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Saturday, August 05, 2006

Gaborone, Botswana: Planning for Okavanga Delta and Chobe

I went to the travel agent in Riverwalk mall today to see if I could get a quotation to go to the Okavanga Delta as well as Chobe Park. They gave me a quote last week and I needed to make some adjustments to the schedule. I came away no closer to confirming an itinerary. I hope to do that by Monday at the latest. The accommodations at the delta and Chobe are always booked up.

The itinerary they suggested is to fly from Gaborone to Maun then on to Kasane (which is in Chobe National Park) in the early afternoon. Then a boat cruise at 3pm. Dinner at the riverfront restaurant where apparently it is one of the best views of the wild animals that come to drink at the river. Then the next morning we depart for the Zimbabwe border for the day trip to Victoria Falls. After viewing the falls, it’s off to lunch and then browsing at the flea markets and some sightseeing with the taxi driver who will be taking us. Then back to Kasane for dinner. Next morning is a morning game drive where you see the wild animals in their natural habitat – not a zoo as we’re used to seeing them. I am really looking forward to that. I have a mental picture of what that might look like but the closest thing I can think of is African Lion Safari in Ontario that I visited many years ago. I am feeling like a regular tourist instead of a volunteer who’s been living here for several weeks already.

It’s possible to do a game drive in that afternoon as well because there are different types of animals that can be seen. There are supposed to be about 60-70,000 elephants in the park so I’m sure I’ll see one or two. I wish Izabel was here to see it with me. She’d love it. When we went up to Jasper in May, she saw some mountain goats and the had their little kids with them. We showed them to her and she wanted to know if the baby goats were sitting in their mommy’s laps. I told her that the baby goats were sitting next to their mommies. At three, she interprets everything as she sees and hears it. The next day she saw some more goats and wanted to talk to them but didn’t know how to call them. So this is what she said “Pssst, where are your babies”. The goats didn’t answer her but I was sure one of them was smiling at her.

She’d just love to see a live baby elephant. In fact, so would I. Back to the itinerary. After 3 nights in Chobe, we fly back to Maun then it’s off to the Okavanga Delta in a small plane. The luggage allowance is 10-12 kilograms. What’s the meaning of that? That’s my hand luggage allowance. What ever will I do? I may have to buy an additional seat just for the extra luggage allowance. Well, it may very well be a necessary expense. We get to the delta for tow night and I think there is a game drive there too but perhaps with different animals and birds.

The delta is supposed to have a wide variety of birds and animals and of course the usual pesky malaria mosquitoes. That means malaria meds for sure or I’ll be returning to Canada with a bad case of malaria. Not fun and not what I want to be bringing back. Something exotic and tropical but definitely not malaria. I am still amazed that I grew up in Guyana and the only childhood illness I got was measles. Nothing more serious than that. I got chicken pox in Canada as an adult. That was no fun either especially given the fact that I was pregnant. Lucky for me and my baby that it was not a serious case.

Okay I keep getting distracted by the comings and goings today at the house. The delta trip will include a mokoro boat trip. The mokoro is a kind of dugout canoe navigated with a long pole that is used in the delta area. I’ll find out more as I go along. I wonder if it’ll be anything like the gondolas we saw in Venice with the gondolier serenading us? I’m expecting this to be more rustic and outdoorsy (is that a word)? Two nights in the delta with all the wildlife you can enjoy. That’s the general itinerary.

Kathy got two tickets for a dinner theatre tonight at the Gaborone Sun Hotel– Moulin Rouge – so we’ll go out to dinner and then Winnie will pick me up at about 9:30 to go to Likeleli’s house for her birthday party. Her birthday is actually tomorrow so the party is starting late this evening so that we can still be there by the time it turns midnight and it’s officially her birthday. I just hope I can stay awake till midnight. I am usually a night person but these days, I wake up early and go to bed early. I’ve heard a lot about the Gaborone Sun being one of the best hotels around. Lisa was saying that she had the best apple pie she’s ever eaten there. In fact, she said it was one of the best meals she’s ever had. I hope it’s as good tonight. Some of the Sedibeng graduates are working there so maybe I’ll see a couple of them there tonight although they’ll likely be in the kitchen and not in the dining room.

That reminds me that I have to try to visit a few more restaurants to see if we can get some additional partnerships going, the kind of partnership we have with the Gaborone Sun. That would give the students another training centre and maybe even give the graduates another few places to get employment.

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