Our next 220 nm, 1:45 flight brought us to Maun, Botswana. As usual for international flights, we needed flight plans and general declaration to leave Zimbabwe, plus $85 in various landing, takeoff, passenger, navigation… fees. I flew a bit of a northern route, hoping to see more game from the air and also overfly the Okawango Delta. The 6,000-15,000 km2 delta is formed when the Okavango River flows into a basin and evaporates – the river never reaches any sea nor ocean.
After landing in Maun, we boarded a commercial flight with Delta Air (not that Delta), because the Oddballs Camp airstrip on the Chief Island does not allow any other aircrafts to land there. An extremely noisy Airvan and bunch of Cessna 182 and 206 brought all of us to the strip – I had to take off my instructor hat when observing a young pilot making a very shallow approach to the strip.
It is called camp, because it has tents and and the last time I slept under a tent was when I was 18 years old and for Ania this might have been the first time. We definitely are creatures of comfort. The tent had a real bed and a roof and was on a wooden platform, so it wasn’t a regular camping.
The small structure on the right was a bathroom. I know what you are thinking: a private bathroom at a camping site, that’s not really a camping. Wait, it gets better, there was a shower. You pour the water into a bucket, you hoist the bucket up, you open the tap and voila: you get a shower. There was even cold water and not-so-cold water.
The camp is isolated and at night, we had most amazing stars. Early morning, we were leaving for mokoro boat trips.
There is something magical about gliding in these boats over the shallow water, between the grass and spotting and hearing wild animals all around. The last day, we were on a foot walking when the guide said he spotted a lion. We split the group in a hero half and coward half (I won’t say in which part we were), the hero half went to see the lion from close, the coward half stayed away and was ready to run. The first group saw the lion from perhaps 6-8 feet away – he was patiently waiting for that group of noisy humans to pass and when it was clear that they would march right into his hide, he simply run away. And who is the king of the jungle now?
We were not the only ones looking around, these guys were keeping a close eye on where we were going.
We also went to the local village, where some people working at these camps live. There was an impromptu market and a concert.