Tag Archives: Maun

South African Rusks and Botswanan Bugs


Day 59: Okavanga Delta-Gweta, Botswana (5 November 2009)

We’re leaving the delta today! We woke up under the African night sky at around 5am to start to pack all of our smelly ‘deltafied’ clothing away and to be able to have some breakfast before we had to break down camp. Now, if I haven’t told you about these before, get ready for some yummy goodness. We had South African rusks. For anyone who has visited this great country before you have probably had the privilege, but if you haven’t think of Italian biscotti but better! We ate the kind from the OUMA company and they were buttermilk flavor. You dip them in your tea or coffee, wait for the liquid to swirl through them to make them soggy and chomp…they are delicious! South Africans eat them in many flavors but so far I have to say I am partial to the buttermilk.

We broke down our tents and said goodbye to our tent spot. In front of us one of the polers, who I nicknamed ‘machete-man’ had laid his machete down (he brought it I’m sure for chopping fire wood but I liked to think it was for protecting us against the wild) and he let me pick it up and take a photo (also not a thing to tell your mother when you do it) which was awesome! We said goodbye to our bush toilet (hoping not to have that experience again soon) and hopped in our mokorros for the ride back to the station leaving only our memories and hippo experience behind. All of our belongings including all of the garbage that was created in our three day journey rode back with us on our mokorros. We got to the station, tipped and thanked our polers, got into the 4x4s again and eventually arrived back at our old hotel in Maun where we met Karel and the coach at the ablution box in the back of the hotel and were finally given the privilege of a shower! Well, it appeared that the boys were using all of the water as the girls only got a trickle out of the shower heads, but a welcome trickle it was and the top layer of dirt was able to come off and after getting dressed in clean clothes with the smell of the delta behind us, we set out on our way to lunch at Nandos!

Nandos, for those of you who have never had the pleasure, is home of the Portugese chicken (and good veggie burgers) and specializes in peri-peri sauce. We ate our food, including chips with peri-peri salt on them and enjoyed every minute of the experience! After lunch we set out on our way to Gweta, Botswana, where we were to stay at the Gweta Lodge for the evening. We arrived at our thatched roof huts complete with mossie nets and an outdoor toilet, sink and shower (that would be the only bathroom facilities-don’t think there were also ones inside our hut) and very little light. The grounds of the resort were beautiful and the staff incredibly helpful and cheerful. We relaxed poolside, used the internet to update some fun face book status, and chatted with a guy at the bar. Ready for this one, he was a British PHD researcher who had been in Botswana for the last five years researching the habits of the brown hyena which is apparently very different than the spotted hyena that you may think of from The Lion King. The brown hyena, he said, is the third largest carnivore in Africa and it is endangered. He and others worked to track them by sedating them and tagging them and then releasing them back into the wild so they could follow their patterns and perhaps figure out a way to make life a little safer for them on their own land. He had tons of photos on his laptop that he showed us and he was staying at the lodge as he had many times before because his truck broke down and it would take a few days to replace the necessary parts.

After our chat with the hyena guy we went to have dinner which was beautifully set up outside. We would have eaten there as well but there were millions of little bugs the size of orzo pasta that were flying and landing everywhere. They attached themselves to drinks, were on the salad and even on the butter on the table. So, thankfully, the staff allowed us to move inside and we ate a beautiful buffet dinner inside sans bugs. But wait…there’s more! When we went back to our room there were bugs galore! No wonder the mossie nets were provided! You see, the top of the thatched roof hut didn’t reach the tops of the walls so there was a gap in the middle which let in all of the bugs. This also meant that there was no air conditioning; only a small fan in the center of the room. We couldn’t use our bathroom facilities easily as there was an outside light on and all of those same little bugs from dinner were all over the sink, toilet and shower by our room. It was so much that I went back to the bar to ask Paul if there were any inside rooms available as the room was flooded with bugs and creepy crawly things including a big, giant, green grasshopper. There were no other rooms available unfortunately so one of the staff members came and sprayed a strong bug spray in the room but couldn’t give us a coil to keep them away all night as it would give off a bad scent and bother my asthma. So, we hoped the grasshoppers and their friends would find their way outside and the flying bugs would go to sleep. I got under my mossie net and Mathew tucked me in and as I looked up there was a ginormous spider in the center so that was it for that one. We tucked ourselves in under one mossie net and hoped for the best as I slept part of the night with my torch on checking for other bugs and surprisingly after a two night adventure in the bush, this was the worst night’s sleep I had on the whole journey so far.

