Botswana

Botswana

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  • Day27

    Up at 5.00 am this morning, breakfasted and we managed to be at the Sedudu Gate for entry to Chobe National Park by 6.00. This morning we were travelling in a jeep and a truck.

    A great game drive ensued. The highlight was a pack of Painted Dogs feasting on an impala, surrounded by vultures and a pesky jackal. Plenty of argumentation and chasing away of the jackal, whose perseverance finally paid off when he snuck off with a portion.

    A lioness and her 3 cubs followed as well as waterbuck, giraffe, kudu, fish eagle, etc. By 9.00 it was time to return to Kasane and the campground to relax. A quiet morning followed with an opportunity to wash clothes, swim in the pool and try to use the very weak wifi. Had a drink in the restaurant before we left at 2.45 for our Chobe River cruise.

    We first headed downstream to see the storks roosting in the trees on mid-river islands. Then we swung around and headed upstream with the Namibian Caprivi Strip on our right hand side. We came very close to hippos, crocodiles, elephant, buffalo and waterbuck. A unique experience was that of watching a male hippo roll over in the water with its legs in the air, not once but twice.

    There was a fireball of a sunset as we headed back to the wharf at dusk. Bertus drove us back to camp where Damian had cooked a good, filling meal. After dinner we sat around a campfire toasting marshmallows and then became involved in a challenging wildlife quiz, with Damian and Bert asking the questions.

    We had enjoyed our day but bed was calling and nobody needed persuading that it was bedtime .
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  • Day26

    We had a slow start this morning, which was perfectly understandable. Bags packed, tents down and then breakfast. We had enjoyed our stay in Shearwater Village campsite.

    The ATC truck (our safari vehicle for the next 8 days) took us to the entrance to the Falls and Damian came along as our guide. The Zambezi had reduced in size considerably since April (when the first Oxley group visited) but it was still a spectacular sight. We visited the David Livingstone statue before gradually making our way along the various view points to the Boiling Pot. No water flowing over the Falls from about halfway.

    We left the town of Victoria Falls before midday and made our way through very dry countryside to the border with Botswana. Through Customs, we had the mandatory 'Foot & Mouth' prevention walk through chemically treated water so that we did not bring anything with us that would affect the Botswanan cattle industry.

    In Kasane the truck crew took us to a Choppies supermarket to stock up for our trip (much cheaper in Botswana). From there to our home for the next 2 days, Thebe River Lodge & Campground. Our tents were up before a late lunch.

    Almost immediately we were on board 3 jeeps for our first visit to Chobe National Park. A memorable experience followed (I had never seen so many elephants together before) and we encountered lion, giraffe, zebra, kudu, wart hog, baboon and hundreds of impala.

    We were back at Thebe River campsite about 7.00 - and who was there to greet us but Dr Tempe Adams, an Old Oxleyan, who works locally with Elephants without Borders. After dinner Tempe talked to everyone and spoke of her experiences in Africa. It was a great way to end the day!
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  • Day30

    We had a lie-in this morning with packing achieved before an 8.00 breakfast. After everything was on the truck we all adjourned to the swimming pool. Much splashing and 'Marco Polo'-ing occurred, joined by Bert and Damian.

    Eventually we reluctantly left Planet Baobab ( a really pleasant oasis) after 10.00 to drive the 200 kms to Maun. Saw zebra enroute as well as a giraffe in the distance.

    Once in Maun Damian went food shopping for our delta excursion tomorrow whilst the rest of the group seemed to find food in either Wimpy or the Shoprite supermarket.

    By 4.30 we had driven the 13 kms to Sitatunga Campsite and soon our tents were up and everyone had moved to the volleyball court and nearby swimming pool. It has been a hot day but all have managed it well.
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  • Day33

    The day started with a light breakfast at 5.45 and we were in our mokoros by 6.30. Twenty minutes later we were ashore on a large island and we broke up into 4 groups with a guide and a supporter.

    It was a great walk in the cool of the morning and lasted 3.5 hours during which we probably walked up to 15 kms. During that time we came close to a herd of zebra, a breeding herd of elephants, up to 15 giraffe, a pair of wildebeest and a lone impala. Most satisfying but tiring.

    Damian had cooked a big breakfast for us on our return and then everyone either swam or found shade as the intense heat of the day kicked in. It must have hovered around the 40C!

