Thursday, October 15, we got up super early and the 4 of us from our group headed out on a 4 hour game drive where we saw buffalo, birds, warthogs, elephants, impala, wildebeests, rheboks, baboons and many more animals, including more lions! We found two lionesses (two sisters) just chillaxing under a tree, so we got close to them and took pictures (and this time my camera battery didn’t die, so I actually got good pictures. And this time it only took a minute or two to start the truck when it was time to leave, lol).
After that, we headed back to the campsite for a wonderful lunch, and then chilled for a few hours, reading and napping, then had a light snack at 4pm and headed out on a sunset cruise in the mokoros (kind of like canoes) with the French family. It was so relaxing and just really beautiful and calm. It was also a bit funny, as the French mother and father don’t know how to swim and were really scared of the boats as they’re quite low, but they did it anyway and enjoyed it (although they kept really, really still, lol). But they sure were happy to get off the boats when we got back to the campsite!
Then it was time for our bucket showers and another wonderful 3 course meal, then a bonfire and then to bed. I don’t think I’ve mentioned the bucket showers yet. Unlike at the orphanage when we would “take our bucket/bath”, at the campsite we had ACTUAL bucket showers. You could only take your shower in the evening, as they would warm up the water while we were out doing activities during the day. And it was an actual 2o litre bucket hanging above you, with holes in the bottom and you would pull a lever to make the water fall. It was definitely an experience! Knowing there is a limited amount of water certainly makes you more aware of how much you’re using and you turned it off whenever you didn’t need it, for fear of running out (especially for people who had 2 or more persons in their tent, because that one bucket has to last for all of you). But actually, 20 litres is quite a lot (at least for one person) and I never ran out, in fact I had lots left over at the end, so it actually ended up being quite pleasant.
The next morning we got up super early again and headed out, taking the boat to the truck (oh yeah, did I mention the campsite is on an island? You have to take a 3 min boat ride to get on and off), then doing a bit of a game drive on the way. We did end up driving back towards camp at one point, when one of the other guides spotted a leopard, but by the time we got there, they could no longer find it and I just missed out on seeing all of the “Big 5“. The leopard was the only one I was missing, so I was a bit sad that we’d come so close to seeing it but didn’t.
We finally made it to the airstrip, and I really do mean airstrip. It was basically a long dirt road in the middle of nowhere. And the very tiny planes would fly in and pick us up (ours was a 7-seater, although there was only the 4 of us, the trainee pilot who was doing the flying and the supervising pilot) then fly us over the Okavango delta to Maun. From there we headed to our campsite to chill while we waited for the rest of our group to arrive from their campsite. It was actually really nice, there was a pool and we just swam and relaxed.
Once the others arrived and had lunch, most of us headed into town and went for a scenic flight over the Delta. While we had flown over the Delta earlier that morning, this was a much better flight. We went up in two tiny planes (the French girls, Anna and Andre were in my plane) and this time we flew over the areas with animals so we could see big herds of elephants and buffalo and hippos, it was really beautiful. It was also really funny, as Chloe, one of the French girls, is really scared of flying, so she was super nervous the entire flight and sat right up front next to the pilot and kept looking over at him every time we had turbulence to see what he was doing, lol. But she was a trooper and made it through the flight relatively calmly! After the flight we had to say goodbye to Sofie and Martin (2 of the Germans) as they were going off to do their own thing, and we headed back to the camp and swam and hung out at the bar for the evening.
Saturday was mostly spent driving, stopping at the side of the road for lunch and getting to the campsite in Stevensford Game Reserve just in time for dinner and a bonfire. We did have to make a stop in a pharmacy in a tiny town, so I could get eye drops since I started a crazy eye infection (literally the day after I finished the antibiotics for my tonsilitis). Sigh. Sunday was our last day together and we got up bright and early for a two hour game drive around the reserve (it was kind of boring, we didn’t really see much), and then started the long drive to Johannesburg. We got into town in late afternoon and I got an uber back to the orphanage. The other volunteers were still in the nursery when I arrived, so I dropped off my bags in the cottage and headed there to say hi. Apparently I should’ve left and come back more often, cause I was greeted like a rock star (by the kids). There was some excited screaming (from my Buddha baby and another little boy who is super attached to me) and then all the kids started chanting my name, it was super cute! So I spent some time hugging and kissing the kids and catching up with the staff, then we went to our cottage for dinner and to catch up.
I had a fantastic time on my trip, and saw some cool things such as the Victoria Falls and the Okavango Delta and lots of amazing animals and landscapes, but it sure was nice to be back “home” at the orphanage. I had missed the kids, staff and volunteers while I’d been gone, and now I only had a week left and I knew it would go by super quickly.
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