I only have memories of a similar sensation and it was a long time ago, the day that little Russian ship was catching heading to Antarctica, where for 13 days I was banished to the most isolated places on the planet with a group of daring.
The "exclusivity" concept of Botswana national parks
As I had breakfast this morning, the last one I will not get up early in 10 days (safaris must be started early to enjoy the wild life in its purest form), I thought about what I read in my flight days, "we are in one of the countries politically and socially more stable in all of Africa", which led me to consider as we climbed our luggage to the 4x4 ... And how could it have remained unchanged?
The answer takes us years back in time, when the Government of Botswana seeing its main heritage (and source of income) jeopardized decided raise prices and rates tenfold to encourage small group tourism and maintain unspoiled nature and protect its environment. The result is that today, once we cross the south gate of Moremi, we will enter a subworld of life within the Okavango Delta away from "real life"
Although on our way from Maun it is already at the height of Shorobe when the road changes its asphalt by roads of gravel, dust and sand, for unmanageable moments for people like me, and that we will not leave until in 8 days and on the way to Kasane
!Voucher! We stopped a moment in the story. You are as lost as I am before the day begins. What is it that we "disappear" from civilization among wildlife? There are many ways to travel to Botswana, even for those who are more daring and who know how to drive on these roads - never alone - (although personally I consider it more an adventure than a safari with tracking and search for wildlife beyond chance). A very common one is to use Maun and Kasane as bases and make excursions from them. We are going to live within this ecosystem! The day we got to talk to Mopane Games Safaris and they told us their exclusive itinerary CROSSING AND SLEEPING IN THE HEART OF THE PARKS and not surrounding them like almost all packages in Spain, but above at prices far from the exclusive lodges that allow this (we talk about € 7,000-14,000 / person) although there will be time to explain this. This is our itinerary ...
Today we will enter the Moremi Nature Reserve where we will spend 3 nights in a mobile camp in the area of Xakanaka (M) to later spend 1 more night on an island called Xhobega (X) within the same Okavango Delta to which Moremi belongs. After that we will not abandon the isolation, but we will go to Chobe in the same mobile camp that will be installed in Savuti (S) and where we will spend another 3 nights to end the safari back to the civilization in Kasane (K), already stuck to Victoria Falls that will be the final climax. I drool just to describe it while we reach the limits of the veterinary fence after a first 2 hours of quiet ride
I admit that I was unaware of the existence of the veterinary fence and still today I have doubts about its meaning but I think that a brief explanation would be to be able to say that it is the control point that separates wildlife and livestock or in other words ...! Our goal from We leave home!
Beyond the veterinary fence ... !! pure wildlife!
I did not know that outside the Natural Reserve of Moremi, you can also find wildlife. Not only can we, but Ana and Willie tell us that we will do it to the South Gate where we still have another couple of hours.THE SERIES "JOURNEY TO BOTSWANA" NOW IN YOUTUBE: After the experience in Greenland Many had asked us for the best AUDIOVISUAL EXPERIENCE for this trip and we have listened to you! In our Youtube channel you can see the COMPLETE SERIES and then the chapter of this day without leaving the article you are reading (entering P.N. Moremi) ...
I have not told you about group and is almost more important than the itinerary itself Well, many times the experience depends on him since we are going to live day and night for more than a week ... !! and I am convinced that Sele and I could not have had more luck! Spontaneously (and possibly) in the most logical way, in one of the cars (Willie's) we have ridden ourselves with 2 restless couples, that of Noe and David and Reyes and Oscar. On the other (Costa's) are, as they say, older people of the expedition are Patxi and MCruz and Isi and Patri, who have already traveled many more times together and have an enviable traveling curriculum. Ana, the "boss of the Tinglao" will take turns car interchangeably to be with everyone although the trackers and guides are Willie and Costa
Although since last night we have a "wildlife club" underway, I doubt that it is the reason that our 4x4 is so busy. I remember these same moments entering the Samburu National Reserve at trip to Kenya, !That first animal never forgets! (True Paula ...) and ours here is ... !! AN ELEPHANT !! Although, without a photo, I think he is still running on his way to Namibia from the scream that comes from the car ... ! Elefaaaaaaaaaaaaanteeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee !!! (Right Noe? Understandable huh, hahaha). We'll keep the following impalas and giraffes (or some hawk, what if Reyes? Haha)
It is at this time also when more I remember Paula. She loves animals and although her favorite is the turtle, hippos, elephants or giraffes (the pet of Keys, Kevin, is one) fascinate her.
We enjoyed 2 magical hours and we hadn't even come through the door. One of the funniest moments was when an elephant passed between the two cars, which remained immobile always respecting their passage, and that was dedicated to "play" with us even hitting a snort.
