Stanley's Camp, Okavango Delta, Botswana, Tuesday, April 27, 2010
After a night's sleep, we awoke and finally were taken back to the Maun airport where we got more conflicting stories. The problem is the rain, but even more so, is the accumulation of water into the Delta from further upstream in Angola. It is expected to get worse. Stanley's Camp airstrip is about 20% underwater at one end, making the runway shorter than normal. They sent a plane out to check it out and when it returned, it said that we could go at 9:30 or 10:00. We were at last led out to a 6-seater single engine Cessna, and took right off for the 10-minute flight to Stanley's. We landed and were met by a couple of "Jeeps" (actually Toyota) and we took right off for a game drive as part of the hour-long journey back to camp. We did see lots of baboon and impala, as well as a giraffe or two! Also, many warthogs and wildebeest as well. The road is partly underwater, and we had to lift up our feet at some parts to avoid getting wet as the water poured through the jeep.
At last we reached Stanley's (named after Stanley, of Stanley and Livingstone fame). The staff greeted us with a beautiful African song - lots of harmony and dancing rythm. We are in an elegant tent camp, with its own bathroom and shower. Everything, and I mean everything, is provided including drinks and snacks, with huge meals. We ate lunch immediately and were shown to our tents. There is wi-fi in the central area where we eat. The veranda has a hammock and two comfy chairs. Siesta is from after lunch until 3:30 when high tea is served after which we set out on another game drive.
This game drive was wonderful, with (besides the animals mentioned above) Cape buffalo, and a lioness lying in the middle of the road. We followed her quite a ways - she was making calling noises to her cub who roams alone during the day, She never did catch up with him while we watched, but he is old enough to roam and the "pride" meets up every so often - they are quite social creatures.
All the animals are accustomed to the jeeps, and as long as everyone remains seated, they think we are just one really big animal and leave us alone. At almost sundown, we stopped in the "bush", as it's called and had "sundowners" which could be anything at all to drink with a few nibblers. We drove back in complete darkness (another hour!) where we came upon an elephant the dark which the guides saw with their spotlight. We had only a few minutes to prepare for dinner which was at 8. To get to dinner we had had to arrange with our guide for a "darkness" escort who arrived and took us back to the dining area. We have the same guide for all of our safaris here, with the same group of people. A wonderful dinner followed, and we were escorted back to our tent where we fell into bed. Our sleep was interrupted by nearby lions roaring several times and an elephant walking by in the water out front. (In her sleep, Anne thought the elephant sound was Tom doing the laundry in the middle of the night - until Tom woke up too and we both started to wonder just what that loud, sloshy sound was.)