Today is my last night of my Great Adventure 2016-Africa Edition. Sadly tomorrow I will have to head home. I do not want to leave. This has been a trip of a lifetime. I don’t want to leave Africa. I have met so many nice, warm, inviting people here. It has been one of the best Great Adventures ever. I think maybe this trip is at the top of the list. It used to be Chile and Patagonia, but now Africa has won. For sure.
This morning started with the usual wake up call at 6:00 with coffee. Then I went to breakfast, said goodbye to the Austrians, and headed out on a game drive with Bigfish and the the newlywed couple from South Africa. We went to a new habitat today hoping to spot a cheetah. We didn’t come across a cheetah, but did see many zebra, ostrich, wildebeest, giraffes, elephants, and of course many varieties of antelope. The day was amazing as usual. How can you not be happy when you are driving around and seeing these animals in their natural habitat. It is always a good day on safari. I am just so happy to be here so if we didn’t see any animals today, that would’ve been fine with me. The landscape is enough. We drove around looking for animals, crossing some rivers, and just hanging out. Then we stopped for coffee under a nice shade tree, then headed back to the camp for lunch. Monnie was gone yesterday, but when I came back for lunch she was here. She is the most inviting, warm person I have met on this trip. She told me today she will cry when I leave because now I am a friend and she will miss me. I think I love her. She is a basket weaver and she showed me all of her creations. One of my main goals of every trip is to buy a piece of artwork from a local artist. Today I bought one of Monnie’s baskets. Well sort of, she picked out the one she wanted me to have and I'll pay for it tomorrow. It is a piece of art, and knowing who it came from makes it even more special. Monnie and her team of servers and staff are the kindest people. They truly want to make this experience special and they work hard in doing so. I appreciate everything they do. Sincerely this is the most special place I have ever been in my life. The gratitude is immense.
After lunch it was siesta time until high tea at 3:00. I will never get used to that. High tea. I think everyone should have high tea every day. It’s one of those things that you experience and say to yourself, “yes, this is how life should be”. Then it was time for a boat ride in the delta with BIgfish and the honeymooners. They seem really nice. I kind of feel bad that they are on their honeymoon and I am the third wheel, but that’s the way it goes. Nothing I can do about it. We went on the boat and saw some beautiful scenery and some birds. Not a lot of wildlife happening on the delta, but it was nice to be on the water. We made our way to one point in the delta and turned around, headed back towards camp. About 10 minutes from camp we stopped the boat and had gin and tonic sundowners. Watched the sun go down, and relaxed and then started up the boat and headed to camp. We arrived just after the sun set and the honeymooners asked me to stay and have a drink with them and the staff at the fire before I headed back to my room for a shower. I gladly accepted and had a nice glass of whiskey around the fire and great conversation with everyone. I’m usually very introverted so it was really nice of them to ask me to join them. I hung out for a bit and finished my whiskey and headed back to my room for a shower.
After a quick shower, I went back to the fire and joined in the conversation again. Sort of . I mostly listened to people talking. That is the great thing here, Bigfish is clearly an introvert as well, but as a guide he is required to have dinner and fire time and drinks with us. It is nice to have someone else who is quiet and can just listen to the conversation. He’s a cool dude. So after listening to other views on the world and travel stories it was time for dinner. They had set up a special dinner for the couple at the edge of camp so it was a very small dinner of 5 tonight. A new lady showed up from Austria today. She seems a bit old and crabby, but the guys here are helping to soften that. After an amazing dinner we had some more fire time and drinks. I learned about a ton of stuff about life in Botswana and the every day things that happen here. I am so honored to hear about how other people and cultures live their daily lives. After some fire and drinks time, Icould tell Bigfish was feeling awkward. So I excused myself to my room so he could go home to his room. Plus I wanted to get the last blog in tonight. What an amazing trip.
Tomorrow my bush plane doesn’t leave until 11:30, so Bigfish and I are going on a game drive in the morning. We are really, really hoping to spot the leopard and her cubs tomorrow. It would be the cherry on top of this great adventure if that happened. We have been trying to spot them for 2 days. After the game drive, I will go to the air strip and meet the bush plane for the flight to Maun. I will fly from Maun, Botswana to Johannesburg, South Africa from 1:350-3:50. I have a 3 hour layover in Jo-Burg (that’s what we call it here), then at 6:50p.m. I will board my plane for Paris. After a 10 hour flight to Paris I have a 5 hour layover there. Then I get on my flight to Detroit. Another 10 hours or so, then a 2 hour layover in Detroit and then my flight to Madison. I will leave the Moremi Game Preserve at 11:30 tomorrow (Friday) and finally arrive home (Madison) at 4:50p.m. on Saturday. It’s going to be a long day. Excited for another game drive tomorrow though!!!
This may be the last post of the Great Adventure of 2016. Sadly. But, maybe we will see some leopard and cubs tomorrow so I will do the final post tomorrow. It’s going to be blog overload soon. I don’t have internet connection here in Botswana, so I am writing the blog and will have to publish when I get to Paris. I’m hoping to get in the Air France lounge since I have 5 hours in Paris. Plenty of time to update the blog and post some photos. So, if there are 3-4 new blog postings tomorrow, or whenever Paris time is, I apologize. Thanks for reading though. It has been a truly great adventure and I may cry when I leave Africa tomorrow. What an experience….