    At 5.00 we roused ourselves and each pair headed for their poler and his mokoro. We were poled to a nearby pool and sat, among the reeds on the edge watching a large hippo and the sun setting. The hippo got a bit tired of our company and did a few mock charges before we strategically withdrew.

    Damian prepared another great dinner for us to eat around the campfire. And then the evening took an interesting turn as all 18 polers started singing and dancing for us - with plenty of ululating in between. It was great! And then it was Oxley's turn and to their credit the whole group got stuck in and sang their hearts out- including the Oxley hymn and the National Anthem .
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  • Day33

    Our time in the Okavango Delta had come to an end. Tents came down and day packs filled before we had breakfast. Then it was a case of loading everything that we had brought into the 9 mokoros. It was sad to say goodbye to our island but the experience had been fun.

    On our pole back to Boro, along the channels created by hippos or mokoros, there were water lily flowers and the occasional pretty pink blossom. Overheard the early morning small planes, that had departed from Maun for delta lodges, roared passed. And we saw buffalo.

    At Boro we formed a chain to unload and stack all our equipment as we waited for our truck to arrive. We watched the departure of many mokoros taking their visitors out for a Delta experience.

    Eventually the Delta Rain truck arrived and we loaded everything and everybody on board. At this stage we said farewell to our friendly polers and Matt made a short thank you speech before handing over our group tip to the Lead poler. A long bumpy, dusty ride to the highway followed and soon we were in Maun where we stopped to buy water.

    We arrived at Sitatunga Camp before lunch and learned that our tented accommodation for the next 6 nights had beds and our own ensuite. Luxury!! It was great to have a shower and wash off 3 days of delta dust, mud and sand. Burgers and chips for lunch were most welcome.

    It was great to relax in the heat of the afternoon with a swim or a snooze. Some laundry got done.

    At dinner that night, in the restaurant, after a filling meal, we said a group farewell to Damian and Bertus. Charlotte and Ben spoke of their appreciation of the important roles these two had played in making the safari part of our visit a success. Again it was sad to say goodbye but their roles in our visit to Botswana had ended and they departed for Vic Falls and another tour group and another adventure.
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  • Day34

    We had an early breakfast in preparation for our horse riding this morning. Dany Hancock of Rides on the Wildside arrived and we were broken up into groups determined by riding ability and weight. The first two groups, led by Natacha Brochard and Peter Craig, were driven the short ride to the camp's boat ramp. Soon the 13 were speeding upstream on the Thamalakane River for a 15 minute ride to the horses. It was a great way to start the day, with herons and fish eagles in view.

    At our point of disembarkation, within a private game park, we were met by Liz and Katherine and the horses. One group rode for an hour while the other group were taught how to groom and look after horses. And then the roles were reversed.

    On our ride we saw zebra, eland, oryx, springbok, impala and giraffe. It was great to see these beautiful animals from close up on horse back. At the end of our ride we came trotting back to the river.

    In the afternoon the groups swapped round and, as in with the morning group, those not riding spent the afternoon in the swimming pool.

    We were joined by Mrs Senatla Mokobela, the Sedie Junior Secondary School Principal, for dinner which we had out under the trees. A relaxing evening followed before we retired to our tented accommodation.
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  • Day36

    We have settled into something of a routine now as we no longer need to pack up bags and tents. Breakfast by 6.45 and ready to depart for the schools by 7.30, carrying our lunch boxes and water. It is going to be another hot day, well up in the high 30s.

    The Sitatunga vehicles dropped us off at Mathiba Primary and after an initial wait Headmaster Noah allocated 2 Standard 2 and 3 classes to us. Soon we had broken up into pairs and were working with groups of up to 8 students either reading or playing learning games. Everybody had fun and really enjoyed this session.

    By 11.00 it was time to say goodbye to our little friends and walk around to Sedie School where we had our 'break' before moving to shared English and Maths classes. We had a late lunch under a tree in the car park. In the afternoon we spent time in the computer room with our allocated buddies, chatting and playing games.

    On the way back to Sitatunga we again went shopping in the Spar supermarket. Water and snacks for the next day. Back in time for a swim or clothes wash before dinner.

    It had been a good day of relating to Batswana of all ages. The Oxley students made a very positive contribution and could be pleased with their efforts - as the staff were.
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  • Day37

    A sleepy start to the morning but everyone was breakfasting by 6.45. The truck and jeep arrived on time and we were dropped off at Sedie School some time after 8.00.

    At Sedie we were split up into classes and attended lessons with our buddies. These lessons included Social Studies and Moral Education.

