Cape Town's Date & Time

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Friday, March 19 – Tuesday, March 23
Who doesn’t love a 4AM wake up to start a 10-day adventure? We (I went through a travel student group who arranged our trip) headed to the airport to fly to JoBurg before a full day and a half of driving to Botswana. Although a full day of travel would normally bore and irritate the shit out of me, I was unconscious for most of the traveling. Apparently my week of family time and school hiatus took a bit out of me. So I used the driving time to recharge. I had a lot of time to think during the travel time as well. Although I would consider my experience in Cape Town an international one rather than “African”, my travels to Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe proved to engulf my being with all-that-is Africa. And let me tell you, Africa has yet to cease to amaze me.
Below: Our truck, Harrison, who carried us through our epic adventure

Botswana is an interesting place. Even driving on the highways offered a new and exciting experience as both cows and elephants would just chill on the side of the road… How cool! Random fact: Botswana gained its independence in 1966 as one of the first to be liberated in Southern Africa. And their currency is the pula, which is stronger than the South African rand. Actually, Botswana is considered a wealthier country that South Africa because of their discovery of both gold and diamonds following independence. But to me it seemed like the wealth was not evenly distributed (go figure). But nonetheless, I like Botswana.

We traveled to Maun before arriving at the Okavango Delta (the world's largest inland delta) for a two-night stay on an island pretty much in the middle of a swamp (killer mosquitoes). We were met at the base of the river/swamp/delta by 20 polers who took us by mokoro (hallowed out trees) to our camp base, which ended up being a beautiful 2 hour ride through the delta. These twenty individuals became our daily guides as we woke up to the rising sun and ventured through a bush to search for animals.

Mokoro Ride through the Okavango Delta

The polers were literally able to track the animals and were great guides. At night we would venture out for sunset safaris, watching the animals come out of the shade to the watering holes. During the day, we would swim in the delta, which had both crocodiles and hippos in it… Ekk. The water was so clear and drinkable! Hurray for fresh resources. (Don't worry Mom, I tried to drink boiled water, but sometimes I just couldn't help myself). We were informed to be more afraid of the hippos, because they were more dangerous; however, if you had to choose death by one, it would be hippo because they would just charge you, whereas the crocodile will pull you under the water and wait until you drowned. Both seemed like an unpleasant death to me. To be honest, I was most scared of the mosquitos. I was eaten alive. At one point I counted over 50 bites on just one leg. After the first night of waking up non-stop with blood under my fingers from scratching, I began taking Advil PM before dozing off.

Above: Vincent and I holding a water buffalo skull
Our early morning/late night safari walks were incredible. We would literally just hike around for 4 hour increments in silence taking in the surroundings and trying to spot animals. My favorite time out in the bush was when we realized that behind a bunch of trees was a herd of 100 zebras just feet from us. I was also able to spot water buffalo, hippos, crocodiles, elephants, and lots of incredible birds. Although I loved spotting the animals, I really enjoyed the "reflection time." Eventually I am going to have to wake up from this ridiculous dream and realize that I don't have a job for the summer (shit), I am graduating in a year (ekkk) and may be needing to apply to law school (does the application process in life ever end?) OR (even more scary) I may not being continuing school (which I have become so comfortable doing) and may need to enter the "real world" (don don donnnnn). So basically my walk abouts began turning into some serious soul searching, in which I have (maybe) decided that if I do decided to go to law school (which I still plan to do), I want to defer classes for a year and either work or do a year volunteer program before thrusting back into the academic world. I don't want to get burned out of school, because I love it so much, but I also am too young to be grounded for the next 3 years straight. I need to be active while I still have the freedom to do so, ya know!

Below: Mokoro's in the sunset

The last night in the Delta, our polers took us on a sunset ride through the delta to a giant opening among the reeds. It was beautiful. We sat there for a few hours just sharing stories about our lives (and the differences). A poler, nicknamed Zero, was telling me how it was his dream to have two wives, because any more than that would be overwhelming. It was wild to here about how different their dreams were from mine. This may sound weird, but polygomy doesn't seem that incredibly odd anymore. I guess what ever makes you happy, right. (It's defiantly not for me though...) That night beside the fire, we had a bit of a sing-a-long. The polers sang and danced, as well as told us stories about Botswana. We had been trying to think of songs to sing all week that represented the "American way," which ended up being ironic as we sang "Let it Be" by the Beatles. Hurray for British music. Our finale song was the Hokey Pokey, which was probably the funniest thing to see (20 Botswanians and 25 Americans dancing the Hokey Pokey around a fire in the middle of a Delta).

Being in the Delta was truly exhilarating. Never had I felt so not at home (and so bug bitten).

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