Hey, let’s go on a safari! Larry Wingert is out from the USA and we hop on a flight to Maun in Botswana. It’s 1985.
We fly into the Delta (Xaxaba camp) in a Cessna 206. After many beers and wines a resident auntie eventually starts looking enticing at around midnight but the moment passes.
The next morning a pair of tropical boubou fly into the camp right around where we’re sitting in the open-air bar and belt out a startling loud duet. Stunning!
A 15 minute flip back to Maun in the Cessna where we squeeze into an old Land Rover and head off for Moremi, stopping just outside Maun to buy some meat hanging from a thorn tree. Supper.
We’re a motley crew. We get to know two Aussie ladies, a Kiwi lady, a Pom fella – 6ft 7inches of Ralph – and the gorgeous Zimbabwean Angel Breasts (Engelbrecht her actual surname)! Unfortunately, she’s the Long Pom’s girlfriend (*sigh*). Our long-haired Hippy Saffer guide at the wheel is super-cool.
Unable to endure the cramped space on the back seat, the lengthy Pom gets out and sits on the spare wheel on the roofrack. I sit with my thigh firmly against Angel Breasts’ thigh (*sigh*). He stays up there for the rest of the week! (Whenever we’re driving, that is). I’m in seventh heaven! Mine and Angel Breasts’ thighs were made for each other.
I’m mad keen on birding but I don’t know how these guys feel about it. What if they get pissed off? What if they only want to stop for large furry creatures? The first time we get stuck in the deep sand, a little white-browed scrub robin comes to the rescue!! He hops out in full view, cocks his tail and charms them. From then on I have six spotters who don’t let anything feathered pass without exclaiming “What’s that? What’s that? And that one?”
At Kwai River camp a splendid, enchanted evening vision befalls me – my best wildlife sighting of the whole trip: I’m walking in the early evening to supper and bump into Angel Breasts outside her bungalow – she’s in her bra n panties in the moonlight. Bachelor dreams. Oops, she says and runs inside. (*sigh*).
At Nogatsaa camp a truck stops outside the ranger’s hut. A dead buffalo on the back. The ranger’s wife comes to the truck and is given a hindquarter. Meat rations.They also drop the skin there and advise us to carry a torch if we shower at night as lions are sure to come when they smell the skin.
Later I head for a shower while its still light. A loud racket makes me look out of the broken window: The lady-in-residence is chasing an ele by banging her pots & pans together! We travel thousands of k’s to see elephant and she says Footsack Wena! Get lost! While looking I spot what I think is a greater honeyguide in a tree, so I have to rush back to our puptent wrapped in a towel with one eye on the ele to fetch my binocs. It is a honeyguide, and that’s a lifer! Moral: Always carry your binocs no matter where you go!
That night the ele grazed quietly right next to the tent.
Chobe looked like Hiroshima! Ele damage of the trees was quite unbelievable. That did NOT look like good reserve management! Botswana did not believe in culling, but it sure looked like they should!
The Chobe river, however, was unbelievable despite the devastation on its banks – especially after the dry country we’d been in. What a river! What wildlife sightings!
On to Zim, the mighty Zambesi river and Victoria Falls where we bid a sad goodbye to our perfect safari companions. Me still deeply in love. Angel Breasts holding the Long Pom’s hand, totally unaware of it (*sigh*).
At the end our guide wrote us a lovely letter of thanks – As I said, he was cool!