okavango delta, botswana
the guide told us we were the first singaporean clients she has had since she started working 7 years ago. she said camping was never popular among asians so she was rather surprised to see us wanting to "rough it out". actually, i didn't find it all that uncomfortable. we just had to help cook, wash dishes, set up tents, clean up, find firewood, no shower for a few days, and drink water from the stream. ok what, not that bad. the campsite was fairly clean. singapore toilets are 100 times worse, even though they're made of ceramic or marble. i am really very impressed with african toilets, even dug up holes in the bush. the people have good toilet habits.
the first two weeks of our trip, we had to set up and break our shared tent every day. it could get quite chilly during the nights in winter, and the urge to pee was quite great. but the howling hyenas, snorting hippos, and roaring lions could be heard quite clearly and i held my bladder till morning most times. i wouldn't want a hyena pouncing on me while i bombed in our "bush toilet". i was glad that i brought enough ammunition to keep me warm. okavango was a time for cultural exchange (will put up some videos in the next entry), we were quite a hit with the locals. they said we were the first to have asked if we could learn to paddle the mokoros (they were initially afraid we would break their paddles), we picked up their language quite fast, and learnt some of their games. our genuine sincerity in wanting to know their way of life touched their hearts i suppose, we could see pride in the eyes as they showed us the way.
i loved this leg of the trip best, because time stood still. we cooked fried maggi mee for everyone, joked and laughed. we got to see happy giraffes and zebras galloping freely, ostriches, wildebeests, impalas, steenboks too. we saw plenty of perfect sunsets and sunrise, clear blue skies, we heard hippos splashing away in the stream. by this time, i had chucked my watch aside. there's no need for a watch in the wild. to survive, trust in your senses, natural instincts, and your heart.
for my africa pictures, click here