Exploring the Okavango Delta: Part One.

Exploring the Okavango Delta: Part One.

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.

Because a Top Model opportunity is ALWAYS necessary!

Because a Top Model opportunity is ALWAYS necessary!

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.

With the roomie!

With the roomie!

Following the crowd.

Following the crowd.

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.

Home sweet home.

Home sweet home.

Fancy Facilities.

Fancy Facilities.

State of the Art Toilet.

State of the Art Toilet.

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.

Got my beer and a flower.

Got my beer and a flower.

Jade has her beer and our poler is all ready to go.

Jade has her beer and our poler is all ready to go.

View from the mokoro.

View from the mokoro.

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. *

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Comments (19)

  1. D.J. - The World of Deej

    An incredible day…well, except for the toilet:)

    1. The World Wanderer

      Haha, I’m just grateful it was only for one night! 😉

  2. Leah Travels

    This is really amazing, and your pictures are spectacular. I don’t know if it’s my cup of tea, as I normally don’t do tents, but you look like you are having the best time. Wonderful, Erin.

    1. The World Wanderer

      Thanks, Leah! I don’t do tents either, haha, but I neglected to read that in the itinerary before booking, opps! However, it wound up being the best way to see Africa, right there with the wild life. 🙂

  3. Craig Zabransky

    those are sweet sunsets shots… I never made it to the delta when I visited Botswana… my loss for sure, but it certainly gives me reason to return. Excited to keep reading about your African adventures…

    stay adventurous, Craig

    1. The World Wanderer

      Thanks! Yes, you’ll have to return. Aside from Chobe and the Delta, I didn’t see much of Botswana either. Another reason for me to return. 🙂

  4. the lazy travelers

    we’ve always wanted to go to africa, and your posts are seriously killing us! amazing photos.

    1. The World Wanderer

      Thanks! It was my dream continent forever. Now I’m just dying to go back!

  5. Francesca

    Aren’t African sunsets the most beautiful you’ve ever seen? What an extraordinary place… I’m terrified of hippos, too – and even more so of crocodiles – so I probably would have been a hot mess on this trip! 🙂 I did see both while in Tanzania but, thankfully, not up close.

    1. The World Wanderer

      They really are supreme. Nothing like them! Tanzania is next on my African checklist. 🙂

  6. Tawny- Captain and Clark

    Such an amazing experience. Africa will always hold a special place in my heart. Isn’t it funny to look back at the things you do for travel? That toilet was pretty fancy 😉

    1. The World Wanderer

      Totally agree! At the time, I was all for the toilet, it was no big deal. Now I look back and I can’t believe I did it, or that I’d do it again. 🙂

  7. Amanda

    Wow, it sounds amazing! (Well, except for maybe the bush toilet… haha). Those sunset photos are beautiful!

    1. The World Wanderer

      Thank you! Haha, yea that was a rough one, thank goodness it was only for that one day!

  8. John

    What a spectacular experience – and great job capturing it all in photos. You’ve got some beautiful shots here! That close up shot of the hippo is amazing.

    1. The World Wanderer

      Thanks, John! Yea, I tried so many times to get it right, my camera has a million hippo photos on it, lol.

  9. Raul (@ilivetotravel)

    A wonderful experience!! When I stayed in a hut next to Lake Victoria in Tanzania, I could hear the hippos at night. They seemed to be RIGHT outside my hut but they were further out. Whew!! Glad you had this experience!

    1. The World Wanderer

      Don’t they make the craziest noises?!

  10. #TheAfricaTheMediaNeverShowsYou | The World Wanderer

    […] hold on my heart; I felt connected to the vast landscapes and kind people. During a few days in the Okavango Delta, we spent time with the locals who we bonded with, especially over the campfire. We shared songs […]

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