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Clematis Mar 30th, 2004 09:17 AM

For Liz
> I shall make a point of getting some Bush Tea while in >Maun though, and just the thrill of being in a Mekoro on >the Delta may overpower the lack of wildlife if that >happens.

Yes, there is a lot of warmth and charm in Botswana. Also the high water now should make this very exciting and full of wildlife!! Have you read The Number One Ladies Dectective Agency (in the mystery section) by McCord? It's a must for anyone going to Botswana. Did you mention your camps in an earlier post?

>Would you ever consider March/April?

Yes, depending. I'm wondering how hot it is then as end of May/June was so pleasant by mid-day.

LizFrazier Mar 30th, 2004 09:47 AM

Yes, I have all of the series about Mma and Rra. Even ordered the last one but it won't be out here until I get back from this trip. I'd hoped to read it on the plane.
The weather over there is very similar to the temperatures in Vegas and has been all this month. I have Maun, Windhoek, J'burg and one other place on my home page and they all are just like here. Low of 60 and high of 80-85. I just can't take the horribly cold mornings in June to Sept. Bitter for my arthritis. I think that March-May is ideal. The animals they say are more dispersed but I think around the camps the animals are pretty territorial anyway. The rates are so much better then, but then I'll be better able to respond after we get back, which I shall.
This trip is a Luxury Link special and was put on by Ker and Downey. The camps are Kanana (2 nights), Shinde Island (3 nights) and Selinda (2 nights). That's it, just 8 days total. It was 2 for l including airfare, so we bid. We travelled with them before and liked it, so we were thrilled. The camps are small and more rustic then Mombo or Jao. Probably like Wilderness Vintage camps. You actually hear the wildlife at night and the fire after dinner is wonderful. Free drinks although Max doesn't drink, I love a glass or two of wine with dinner. They serve excellent South African wines and have all of the other stuff. I found that I liked Amarula, very much like Bailey's Irish Creme, made from the Amarula tree I think. Maybe just named after it. Yummy! So, I'll soon be kicking back and smelling the smoke and looking up at the Southern Cross as hyenas whoop in the distance. Doesn't that just tear your heart out? Sigh!
Looking so forward to seeing the flood. How very lucky we were to get this chance.

Clematis Mar 30th, 2004 07:42 PM

Liz, your safari sounds fantastic. I also stayed at two rustic camps, one with no electricity. I'll never forget my first night sleeping knowing that there were broken trees within feet of my tent (and it was a true tent, just a permanent one) and hoping that the eles that grazed at night would not pull one over our tent. Amarula is made from the amarula fruit, yes. I bought some in the states and all my friends loved it over ice. On the morning drive tea break we'd have it in our hot cocoa. Maun has two interesting shops that I liked across the tiny road. Yes, I wish I was there! I can't wait to hear your report...

Karin01 Mar 31st, 2004 02:22 AM

LOL, very funny, the tree is actually the Marula Tree from it's gruit the marulas they make the Amarula. :-)

Clematis Mar 31st, 2004 10:21 AM

Karin, thanks <blush> you are perfectly right. It's the gruit... <g>

uhoh_busted Mar 31st, 2004 02:42 PM

oh wow, you guys are really feeding my excitment for our trip in May. Steve's a bit worried about hippos and mekoros in the Delta, but I'm not going to think about that...just sit back and trust our guides and enjoy it all.

Clematis Mar 31st, 2004 06:12 PM

I think it's good to have a healthy respect for the hippo, the #2 killer in Africa (#1 is Malaria). One of my motor boat drivers in Victoria Falls saw a hippo submerge and he got out of there in a heartbeat. The previous week one had tried to overturn his boat. I heard one story about a tourist who didn't return. But in general, they wouldn't risk this if they had a lot of accidents.

LizFrazier Mar 31st, 2004 06:18 PM

Gee Uh Oh, I feel a lot better. How about you? :-D

Clematis Mar 31st, 2004 06:26 PM

LOL! Liz, didn't realize you were listening. <s> Just stay close to the bank, as my friends did and very much enjoyed it.</s>

LizFrazier Mar 31st, 2004 07:48 PM

Why does Fodors keep lining through your posts? Really is strange. Not one has been objectionable.
Re-Hippos. I am truly fearful of them. We really were chased last time and it scared me to death. What a helpless feeling to be practically sitting in the water and hear this thing running after you. Our poler poled like crazy and made it to a small island close by, but in the meantime it sounded like he was gaining on us and we couldn't turn around to look. I don't know if I will feel like going this time. What a shame. The hippos are all over too. There is nothing you can do but sit there and wait. It is really S-C-A-R-Y! All kidding aside. You're there in their territory on their terms. I may have to skip that adventure. We'll see. If you don't hear from me again, well........ I guess you just won't know. S-C-A-R-Y!!!

