We've got new visitors coming on Friday, so I've got to get through the rest of A's parents' trip! The Okavango Delta is a really...big...delta. It's quite pretty. The water flows down from Angola, and bring minerals that end up in the Botswana salt pans (I visited some of these in September!). People go there to see the water, and taking a small, low-flying plane is one of the main activities--also mokoro rides, which I previously blogged.
We were led through the delta by our terrific guide, Judge, who was from the village right next to the entrance to the Moremi Game Reserve. The people who live in the village are a mix of Setswana and San. Interestingly, Judge told me he doesn't mind the word "Bushmen" and thinks that his village is better off outside the Reserve (they were relocated decades ago, unlike the people in Kaudwane, where we went in December).
He told us a story about an old woman in the village. When she was a toddler, the Bushmen were still living in Moremi. They were forced to abandon anyone too sick or weak to travel with them, and her mother was one such person. They left her and her mother in a kraal, and moved on. When they saw vultures overhead, they knew the woman had died, and they returned to collect the baby and moved on. Weird story--why not just take the toddler at the beginning--but anyway, his point was that maybe we romanticize life in the bush a bit and there are some advantages to life in a village with opportunities to capitalize on tourism and advance your family's lot in life through education.
While we visited in the off-season, and the grasses were high, we did see some game, including lots of elephants, some giraffes, zebras, impala, baboons, hippos (out of the water--absurd!), warthogs, etc.
It was also just really, really pretty. The scenery was really different from other parts of Botswana I have visited.
We flew in and out of our campsite on a tiny little plane. You know how my dad used to work on planes? And even so, one time when I flying with him, right before the plane took off, he said, "I still don't understand how these things get up in the air." That feeling is even more acute when you're in a 6-seater. But we survived, and I was mostly distracted from my anxiety by my nausea.
On to Madikwe!