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Monday, October 14, 2013

The Okevango Delta

We have been to three of the most amazing places in the world while we’ve been here in Botswana, Kasane, Madikwe and the Okavango Delta. All three of these places are so hard to describe. We are always asked which place we liked best and all we can say is that they are all so different! The scenery was definitely the best at the Okavango.

Lastly, we got to go to the Okavango Delta compliments of Hillary and Roger. We flew to Maun and then took a small (really small) prop to the Okavango Delta. I thought I would be nervous flying over but it was so beautiful I just started snapping pictures.  

As soon as we got off the plane, we went out on the mokoro (canoe). Our guide poled our mokoro out to an island and we started walking. It was amazing to be on the same level as the animals. We weren’t quite as close but it felt more intimate with the animals than the other two places. We walked about 8 miles a day (going out 2 times a day). Elder Gubler and I were there 2.5 days and Hill and Rog stayed 3.5 days. We stayed at a bush camp with tents on platforms. 

The sunsets were probably the most amazing I had ever seen. The only power at the camp was solar energy. We (I) woke up one night about 1 am, and heard then saw an elephant walking past out tent. The next night we had a hippo outside slogging by. We had hippos in the water channels next to our camp. An elephant came to camp after Elder Gubler and I left. He spent the evening causing delays in eating dinner and late bedtimes.

 We saw zebras, impalas, hippos, elephants, warthogs, cape buffalo etc . everyday. There was such an African feeling in camp. We loved walking around the islands. We noticed more plants and termite mounds. There was definitely a feeling of vulnerability being on ground level with only as fast as we could run between us and the animals. I think everyone else felt pretty safe because they only had to run faster than I could! 

We loved the time in the Okavango, it is so beautiful and spending time with Hill and Rog was awesome! 

Sunset in the Okavango


Birds in a thorn bush

Watching the Elephant knock down palm fruit


Hill and Rog in the mokoro

Hippo channel

Hillary and Roger in the mokoro on the hippo channel


Lion tracks

Mokoros in the evening

Above the Delta

At play


Hippo troll guarding the channel

Waiting for the plane

Elder Gubler


Kasane (Chobe National Park)

Elephant by the road

Hippo on a swim


Elephants at the river

Last April we went to Kasane, with the Abrahams and the Taylors, two other missionary couples. When we were in Kasane we went on a river trip on a pontoon boat. It was amazing to see the African animals from the river. We loved watching the Hippopotamuses from the boat. They were huge! The elephants came down to the river to bathe and roll in the mud.

The next morning we went on a game drive. There were 3 couples in a game-drive-jeep. The weather was cool and driving made it even cooler. It was a wonderful morning and we were able to see lions, giraffes, elephants, impalas, zebra, and cape buffalo. We loved it! 

On the way up to Kasane and going back to Gaborone, we passed elephants and giraffes crossing the road. The Chobe National Park doesn’t have any fences and the animals literally walk the streets. We saw a Hippo and an Elephant on the street the night we spent in Kasane. 

The only problem in Kasane was that there were quite a few other safari jeeps in the same area during our game drive. When we saw a lioness picking up her cubs and moving them down the road, there were a bunch of jeeps jockeying for space.


Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa

The Madikwe game trip we took was taken in June (our winter) with Barbara, Maddie and Sam. We stayed in a bush camp. Showered with hot water from a “water donkey” and slept in a platform tent complete with hot water bottles. 

We went on game drives in the morning and evening. It was cold on the drives but nice and warm during the day. We felt like we were all alone in the area and there wasn’t anyone around for hundreds of miles. The stars were amazing and our “host” showed us the constellations such as the Southern Cross. 

We had a lion sit about 10 feet from our jeep to rest in the shade! We stopped by a watering hole and just watched the elephants, lions, impalas and other animals come into get water. We got to see lions napping, rhinos wandering around, elephants fighting and playing. We even saw a few giraffes. The animals were all so close!

The bush camp was nice and the food was good. The best part was being with Barb and kids while seeing Africa. The part that wasn’t as good was the cold! It probably would have been better to go when it was warmer but it was so fun, who cared?
While we were at Madikwe, we drank our weight in Hot Chocolate!