Okavango Delta – Part 1

People who complain of too much night noise in the city clearly haven’t spent the night in the bush in Botswana. I lay awake in the darkness watching the shadows of trees on my tent, listening to a bird perhaps that sounds like a car alarm without an off button. The night hums, sings- a chorus of animals, birds and whatever else is out there. Twigs break somewhere nearby- donkey or cow? Sleep finally comes as a lay on my sleeping bag in the hot, sticky night.

The second day in Botswana proves to be slightly challenging as we end up on the side of the road after driving 4 hours, with little food and a few hours to kill before entering the Okavango Delta. Lunch is created from the few ingredients we have left and we devour it sitting on the side of the road, swatting away bugs. Ten mats line up on the side of the road, ten pairs of eyes look at me expectantly, waiting for an impromptu yoga class in the dirt. We move through a vinyasa while a man riding a donkey rides by. We flow through the heat (natural hot yoga), the bugs, swatting away bees and flies into savasana.

A safari truck pulls up and we all climb in, ready to be taken into the flooded Okavango Delta. The Delta is formed from water that comes from Angola, runs through the pan handle of Namibia, and settles in the Delta in Botswana. We drive through a road submerged in water, past donkeys, cows, into branches, we drive into what resembles a small pond and finally arrive at our destination. This is perhaps one of the more remote places I’ve ever been- there’s no electricity, no connection with the outside world.

Our evening boat ride into the Delta introduces us to the incredible place we’ve wandered into. We cruise through narrow channels lined with floating papyrus- a tall reed with something that resembles a pom-pom with peacock feathers on top. Green, brown, and orange colors line the channel as we navigate the floating ecosystem. Floating day lilies add color to the dark water, blooming white and yellow with large flat bright green leaves surrounding them. We learn the difference between day and night lillies, which are white/ blue and bloom only at night.

The water is so dark it appears black, a glassy black that is just clear enough to see the colorful reeds and fuzzy leaves growing underneath. Crocodiles lower their heads as we pass, birds fly away, and the sun sets over the massive Okavango Delta, the pink sky shading the trees black to match the still water. I shower in complete darkness, outside, in a tin box with the warm water of the Delta- washing off the long day, ready for new adventures tomorrow.

Stay tuned for hippo encounters (Part 2).

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