Christmas at Camp Okavango

Trip Start Oct 01, 2004
Trip End Ongoing

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Saturday, December 25, 2004

Christmas at Camp Okavango

Spending Christmas alone and overseas was more than I had bargained for. So, in an attempt to make myself feel better I decided to book myself into a luxury lodge in the Okavango Delta. They say Camp O serves the Delta on a silver platter, and boy were they right.

My adventure started in Maun at the Safaris Air. I paced, fidgeted and stirred for my plane to arrive. I have been dreaming of flying over the delta for yrs now, and I can barely sit still with excitement. To my surprise I was greeted by my friend and ¡§my pilot¡¨ for this flight. ¡§Sweet, Raj, you have to let me fly to Camp O¡¨ ¡§OK¡¨. Hmmm, well that was easy. Just show up to the airport and ask to fly across the Delta, oh boy I am really excited now.

Shortly after boarding we were off to Camp O (Upper Delta) a 45 min flight. I was actually surprised to see how low the water level was. I was picturing a huge wet land full of water, not marsh and some water. But it is that time of year, and the Delta is patiently awaiting this yrs flood to raise the water level. After we passed the Buffalo Fence I was given control of the A/C under one condition. ¡§Mel, you can fly low, but not your low¡¨ I instantly started laughing. Apparently my low flying addiction is well know all over the world, but would you really expect anything less from a women that cruises at 200ftagl all day fº So, I sigh, smile and agree to keep it at 500agl.

When we land at Camp O I was greeted by the wonderful staff, my bags are taken and I am passed a drink. Hmmm, I am not use to this princess treatment but I can get use to it fº I am shown to my tent (hard wood floors and marble shower). Camp O splits the day into Breakfast, activity, lunch, siesta, tea time, activity, dinner, fire, bed. So, I arrived just in time for lunch and a siesta before my Mokoro trip in the evening.

This Mokoro trip was shorter (thank god) and in the evening so I was less like a baked potato in the sun. We departed the camp and cruised slowly along the papayas as I took in all the waterbirds, water lilies and red lechwe eating dinner in the tall grass. Just before the end of our trip we were greeted by the rest of the staff for Red wine and snacks in the shallow sandy waters of the Delta.

Christmas Day at Camp O

I started my day bright and early (430am) and was ready for my bush walk on the island. We were taken by boat to the island and began our 4hr hike tracking buffalo and other critters. Walking safaris are great but they have one down fall, you see less game because you cover less ground. That morning I came within 100ft of Giraffes, Warthogs, Red lechwe and tones of birds. Unfortunately the closest I came to the heard of buffalo was steeping in buffalo @#$%. But it was still a blast.

After relaxing by the pool all day I decided to go on a sunset boat ride for my afternoon activity. We departed Camp O and went hunting for hippos. Luckily they were hanging out in a near by hippo pool and were not camera shy. Right at sunset we pulled into the shallow waters of the delta, did a quick look for crocs, put the red wine down and went swimming in the beautiful sandy waters. I was in complete amazement to look over my shoulder and see a heard of red lehwe eating behind me. WOW, I am really living a dream right now.

That evening I dined with a wonderful group of people from all corners of this earth. We were blessed with great food, and good conversation. What more can you ask for when you are home sickfº After dinner the staff treated us to a night of traditional dancing around the fire and I watched and learned the southern sky until 3am.
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