Am staying at a bush camp, so no internet until we get to Victoria Falls. Can I live without the internet? Most of us can’t.
i decided to wait until I return home to publish my daily blogs. You will get one per day until the trip has been completed. Any comments or thoughts are always appreciated.
How did the day start? Let’s first go back to mid day yesterday after I wrote my first blog. Went to sleep. We were meeting in the lobby of our hotel in J-Burg for dinner at 5:45.Woke up at 5 and rushed to take a shower and shave. Met everyone and we all walked to a restaurant named “Tribes”. Served all local food and I had a ball. Ordered the African Game Combo plate. Had Kudu, Impala, Ostrich and Warthog. A real feast and made just the way I liked it. We all had some great laughs and I made a toast that I hoped that we will all still be friends after two weeks of being together. We walked back to our rooms at about 9 PM. I immediately fell asleep and woke up at around 2 AM to check the Yankee game that started at 1 AM my time. Fell back to sleep and was awoken by my trusted iPhone at 6:30 AM. Got some deep relaxing sleep. By the way, my beloved Yankees won.
I am scheduled to board an Air Botswana plane at 10:30 AM for my flight to Maun. Had breakfast and then got the shuttle to the airport. Found a fellow photographer in the group waiting on line. Alan is British and lives and works in Nigeria. He has extensively travelled in Africa. We went through security and had a good cup of coffee. It was then onto the gate and our flight. We boarded a shuttle bus to the plane. What kind of plane was it? A 45 passenger two engine prop. It seems that the airplanes are getting smaller as I venture deeper into Africa. I sat next to a stewardess. She is a citizen of Botswana and asked me why I am traveling to Botswana? I told her that I am still looking to find the beauty of Africa. She assured me I would in Botswana. I took the window seat. I normally sit in an aisle seat, but wanted to see the terrain. I can tell you the terrain was very interesting and different. After two and one half hours we landed in Maun. The immigration and customs was very archaic. There was one person checking your passports at immigration and she was sitting in a wooden booth. Customs was another woman who really did not care what was in your luggage. When I walked out I met Andy and Will. Will is the other professional photographer who is helping Andy with the group. Will has extensive experience in Africa. I met him on the Antartica trip and was attracted to his knowledge of photography and friendly nature. Will is British and an interesting person who has traveled to many countries. We waited for about two hours for the entire group to arrive. There are four men and four women in the group.
When everyone arrived we went through security again to the departure room. We were then lead to another plane. This plane was even smaller and was a one engine prop that held all ten of us plus the pilot. I sat next to the pilot. Will told me that many aspiring pilots come to Botswana to be bush pilots and hone their skills. The flight was forty five minutes. As the plane got closer to the Kalahari , the terrain was turning into more desert. 84% of Botswana is located in the Kalahari Desert and the population is two million. There were sporadic watering holes and we started to notice wildlife around the watering holes. The plane started to descend. We were never too far from the ground anyway. We were always below the clouds. We passed by a large single elephant and some zebra. We then landed on a dirt runway. The plane pulled up to two open air safari vehicles. Two drivers were waiting for us. Our luggage was loaded onto the vehicles and we all boarded.
Our Camp was about a fifteen minute ride over a bumpy road. We finally arrived at Camp Kalahari. As we walked into the Camp, a large elephant with tusks greeted us. The servants told us that this elephant stays around the Camp and they have named him “George”. How amazing this was. I was awestruck by the size and beauty of this animal.
Andy told us two drop our bags off in our tents and that we were going to shoot the sunset. As we walked to our hut or tent, we saw some fresh elephant droppings on the walkway. My roommate is Alan. We are sharing a tent. We have our own bathroom and shower. All electricity and hot water is solar. The hut or tent is almost open air and very comfortable.
It was then onto shooting sunset. The guides told us that there are lots of watering holes in the Kalahari for this time of year. They had about double the normal rainfall. We watched the sunset over a large watering hole with the bright red colors reflecting over the water.
The guides had set up a temporary bar and we we all had drinks and talked about photography and the serine quietness of this place.
It was then back to Camp Kalahari for dinner.
We had a fish called King Klip. This fish is from Namibia. Very tasty, soft and light.
It was now time to board the open air vehicles for some night photography. We were going looking for Aardvarks. Aardvarks are nocturnal. You may think that we are in a desert, but it is quite cold at night. The driver had a huge flood light and and as he drove, kept on scanning the high grass for nocturnal animals. We came across an animal that he called the African Kangaroo. It is a small animal, with a long tail that hops through the grass. We also came across two porcupines. I did not know that they are nocturnal. The driver finally spotted an Aardvark. They are funny looking creatures with large ears and look similar to a large mouse. He stopped the vehicle and the Aardvark crawled into a hole. We all got out and saw the Aardvark digging inside the hole. The driver then bent down and tried to grab the Aardvark and pull him out of the hole. I couldn’t believe what he was doing. Fortunately, the Aardvark could not be caught. Better for the guide and the Aardvark. It was then back to the Camp.
What an interesting day this was. I could have never imagined that I would one day be in the Kalahari Desert and stay in a Safari Camp.
Tomorrow morning we go out to take pictures of the Meerkats and then, in the afternoon, meet the San people.
What will happen next?