryside! I’m excited about the eagles, but I’m not so sure about the hippos or crocs! BE VIGILANT!! πŸ˜‰

    Now, why are you not worried about malaria? Enjoy, but stay safe and strong!! I can hardly wait to hear about your adventure! Hugs!!

    • Vigilant be my name thank you for the reminder Gwynn! Nice letter for V … I don’t know about countryside – more like bush bush and more bush …

      Many do not take anti-malarial medicine .. my husband bought it for me very very insistent that I take it. Botswana is supposed to be a low-malaria area, but I think he would have stopped the plane if I tried to get on it without taking it the day before .. (daily while there and I think for a week thereafter)

    • Thanks Mary so much! So nice to see you here Will pop over to you now – I remember your lovely A-Z from last year ..

  9. Your trip sounds like a soul searching trip where you get in touch with yourself. I believe you’re going to be surprised at how deep your inner roots are.
    Have a great trip.
    Patricia @ EverythingMustChange

    • Thank you dear Pat. Yes the wilderness on the outside invariably makes an inner connection …

      Can you believe that I have ONLY remembered NOW how I escaped from Johannesburg as a young woman with a broken and damaged heart and took myself off to Botswana and stayed at an hotel on the banks of the Chobe river – my goodness, your post must have triggered something – thank you …

      Shalom to you too Pat, Susan

  10. I’m positively turquoise with envy! I’m fairly sure that I will never visit Africa and every bit of your description calls to me – experiencing it with a fellow Jungian, visiting heart connected places, and of course, the wild life! Thrilling. I wish you a most enriching time that will fuel your dreams and writings for years.

    • Thank you Jan! If the calling is there, let me know … you never know –

      MAYBE I’ll be able to post photos or small videos or something .. (unless a croc or a hippo or lion likes the idea of me for lunch) ..

      Thank you for your lovely wishes πŸ™‚

  11. This post feels very special, Susan. It’s as if you captured the soul and sacredness of those places. I can feel your excitement and anticipation. And your friend’s talk sounds amazing!

    • Thank you Gulara! Yes, doesn’t Susan Schwartz’s talk sound amazing – so relevant. My American friends have been here in SA quite a few times and have been deepened by the experience of the African bush. Botswana will be new for them –

      I will ask Susan if there is some way her talk can be made more available.

  12. wow Susan, what a descriptive and informative post, enjoyed the way you took me around this place, glad for you. Enjoy yourself and hope to stay connected πŸ™‚

  13. Wow, Susan, sounds like a wonderful adventure. Your fish eagle looks like what we call an osprey here. I once was swimming in a river and got dive bombed by one going for a fish just feet away. When face to face with one their beauty was amazing and their hugeness (word?) was awe inspiring. Have a great trip.

    • Wow Linda that sounds like an amazing experience being almost dive-bombed! We have many different kinds of eagles, always so majestic in their hugeness!

      Thank you for coming by!

  14. It sounds amazing. I understand your husband–I have a similar problem with my husband. I’ve wanted for years to visit the migrations in East Africa, but my husband says it’s too dangerous, knowing I won’t go without him. So far, he’s right.

    • Dear friends of mine were in Kenya lately in spite of dire warnings about safety etc Jacqui and they had the loveliest time, the people were wonderful and friendly, the energy was good and sadly the hotels were empty because of the tourists being too afraid.

      Sometimes I think that I must make my own adventures, or make more solo road trips or something … shout my way if you HAVE to make that trip, I’ll join you.

    • Thank you Beth for coming by – I hadn’t thought of the adventure as a pilgrimage but now that you say, I will take that on board re my late half brother David … thank you for saying so!

  15. Hi Susan – yes the fish eagle … so so evocative – and you are going to have a gorgeous time … I’m living back my life there with you. I’ve been lucky enough to go three times .. in different ways …

    How wonderful to have someone who knows the area so well – to direct you to see the right places in the Delta …

    … what a lovely thought at being able to meet with Anne, spend some time with him at his tree … and generally reflect on life then and now …

    It will be lovely, so reassuring being in the total bush in a Delta in the middle of Africa …

    Just enjoy and I shall be here being very jealous .. but remembering many memories of the trip with my mother, and friends and a family friend from here …cheers HIlary

    • I’m glad I can take you on this adventure Hilary, though it will be only from N or O or P etc onwards! I truly hope to be able to post some photographs on those days’ posts while there! (if a hippo or croc doesn’t take me and I can get internet access …)

  16. Reminds me of my childhood safaris with my grandfather who took me in a caboose for weeks on end while he inspected African schools. We took a tracker Hottentot ( is that now non pc?) a brilliant shot called ‘Light’ a cook, and a camp attendant who made the fires to keep away lion. Went all the way from Mafikeng to the Victoria falls ( and back). It lives in an almost past life now. Have a wonderful trip, lucky you!

    • I can imagine this would bring back memories Philippa! I’m also reminded of camping on the banks of rivers in Botswana as a child when we lived in then Rhodesia and we would go on adventures!
      Thank you for coming by!

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