We are finally leaving the wet and miserable Delta this morning! Hooray!
The sun was shining this morning and everyone was up really early to get their tents down and hurry back to Siziba and Sonny. Our polers were also keen to leave and they told us their whole village do this work on a rotation basis meaning that some of them won't be back in the Delta for several weeks. I don't think they were complaining (other than the fact its extra money to them that they don't get when they're not working! )
Vincent was ordering everyone around and getting things done in double quick time and most people were packed and ready to go before breakfast! We were keen!
The journey on the mokoro's was once again very beautiful but no different to our previous trips so we took a few photos and then just laid back to enjoy the sunshine. It was REALLY hot and my SPF 40 sunscreen did not prevent me from getting burnt! I'm sure the suns reflection off the water only made matters worse! Some of the polers who were just taking cooking gear and tents rather than people sped off quickly and then dived in to the water to cool off whilst waiting for us to catch up. Not a bad idea!
Back at the end of the waterways our 4x4 truck was waiting for us and everyone was in high spirits. As advised by Siziba previously we all put our tips together and handed then to the head poler making it clear that the money was to be split equally between all workers and was not just for him! This is because they are known to cheat each other and only the head man can be trusted, provided you spell out the rules of the game that is!
We then said our goodbyes and clambered eagerly onto the truck where there was some shade from the sun.
The journey back to camp seemed to take even longer than before but no one really seemed to care. We were all too busy trying to get good shots of the huts and villages we passed although I think most were blurred due to the moving vehicle. We all knew that tonight's accommodation was going to be the best campsite we would stay in on tour and were looking forward to some comfort and the swimming pool!
Back at camp Siziba was happy to see us and gave us all a hug despite the fact we probably all smelled pretty bad! We then rushed to the showers with some of the girls going in the men's to save queuing.
After freshening ourselves up a bit we loaded all our gear onto Sonny and sat down for lunch. Adam and I spent some time talking to another Nomad tour guide that had been doing a trip from Johannesburg to Victoria Falls. His group were also in the Delta but were 1 day behind us and he was waiting for them. Like most of the guides he is from Zimbabwe but is quite well off by their standards thanks to Nomads competitive salaries and he had recently bought an SLR camera with several lenses. Seeing mine he was keen to talk about photography and share knowledge and we must have wasted around an hour talking to him. He was a really nice guy.
At around 2pm we piled onto Sonny for a 3 hour drive to our next stop, Gweta. 3 hours is just down the road by our standards now and most people enjoyed a quick nap and before we knew it we had arrived. Our campsite for the night is called Planet Baobab!
"Planet Baobab provides an oasis in the middle of the endless lunar landscape of the Makgadikgadi salt pans. It's reputably the baobab capital of the world and home of the Kalahari Surf Club! Planet Baobab is perhaps the funkiest camp in the Kalahari, where you can sleep in authentically styled, luxurious Bakalanga huts, or simply pitch a tent nearby.
The pans are the remnants of the once great Lake Makgadikgadi which covered some 80 000 square km. Up to 30 metres deep, thousands of years ago, this was the largest inland sea in Africa. The pans now support strange 'upside down trees' - the massive Baobab - some of which are 2 400 years or older. Elephants are the other giants in the area, they splash about in a nearby watering hole to cool off, seemingly unaware of the guests' presence."
Within the campsite are positively luxurious facilities (ignoring the fact the ladies showers were flooded but the staff soon sorted that out) with a huge swimming pool and a very fancy bar/restaurant. We all put up our tents in double quick time and jumped into the pool, cider in hand!
Later, after dinner a few of us are heading to the bar for a few drinks and to get away from Vincent's snoring!