Clematis Mar 31st, 2004 09:09 PM

Liz, it isn't Fodors, it must be something on my end because I've seen it once in a while on other boards.

You've got my heart pounding just thinking of a hippo running after you... as someone once said, Africa isn't a vacation, it's an adventure.

uhoh_busted Apr 1st, 2004 07:24 AM

Luckily, Steve is a Luddite and won't be reading these threads! I will put my trust in the professionals :) Over the last couple of years I've told my kids that if anything ever happens to me, to know that I've enjoyed the H*** out of my travels and adventures. I'd love to have an experience like Liz's -- one that obviously, is successful in the end! Are you really not allowed to turn around to look? Or do they have you get as low as possible in the boat so they can move as fast as possible (which would mean you physically can't turnaround)?

LizFrazier Apr 1st, 2004 07:55 AM

Uh Oh-
A mekoro sits down in the water so you are at water level with a lip of the mekoro around you, similar to a canoe. Actually the mekoro has a flat bottom. It is also very narrow and you sit with one in front of the other with the poler standing in the rear. When the hippo jumped into the water and splashed and thrashed it sounded like he was pursuing us, which I believe he was. To turn around would have shifted the weight and could have tipped the mekoro. I didn't think I dared to move to assist the poler in moving out as quickly as he seemed to be doing. The thrashing of the hippo sounded right upon us and continued for what seemed like 2 or 3 minutes by which time we were nearing the small island and in a safer area. Actually when you are in a mekoro, you can reach out lazily and touch the lily pads and when you stop you can see the throat of the small reed frog as he breathes. He isn't any wider than the reed he is clinging to. You just feel like you are sitting on a lily pad watching his life. It is a beautiful experience, however, behind you hippos are rising and lowering unbeknownst to you. The poler has a much bigger job than a vehicle driver in my opinion and the fact you tip him $3 a day and the driver $5 a day seems unbalanced. It usually is the starting place for guides and I guess they don't need to know as much as the guides or something. Liz

Clematis Apr 1st, 2004 04:42 PM

&gt; You just feel like you are sitting on a lily pad &gt;watching his life. It is a beautiful experience, &gt;however, behind you hippos are rising and &gt;lowering unbeknownst to you.

Liz, this is vivid writing... I feel like I was there. Thank you for that.

uhoh_busted Apr 2nd, 2004 06:14 AM

I agree -- it had me dreaming all night last night! I am soooooooo excited about this coming trip. I might not have even donsidered it, were it not for Liz and Kavey's amazing photos.

Clematis Apr 2nd, 2004 02:25 PM

That is something special about Africa, that we have to convey the secret, pass along the gift to those we know. Two people are going to Africa because of me and I hope there will be more. I was stunned to hear a radio personality today try to illustrate how &quot;weird&quot; Michael Jackson is (like he needed that) by saying that he likes to vacation in Africa. He said, &quot;Where does he go, Ethiopia?&quot; How ignorant people can be.

LizFrazier Apr 2nd, 2004 02:31 PM

Clematis and Uh Oh-
What nice things people can say on the one side, but on the other side you get bashed and hit at. What a contrast we have ended up with through no fault of our own. It almost seems to be the men vs. the women. I do enjoy the soft touches of Africa; it feeds my soul. But there is even a harsh side to that I suppose. Where is there to go in this place to find a bit of peace and sharing? Thank you both. Liz

Kavey Apr 7th, 2004 04:10 AM

Liz, you said:
The poler has a much bigger job than a vehicle driver in my opinion and the fact you tip him $3 a day and the driver $5 a day seems unbalanced.</i>

I agree fully and we tipped our mekoro guides the same amount as our game drive guides.

LizFrazier Apr 7th, 2004 04:22 AM

I KNEW you'd be back. I followed your schedule all day yesterday, and when it was 4pm there, I imagined you at the landing strip. Since we were just there, I knew that flight well. Welcome, friend.
I didn't know about the tipping policy until I found it after we got back as I recall. Just don't understand it unless it is the starting point and the polers don't share the information the guides do. Liz

Kavey Apr 7th, 2004 04:45 AM

Liz, indeed. Our polers were certainly guides too in the sense that they told us about the eco system, about the birds and animals, about the plants and insects... and helped us fish too!

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