Unfortunately, I began the day with the beginnings of a sore throat. It was cold in the night – the first that I actually got in my sleeping bag. All of the others I’ve been using the sleeping bag as extra cushioning and sleeping inside the sleeping bag liner. I took a few Airborne pills, hoping the vitamins would be all I needed to feel better…
We did a quick (30 minutes) wildlife walk at 5:30 in hopes to see some new animals, but only saw a few zebras and elephants. It seems odd to say “only saw zebras and elephants,” because they’re amazing and I’m still in awe of seeing them in the wild, but hopefully we’ll see some new animals soon – we’re not making great progress on the African big 5! I have high hopes for Tanzania and Kenya.
We left the island around 8 for the lovely makoro ride back. Honestly the ride was so peaceful – I even fell asleep for a bit.
But – the highlight of today was really the airplane ride we took over the Delta. It’s our first big splurge, but much cheaper than it’d be in the US or UK ($100 / person) and, most importantly, definitely worth it! We took a little 5 seater plane for an hour ride with hopes that:
1. I didn’t vomit from motion sickness, and
2. we saw herds of animals.
We took off from the Maun airport. I was lucky to have the co-pilot position where there’s meant to be less motion and it was amazing to watch the pilot.
After about 5 minutes we all realized that we weren’t really getting any higher and we were flying back towards the airport… and then we were lining up to the runway… and then landing. In a small plane it’s so loud the pilot can’t communicate with you, so we had no idea what was going on. After we parked the pilot told us that there was a mechanical problem with the right wing, but everything seemed to be fine now. He asked, “Is everyone comfortable to go back up? Because I am, I would never put you in danger.” I certainly was scared, and imagine everyone else was, too, but we went back up! The pilot gave us a thumbs up after a few minutes. It’s amazing how a simple thumbs up can make you feel so much better!!
The second plane ride was a success. I was sick, but didn’t vomit and was able to keep my eyes open for the entire trip. This is a huge accomplishment for me! When we went whale watching in Tofino, other than the time when I was vomiting, my eyes were closed the entire time. It was amazing to put into perspective how big the Okavango Delta is – I think the biggest in the world. We were lucky and saw herds of buffalos, antelopes, elephants, giraffes, zebras, and hippos, and the expanse of the land made us feel lucky that we saw any animals at all on our game walks.
We left the airport very excited, a little green, and ready to climb on the truck for the long journey to Planet Baobab, a campground built around a 3,000 year old baobab tree.