ASIS Travel Adventures 2007-08 travel blog

Just hanging out. A little bush bat (about 8 inches long) above...

Crocs everywhere. Every bend of the river had us coming upon more...

An hour more sleep this morning still ensured us to be on time for our pick up by boat. We left at 7:30am and drove north around the Okavango Delta towards the panhandle by road. We arrived at noon, had a small lunch and waited at the 'Swamp Stop ' (the bar/restaurant at the Sepopa Lodging and tent site) until 2pm for our speedboat to take us to our houseboat accommodation for two nights. We were supposed to leave by 12:30 but. . . . TIA (this is Africa) We could have slept in a bit longer had we known.

Once on the speedboat we found ourselves experiencing a bit of rain and lots of wind in our faces from the speed of the boat. We slowed around corners and when oncoming boats approached. Soon we realized we were in crocodile infested waters. So many huge crocs were spotted both in the water and on the banks. The 1.5-hour speedboat ride took us to a sandy bank where we thought we'd find our houseboat accommodation. To our surprise a truck was waiting for us. I thought to myself, "Shouldn’t a houseboat sit in the water?" The others thought we might need to take a truck to another source of water? Who knows?

The back of a truck was loaded- I mean loaded; packed full of people. A thirty minute drive through sandy villages and we arrive at another sandy beach where the mokoro canoes sit waiting for us. Ah, this is how we will get to our houseboat, I thought. I had been looking forward to the mokoro canoe experience. Two to a canoe and each of us had a poler to move the canoe through the water. Wow, this is great! After only 5 minutes the polers docked us on another bank, which confused us all.

From there we were led on foot through the bush to an area with . . . . . . . . tents and a campfire? A campsite? Where is the houseboat? This must be a mistake. Our group was supposed to spend New Year's Eve on a houseboat! All of our faces showed utter disbelief when we realized we were spending the night in a tent on the ground and in someone else’s sleeping bag! Gross!! Disbelief turned quickly to anger and disappointment. We had paid for an accommodated trip, which meant we needed no sleeping bags. If we slept in tents on this more expensive trip it would have been in cots in permanent tents. The other thing that angered us is that no one informed us that we would be sleeping in tents or we would have brought different clothing and also our sleep sheets with us. No one seems to know what is going on - not even our guides for this Nomad trip! Definite communication problem here.

The polers (locals) who ran the camp did not understand our frustration so Marcella, one of our group members from South Africa who speaks their tribal language explained. He then got on a cell phone to someone about the problem. Dudu our driver and leader did not accompany us on this two-day part of the tour. He stayed back at Sepopa with the truck. We sat around venting for a while and soon decided to laugh about our circumstances. After all it is New Year's Eve and we happen to have free booze in a cooler. Apparently the group that was supposed to stay here had packed this cooler full of drinks for their New Year's Eve. Finders, keepers! Of course in the campground we had very basic toilet facilities so we still didn't want to drink that much. Most of us wanted to avoid the nasty smelly toilet and also didn't fancy having to get up in the middle of the night to pee!

The polers took us for a sunset journey in the mokoros, which brightened our mood. Upon our return we were served a spaghetti type dinner for our New Year's meal. Amarula and Savannah cider were my drinks of choice. The polers built a great big campfire and entertained us after dinner with their traditional dances. We all got into the action. Soon they had us laughing, clapping, singing, and dancing with them. We were informed about the early morning wake up call for tomorrow at . . . . 5am! Oh my God that's early after a New Year celebration! Our group did not stay up until midnight to bring in the New Year but we did the count down early and went to sleep. We agreed to postpone further celebration until tomorrow night.

Unfortunately Al and I had a tent right by the fire so the light and noise kept us awake longer than we would have liked. What a day!

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