On to the Okavango Delta

We had breakfast at the Mowana Lodge and then took the short ride to the Kasane International Airport. It actually is a modern facility, with only a few flights in and out. There is an international flight to Johannesburg and probably elsewhere and small planes to destinations domestically. I knew we were flying on a small plane, but didn’t realize how small.

With Karen and Chico departing from us, we were eight. To get to the Delta, we had to split up into two planes, four and four. The planes only hold six total, so there was no option. I am not a small plane gal, so just seeing this plane got my heart into palpitations!

We took off into the clear sky and I just closed my eyes and breathed. When there was even the slightest bump (and fortunately not too many during the trip), i grabbed Jim’s hand and squeezed. Poor Jim had a paralyzed hand at the end of the 90 flight.

We landed on a dirt runway, scattering plovers who were meandering on it. We arrived at the “terminal” and boarded the Land Cruiser for the short drive to the Kadizora Lodge. It is located in the northern corner of the Okavango Delta, very remote, surrounded by over 100,000 acres of marshland. There are over 200 lodges in the Delta, some with their own landing strips.

This Lodge is quite amazing. The tented rooms are large and very comfortable and even has a claw-foot tub. We have to be aware of elephants who wander into the camp regularly, and the occasional big cat. Unfortunately, internet is only available in the common areas, and it is slow, so maybe no pictures! We have been advised to not wander at night without an escort. They didn’t have to mention it twice!

After a lovely lunch, we got settled in our tents and returned to the bar area for “high tea,” at 3:30 in preparation for our evening game drive. We have been promised to see lots of interesting game. And, we weren’t disappointed.

Supposedly, there were signs of cheetahs by the other guides, so we headed to the area they mentioned. For over two hours, we navigated on deep sand, dirt and water paths, almost invisible until the Land Cruiser turned on to them. That vehicle was amazing. Of course, we saw elephants, giraffes, zebras, more  antelope varieties, warthogs and buffalo. They were a joy to see, but where were the big cats?

All of a sudden, KT noticed a leopard in the tall grass alongside the path we were on. Quickly, he turned around and we followed the cat, who was walking casually down the path, not paying us much mind. It was a female about nine years old and she stopped every once in a while to mark her territory, so the males would find her.

With the sun almost setting, we were thrilled to have this sighting. And, she kept walking… KT moved the truck in front of the leopard and blocked the path, so we could get better pictures. She didn’t care, and just walked under the vehicle to continue her journey. And, it happened five or six times!

Another guide in his vehicle came by to witness this awesome sight, so I got a shot of her near their truck. Just before one trip under our truck, she looked up and stared at me, and the results could have been frightening. Everyone saw it, so it wasn’t my imagination. I got some fabulous pictures.

Finally, she turned into the grasses and disappeared. We were satisfied that we got to see one cat, and it was remarkable. However, as we started back to the Lodge, we had elephants walking across our path, out of nowhere, then a large male lion and finally, a porcupine waddled on the path and we were able to follow it for a while. KT never experienced the leopard incident before, nor had a lion so close or witnessed a porcupine right in front of us.

Sadly, with the incredibly slow wifi speed, i can’t add the pictures now, but I will at my first opportunity. Two more game drives tomorrow, a boat trip on Tuesday morning and we start our trek home.

 

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