by Nancy McDaniel
So many times I’ve been on safari in Africa and I’ve always seen many wondrous things. People ask me if I go to see the animals. Of course I do. But there’s so much more to see than just the animals, remarkable as they are. On my most recent safari to Botswana, I saw little miracles every day. But I also heard them, smelled them, and felt them. I’ve never been so in touch with all my senses as I was on this trip.
A Magical Place Named Okavango
Our first camp was in the Okavango Delta, on the tip of Chief’s Island, at a place called Mombo Trails. The Okavango Delta is a magnificent place, lying in the midst of the Kalahari Desert, the largest continuous stretch of sand in the world. The Delta is a “magical 18,000 square kilometer wonderland of waterways, floodplains, islands and forests.” (Adrian Bailey, “Okavango: Africa’s Wetland Wilderness”) This is a place I’d been wanting to come to for the past several years. I was not to be disappointed.
At “Little Mombo,” we saw everything we hoped for – and more. We saw all the big cats: lions, leopard and cheetah, all closer than I’ve ever seen them before. Our Land Rover was the only vehicle around, so we were able to follow the animals closely, without disrupting them. Here, unlike in east Africa, when we came upon a cheetah mother and cub, it was just us, not a convoy of ten safari vehicles encircling the cats. We could experience their behavior, not just their presence.