Botswana (Rowley - 1991)

Botswana Map I was here for about 4 weeks of my travels. I would have stayed longer as it's a great place to visit but it's not the cheapest country to stay in as a backpacker. My arrival into Botswana started from the Zimbabwe/ Botswana border. From here I hitched all the way to Francistown. Then onto Nata and finally stopping at Maun which is the last main town near to the Okavango Delta. My base was the Island Safari Lodge, frequented by backpackers from all over. Hitching in general was fairly easy here as the road's are in good nick and so there are quite a few cars about.

the okavango delta

The Okavango Delta is a labyrinth of lagoons, lakes and hidden channels covering an area of over 17,000 square km and the largest inland delta in the world. After chilling out at the Island Safari Lodge for a day it was time to get organised and sort out my week long trip into the Okavango Delta. Provisions had to be bought for myself as well as the Moloko guide. This trip was done in a Moloko (narrow but long wooden dugout canoe) with a friendly guide called Chico.

SwampWhat a view and what an amazing way to see the animals! During this trip I just floated along the open rivers with reeds all around me, wild animals sometimes having a look from the River side and just camped anywhere on the plentiful small islands. One thing that always took some getting used to in Africa was how quickly it becomes dark so it was vital to find a good or safe camping spot before it got pitch black.

A hungry hippo and a drop of whiskey

RhinoOn the third day of the trip the boat was just drifting along when suddenly a huge gray mass came out of the water about 5 metres ahead. Yes it was a Hippo! I was panicking BIG TIME and started getting ready to jump in the water and swim away, but Chico hissed at me 'NO!' The Hippo was just staring at the Moloko twitching its cute little ears (and showing its dirty big teeth) as we slowly drifted towards it, but gently Chico and me backed up bit by bit. Once we were a good few hundred feet away we dived onto the next bit of dry land and started laughing our heads off.

I'm not sure what my reaction would have been if I was alone on the River. I probably would have chanced the water and done a record breaking front crawl back to Civilisation, leaving the boat and supplies for the Hippo to munch on.

It's common knowledge that Hippo's are the biggest human killing mammals in Africa, preying on people washing, swimming or sleeping near rivers or Lakes. I downed a good few drams of whiskey that day. Medicinal of course.

clever lions...stupid english bloke

On the fifth day I spotted a pride of Lions in the distant rough grass. I thought I'd be a bit brave and got out to have a closer look and a few photos, even during my guides obviously intelligent advice not to. They looked to be quite far away. I was quietly walking nearer to them when I heard Chico shouting behind me and pointing to my left and right. LionI saw the tall grass moving I panicked and sprinted straight for the boat. Apparently they were trying to outflank me and have a bit of English for lunch. I think after that incident Chico's view on the Intelligence of the English and especially me, changed a lot.

leeches and laughs

LeechNearing the end of the Moloko trip I camped on an island called Mokoro, and it seemed to be a perfect place. I was setting up my tent when I heard shouting. Chico was in the water jumping around like a madman. He came running out and started pulling these black shiny things off his body. Leeches! Nasty business. I couldn't help but laugh; after he faced Hippos and Lions the Leeches got him in the end.


Botswana seems to be the success story of Africa. Its got a pretty stable Economy and work doesn't seem to be that much of a problem. I would have stayed here longer but it was very expensive for the Traveler. 





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