Category: ghana/Botswana 2018

Into the Bush

[NOTE: We’ve now made it home. This and subsequent posts were written when we had no WiFi and so could not post.]

April 11. Excellent buffet breakfast at hotel, then driven by Freedom to the airport and checked in for our hour and a half flight to Maun, Botswana. There, we shift some clothes and other stuff to soft bags and leave all of our hard luggage, with Percia, from the office of the operator of our tent safari. Percia has bought me some pain medication recommended by a dentist in Maun because our travel agents have written her that I’ve been having headaches that I think may be dental-related on flights I’ve taken recently.

Our half hour flight to Xakanaxa, which gives us great areial views of the Okavango Delta. Before our flight, we meet and have a drink with our guide, Roger Dugmore, one of Africa’s professional guides originally from Kenya. He has been living in Botswana, leading mobile safaris for the last 30 years. He has a deep love and understanding of the country’s people and wildlife, guiding safaris in the Okavango Delta and Kalahari. Together with his brother David Dugmore and friend Ralph Bousfield they started the first permanent camp on the Boteti River, Meno A Kwena.

Roger has worked with numerous film crews for TV Documentaries In Botswana, Madagascar and Tanzania. Most recently he undertook a canoe expedition through the Okavango from Sepopa to Maun, paddling a distance of 300 miles in 16 days. In 2018 he circumnavigated the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, one of the largest salt pans in the world. This was undertaken with quad bikes and over a period of 16 days. His passion is about being out there and the adventure of the unknown. Carol, Phoebe and I have no current plans to paddle 300 miles in a canoe or to circumnavigate the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans on quad bikes though, of course, this could change. We take an instant liking to Roger, which is a very good thing, because he’ll be in charge of our lives for the next six days.

We take a slow game drive to our new camp away from home. Roger suggests that we just look and soak things in, forget about photographing, on this drive. For a while we adhere to that guideline, but eventually succumb to taking some photographs. Phoebe is the first to spot an impala and her digital zoom allows her to get more close up photos than I can get. The drive, in a comfortable, open jeep, is a good introduction to the safari experience.

Arriving at camp, we get settled into our camp and meet the team of seven that will be looking after us (plus Roger). It’s dark and so getting settled is a bit difficult, but we get settled enough for the first night. We go out by the camp fire that has been lit for drinks (gin and tonic tastes mighty good) and then have an excellent fish dinner, prepared by Dorcas, our chef. After dinner, we get back to our tent and retire. Bucket showers will need to wait until tomorrow.

Bodumatau is a big game country. The camp is nestled on the edge of a marginal flood plain and lagoon (filled with water depending on seasonal rains).  This is a spectacular remote area in the reserve. Our days will be spent exploring and looking for lion, cheetah and the elusive leopard.  Quality time in this area is needed to appreciate the Moremi Sand Veld and marginal flood plains.   The tented camps are set up in prime areas using designated exclusive campsites.

Accommodation consists of reasonably spacious walk-in tents complete with twin beds, linen and all amenities for a comfortable stay in the bush.  The daily safari schedule will vary and will be determined by Roger. In the evenings we’ll eat gourmet three course meals prepared to the highest standards, served with a selection of South African wines, and fellowship around the campfire in this wilderness atmosphere. Bodumatau means “the place where the lion roars.”

Hey, it’s a tough gig, but somebody’s got to do it, and we’re prepared to make the sacrifice.

Into the Bush

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