Botswana.

Passing elephants on our way, Tsolido Hills, Botswana

Passing elephants on our way, Tsolido Hills, Botswana

Leaving the mountain of gods alone again, young Tsolido tour guide Poetolo approached me for a lift to Sesheke??? He had a funeral to attend to, another family member had passed away. Living in the remote ‘Hambukushu village’, right next to the spiritual Mountains, getting away is a difficult task. Without hesitation, I agreed to get him where he needs to be, as I am going that way anyhoe. Being almost two weeks in Botswana already, moving at a  fairly steady pace from destination to destination, I didn’t really have time to look behind the curtains of the culture and history of this young nation.

A country painted black and blue, Maun, Botswana

A country painted black and blue, Maun, Botswana

50 Years off Independence was celebrated 2 Years ago, the country literally was painted in black and light blue. On our 3 hour journey, I had plenty of time to dig a bit deeper. 

Poetolo making arrangements, Tsolido Hills, Botswana

Poetolo making arrangements, Tsolido Hills, Botswana

Young Poetolo is single but is the father of one child. He paid out his debt to the mothers family, which is now supported by a government institution. He isn’t ready to get married yet and enjoys his single life. Living in different towns previously, he enjoys a little following of female friends.

Young Poetolo, Tsolido Hills, Botswana

Young Poetolo, Tsolido Hills, Botswana

Well, he is a bit handsome. It seems that casual sexual encounters are just as common as anywhere else in the world, possibly even more so here. After Botswana’s independence 52 Years ago, birthrate exploded dramatically to one of the highest in the world. That was short lived after the H.I.V virus made its round around the world. Many, many died a painful death, as Botswana and Swaziland equally lead the percentage of Aids infections globally.

So, what about nowadays then? Poetolo proudly showed me his collection of banana flavoured condoms. I had a giggly face and ask if they have chocolate flavour as well? Botswana’s government had to come up with drastic solutions then, and they did. A countrywide campaign about and against this deadly disease started, giving out free condoms at hospitals or mobile medical units. Even the so-called ‘government pill’, given out by the government, to subdue the virus, can be obtained free of charge at doctors and hospitals. A good step in the right direction.

His cousin on a donkey wagon helped to mend his belt, Tsolido Hills, Botswana

His cousin on a donkey wagon helped to mend his belt, Tsolido Hills, Botswana

Asking about his heritage at ‘Hambukushu village’ and neighbouring clans, the following was stated. The Hambukushu are direct descendants from the ‘Khoi-San’. Their neighbouring villages descend from the Bantu clan. Living in harmony for centuries, sharing a mystical environment. 

Donkey carriage, Tsolido Hills, Botswana

Donkey carriage, Tsolido Hills, Botswana

I asked him about the ‘Xai-Xai’ village we visited on our way through. Most people had darker and stronger body features then I expected for a Khoi-San community. This is how I found out the complexion of the Herero tribe from Namibia with the bushmen in the Kalahari desert, described in a previous post. 

Botswana itself has grown into a very social society.  Having a generous outlook on refugee status in surrounding neighbouring troubled countries, refugee camps are built on a larger scale. Refugees then can choose to take on residency or not. A truly free state in Africa. Not only for humans but elephants and zebras too.

Down by the river, Maun, Botswana

Down by the river, Maun, Botswana

Maun is the gateway to the southern Okavango Delta.

Delta feel, Maun, Botswana

Delta feel, Maun, Botswana

The Thamalakane River edges the town and already gives you a ‘Delta Feel’.

Wild fig tree flurries along the river banks, Maun, Botswana

Wild fig tree flurries along the river banks, Maun, Botswana

Fig trees are just some of the plentiful and colourful vegetation.

Sunset over the Thamalakane River, Maun, Botswana

Sunset over the Thamalakane River, Maun, Botswana

Fishermen have their favourite fishing spots for Okavango Bream or catfish, while the sun is colourful setting above. A sense of tranquillity, in Botswana’s Delta hub. There are many ways to explore the Delta. Plenty of self-drive or safari vehicles line the streets. Mokoro ( traditional banana boats) or motorboats offer hourly or overnight trips. There is always the option to fly in or over the floodplains, choices are countless. Most of the town revolves around the tourism industry. 

