From Maun we traveled 142km of dirt road in small 4WD safari Land Cruisers. We set up camp at the Xaxanaka area of the Moremi Game Reserve in the northeast section of the Okavango Delta. On the way to camp, we pass an old tractor hauling tires behind on chains. Their version of our road grader. We spot an African hawk eagle, and a giraffe standing under an acacia tree. The driver slows down and we spot two female lions under a tree, almost hidden by the bushes. One raises its head, we look back and go on. A number of zebras are grazing along side of the road and birds like the red-billed horn bill makes a strange noise. Springbok and bushbok run freely and a groshawk is perched in a tree. We arrived at our remote camp site and went with the familiarity of putting up the tents. A huge elephant was near our camp as we drove off for a game drive. The area is amazing, not only the animals but the colors of the land. Giraffes lazily eating from the branches of trees. Herds of springbok and impala roam the land and birds of bright colors and shapes flit about from tree to tree. One nyala was standing on a hill looking regal and protecting the females. The tall grass around him glowed in the African sun. The reflections of ibis and other birds were carried into the water. Clouds of fluffy pillows float in the blue sky above the greens of the delta. The smell of wild African sage fills the air. Hippos poke their heads from water holes and crocodiles roam the banks. The air is clear and the noise of the wind can be gently heard through the bush. A baboon sits on top of a giant termite mound shaped like a castle. Two more are climbing a tree. We watch the sun setting over a water hole as a little bird dances near the reed-lined banks. Dinner is waiting back at camp and we have to move our camp chairs back as a huge bull elephant walks into our camp. We thought he might step on one of the tents but he seems calm. We watched as he walked back and forth through the camp and into the trees. I think we had set up camp in his pathway and when he finally found a way around, he disappeared into the bush. A thousand stars came out that night. We see the Milky Way and the Southern Cross. The landscape darkens.
We took a truck safari after breakfast where herds of impala were grazing. All of a sudden the driver stops the truck and motions for us to be quiet—a leopard right in front of us. He sat for a short time and then ran into the high grass. The driver inched forward slowly until I noticed two eyes staring from the bush. He blended in so well, I would not have noticed him if it wasn’t for his eyes. We watched until he got up and walked in front of the truck and down the trail. Such a beautiful animal. We came to an open plain where wildebeest and zebras were grazing. Strange, but it seems if you see one of those animals, you will see the other. We returned to camp to catch a small boat for a safari on the water. Impalas and elephants roamed along the banks and paid no attention to our oohs and aahs coming from the boat. The river winds its way through a maze of interconnecting channels and we spot a group of hippos. They entertained us by dropping in the water with a quick drop and coming back up with a snort that sounded like a sneeze. Papyrus and sedge lined the banks. African jacana seem to be walking on water lilies and other floating vegetation. Birds, like the lilac-breasted roller and the small bee-eater add a dash of bright color to the scene. The reflections in the water invert the scenery. We see red lechwe and antelope. We are experiencing one of Africas most natural and unspoiled lands. I only wish we had more time here.
I woke up to a sunrise that filled our camp with golden hues of orange, reds, and yellow. Packed up our tents and took a slow ride back to Maun stopping along the way to watch a herd of elephants in the bush.