Tomorrow: Chobe National Park!

Botswana Baby!


Day 56: Sandunes Lodge,Gobabis, Namibia-Maun, Botswana (2 November 2009)

We’re going to Botswana today!!!!! I decided to wear my Sand Lover’s Namibia shirt as it would be the last day in Namibia for awhile at least and I do love that shirt…it’s just perfect! We woke up to another beautiful day with a lovely breakfast provided by Andrew’s friendly staff. After thanking them for our wonderful stay, we were in the van and on our way for a long day’s journey to Botswana! Paul told us to pick up some sustenance for the road as it would not even be lunch on the run today, but lunch in the van so we could get to Maun with some time to spare-so everyone, well, almost everyone tried to get things that wouldn’t interrupt others when they ate, not smelly or greasy so we could manage for the entire day on a vehicle that had fussy aircon at the best of times. Anyway, we stopped a few times to look at some Baobab trees, those of the oldest of their kind, and Paul of course told us to ‘go hug a tree’ and so of course…we did! Not to worry; there are photos of that too!

So, we ate on the bus and get this, Gayle, in her usual brilliance and inconsideration brought a can of tunafish. Now if you thought that was bad, wait for it…she opened it, spilled out the liquid in the garbage back at the front of the bus seated right in front of Dawn (who is so even tempered its unbelievable), ate a forkful of the tuna and then walked it around the van putting it under people’s noses asking them if they wanted any before throwing the rest out in the bag where it would then sit for the duration of our over six hour bus ride! Can you say EEEEWWWWWWHHHHAAAAA! This after she stuck her nose in my bowl of ice cream last night asking what exactly it was…don’t you just wonder how some people just don’t fall down more often? I digress, well, anyway, we had a very long bus ride and finally made it to another border crossing and got another stamp in our passports and made our way to a SuperSpar shopping center to go shopping for food. Paul was doing all of the cooking in the delta and supplying all of the food so we really only needed to bring water and any other things we would want to drink while in the delta; and yes, of course, in true Stacey fashion…not to worry, I brought all of the fixings for s’mores. We were there for just over an hour since there was a lot of shopping to do as we would have two breakfasts, two lunches and two dinners in the delta and food was to be provided for all of us and any extras would then go to the polers (drivers/polers of our mokoro boats out to the delta who would be camping with us the entire trip) and we had to bring everything that we would need in the delta as we were bush camping so nothing would be there when we got there and nothing should be there when we leave…you know the saying ‘take pictures, leave footprints’? Well, not only does it work for all of our traveling but is especially perfect for this journey into the delta.

After getting some Botswanan money (PULA) and Gayle asking Paul if she went to an ATM in Botswana could she get American money out (yes, it really happened…you can’t make that nonsense up-and this woman is well and truly over the age of 21 when I do believe you should stop making exceptions for people) we headed to our hotel near the marsh and water as we could hear the sounds of frogs and stray cats when we arrived and were told again to watch for snakes! We sat by the pool to cool off from the long bus ride for a bit and after showering when we arrived at dinner we were told that Ma and Pa Kettle had a snake in front of their room and watched as it was tackled, caught and killed by the hotel staff…GROSS! Sorry, mom, I know I didn’t tell you about that but thought it best to leave it out in the phone conversations! Anyway, we went to dinner, with the awful thought of snakes slithering around and the sight of some of those stray cats near the buffet and found that our choices were buffet or off the menu. Now, the buffet was great for meat eaters, but not much for vegetarians and some other people decided to wait and order off of the menu too. Mathew got the buffet which was the better idea as he could eat right away, but Eveline and I decided on the veggie burgers on the menu. Well, after waiting about 45 minutes with the wandering stray cats and the giant-sized Botswanan bugs, it came and well, they were truly veggie burgers! Sauteed veggies on a bun with sort of soggy fries…crazy right? After having a good laugh and of course taking some photos of my Botswanan fries, we ate our quite tasty and interesting dinner and headed off to the room to pack while being careful of slithering snakes!

We had to fix our luggage as we had to take only a day pack or small bag of only what we could carry ourselves into the delta. Whatever we didn’t need would stay in the van as Karel was staying at the hotel while we were in the delta to watch the rest of our belongings; and he says he hates boats! So, since everything was in those small boats it would be day pack, water and sleeping bags and if you couldn’t carry it it couldn’t come…needless to say we both had to repack! So, we went back to the room, shut the door tightly, cranked up the aircon, sorted our stuff and tried to get some sleep.

Tomorrow: The Okavanga Delta of Botswanan fame