Botswana
North-West

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  • Day5

    Day 5. Elephants without Borders

    October 1 in Botswana ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    It was luxury to lie in bed this morning and watch the sky colours change. The camp slowly came to life as everyone caught up on the sleep they had missed since leaving Australia. Breakfast was at 8.00 on a mild morning but the temperature is due to rise.

    After breakfast we did a bit of laundry before leaving the campground. We bought water for the day before moving to the nearby Elephants without Borders compound at Kasangula.

    We were welcomed by Old Oxleyan, Tempe Adams, and later met her bosses Kelly Landon and Mike Chase. Immediately we were split into groups with one group observing a 6 week-old elephant orphan being fed while the students met the 3 older orphans, Tuli, Panda and Morelo.

    Tempe gave us a PowerPoint talk about the activities in which EWB is involved and also her own role in the small but important NGO. There was so much more diverse activity than anyone realised! Which made it all the more significant when Tempe was presented with $2141 raised by the Year 9s to be spent as EWB saw fit. Yanni made a confident presentation speech and the EWB staff were amazed at the efforts involved.

    Afterwards, the two groups roles were reversed: followed by lunch sitting on the lawn.

    EWB has been given a large riverside land grant to reforest and establish a Chobe Culture and Wildlife Centre. There are plans for a Culture centre, a board walk, teaching areas, reforestation, threatened species care (the Chobe bushbuck) and educational programmes. A visitor last week was Prince Harry who is a close friend of Dr Mike Chase of EWB. We drove to the site and watered the 250 trees planted by local school children at the time of Harry’s visit. Harry had planted a small baobab and we followed suit in our own area, planting 6 trees representing the six Oxley houses. Afterwards we celebrated this little part of ‘Oxley in Botswana ‘ with a photo at Harry’s baobab.

    We left the property late afternoon, bought water in the supermarket, and returned Thebe River Camp. Dinner followed, where we were joined again by Tempe, before she headed off again to mind a baby elephant.

    It had been a different - but most rewarding - day, enjoyed and absorbed by all.
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  • Day15

    Day 15 Our last school day

    October 11 in Botswana ⋅ ☁️ 28 °C

    The Delta Rain vehicles were being used for many different activities this morning - ferrying us to Sedie as well as collecting tour groups from the delta - so to accommodate all that our transport left Sitatunga Camp at 7.00 am. We were at Sedie in time to join the morning assembly which lasted about 10 minutes.

    After that we, and our Sedie buddies, and a couple of teachers, climbed aboard a bus organised by the school and drove across town to visit the Delta Waters International School (a private school with about 800 primary and 170 secondary students, including some boarders).

    We were made extremely welcome at the school at an assembly which included speeches, some marimba music and some singing. The quality was extremely high. From the assembly we broke up into 4 groups who were exposed to different activities - traditional Setswana games, conservation club, science and basketball.

    There is much in common between Oxley and Delta Waters. Both were established by small groups of parents wanting a local alternative to sending their children away to boarding schools.. Both took on great financial risk at the beginning. Delta Waters has developed a little oasis in the harsh Botswanan Kalahari with green lawns, playing fields and a swimming pool.

    We arrived back at Sedie JSS by midday and found a shady spot for lunch. After that we met up with our buddies in the hall and sat in discussion groups to get to know each other better. A lively conversation hum soon started.

    By 1.30 our transport had arrived and we spent an hour in town, with most looking at the curio stalls for momentos of their visit. Back at Sitatunga Camp we had a lazy afternoon, swimming, playing volleyball or using the wifi. Dany Hancock, of Rides on the Wildside (tomorrow’s horse ride), came by to say hello.

    Refreshed, we were ready for the Farewell BBQ put on by Sedie JSS.. In 2 vehicles we returned to school where tables had been laid out in a quadrangle. We were joined by our buddies and their parents. Speeches were made and prayers said, and the meal followed. It was a good way to end our visit to the school. Many friendships had started and others renewed.

    Back at camp we had a short briefing to let everyone know what was happening on our final full day in Botswana. And then it was time for bed. Our visit to the schools had ended on a high note.
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  • Day12

    Day 12 (Day 1 Sedie JSS)

    October 8 in Botswana ⋅ ☀️ 35 °C

    We were determined to be on time for our first school day so the wake up call was 5.30, with breakfast at 6.00. By 7.00 our transport had arrived and dressed in our Oxley sports uniform we climbed aboard our trucks for the 45 minute drive to Sedie School. To avoid the morning rush hour traffic we took a couple of ‘long cuts’ on unpaved roads but we were on time.

