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Posts Tagged ‘Africa’

Right…now I am a bit of a sucker for anything that is PROPERLY branded as eco tourism. Now, before you jump to conclusions, I am not a tree hugger, and I am not a hippy. Don’t get me wrong, I love the environment and I believe in preserving it for our future, but to look look just the same as the next person!

My first encounter with the idea of eco tourism came in my A Level Geography class. We were looking at case studies, and I was thoroughly intrigued, and used to dream of the days when I might be able to afford such a trip. I always thought that, unfortunately, they would only remain dreams, but in the summer of 2008 I was lucky enough to travel over to Botswana with my boyfriend to experience it all first hand. My boyfriend’s parents are English, but he was born and raised in Botswana and South Africa. I went to stay with him and his family in Botswana (it was AMAZING) and as part of the month long trip, we ventured deep into the Okavango Delta for a two night stay at Oddballs camp (http://www.oddballs-camp.com/)

Wow. This was all I could say when I arrived. Wow.

We flew in from Maun on a tiny little plane – my boyfriend and I, his cousin and her friend, a native of the Delta and our pilot (the cousins friend pretty much became the co-pilot, sitting at his side!)…

The sigts were fantastic…we kept our eyes peeled for elephants to whole way. Then…we touched down on a little island where Oddballs is situated. A tiny little camp, with basic amenities (there are some more fancy ones for those of you who want that luxury, but this is by far the best experience within the Delta). We were greeted by the friendly staff, and our guides for the trip. Leco and T Man, both natives of the Okavango. Leco was the storyteller, and T Man the senses.

When my boyfriend and I travel, we don’t like to be like normal tourists. We get fully involved and tell the guides to do what they wish with us, take us right into the heart of the Okavango and tell us stories. We jumped straight into our next mode of transport, the mokoro…

Now, this kind of holiday isn’t for the feint hearted. I was PETRIFIED when I arrived, after being told you get elephants and a whole manner of other locals in the camp…

On our first night we stayed in our lovely little tent in the trees. Night number two was far differnt, but one of the best experiences of my life. At Oddballs, your safaris are a little different to normal. They are walking safaris. And your guide carries no weapons. None. Except, their vast knowledge which can only be gained by a) growing up in the Delta, and, b) training for six months. Your life is literally in their hands as you track lions on foot. Two of the four of us saw lions (not me as it had run off by the time I got to looking), I did however nearly tread on an elephants toe. I was following one of the guides, and as we were crouching down by a bush, we took a quick turn and were very quickly ushered backwards as we had got a tad too close to a fully wild elephant. It was pretty amazing.

We camped out in the bush properly, on a tiny island for our second night. There we lions walking meters away from us, splashing in the water, the sounds were fantastic.

Going to Botswana? Go to the Okavango. One day I will go back there…one day…

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