I spent a week with a group traveling through Botswana, from the border of Zambia, to Chobe National park,
to the city of Maun,
canoeing and camping in the Okavango Delta and then driving south, skirting the Kalahari desert,
visiting the Khama Rhino Sanctuary and crossing over into South Africa. The following pictures help to chronicle the trip.
Zambia-Botswana Border Crossing
The Kazungula Ferry is a pontoon ferry across the 400-metre-wide Zambezi River between
Botswana and Zambia. It is one of the largest ferries in south-central Africa, having a capacity
of 70 tonnes. The service is provided by two motorised pontoons and operates between border
posts at Kazungula, Zambia and Kazungula, Botswana.
The border crossing is the only place in the world where four countries' borders unite:
Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia.
The process of checking out of, and into, immigration and customs can be a lengthy ordeal.
Everything there happens on "Africa" time.
Loading up on one of the two pontoon ferries.
Eric, one of our companions, jumped on the boat at the last moment.
Unfortunately his wife Erin didn't make quite quick enough.
The ferry is propelled by a side mounted diesel engine.
Setting foot on Botswana soil.
Chobe National Park
The outskirts of Maun
A common mode of transportation.
Many abandoned vehicles can be found alongside the roads.
The local gas station chicken made a pretty good living taking the bugs of the bumpers of all the vehicles that pulled in.
Botswana has no fences around any of the parks, so sights like this big bull elephant crossing the highway are pretty frequent.
A new rondavel being built the traditional way.
After the rondavel frames are built, the roof is thatched and the wood walls are coated with mud.
The local car (donkey) wash.
Local Botswana village outside of Maun.
Everyone was very kind and happy to see us.
This local store sells small snacks and prepaid phone cards, a booming business in Botswana.
Coca Cola, the universal beverage.
A Coke and a smile.
More Coca Cola at the Hollywood "Tuck" shop (whatever that is).
Traditional dress for Botswana women.
Shopping plaza in Maun with impending rain storm.
This sign speaks for itself :0)
I never get tired of all the different safari vehicles in Africa.
A somewhat larger phone shop.
Traveling into the Delta is a unique experience unto itself. Water traveling down the Okavango River from Angola
ends up in this river delta in northern Botswana. Due to the unique geography, the waters never actually reach the ocean.
Instead they empty into this immense natural swamp near the edge of the Kalahari desert, making it a great habitat for wildlife.
In order to travel into the Okavango Delta, one must travel by "mokoro" or dug-out canoe. These small boats can readily
be arranged and guided by local tribes people. The true adventure to travel from island to island by mokoro, camping
underneath the African sky.
Gearing up with our local guides.
We had to drive to the edge of the delta in a 1950's Mercedes militar transport truck.
Mokoros are traditionally made from a single log. A few of these boats are made that way,
but modern fiberglass construction has made these boats less expensive for locals and does
not require the chopping down of the large remaining trees.
The group passing through a hippo pool, the only large openings of water in the delta.
Home sweet home.
Never leave home without the trusty Ibanez Ukulele.
Another spectacular sunset.
Judge and Carol making bracelets from pigmented dried reeds.
Local game played with seeds and rocks.
Zebra tooth found during a hike.
It is always more interesting finding wildlife on foot, away from the safety of a vehicle.
Cape buffalo skull
Beetle making a home inside a flower.
Dung beetle male rolling an almost perfect ball.
Hippo letting us know he's there.
An African pike.
One of the many species of tilapia to be found in the Okavango Delta.
A stringer of fish that our local guides cooked up for dinner.
Pike and tilapia over an open fire.
Dinner in process.
Singing and dancing around the fire.
Elephant skeleton spread across a grassy area.
Ribs and very specialized vertebra with an extended spinous process.
Vertebra also doubling as a stool.
Elephant tooth slowly breaking down with the weather.
We flew over the Okavango Delta with a helicopter to get a view of the islands and wildlife from a few hundred feet.
Lechwe, an antelope that can be found primarily in the delta.
Zebra at the waterhole.
Male elephant next to a dead palm tree.
The Okavango Delta is an area of flooded plains, much like the Everglades of Florida.
Most of the navigable waters are made by the local hippos. The hippos leave their watering holes at night to
graze. Their pathways become the channels by which the locals navigate the delta with their mokoros.
Photographing a bull elephant from the open door of the helicopter.
A "raft" of hippoes.
A nile crocodile in the hippo pool.
Airplane Flight Over the Delta
To get a better idea of the vastness of the entire delta, a couple of us took a Cessna flight over
the Okavango Delta at a few thousand feet. This gave a different perspective of the magnitude of the surroundings.
Others camping on one of the hundreds of islands.
Hippo out of the water.
Lightning strike during the flight.
We found where the lightning hit the ground.