Riverside entrance, Maun, Botswana

Riverside entrance, Maun, Botswana

I passed through and stayed in Maun on 3 different occasions, with the same purpose. I needed to use free wifi to catch up on my travel diaries and photos. At first, I was very much sceptical about staying at ‘Sedia Riverside Hotel’ and Campground, as Claudio firstly suggested.

Playground and chalets at Riverside Hotel, Maun, Botswana

Playground and chalets at Riverside Hotel, Maun, Botswana

The very spacious campgrounds edging ‘Thamalakane River’ attracts large groups of tour buses for a very good reason. Well maintained chalets are kept immaculately clean, as is the whole reception, bar, restaurant and kitchen area.

Modua model, Maun, Botswana

Modua model, Maun, Botswana

Even better was the friendly professional service being given by manager Blessing and his well dressed, polite and stunning team. No issue was too big to solve, always with a handsome smile.

Working at the bar, Maun, Botswana

Working at the bar, Maun, Botswana

I asked a few off the bar and floor staff girls for a little photo shoot. It wasn’t busy and my photos had been well received by then. Shy and giggle they agreed.

Dreamy eyes, Maun, Botswana

Dreamy eyes, Maun, Botswana

Maduo works behind the bar. She is a part-time model in her spare time, I can see why.

Charming smile, Maun, Botswana

Charming smile, Maun, Botswana

Dreamy eyes and a heartwarming smile.

Nina in black and white, Maun, Botswana

Nina in black and white, Maun, Botswana

Nina works on the service floor,

Nina’s smile, Maun, Botswana

Nina’s smile, Maun, Botswana

providing attentive and friendly customer service.

Can’t stop giggling, Maun, Botswana

Can’t stop giggling, Maun, Botswana

Being best friends, it was hard for the two to keep a straight face. Very amusing.

Sego’s friendly smile, Maun, Botswana

Sego’s friendly smile, Maun, Botswana

Sego works in the customer service area as well. Another pretty young face.

After revealing the photos, hysterical laughter accompanied these photos. Three more happy people, the language of OM-D had spoken clearly.

Part of this delightful accommodation is ‘Afro Trek Safaris’, who offer trips in the Okavango Delta. The swimming pool was under construction but refilled with water by my departure. It didn’t take long for my scepticism to turn in to ‘wow’, this is a great place to stay’. Thank you to each and everyone to let me be a brief part off ‘Sedia River Lodge’.

Chameleon crossing, Maun, Botswana

Chameleon crossing, Maun, Botswana

A chameleon crossed my path one afternoon. As I told and showed Frederica shortly after, she asked how I spotted it.

Up we go, Maun, Botswana

Up we go, Maun, Botswana

Changing colours to their environment, it is almost impossible to see.

Things that make you ‘ummm’, Maun, Botswana

Things that make you ‘ummm’, Maun, Botswana

I literally almost stepped on it as it slowly, in shaking backwards and forwards motion, making its way over to the tree close to my camp. 

Back and forth, Maun, Botswana

Back and forth, Maun, Botswana

Another Botswana highlight, seeing these masters of disguise in natural surroundings.

Looking back, Maun, Botswana

Looking back, Maun, Botswana

I haven’t seen any since my visit to Madagascar.

Green costume, Maun, Botswana

Green costume, Maun, Botswana

I didn’t expect to see any here.

Coming towards me, Maun, Botswana

Coming towards me, Maun, Botswana

I watched him, watching me and his prey at the same time. Fascinating.

Lunchtime, Maun, Botswana

Lunchtime, Maun, Botswana

Changing colours numerous times, up and down leafy branches.

Chameleon in black and white, Maun, Botswana

Chameleon in black and white, Maun, Botswana

I placed my finger in front of it to grab as support.

The last straw, Maun, Botswana

The last straw, Maun, Botswana

A gentle squeeze on my finger sensation, an incredible mind sensation.

 

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