Endless Botswana travel blog

Hippo mostly out of water

San drawing at Tsodilo Hills

The rarely seen Pel's fishing owl

-not a good sleep under the mosquito net, getting up twice and finally up for good shortly after 0500, taking the time to finish The Caliph's House; got to see some of the sunrise

-'two fisted' must be a Canuck expression as neither Mary the Yank nor Penny the Brit knew its meaning

-brekkie was nice toast done in a frying pan plus cereal and Rooibus tea [2]

-0730 departure for the Tsodilo Hills by launch back to the truck; Peta had first put her lifejacket on and Chris the Follower then did; Peta put a strap over her neck, not the lifejacket itself; they looked hilariously dorky

-Olly is a big guy; he laughed when I said that Peta had said it was four clients on one side of the boat with Olly on the other

-a bit of rain for the 10M or so trip back to the main dock; bozo comments heard were did Chris know what had killed a hippo [Mary] and how dark a hippo was out of the water (water darkens the hide of any animal on exiting from it) [Chris]; a few drops of rain for good measure

-it's a quiet Saturday morning in Shikawe; said to Peta en route that there's a legend those who going for a swim in the Maun Lodge pool will come back to Botswana; she bought it, then scolding herself for believing anything I say

-by 0830 on to the dirt road for the final 35 k's to Tsodilo [so-dillow] Hills, seeing our first duiker and several ostriches

-Tsodilo Hills is the 'Mountain of the Gods'; there is a male, female and child mountain in the area; it was declared a World Heritage Site in 2001

-it was a 2H trip in the heat with Xontai, our San guide

-the San bush paintings are 3,000 years old; the Bantu ones, 2,000 years old; it is known as the 'Louvre of the Desert'; the rock paintings we visited were at the 'female' hill, inhabited by ancestral spirits

-there were a raft of animals: elephants, buffalo, rhino, lion, giraffes, rabbits, kudu amongst the San paintings at the base of the female mountain

-nice to see the thorny acacia tree and the paperback tree again, the latter with yellow bark [which peels off], revealing a kelly green colour; Chris walked around at tortoise speed with her hiking stick

-the area is owned by the Tsodilo Community Trust, for the benefit of the San and the Bantu; Xontai found the Bantu very noisy, something I could agree with based on a group we came across

-to the Information Center and then the Museum for quick looks before our lunch in the parking lot, the rest of the food going to the locals; condoms' dispenser was something I had seen years ago in Botswana re HIV

-Tsodilo means 'damp earth' in the !Kung language

-Olly is from the Buyei tribe; I asked if they were the most handsome tribe in Botswana and he said yes

-back on the return route; brought extra water along; a dead hippo has been partially disgorged

-shower and day's notes typed out, then pix downloaded/culled

-it is hot so no alcohol until closer to dinner

-the relocation with the Kudu Queen was rather uneventful re sightings

-while small boat trip thereafter was way too much birding, did get good shots of the golden weaver and the carmine bee eater; some bee eaters are fine; it was nice to be out on the water, watching some of the locals do their own thing

-the Pel's fishing owl is the bird sighting in Botswana, never seen on my prior three trips; Captain Deadfish found one; good thing birder Steve did not see my mouth drop; odd thing that birder Steve had not even heard about this most sought after sighting; it was the boating trip highlight though an African fish eagle fishing thereafter was nice too

-further time in some channels and then back though time for one more Maryism if every island had a termite mound

-some gin and tonics outside the girls' room, highlighted by my smashing a glass into a glass door I did not realize was closed

-rice, chicken and a veggie mix for dinner, followed by fruit salad; had a St Louis beer with the meal

-filled in the Namibian coming and going forms; tomorrow is the longest drive of the trip at upwards of 9.5 hours

-time to pay various bills; we are each paying block items and then will square away in Livingstone; today I paid for Tsodilo Hills x 3 whereas Peta paid the the drinks on the houseboat the the forthcoming Chobe River cruise

-nice breeze at time outside; door open or closed? [open]

-got most of the packing done and downloaded the final pix of the day

-bed by 2205

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