Oh Kavango, your delta!

Why I feel like Crocodile (Mick) Dundee, driving through the vast bushlands of Botswana, I will never know. I am lacking both his charms and his cool hat. And his knife. But maybe it’s because the climate and the vegetation here remind me of Australias outback sometimes. If anything, at least the remoteness of this place is comparable to down under and absolutely remarkable. Yet, unlike in the outback, you can find little villages even in the most unsuspected areas, quite populated. I guess as for the Outback, this is where only the unsocial weirdos would settle, so the numbers are comparably small.
The other day we were stopping the 4×4 bus for a bushy-bushy stop (who can guess what that means?) and out of absolutely nowhere, some locals passed us by. Walking! You would have to crunch miles and miles to actually find the next community. But these Botswanians, with their colourful 80’s clothes and big smiles, just casually went their way and timidly gave us a wave. They would walk to points of interests for hours on an a regular basis. My mind wonders off and remembers how many times I thought the supermarket was too far away from my house. That’s five minutes I’ll never get back! Can’t be bothered…

My route so far. As tracked by Polarsteps.com

We have been driving over two weeks – starting our trip in Capetown, we continued the journey to Namibia and stayed at the Etosha National Park. The safari proceeded to Windhok, the capital of Namibia, which could not be more German (due to its historical background, not a big surprise, but driving along the Bahnhofstraße in the middle of Africa is still a little odd). 

24 hours later, we find ourselves in the marshlands of the Okavango Delta. Crossing the boarder from Namibia to a more functional, politically and economically stable Botswana, we notice (relatively) good infrastructure, as well as fashionable dressers and fancy cars. It’s interesting to see how leather is still a thing whenever you approach areas in which cows are of significance. The result are highly dressed up, black cowboys. You can’t make this shit up…

By contrast to Africas modern society, you can still witness how the bushmen are living and have been living their lives for thousands of years. You would assume tourism has taken a toll on the seminomadic tribes in the meantime, and in a lot of regions on Africa it has indeed: the land has been privatized (especially in Namibia), so hunting and gathering as they used to, is no more an option. They would dress ‘normally’, sometimes go to school and try to find proper jobs. 

That being said, some communities still hold their traditions dear. This particular night, the local bushman have prepared a dance show for us. These dances have preveiled hundreds of years. No distractions, no distant lights, pure nature. The starcovered, infinite sky on top of us. Tonight, we feel like jumping out of a time machine…

This morning was absolutely spectacular: as many of the high-def magazines we see laying around in hostels and lodges would suggest, the Okawango Delta (Botswanas most prestine and now number 1000 World Heritage site) ist best seen from above. Now, since I don’t own a drone, and also drones are forbidden here and my birdriding skills are still in the making (I will ride an ostrich one day, I promise), we decided to book a ticket for an areal flight around the outskirts of the delta. While the pilot was rather uncooperative and was stoically flying his plane back and forth (we had the feeling he might have been a Pilot in training still, as he was very focused on handling that stick), the views did not disappoint: big schools of elephants, hippos and giraffes. Most of the time you could see bodies of water, creating fascinating patterns, at times you could take note of dry patches and little cracks in the ground. Because discribing it is hard, and it’s hot and I don’t get payed for this blog, I am gonna save myself some time and just leave you with some impressions, instead of describing the visuals.

In regards to the acoustics though, I would like to state that this trip would be only half as interesting, if I was deaf. As mean as it might sound: Falling asleep in your tent at night, with lions roaring in the distance, is beyond words. Yesterday, I was sitting at the ledge of the riverbank at night and I was listening to the hippos grunting only a stone throw away. Checking my facebook feed has never been so entertaining! Especially, because there are Crocodiles in this area. And my response time would have been significantly reduced, with my face plunged into the digital world. Facebook kills! 


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