Getting to Botswana was just a hop, skip, and jump away! We drove to this bizarre water crossing, where there were dozens of large trucks and cars waiting to be transported across the border by ferry. This border crossing was the meeting point of four countries: Zambia, Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe! We took a little boat over to the Botswana side, spent a moment in the spot where all the countries meet, and were on the boat for just enough time to finish putting on the lifejackets the guide told us we had to wear, before having to undo them. A short car ride, and an hour-long plane ride later, we were at a lodge on the Linyanti Reserve, sitting right along the Kwando River! This place was known for having wild dogs, a fact that I didn’t learn until later that evening.
|Wild dogs eat a baby springbok|
We started our game drive checking out some water buffalo, which are pretty imposing creatures. Once the sun started to go down, our guide, Spencer, tracked down the pack of 18 wild dogs, just as they were beginning their evening hunt. We then went on the hunt with them! This experience was crazy! The vehicle we were in was built like a tank, and we literally drove over trees and bushes to keep track of the dogs. Our guides definitely took us on the more adventurous/exciting route, compared to the other group from the lodge, which somehow didn’t seem to move at scary speeds or doze over trees. Regardless, even though we may have been clinging to the rails so we wouldn’t fall out, it was all worth it because we saw the dogs gobble up two kills – a springbok and a kudu. The springbok was gone in minutes, seriously two minutes. If they had seemed like normal dogs before, after watching them rip another animal to pieces, they were no longer resembling any kind of dogs we were accustomed to.
|We watched a massive pack of vultures fill the trees surrounding a water buffalo carcass that had died when giving birth. Creepy.|
The rest of our time in Botswana was spent going on game drives, where we saw an array of impressive African animals. We were also introduced to the practice of the ‘sundowner,’ wherein we choose a scenic spot to stop the vehicle and have a drink and some snacks while we watch the sun go down. This ritual is so classy, and I was sad to end the habit when holiday ended! The last thing we did before returning to Nam was an early morning ride on the traditional mokoro canoe. Our guide told us about the canoe as we rode along the Kavango River in the Okavango Delta. In order to move the canoe he stood and used a long pole to push us through the shallow water. The ride was so peaceful and scenic! And then it was time to go back to the Land of the Brave!