    In the meantime Peter Craig was assisting School Head, Mrs Senatla Mokobela, organise her travel to Australia and she and another Sedie teacher will be visiting Oxley for two weeks in a month's time.

    After the morning break, the whole group walked to Mathiba Primary where they were rather unexpectedly allocated Standard 4 classes to teach. Credit where credit is due, and the Oxley students got stuck in and gave it their best shot.

    Lunch occurred in the shade of the school Reception area (it was another hot day) and students from both schools intermingled and there was even some singing from Claire and Mya.

    In the afternoon we participated in a sad, but important, occasion. A Mathibe Standard 4 student, Ayanda, was killed in a car crash on Botswana Independence Day (last Saturday) . The school students and staff, parents, two pastors and the Oxley group participated in a ceremony under the trees that involved acapella singing of hymns and a long sermon by one pastor and a fiery one by another. In such a large gathering of primary students (over a thousand) there were many who struggled to concentrate but the service did affect a few close friends.

    On the way back to camp we shopped in Choppies for water and snacks. The swimming pool was soon full of Oxley students as we relaxed on our return. A good dinner followed and then we were exposed to our first thunder storm with lightning which chased everybody off to their tents.
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  • Day38

    Today was a very different sort of day, in all aspects. We were not expected at Sedie until 9.00 so we had a lie-in and a later breakfast. We travelled to Sedie in three safari-style jeeps.

    It was not a normal school day for the local students either. The school had been transformed, with a marquee and chairs, in preparation for a memorial service and many guests from outside the school were expected. Ten years ago a football championship Sedie School team clinched the national trophy in Gaberones but on the return home tragedy struck. The bus and another vehicle collided and seven on the Sedie bus were killed.

    Today, after an extensive programme, a memorial at the front of the school was unveiled. There were speeches, prayers, hymns, dances (polka) and a poem. Among the various speakers were the School Head, the Chairwoman of the local ward, and representatives of the Football team and organisation. There was a larger crowd but it stayed focused for the most part during the 4.5 hour ceremony. Speakers tried to include Oxley by speaking English if they could and our group recognised the importance of the occasion by remaining attentive.

    At the end of the ceremony we were all given lunch by the school, including the local speciality of crushed beef. It was most welcome.

    The Sedie students, realising that our visit was coming to an end, crowded into the marquee to talk to us. Some group dancing occurred off to one side. There was plenty of emotion in the farewells and many followed us out to our truck and jeep as we left. We also said farewell to many of the friendly staff who had made us most welcome during our visit.

    We arrived back at Sitatunga late afternoon on an exhausting day but energy levels rose as the swimming pool filled up.
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  • Day10

    Mit noch kleinerem Gepäck fahren wir ab morgen ins Okawango Delta, danach in die Nationalparks Chobe und Savuti mit dem Ziel Viktoriafälle in Sambia. Wir werden wahrscheinlich bis zur Ankunft bei den Viktoriafällen am 18. Oktober keine Gelegenheit zur Kontaktaufnahme mit der Außenwelt haben.

You might also know this place by the following names:

Republic of Botswana, Botswana, Bɔtswana, ቦትስዋና, Botsuana, Botsƿana, بتسوانا, Botsvana, Батсвана, Ботсвана, Bɔtisiwana, বোত্‍সওয়ানা, བོཙ་ཝ་ན།, Bocvana, Botswana nutome, Μποτσουάνα, Bocvano, بوتسوانا, Botswaana, Botsouana, An Bhotsuáin, બોત્સ્વાના, Baswana, בוטסוואנה, बोत्सवाना, Բոտսվանա, ボツワナ共和国, ბოტსვანა, បុតស្វាណា, ಬೋಟ್ಸ್‌ವಾನಾ, 보츠와나, بۆتسوانا, Botiswana, ບອັດສະວານາ, Mbotswana, Botsvāna, Botsoana, Боцвана, ബോട്സ്വാന, बोट्सवाना, ဘော့စ်ဝါနာ, Botwana, बोट्स्वाना, ବୋଟସ୍ବାନ୍, බොස්ට්වානා, Botuswaana, Bocuana, போட்ஸ்வானா, బోట్స్వానా, บอตสวานา, Potisiuana, بوتسۋانا, Bốt-xoa-na (Botswana), Zvanän, Orílẹ́ède Bọ̀tìsúwánà, 博茨瓦纳, i-Botswana

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