    Once at Sedie Junior Secondary School we were ushered into a nearby staff room where we received a formal welcome to Sedie, to Mathiba Primary School and to Maun. In attendance were the Heads of both schools, a representative of the Ministry of Education, a parent and several staff. When the guests departed, our ‘buddies’ entered the room and we individually made their acquaintance.

    After that we went on a tour of the school, visiting the computer room, the library, kitchens, Home Economics and Art rooms.

    After a morning break students went with their buddies to class while the staff talked to the Head of Sedie, Mrs Senatla Mokobele.

    At midday, we somewhat haphazardly used transport to get to the Nhabe Museum in town where we were shown around by the curator. Afterwards we had lunch sitting in the shade in the museum grounds.

    From the museum we were transferred to the Maun kgotla where we were welcomed to Maun by 3 important chiefs. The conversation broadened as some good questions were asked and the chiefs warmed to the occasion. It became a most interesting session.

    We were picked up from the kgotla and taken into town to buy water (plus). It had been a long day by the time we got into camp.

    However, everyone perked up as they began to listen to our esteemed visitor, the world-renowned rhino conservationist, Map Ives. We sat out in the open in front of the restaurant, in the cool of the evening and found his talk fascinating. Oxley asked plenty of questions and got some interesting responses.

    https://youtu.be/Bw9sHvr7NVM

    Map left us before dinner which we ate in the restaurant. A de-brief of the day followed ( a lot of good things occurred: other aspects need to be re-assessed).

    We had no problem directing all to their tents at 9.30.
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  • Day4

    Day 4. Kasane: game-viewing from jeep& b

    September 30 in Botswana ⋅ ⛅ 34 °C

    It was an early start this morning as we wanted to be at the Sedudu Gate for the 6.00am opening. A warm drink and a rusk started our day before we walked to Reception in the red-tinged dawn to board our park vehicles.

    It was a cold ride but we there on time and we warmed up as the sun rose. None of the elephants or giraffe of yesterday but we did see hippo and their babies grazing on the land adjacent to the Chobe River. Again we were fortunate to see two different lion prides (something not seen by last year’s Oxley students). Yesterday’s concern for a large sick elephant we found lying on the ground proved to be this morning’s meal for a lion pride.

    In this morning’s drive we saw some different species, including fish eagles, drongos, vultures, alarmed baboon troop and some warthogs. There were several mother and baby combinations of grazing hippos. After a stop in a ‘Stretch Point’ we slowly headed back to the Sedudu Park Gate, seeing groups of male and then female kudus on the way.

    Back at Thebie River Camp by 9.30 we enjoyed a late breakfast prepared by Munya. After that we had a lazy morning as the temperatures climbed toto the mid-30s. Some washed clothes, some played football, and all swam and adjourned to the restaurant for a cool drink. Lunch followed at 1.00 with more R&R until we left for our river cruise mid-afternoon.

    Our pontoon craft, after checking in to the park boat office, slowly explored the banks of the Chobe River. We got close to hippos, crocodiles, buffalo, lechwe, waterbuck, maribou storks and a pair of solitary elephants (where had all of yesterday afternoon’s gone?). As the sun dropped we completed our circumnavigation of Sedudu Island and followed the Namibian bank waiting for the sunset to develop. And it was worth the effort!

    We were picked up by Bheki and Brian and returned to camp to find Tempe Adams of Elephants without Borders visiting us. Tempe joined us for dinner before leaving to take up her shift with a new arrival in the baby elephant orphanage.

    It had been a hot day (37C) but a good one. The country had celebrated their 52nd Botswana Independence Day and we had seen a beautiful part of Africa.
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  • Day31

    Buschcamping

    February 5 in Botswana ⋅ ☀️ 29 °C

    Nach dem Frühstück mussten wir unsere Sachen, wie Zelte, Küchenutensilien und unsere Klamotten in ein Safari Auto packen, der uns zum Fluss brachte.

    Es war gerade eine andere Gruppenreise angekommen. Unsere Sachen werden umbepackt, also ihre Sachen ins Auto, womit wir gekommen sind und unsere in die Boote namens Mokoro.

    Wir hatten einen coolen Steuermann, der hat die anderen überholt :D wir haben einen Nilpferd in der Nähe gesehen, der nur seine Ohren zeigte.
    Die Bootsfahrt war echt cool! Überall Seerosen. Einfach wunderschön.