We arrived at the South Gate Maqwee that gives access to the Moremi National Reserve around 1:30 pm and it was time to understand a series of rules
The Natural Reserve of Moremi, isolated in nature
Willie and Costa do the entry procedures in the Reserve (By the way, it is not considered a National Park because when it was created it was allowed to remain the local Bushmen who already lived there but it is a mere nomenclature) and they turn to us. It is time to understand a series of rules that will be repeated every day.The rules of an open 4x4 safari:
One of the most frequently asked questions when someone sees you inside an open amphibious 4x4 vehicle is "And there a predator can't attack you?" The answer is ... as long as you follow some basic rules no. The animals in wildlife (It is not valid for a conservation park created - much less for a zoo - where you adulterate wildlife instincts) see vehicles as ONE UNIT. Not making sudden movements, not REMOVING arms and hands out of the unit, not screaming and being calm are some of those rules of common sense and see antelopes as predators. We will not be invisible, but we will not pose any threat ("nor will we be appetizing")
There are more control gates to Moremi, but this is the closest to Maun and main access of those who make a day trip (which hardly gives to reach the heart of the same -4 hours are only to reach the door-)
I was commenting on the Samburu National Reserve at trip to Kenyaand the truth is that the first impression of this area adjacent to the door is very similar to that park that fell in love with me years ago (even more than his own Masai Mara) Where do you impale, "Pumbas" and a species I did not know that lives in this southern area of Africa and the icon of the South African Rugby team, springboks, make an appearance
I love that one "tension" of the safari moments, Especially when expectations are low, having not yet seen great scenes, predators or difficult-to-see animals. The whole group remains attentive (right David?) To any movement. Who knows where that scene can be? Although I am convinced that when we find something, Willie will take minutes in advance.
!Picnic! Here? What if a lion comes out? Haha, the typical question to which Ana, Willie and Costa laugh at us. They will have done a thousand times and they know perfectly well where we can stop ... and for what to deceive us, a stop to "supply" our empty stomachs despite the emotion already needed.
As we follow the route, I am surprised how the places of Moremi change in a few meters. Behind we leave large areas of mopanes, more suitable to see elephants or those nice guinea fowl blue-headed, and where those huge termites from other parts of Africa are not lacking
There is also a place for bird lovers, where we begin to see that our favorites and most common will be those beautiful rattles of intense colors orI touch piquirrojos that gave life to Zazu in the Lion King
But one of the most beautiful scenes I've seen on the day was going to be given to me by an acquaintance of other trips, the always beautiful ones zebras and their perennial striped pajamas
Reported in the 12 photos of Botswana,the "zebra dance" in its particular "day nap" standing (watching all angles) is a beautiful image for the traveler. It is amazing how nature looks for solutions when predators stalk
Nor has missed the appointment on our first day those reddish brown topis, something that gave us to glimpse that there would be no lions far away because according to some studies, 70% of the hunts in the Okavango of lions (or so to speak, their favorite delicatesem) are these
If the landscapes changed every few kilometers, with the fall of the sun the colors do too.
The first lions of Moremi
I love the landscape. It is very different from what we saw yesterday from the air but those mopane forests or those roads that are sometimes not very intuitive give it an integration with what surrounds us very special, although some do not want to see us very close
In fact it is a time when we find ourselves enjoying a beautiful elephant scene when Noe thinks he sees something in the distance in an area of high vegetation. Will you want to make up for scaring the first elephant of the day? haha! Well, it is full! Not even Willie had seen it ... They are lions!
Willie stands very close to a large pack of 5 specimens including the maleand we begin to enjoy a beautiful panorama. Already from that moment we realize that the ability to track and analyze a good guide. She tells us that the female has just been put on a tracking collar last night that should be due to some subject of study or some recent occurrence, so she may be more sensitive today than normal.
But if it is already touching as the lioness caresses and greets the male lion in his step more is the fiddling with which he continues with the rest of the members
We wanted scenes? We already have the first one and it is beautiful for our eyes
We continue a route that is perfectly designed as contextualization of what Moremi is, from the entrance door to all the bridges before reaching the northernmost area where we will sleep. Crocodiles, photogenic female kudus or huge herds of McImpala (that someone baptizes in the group)
Even in one of the most complete safari days of my life, in terms of variety of species, we are able to see Wildebeest, water antelopes, hippos, jaribus from afar and even a strange lizard rarely seen
And you know the most exciting? We have been more than 4 hours since we left the picnic and we still haven't seen a single car! We assume that the area of the Third Bridge where there is a camp we will see some
The Lycaons of the Third Bridge at sunset
Ufs! That we do not arrive. The rules in Moremi (and in general in Botswana) are strict. At 18:30 the light falls we must all be in our camp, which makes it our turn to hurry to reach Xakanaka leaving aside a small jackal and an ostrich who still wonder "And my photo?"
Did anyone doubt the first sunset in the heart of the parks? I have never forgotten those colors. Every sunset is more beautiful than the last one and I am convinced that we will see them every day
Willie laughs. "Lucky group, haha!" Why do you say that? As we approach the area of the Third Bridge we understand it. A great "jauria" is placed parallel to us
They are Lycaons! One of the most difficult predators to see (also called Wild Dogs or Wild Dogs) and we have done it the first day. It is a herd (they can go up in groups of 20 members) that, we believe, will hunt, something they do very well since they are considered as one of the most effective animals in that task and rarely fails. They are unmistakable with that black mottled fur.
However they are in Danger of extinction (in fact the Serengeti and Masai Mara have already done so) and they are already counted by thousands. It is believed that there are only 3,000 left worldwide in some part of Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa and Namibia. The Okavango Delta and Moremi, in fact, are one of their last bastions.
It's a shame but we have to stop drinking in that pond that the sun has already left. Touch stay and dine at the camp, which I have so much to talk about that I will leave it for future conferences.
The story began talking about the feelings I have at the moment as I finish writing this story. I don't know if I will be able to sleep (with emotion) these days in the heart of the Botswana parks, what I do know is that I am on a very different trip to Africa that I met in Kenya or Uganda, an adventure whose great experience (even beyond wildlife sightings) is to live in an unadulterated ecosystem with some of the most fascinating animals of this planet. And tomorrow the traces begin ...
Isaac (with Reyes and Oscar) from Moremi (Botswana)
EXPENSES OF THE DAY: 0 BWP (approx. 0 EUR)