Oddballs Camp

Oddballs, on the edge of Chief’s Island and the Boro River was the first of three camps we visited, the other two being Sango Camp and Elephant Valley Lodge.  Oddballs was by far my favorite  –no motorized vehicles other than the light plane that brought us there from the Kasane airport some 300 km distant.  Power –all two lumens of it– was from a single small solar panel, though there was generator backup.  Running water, from the river, was hot, but showers –bucket, hoisted by hand.  Home, a dome tent.  We were the only family in the camp.  It was great.

The first order of  business  was to sign an  indemnity release form.  The second was an orientation by our guide Kotsi on how to behave if encountering close up a leopard or a lion.  With one you look them in the eyes, simply a sizing of each other up, like being in Greece.   With the other you avoid looking in their eyes because it is taken as a sign of aggression, like a 49ers football fan looking at a New York Giants fan.  None of us could remember which mode applied to which animal so in the event we were all probably goners.

Getting around was by the poled  log canoes called mokoros that had been dug out by hand, their bottoms covered by straw to keep one’s bum out of the water that had splashed or leaked in.  This was an ultimate mode of transportation relaxing to both body and spirit.  The relaxation did not however extend to trailing one’s hands in the water –crocodiles!

Arising early in the morning, a simple breakfast of tea or coffee and a muffin was followed by poling across the Boro River to the Moremi reserve where we climbed up the bank and hiked for the next four hours in  35 °C temperatures and 80% humidity from the delta marshes even though it was mid November and there had been no rain since May.  The food at lunch back at the camp, and dinner, was not fancy, but it was healthy, tasty, and filling.   We then had a couple of hours to rest up for a shorter excursion between four and seven in the afternoon/evening.  It could be an extended mokoro trip through the delta to spot hippos or crocs, or an exploration of a different section of the reserve to spot animals.  The evenings were pleasant with cool sunsets.

The first rain of the season occurred the second day we were there and it gave the delta a very different mood on our morning hike the third day.

For me, the best part of the experience was being simply another species sharing that unique environment so diverse in beauty and life forms, walking, or close to the water, in a mokoro, in their space, and without fear.

The Awesome Okavango Landscape

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