Journey Around The World – Botswana, Southern Africa

Travel Sketching, Trip Around the World 2013, watercolour painting

The Chobe River and The Okavango Delta                           August 20th, 2013

After leaving Victoria Falls it was a relatively short drive south west to the town of Kisane in Botswana.  From here we went to The Chobe River which cuts through the North east corner of Chobe National Park.  We boarded a river boat thinking we would get our first look at some African animals.  What we didn’t expect was the over whelming number of elephants, hippo’s, cape buffalo, crocodiles and lots of bird life that come here during the dry season.  Being in a larger boat we were able to get up close to the hippo’s in the water which you just can’t or shouldn’t do in a small boat such as a Makoro, which was the next boat we were about to experience.

After this great day we continued on to Maun to start our three day camping trip in the Okavango Delta.  The Okavango River flows down from the mountains in Angola and into the Kalahari desert, where the water is absorbed into the sand. The river forms a delta here where we were about to embark on our canoe trip.   The trip to our campsite in dug out canoes called “Mokoro’s” took about two and a half hours traveling through pristine landscape.  Sitting in the bottom of the boat I am seeing the journey unfold from the perspective of three feet above the water as we ply our way through tall reeds and hippo pools.

Our campsite was on an island in the middle of the delta. From our base camp we spent the next couple of days exploring on foot and by canoe looking for elephants, zebra and hippo.  It is an interesting feeling when you are on the ground looking for wild life and your guides are completely unarmed.  It makes you feel like you are part of the food chain.

That being said one of the trips we took in the Mokoro’s,  took us into this deep water hippo pool surrounded by tall reeds. There we were in our little wooden boats looking at two full grown hippo’s at the other end of the pool about a hundred feet away.  After a few minutes of looking at each other one of the hippo’s goes underwater.  We realize rather quickly that there is a stream of bubbles coming towards us.  The bubbles are getting closer and closer and I am thinking to my self that we are so screwed!

Just when it is looking like carnage time the bubbles start moving away.  OK that was fun, lets not do that again any time soon. With all this fun and excitement I did manage to do some pencil sketches and some small watercolour paintings on location. One of the great pleasures of this trip has been the opportunity to paint in exotic locations like this and to share this unique experience with my wife Lyn.

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