The first impression we got of the Delta came from just a couple of centimeters above the water. Twenty of us took a trip into the Delta in a type of two-man canoe known locally as a Mokori. Each canoe was punted by one of the local people, acting as a poler. This was a unique and incredibly relaxing experience. From down at the water level, the Delta is a maze of islands and waterways. The water is nowhere deeper than a couple of metres and reeds and grasses poke out of the water everywhere, making the land and water seem to merge in places.
After sailing out into the heart of the Delta, we stopped at a large island and stayed there for two nights. We were able to try out our skills piloting the Mokoris, with limited success. Nick and I were able to punt our way over to the ‘hippo pool’ where we could see hippos and elephants in the distance.
On the first day in the Delta, I’d fallen out of a Mokori, while trying to race across a stretch of the Delta. I had been picking up the technique pretty well, but then, as I always do with snowboarding and windsurfing, I got to cocky and came a cropper. Pretty harsh to get numpty for the fifth time, just for that I felt.
It wouldn’t be fair to say that I was ‘given’ the numpty the sixth time. In fact, after a big night in the delta, I opted to keep it for myself. I received so many nominations the next day, that I have to admit that anything else would have been a travesty. Singing the Scottish national anthem at deafening volume and falling over while dancing and flattening “Big Momma’s” (LEFT) tent being perhaps the most noteworthy nominations.
I can only say that I’ve since vowed to mend my ways (!) and have not received the numpty again since. Although there was a very near miss a week later, when I was nominated for
(a) getting up at 6am to go on a game drive, but then missing the truck and having to wait at the camp… because I wandered off to check when the internet would be open (gotta admire that commitment to the website)
(b) being annoyed because someone had ‘stolen’ my battery charger from the toilets and then finding it later in the pocket of my jeans
(c) leaving a plastic plate next to the fire and returning only after it had melted into a kinda bowl shape. (I was told that unfortunately there was no need for extra bowls, so sadly the plate hit the bin)
(d) being caught writing a postcard to myself… which started “Hi Calum, remember this...”. Now to be honest, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with writing yourself a postcard. Isn’t it a great way to remember your holidays? (Rhetorical question)
(Animals appeared infrequently, but often in large numbers. To see a line of elephants wading through the shallows was breathtaking. One herd numbered thirty or more, water buffalo perhaps two or three times as many again.)
(Flying at top speed below the tops of the trees. The Okavango Delta wasn't just about relaxation...)