|The most remote camp of the entire trip was the three days we spent in the Okavango Delta of Botswana. The Okavango River flows southeast from Angola but loses its form in the flatlands of Botswana--flooding vast tracts of grassland and providing a home for hippos, elephants, buffalo, zebra, antelope and all sorts of birdlife.
The easiest way to traverse the delta is by mokoro, a traditional dugout canoe, propelled by pushing a long pole off of the river bottom while standing in the back of the boat. The "poler" can be a man or woman and they are very adept at balancing the canoe as well as steering it by using the pole not only as a means of propulsion but also as a rudder.
We made our way to our camp in mokoros with two people and a "poler" in each boat along with our gear. The "polers," local men and woman, stayed with us for the duration of the camp and not only acted as our guides but also entertained us around the campfire with traditional songs and dance.
It took 2-1/2 hours through a maze of reed and lilly-covered waters to reach the dry land of our campsite. After setting up camp we escaped the hot afternoon sun by relaxing and swimming, followed by an early evening walk (and one cut short by rain) in search of wildlife. The following morning we again set out for a 4-hour walk. Although we saw no elephants or lions, we did encounter the seemingly ever present zebras and antelopes. Each night we were treated to fantastic lightning shows made even more spectacular because of the numerous fireflies circling the camp. Luckily, however, the rain stayed to a minimum.
Our camp was very primitive with no facilities whatsoever. We had to dig a pit toilet and we used river water to wash our dishes. In fact, we also used river water to make coffee, tea and juice. The guides insisted it was safe and, despite my skepticism, not one of us got sick. It's funny what you find is ok to eat or drink if nothing else is available. After a while I didn't even notice the small fish swimming in the containers we filled with water to rinse our dishes.