Saturday, November 24, 2018

BOTSWANA, KADIZORA CAMP: MAKORO CANOE RIDE

One of the iconic activities of the Okavango Delta that Bob had researched before we left was riding on the Delta in a makoro canoe. (It is also spelled mokoro.) 

We were driven in a Land Cruiser through the brush . . . 

. . . and around a sausage tree . . . 

. . . and past Franklin the Elephant's personal bathtub and snack spot . . .

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

BOTSWANA: WARTHOGS AND ELEPHANTS IN KADIZORA CAMP

One of the fun things about Kadizora Camp in the Okavango Delta of Botswana is the presence of wild animals within the camp itself. I already described how we had to have a guide with a flashlight and a gun take us to our tent-cabin after dark or to the lodge in the early morning hours.

One morning we came out to find a pack of  8-10 warthogs just outside our door. By the time I got my phone out to snap a few pictures, they had moved into the brush a bit, but they were still plenty close. These pictures were taken from the front porch of our cabin:





Saturday, November 3, 2018

BOTSWANA: BABOONS AND HIPPOS AND WILD DOGS AND CHEETAHS AND A LITTLE BIT OF EVERYTHING ELSE

We slept very well on our first night in Kadizora Camp in the Okavango Delta and woke up about 15 minutes before our 5:30 wake up call. We quickly washed and dressed and were escorted to the common area by KT as it was still dark and we were not allowed to walk around the camp in the dark without an escort. He left us there for 30 minutes to have our morning "coffee" (a mug of hot chocolate) and some dry but surprisingly tasty biscuits (aka cookies). At 6:30 we were on the road:


Good morning, Botswana!

 Our first sighting of the morning was a pair of regal waterbuck:


Friday, October 26, 2018

BOTSWANA: LEOPARDS

Shortly after we arrived at Kadizora Camp in the Okavango Delta, we turned around and got back in the Land Rover so that our guide KT could take us on our first Botswana game drive. Two leopards had been spotted earlier, which is a fairly rare sight, and we were on a quest to find them before the sun started to set. KT warned us that he was going to drive very fast and that the roads would be bumpy.

No kidding. And not only were they bumpy, but they were also wet.

We flew along pitted and grooved dirt trails and through ponds of water as deep as three feet as if we were on the paved highway:

We stopped briefly for a few photos . . . 



. . . but in general we made our way directly to a spot quite a ways off the road (How did KT know where to go?) to a bushy area surrounded by grass. Sure enough, there was an almost grown African leopard "kitten" relaxing in plain view (if you knew where to look, and KT did):


Sunday, October 21, 2018

BOTSWANA: FROM JOHANNESBURG TO MAUN TO THE OKAVANGO DELTA TO THE KADIZORA CAMP

It was a little tricky to get from Namibia to our next destination in Botswana as there were no flights between the two places.  We started with a flight from Windhoek, Namibia, to Johannesburg, South Africa. We spent the night in Johannesburg (see previous post) and then took a flight to Maun, which is the jumping off point for the busy Botswana tourism industry in the Okavango Delta and Moremi Game Reserve. With a population of about 55,000 people, Maun (the "au" pronounced "ow" as in "ouch") is the 5th largest city in Botswana.

Our Johannesburg-Maun flight took about 1.5 hours, just enough time for the attendants to feed us a light, tasty lunch. When we landed in Maun, we walked down the rollaway stairs and got in a s-l-o-w passport control line that snaked around several u-turns in the outdoor heat. 


After about half an hour we made it through passport control and security, but then we had to wait again, this time in a little room with chairs lined up auditorium-style facing a tiny TV playing animal documentaries inexplicably made in the USA:

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

SOUTH AFRICA: A QUICK LAYOVER IN JOHANNESBURG

There is no direct flight from Windhoek, Namibia, to Maun, Botswana, and so we had to book a connecting flight through Johannesburg. We had a late afternoon flight out of Windhoek to Johannesburg, and the second leg from there to Maun wasn't until the following morning, so of course we couldn't just sit in our hotel in a city we had never been to before. Bob had arranged a trip to Carnivore restaurant through our tour company, which provided the airport transfer to our hotel and the driver to the restaurant.

When we disembarked in Johannesburg, there was actually a man from our tour company waiting AT THE GATE and holding a sign with Bob's name on it. He was the only travel agent there. All the others were outside the boarding areas where we usually see them. Such a personal greeting could never happen in the United States. He walked us through immigration, helped us get our bags, and delivered us to a woman, who in turn delivered us to our driver, who took us to our hotel. Talk about getting the royal treatment! We felt like celebrities.  Thank you, Ker & Downey!

Southern Sun O.R. Tambo Hotel (photo from hotel website)

We checked into our hotel, took our bags up to our rooms and freshened up, and then came back down to have our driver take us to Carnivore Restaurant, which was 45 minutes away in light traffic. Our driver was friendly and knowledgeable, and we got him talking a lot about the corruption so endemic in African politics, a topic we were interested in. It was enlightening to get the perspective of a local.

We had eaten at the original Carnivore Restaurant in Nairobi about four years ago, but I was recovering from a bout of food poisoning then and ate only rice, so I was looking forward to this meal. We got there rather late in the evening, and it was nice that it wasn't very crowded.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

NAMIBIA: FROM ETOSHA NATIONAL PARK'S HALALI LODGE BACK TO THE WINDHOEK AIRPORT

As I mentioned in my last post, after a long day of driving more or less east across the length of Etosha National Park, we finally arrived at Halali Lodge. As at our previous lodge, we had a private cabin that was spacious and nicely appointed.

We even had a little patio in the back:

There was an African grey hornbill strutting around by the check-in area, a welcome committee of one:


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