Water, Water--EVERYWHERE

Apr 24th, 2004, 08:38 AM
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Water, Water--EVERYWHERE

How many knew who this was from without looking at who wrote that lead in? Ha Ha.

If anyone who may be leaving soon has questions about the water situation, I will be happy to answer.
I had a bad fall due to the water situation and will probably not post much until sometime next week, but if those leaving soon want information I'd be happy to answer questions. Liz
Apr 24th, 2004, 08:57 AM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 56
Sorry to hear about your fall but we leave for Botswana this Monday and were curious how the game viewing was affected by the wet year/season. We will be primarily be in Chobe.
We were looking forword to hearing your stories but we understand it's no fun writing when your feeling under the weather.
jeorgiagirl is offline  
Apr 24th, 2004, 09:58 AM
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Hi Jeorgiagirl-
Chobe is the one place you don't have to worry about. Savute and Chobe both are where the animals go when the Delta is wet and we heard fabulous stories about game there. We were in Linyanti and the tall grass was just such an issue we didn't see much other than elephant and giraffes which were tall enough to see over the grass. Unfortunately the grass will last longer this year because of the rains and then the floods, but the few lions we saw at Linyanti were so skinny their ribs stuck out. They hadn't eaten in 4 days and we thought they probably wouldn't make it. They just can't see to hunt. Some folks had seen wild dog there but we didn't. Unless the game crossed the road we couldn't see it. Its a very unusual year and I couldn't believe the water from the rain. Where the camps are on smaller islands the water was about 2 feet deep in a lot of the area. The rivers overflowed and we got stuck in the middle of one and had to get pulled out. Another story I won't go into now.
The worst was the SAA flight. They have crammed so many seats into coach class and they seem to just take a smaller plane if the larger ones aren't sold out that you can't even walk down the aisles. You have to turn sideways. Going over we were lucky and they left the two middle seats between us empty. Not so lucky coming home. Every seat taken. The larger people tried to stand in the back for relief but the cabin attendants had to chase them out. Eighteen and a half hours was just torture. Of course I was in pain and couldn't sleep much. Be prepared and take something to make you sleep is my advice.
My reason for not posting more is we just got back yesterday and I spent the rest of the day in the ER so I just remember the torture of the flight.
Botswana held a lot for us and I will relay it later. Liz
Apr 24th, 2004, 10:56 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 596
I knew it was from you. Liz, once you're better we want to hear about ER and the fall and everything. It sounds like you are in good spirits though.
Clematis is offline  
Apr 24th, 2004, 11:18 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 592

So glad to hear you're back but sorry to hear about your fall. Hope everything is on the mend and you'll be fine.

We'll all look forward to your report when you feel up to it.

Glad you had a good time.

JanGoss is offline  
Apr 24th, 2004, 12:03 PM
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Dear Liz (and Max too)
I'm so sorry to hear about your fall and the uncomfortable flight, but from your tone, it sounds like you had a special trip, nonetheless.
I can't wait to hear about it when you're able to post more (I'm here for another 10 days before I leave).
Kavey is offline  
Apr 24th, 2004, 03:25 PM
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Welcome home Liz, I hope you got good medical attention and that you're at least feeling comfortable and are on your way to recovery.

welltraveledbrit is offline  
Apr 24th, 2004, 03:36 PM
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You couldn't miss from the title of your thread - Liz is home.

We've gotten a little taste of your time in the Delta, but first get back to feeling better; we can wait for your post about your experiences. Take care.
Apr 24th, 2004, 04:06 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 723
Of course we knew it was from you, Liz!! Welcome home to you and your honey-bunny Max!! You have teased us with your posting, so we expect a very detailed posting when you feel up to it. Rest up and then take us on safari with you ...
SusanLynne is offline  
Apr 24th, 2004, 05:21 PM
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Oh boy. Can't wait to hear your stories! I do hope you aren't seriously injured though...
uhoh_busted is offline  
Apr 24th, 2004, 06:49 PM
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Sorry to hear about your fall hope everything is ok.

safarinut is offline  
Apr 24th, 2004, 08:40 PM
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Welcome home Liz! Hope you had a fabulous holiday and that the mishap didn't spoil your fun.
Roccco is offline  
Apr 25th, 2004, 03:24 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 250