    Im Busch angekommen, waren unsere Zelte schon aufgebaut. Wie schnell das alles ging. Es sind mehrere Arbeiter und sie kümmerten sich um alles. Wir Reisende durften gemütlich sitzen und ihnen beim Arbeiten zuschauen :D

    Das Mittagessen wurde zubereitet. Es gab Chickenburger. Yumyum.
    Danach ging es zum Swimming Spot. Wir alle konnten eine Abkühlung gut gebrauchen. Es war einfach so heiß da. Um Zeit totzuschlagen haben wir UNO gespielt. Die Afrikaner gesellten sich zu uns. Wir haben viel gelacht.

    Um 5 ging es los mit dem Safari Walk. So waren wir den Tieren näher. Wir konnten ganz viele Elefanten Scheißhaufen, Zebras, Nilpferde in ihrem Revier, Löcher von den Ameisenbären und Termitenhügel sehen. Leider haben wir Elefanten und Affen verpasst. Wir wurden in 3 Gruppen aufgeteilt und 1 Gruppe hat Elefanten gesehen. :( dafür beim Nächsten mal :D

    Als wir zurück zum Camping gingen, gab es einen richtigen heftigen Schauer. Wir zogen alle unsere Regenklamotten an und aßen unser Abendessen. Irgendwann war es aber doch zu viel Regen und wir verschwanden in unsere Zelte.

    Dummerweise haben Sarah und ich vergessen die Schutzhülle zuzumachen. Unser Zelt war also von innen auch nass. Zum Glück war es nicht so kalt und wir schliefen mit unseren Regencapes.

    Und was ich zum ersten und letzten Mal gemacht habe... in einer Flasche reingepinkelt 😅 Sarah und ich hatten keine Lust bei dem feuchten Boden und Matsch raus zu gehen, also haben wir diese Methode angewendet. 🙈 und das 2 mal in der Nacht 😱😂
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  • Day32

    Elefanten auf der Straße

    February 6 in Botswana ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

    Nass-Camping gesund überstanden. :D

    Letzten Abend fiel der Afrikanische Tanz aus, also holten die Afrikaner es nach dem Frühstück nach. Es waren interessante Tänze. Sie haben selbst dazu gesungen.

    Mit dem Boot ging es zurück.

    Wir hatten 3 Stunden freie Zeit, weil 6 Leute sind mit nem Flugzeug geflogen. Das war eine Aktion, die man sich zusätzlich buchen konnte.

    Nach dem Mittagessen ging es weiter mit dem Lando zum nächsten Campingplatz.

    Zum Glück saßen wir ganz vorne und konnten als erste entdecken, wenn irgendein Tier auf der Straße stand.
    Überraschenderweise haben wir Elefanten gesehen. Das war ein wow Moment. Einer der Elefanten hat getrötet, der hatte wohl Angst vor dem großem Gefährt und wollte, dass wir schnell wie möglich verschwinden.
    Ein bisschen weiter weg haben wir auch Giraffen gesehen. Kühe, Esel, Ziegen und Pferde gibt's aber wirklich überall. :D

    Im Campingplatz angekommen, bauten wir sofort unsere Zelte auf.
    Bis jetzt war das wirklich einer der schönsten Campingsplätze. Das Badezimmerhaus ist einfach cool aufgebaut. Sie besitzen einen großen Swimming Pool *-*

    Zum Abendessen gab es Spaghetti Bolognese und als Nachtisch Marshmallows am Ast.

    Es war ein schöner Sternehimmel zu sehen, kein Wunder, dass wir gut eingeschlafen sind.
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  • Day12

    Mathiba School + Day 13

    April 19, 2017 in Botswana ⋅ 🌙 21 °C

    Today was our introduction to primary education as we visited Mathiba Memorial Primary School, a feeder school to nearby Sedie School. We were welcomed by 60 little kids all excited about the arrival of the 'Australians'. After introductions, we broke up into groups of about 12 Mathiba kids to two Oxley students who taught them new skills of speaking in English, colouring in, theatre games, etc.

    We rotated through the morning and finished a midday at which time we walked around to Sedie School where we joined the Sedie School students for lunch.

    After lunch we visited the nearby HIV/AIDS clinic for a talk given by the nurse who explained how the Botswanan Government had introduced programmes to prevent the spread of AIDS and educate the local people.

    From the clinic we bused into the town centre and wandered around for a while (generally in and out of fast food joints!) before we returned to our campsite at Sitatunga late in the afternoon.

