Friday, June 29, 2012

A bit of luxury in the Delta

Sitting in the bush plane

Trip notes 6 June

Woke early for 8.10 flight to Gunn's Camp. Nice flight; SAM sat in co-pilot chair. 

Flying over the Okavango Delta
The flight from Maun to the camp was an experience.  The plane was a 10-seater, which wasn't a big thing.  I've been in small planes before.  Anyway...after a short 20-minute flight, we were in the Okavango Delta.

Arrive at Gunn's to singing from staff. Very pretty singing. Met Melebogo (lead staff lady) and our guides for the week: Kenny & Rogers. Easy to remember. 

Our guides meet us
The next day, I managed to get a recording of the welcome song as another group arrived.  It's not the world's best recording but it's still pretty and if I can find a way to link it here, I will do so.  We were taken to the lounge area where Melebogo gave us a safety briefing and laid out what our daily schedule would look like.  (btw, when the camp leader mentions you have an air horn in your room to be used in emergencies, you tend to pay close attention to the rest of the briefing!)  I wasn't too keen on the 6.30am wake-up calls but once she mentioned siesta time from 1-3pm, it didn't seem so bad.

Unpacked a bit, then took a boat ride up the Delta. Saw elephants and lots of birds. Almost saw a hippo but he was under water. Not safe, so boat sped on.

Words cannot begin to express how much fun we had in the Delta.  This was a water-based camp and 90% of our activities were done in boats.   Our guides were very knowledgeable and were there to keep us safe.  This would come in handy later on.  We were the only 3 people on this particular boat ride.  The maximum capacity for the entire camp was 12-14 people, so for the next three days, we would have a great guide-to-camper ratio!

Returned to lunch with curried chicken & fresh fruits & veggies. Time for siesta!  Slept about 45 min before planes came in with more people. Heard more good singing. Added two German ladies (Christina and Astrid) to our group. Both ladies are a hoot!

Christina is a travel agent and has been to Africa dozens of times (literally) and had also lived in Zambia for several years.  We took it as a good sign that she chose this camp and were looking forward to the rest of our stay. 

Om nom nom!
A jacana
Sunset on the Delta

Water lily

Midge patrol!

Afternoon started with tea at 3, then a sunset boat ride at 3.30. Midges on the way back to camp were bad. Cleaned up before dinner. 

It sounds weird to write "sunset boat ride at 3.30" but you have to remember that we're in the southern hemisphere and it is winter.  We were able to see more animals before the sun set.  Our guide took the boat to an island in the delta where all 5 of us were able to enjoy a glass of wine and nibbles while we watched the sun set.

Oh, and "midges".  You may ask yourself, "Self, what are midges?".  Short answer is that they are gnats.  As we left the island to head back to camp for the night, the guides warned us to keep our sunglasses on to keep the midges out of our eyes.  Good thing us gals had scarves as well because that kept the midges out of our noses & mouths!

One of the rules at camp was that after the sun set, we were not allowed to leave our tents, for our own safety.  We were truly in the delta and there was a chance of an animal encounter.  We had pre-arranged with Kenny to be picked up at a certain time for dinner.

Had fun at dinner. Spanish couple on their honeymoon, going to Sango next. had to teach the table "Bingo" after us 3 starting clapping S-A-N-G-O while everyone else was staring.

Apparently, B-I-N-G-O is not a worldwide children's song.  When the honeymooners mentioned that they were headed to the Sango camp next, SAM, C and I all broke into song.  That elicited a lot of staring directed at us, so we had to explain the song and even taught them a verse and the general idea of the clapping/spelling of the dog's name.

How is the food so good here?  Bread was divine, meat and fish were delicious!  Had drinks after. Retired about 9.30 and had a good night's sleep.

After dinner, Kenny walked us all back to our tents.  Remember I mentioned that we were not allowed out of our tents unless we had a guide?  That will come into play tomorrow morning.

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