the gondolier, er . . . poller

water lillies

Stay out of the water!

Deeper in the OKAVANGO DELTA..........One of our boatmen, James, talked about a morning hike. I was up for that. Then, he said we needed to take the boat from our little island to get to the hiking area. It was "just" a half hour ride.

Lesson learned: Guides don't always judge time or distance well. The ride was over an hour. I no longer had lily-white skin. I was ruby-red. And, since nobody thought to bring any water, we knew we couldn't go very far. After ten minutes of walking, The person I traveled with (who will forever remain unnamed because I want to forget the name) finally said, "Okay, guys, what are we walking to see? If it's just grass and trees, I've already seen grass and trees." James couldn't offer anything close by. So, we just turned around for another hour's trip back to camp.

My personal highlight of the Okavango Delta was a brief afternoon ride in a dugout canoe. I'd wanted to ride in one of them for so many years. It was much more wobbly than a fiberglass boat - and it leaked. My brief ride left me with soaked pants -- but I was such a happy camper.

We knew to start out early in our return to the Sepupa Swamp Stop in order to avoid the heat of the day. Just knowing what we were doing made the whole experience easier - and the skies were overcast all day in preparation for a coming rain. So two very unprepared tourists with no sun screen didn't suffer any effects from this particular morning's trip.

The best part of the return was the last leg on the motorboat. I'd requested the boat driver stop for crocodiles and hippos instead of zooming past them like a few days earlier. He was so very obliging. We saw amazing hippos and crocodiles. They weren't always photographic moments as I fumbled with a new camera, but they were spectacular nonetheless.

Copyright 1998 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved. MARTINMARTIN