    Once we all returned to the camp, plus 10 Sedie students who came to spend the night with us, we were lucky to be the audience for a talk given Mike Fitt of Wilderness Safaris about the reintroduction of rhinos into the Okavango, and the progress that the program was making. It was fascinating for both Australian and Botswanan students and appreciated by all. It was very generous of Mike to give up his time to talk to us.

    After dinner the rest of the evening was taken up with practising for tomorrow's 'concert', whether it is song, dance or theatre sports. We were joined by Senatla, the Headmistress of Sedie School, as well as one of their staff. A busy day for all!!
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  • Day13

    Maun Day 14

    April 20, 2017 in Botswana ⋅ ☀️ 27 °C

    The Sedie students, their Headmistress and another staff member, had all stayed in tents for the night and we gathered together as a group at breakfast. From there we moved into Maun in two vehicles and the first activity of the day to catch-up with our primary students of yesterday at Mathiba. More activities followed, with Oxley College 'teaching' smaller groups and a lot of fun occurred and it was sad in the end - and somewhat poignant as the kids sang a farewell to us - to leave for the secondary school later in the morning.

    After a wait at Sedie School, the group departed for a visit to a local farm, some 18 kms from Maun. Crops included maize and water melons, with cattle and sheep in evidence.

    Returning to school for lunch, we ate the packed lunch that had been provided by Sitatunga Camp. After lunch we practised for the 'concert' and also tackled some problems set in an Ethics task set by Mr Parker.

    By 3.30 enough of a crowd of Sedie staff and parents had gathered for a presentation to take place. Both groups of students sang songs - the entire Oxley party sang 'Waltzing Matilda' - and the Oxley students introduced theatre sports to Botswana, with James Rapp producing an outstanding skit. After a rendition of 'We are the world' by all those involved in the exchange the 'concert' ended with a thoughtful 'thank you' speech by Tom Lloyd and a prayer.

    Back to Sitatunga Camp by early evening where we moved into cabins for our final night. Much talk at dinner with tiredness catching up with everyone.
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  • Day52

    Savuti, Chobe National Park

    June 27, 2017 in Botswana ⋅ ☀️ 77 °F

    Drove down to Savuti for 3 nights and were glad that the sand wasn’t as bad as we remembered (it had been a terrifying experience crossing a huge sand ridge on our past trip). The landscape there is very different, more dry and with large stands of baobob trees. Very beautiful. We saw some amazing elephants at the water holes there, a lioness in the distance, and most exciting of all a group of 4 wild dogs! We’ve been fortunate enough to now see wild dogs 5 different times! This sighting was interesting because the dogs had just eaten and were simply sleeping on the road. We were able to observe them for a few hours, sleeping, playing, and interacting with each other and sometimes with the vehicles there – including chewing on our tire - as they’re very inquisitive creatures.Read more

  • Day56

    Ihaha, Chobe National Park

    July 1, 2017 in Botswana ⋅ ☀️ 77 °F

    Back to Ihaha for a night, where we enjoyed a beautiful drive back up and were lucky enough to see an elephant crossing the very deep river. So fun to watch that versatile trunk become a snorkel. Fun times. We will miss this park, but aren’t sure if we’ll be back. Not sure why it is that when something becomes more crowded, it somehow takes away from the feeling of authenticity and the excitement of discovering and sighting animals on your own. We hope Zambia is as wild as we remember it, we’ll keep you posted.
    One last thing to report with rather mixed feelings. While having breakfast on our last morning and enjoying the sun coming up over the Chobe river, a baboon we'd seen on previous occasions came into camp and tried to grab breakfast. John was behind the truck because he'd seen this guy earlier up the hill (recognizable by a withered arm). The baboon had snuck around a nearby bush and rushed straight for Christy at the front of the truck. Christy threw her yogurt bowl --then a spoon -- when he kept coming at her with teeth bared being very aggressive and scary. John managed to grab our pepper spray and get some in his face - but he also got plenty in his own face, too! The baboon took off, but obviously had lost fear of humans. On the way out, Christy spoke to one of the rangers, who said "I'm going to go see about him" as he pulled out a rifle and started loading what looked to be real bullets. Of course, we feel sad and responsible on the one hand knowing that we signed that creature's death sentence. Yet on the other hand, the baboon had become a serious danger (he'd also been aggressive with other campers that morning as we heard screams and also shared stories at the abolition block). Definitely people's fault (making food too accessible/possibly feeding them), not the baboon's, that he'd become this way. Sad.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

North West District, North-West

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