August 27, 2013

Day 19 (possibly threatening interlopers)

We all have lists of some sort (probably not on paper for most normal people, although I do keep one in a GoogleDoc) of things that make us happy.  That is, the things we know that make us happy.  But there is (there must be) a much much longer list of things we don't know that make us happy.  The native Hawaiian who may never know how much she loves playing ice hockey.  The Alaskan who won't ever know his passion for surfing.  The ground-bound cocker spaniel who will never ever realize his fondness for flying.  

Which is all to say (this is going somewhere, I promise), that I never knew the joys of not dismantling a tent at 5 or 6am in the morning until today.  

Even though it's something I've done (or not done, as it were) almost every day of my life for the past 3 decades.  But, wow, now I know how great it is.  Instead of breaking camp, we woke early to do another game walk through the Okavango Delta, which kicked off with a quick mokoro shuttle across the waterhole backed by the pre-sunshine colors of early morning.  

Transit shuttle

Walking from pre- to post-dawn through the delta, the animals wouldn't let us get as close as they will when you're in a safari truck.  Nor will they let you get as close as the animals on Crescent Island.  You also can't cover as much ground on foot as you can in a truck, so you see fewer highlights.

Okavango Delta

However, a game walk gives you a much better perspective for animals in their natural habitat, which doesn't naturally include humans poking around.  Viewing us as confusing and possibly threatening interlopers, zebra converge into a self-camouflaging pack.  Giraffe gallop away with their children in tow.  Buffalo stampede.  Like, really stampede.

Experiencing an African buffalo stampede, while on foot in the middle of the most remote wilderness, was the coolest and simultaneously most frightening thing I saw here in the Delta.  First, you may see the herd through the trees.  But you may not- only hearing their thunder.  You can feel the ground rumble.  Birds fly up out of the trees.  Treetops shake.  A cloud of dust starts to rise, and then it spreads.  And you look around to see what you might be able to climb if they come at you; vulnerable in a way that we rarely (if ever) are this century.  

Okavango Delta

The rest of the day was spent idling at camp.  Eating pancakes, reading in the sun, trying a second time at poling the mokoros, taking a dip in the watering hole.  

Much improved skills during round 2

And in the late afternoon, we all took to the water to enjoy a boating sunset.

After returning to dusk by nightfall, we sat around the fire and shared songs and dance from everyone's home-country.    

Thus, with flames, music and groovy moves, we said goodbye to the Okavango.

1 comment:

  1. looks like an amazing place to visit and its best way to see the country proper