Whenever someone asks what the best part of my four weeks in Africa was, I don’t hesitate to tell them that it was the time I spent in the Okavango Delta. Of the twenty-one tour days, we spent two of them there, and they were by far the most unforgettable two days of my life.
I didn’t quite know what to expect from this experience. I was worried because we’d be in the middle of no where and this was Africa, but I was excited to push myself beyond my comfort zone. After jet boating into the Delta, we had lunch at a village there, and then headed out on a truck to reach our next mode of transportation – mokoros. These small canoes would take us out further into the Delta to an island where we’d camp for the night. This island would be our only bush camp, which meant no running water or electricity.
Our belongings had to fit with us in the boats that were very close to the hippo and crocodile infested waters, and we were warned how easily they could tip. So, we did our best to stay steady, ignore the details, and trust in our polers, while we admired the beauty and serenity of the area. As we cruised along the delta, it was easy to appreciate the beauty of nature. It was completely unspoiled, and I’m quite positive that it was the most remote place that I have ever been. Surprisingly, I loved everything about it.
When we got to the island, we set up our tents, and met by the fire to discuss some rules for the bush camp. Unlike the previous days, we were camping right around wild animals, there were no fences to keep them out and this was their land. We also would have to us a bush toilet, so together we all went to visit “the relatives,” which was our island bathroom.
Here, our guides told us how to use the toilet, something that was new to me, but at the time, I was up for the challenge. Never before had I shoveled dirt over my business, but this was Africa, and I was intrigued to say the least.
After everything was set, we each grabbed a few beers, and Dave, one of the men on the trip, took the cooler, or Eskie as the Aussies say, with him in his mokoro. Once we were set, we headed out to observe some hippos and watch the sunset from the water.
This was probably one of the most memorable experiences I’ve had. Watching the hippos enter the water, eat dinner, and watch us watching them, while they were huffing and puffing, was a pretty amazing experience. While, I’ll admit, I was terrified of them, since they are the most dangerous animal in Africa, it was a great way to appreciate the animal. After a bit of time watching them, grateful that they kept their distance, we headed to another location to watch yet another beautiful African sunset.
When the sun finally took its resting place for the night, we headed back to camp, and had dinner in front of the fire. Then the mokoro polers came out and sang and danced for us, and after they were done, I led the group in singing a song to them, and then we played a few games.
After games and songs, Rae, who was from Canada, and I decided to make everyone s’mores, since no one had ever heard of them. Since we were in Africa, our materials were a little different, but they actually wound up being better than your average s’mores, and we creatively named them “The African S’more.” We used coconut marshmallows, caramel chocolate, and biscuits, and everyone absolutely loved them.
After finishing dessert, a few of us sang songs from The Lion King, because when you’re in Africa, you just can’t help yourself, and had a few more beers. This was all successful until Rae, Jade, and I had to use the bathroom, and saw a pair of eyes watching us. We got the polers, who wound up chasing away a hippo! We did our business as quickly as possible after that and decided that maybe we better head to bed before any other animals showed up.
It was the perfect night out at the bush camp, and I wound up enjoying it a lot more than I expected, bush toilet and all.
* Special thanks to Michelle from my tour, some of these pictures are hers. *