I know many fodorites have been thinking about you and hoping it was a wonderful break. I do hope that in a few days the bad memories will have disappeared and you are just left with wonderful memories and feelings about Botswana. Please rest up before you post any more, because you know we won't give you a minutes peace once you start posting the details.
RuthieC is offline  
Apr 25th, 2004, 06:24 AM
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Thank you everyone. You are all so kind and nice and I so appreciate your encouraging words.
The trip report will still follow, but I want to prepare those leaving soon for Botswana. Whether this applies also to Zambia, I honestly don't know. But to be forewarned, is to be forearmed as the saying goes.
When I went I knew the water was coming in, in record quantities. I only thought of the beauty. Nothing else. Well, record quantities of water carries with it other changes to the area. One being insects. One being tall growths of grass and shrubs, and the list goes on. There were ants in the thousands. Everywhere. In one camp the outdoor bathroom had it seems like a million ants all over it. They climbed down the trees overhead and the camp had sprayed, etc, but still the ants were everywhere. The snakes are there and they are hidden by tall grass. On a walking safari I came within a few inches of stepping on a 6' long cobra. The guide just barely caught sight in time of the gentle moving of the grass and grabbed me. He was literally right at my feet. One more step.......
There is water whereever you go. Where the water recedes a bit is where I fell. In order to get to a dry area of an island, we had to cross a muddy patch. It was on break from a mokoro ride. They had thrown some branches and pieces of wood to walk on and we all crossed over fine. Coming back I stepped on one of the branches and it shifted in the mud and threw me forward and I fell hard onto my side and hit my head. I don't think this is going to be a quick thing. I have been in pain ever since. The hospital gave me pain medication and tomorrow, Monday, I will start trying to find a specialist to locate which nerve is damaged and causing all the pain. I am not telling you this for sympathy. I am telling you this that Africa is not a walk in the park. This is my seventh trip to Africa and the first that I have experienced any of these problems. Do not, I repeat do not travel without insurance. Had the snake bit me, had a bone broken on my fall, I would have had to be airlifted out. This is very serious business. As I said, I didn't even dream of the consequences of the high waters. The problems are just now going on. The mozzies will die as soon as the temperature reached 20 degrees centigrade, but the ants don't die, the insects will still be there. More water is coming from the flood. This water there now is mostly from the heavy rains in March. I cannot imagine any more water.
At one camp the young manager said that he felt a lot of camps would be forced to close when the floods came. When we got to Maun and Dougey Wright, the owner of our travel company, met us on our way out, he told us of a walking safari he had just come from. They have a three day walk or something like that. They camp out, etc. They were walking along and out of nowhere a lion charged them. They didn't see it due to the high grass. They just stood there as the lion charged. He stopped short just before he got to them and the dirt he kicked up landed on them. That is how close he came. There was no warning. Then the lion just walked away. Dougey said he didn't feel any camps would be closed due to the water. So there are a lot of opinions. At one camp we were at the water in the lagoon came up to the tents which were built on a platform. They simply added a step at the back of the platform and you could enter that way. Much more water though and the back of the platform would also be wet I thought. I don't know since I hadn't been there at this time of the year before.
We were charged by almost every male elephant we saw. I know is was a mock charge, but a mock charge changes in an instant to a real charge and we couldn't turn the car around. The driver went in reverse and we got away, but I was very afraid after that. That grass is unbelievable. We couldn't see into it at all. Only elephants and giraffes stood tall enough. What else was there was anybody's guess.
Please don't think that I am saying anything but to be aware as you choose your activities. The camps did not tell us about the snakes. When we went to the next camp some folks were leaving for a walking safari and asked for our experiences. I didn't say anything but I did tell the manager that I thought they should have been warned about snakes. She said they walk in an area of shorter grass. Well I never saw such an area while I was in that camp.
So, a trip report will follow in a few days and there was a lot of beauty brought by the water, but for now I can't rest without warning you. Please, please be on guard for unusual situations. The animals are different too. We met starving lions in Linyanti. They couldn't see to hunt. The grass is too tall.
Rocco-I think you should not travel without insurance. This isn't a funny thing. You know of the danger. I heard it runs about $30,000 to be airlifted out in an emergency. I don't think we are talking bush planes.
This is all I can say to warn you. I'm not wanting to scare you, but believe me, I was scared plenty.
Long sleeves at night too. I wore them all day because of the mozzies. We are literally covered with bites. Even with the coils burning at night and all of the deet sprays. They still bite. No tsetse flies that we saw. Botswana is spraying for those and they have traps in every area to see if any are left. Liz
Apr 25th, 2004, 08:16 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 67
Oh Liz, I'm so so sorry to hear about your injuries/unpleasant experiences. It's amazing what a couple of weeks will do. We were in the Delta March 27-29 -- mosquitoes were not much of a problem, zero ants, grass tall, but not so tall that you couldn't see lots of game.

Please get better soon!!
dlm is offline  
Apr 25th, 2004, 11:34 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553

Thank you for not holding back and letting all of us know of your experience. I will surely be calling for travel insurance tomorrow, not so much for trip interruption, but for medical purposes, as I do plan on doing my share of bushwalks and mekoro excursions (as well as microlighting, if possible).

I wonder if the water has made the elephants more aggressive? Perhaps they couldn't see you all in advance and were surprised and upset by your immediate presence?

I do hope for all of those travelling soon, that it does start to dry out some in the next couple months. I know that I did have a hard time enjoying myself in mid-March at Matetsi Water Lodge due to a plentitude of insects. I imagine that it even made eating difficult. I remember having to scrape bugs off the butter, and pull them out of my wine glass, and that does kind of have a way of making dinner in the bush a little less pleasurable.

In any event, I hope that this will do nothing to deter your love for Africa. I do hope that there are also some good memories mixed in there that will be long remembered after you recover from your injuries.

Hang in there!
Roccco is offline  
Apr 25th, 2004, 11:47 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,220
Dear Liz
How very like you to think of us even when you're in pain. And it's already changed my actions as I'm making sure to pack more long-sleeved shirts, more insect repellent etc. Forewarned really is forearmed.
I do so hope you'll be on the mend soon, friend.
Kavey is offline  
Apr 25th, 2004, 12:11 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,552
just to let you know AMEX offers a comprehensive travel medical insurance that's easy to sign up for and valid for an entire year. Becasue it covers you for more than one trip it's very convienent . I think it's excellent value for the money.
Hope that helps.
welltraveledbrit is offline  
Apr 25th, 2004, 12:26 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553

Thanks for the feedback. On second thought, I may already be covered by my American Express Platinum Card, but I will definitely put in a call to double-check. Unfortunately I was not able to pay for the Africa portion of my trip by AMEX, since I am booking direct with the lodges and not through a travel agent. However, that is a small tradeoff to save 50% on my lodging.
Roccco is offline  
Apr 25th, 2004, 03:18 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 424

So sorry to hear about your unfortunate accident and I do hope you have a complete recovery and find the appropriate medical attention. I am sure your advice to fellow travelers regarding the present conditions in Southern Africa and the need for proper medical and travel insurance will be appreciated by all. Take Care.
DJE is offline  

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