Monday, June 27, 2016

Botswana - 2016

,PomPom - Momemi Natioal Park, Botswana

                  The view from the dining area at PomPom. It was easy to get used to.

After three days, we departed from Chobe National Park and the Elephant Camp folks. Staff drove us to Kasane airport to fly to PomPom - our next safari lodge. We boarded an AirMac Airvan single engine plane that sort of looks like a boxy Cessna. After nearly two hours of flying over what looked like very arid land, we arrived in PomPom. It was devoid of anything other than the airstrip and a Jeep, with LT, our safari guide, waiting for us to take us to the lodge.

When we arrived at the lodge  were introduced to the staff, given the schedule and shown to our tent/cabin. For a tent, it seemed quite sumptuous - our little Hilton in the jungle. 

                           On our deck with a bottle of champagne to enjoy the moment.  

We returned to the main area and were presented with a huge platter of food and a glass of wine. This was just a snack because an hour later, at 3:30pm, it was tea time, time for yet another meal before heading out on a safari ride.

At 4pm, stuffed to the brim, we piled into a big jeep and ventured out on a safari in the Okavango Delta. It was bumpier ride than what we had experienced in Chobe. Here they call the bumpiness the "African Massage". The terrain was composed of either high grasses or dense jungle. We spotted lots of the types of animals that we'd gotten accustomed seeing, with the addition of a few others.

We encountered impalas, elephants, giraffes, kudus, antelopes, jackals, monkeys, wildebeests, hippos and many varieties of birds. 

The highlight came after a couple of hours of winding our way through the area, when we got a call from the other jeep telling us that they'd spotted a lion family.  We quickly proceeded to meet up with the other group.

Wow, were we in for a treat. Two male lions (brothers), a female and two cubs. How special. We followed them for half an hour, watching them move around, sit, yawn and drink water.

After we observed the lions, we returned to the lodge. Dinner was waiting for us. But before sitting down to eat, the staff treated us to traditional Botswana tribal singing and dancing. It was very special. As in the last lodge, there was an open bar with anything one could want from a typical bar. Dinner was simple but tasty consisting of tilapia fish, vegetables, rice and dessert. 

Afterwards, we sat by the camp fire with our guide and fellow travelers. Not long after, it was time to head back to our tent cabins. However, we were not allowed to return unescorted due to the possibility of encountering dangerous wildlife. It had been a long and exciting day.

The following day, we were awakened at 6am sharp. Our guide placed a thermos of coffee in the front sitting room of the tent. This life is easy to get used to.

After breakfast, we headed out on to the Okovango Delta in mokoros (dugout canoes). These canoes, however, are no longer made of wood - they are fiberglass. It makes them lighter and conserves trees.

Our poler was Clifford. He first covered some safety rules and after that we were under way. We saw dozens of bird varieties including cape turtle doves, greater honey guides, sea eagles and yellow billed storks. Often, he fill in the habits of the birds or what they sounded like. We also encountered elephants, hippos, buffaloes, a huge monitor lizard and lots more. 

The canoe glided through water lilies and reed grasses. At one point, we landed ashore and the guides set up a small table and proceeded to serve us hot coffee and biscuits.

Sitting on the deck to our tent cabin is relaxing and peaceful. We can see and hear lots of birds; and in the distance we usually can spot a few hippos and elephants.     

One of the more unique species of trees we encountered was the baobab. When I look at the baobab tree, it makes me think of Africa. In fact, it symbolizes the continent. It is an amazing tree with a unique story. African folklore has it that the baobab tree somehow offended god and thus planted it upside down, with its roots pointing to the sky. Indeed that's what it looks like in winter time.

Although the tree shown may only be about 2-300 years old, some are nearly 2,000 years old! 

It was time to leave. After a sumptuous lunch, LT and our tracker, Clifford, took us to the airstrip. We waited around for a little while and soon we heard the sounds of an airplane in the distance. The single engine plane landed, we said our good-byes and soon were in the air looking at the Okavango Delta from a thousand feet in the air. By then, it already began to be...

....only memories.

But ones we'll never forget.


1 comment:

  1. Another WOW!! I am living vicariously thru you & Diane. Looks so beautiful & exciting, sounds filling & adventurous---this is definitely going on my bucket list!!