The silence that had fallen over Botswana for the past few months is giving way to the sound of the rushing Okavango Delta floodwaters and the unlocking of safari camp doors as they slowly start opening up to local residents.
We live in a world of dichotomy right now. As March closed out, Botswana’s rainy season ended and where many Batswana should have been tidying up their planted crops after the rainy season, the lands were silent.
At the same time, the first cases of the virus, which has now spread through every country on earth, appeared in the Gaborone area. Botswana went into a 28-day lock down that has now been extended in an attempt to curb the internal transmission of the virus.
And so, in several ways, silence had descended on Botswana. The half-planted fields were not being tended; the skies were without the daily buzz of small planes carrying tourists; national parks were closed, leaving the wilderness silent to its natural inhabitants; the camps and lodges closed their doors, with only skeleton staff to keep order and ensure animals did not wreak havoc on structures.
Then came the glorious gurgling sound of moving water. The annual flood arrived in April, filling the Delta and feeding the rivers beyond. A sorely missed sound that had not been heard for over a year, brought a collective cry of joy from around the country. The Thamalakane River moved into Maun the day the severe lock down was lifted, allowing residents to greet the new water and, as is tradition, drink the first rivulets.
This year’s flooding of the Okavango Delta reached its highest levels in five years. It has been proof, once again, that nature continues unabated, regardless of what is happening in our lives. In the midst of the current doom and gloom and after last year’s minimal flood, which was challenging – although not unexpected – for the local communities, safari camps and tour operators in Botswana, we have been delighted in this wonderful news.
Further good news has come as Botswana lifted its severe lockdown at the end of May. This has meant that some camps in parts of the Okavango Delta are opening for local residents to visit and enjoy this marvel of nature. Camp Maru by Okavango Hidden Gems is one such property.
This authentic 1930’s-style safari camp is made up just six luxury en-suite tents and situated with a remote and wildlife-rich concession in the southern region of the Delta. It lives up to the Hidden Gems’ ethos of ‘touching the earth lightly’ as the camp is completely off-grid; where possible, produce, amenities and décor are locally sourced; and they are involved in various community upliftment projects.
The Liquid Giraffe team is getting back into the swing of all things safari as we have returned to our office, albeit with strict hygiene protocols. There are exciting happenings such as Camp Maru’s special residents only offer of a three-night weekend escape or four-night mid-week break for P7,500 per person. This includes road transfers from and to Maun, all meals, soft drinks and of course game drives and game walks. Mokoro trips and helicopter transfers are available at a supplement. The offer is based on a minimum of four couples. This offer ends on 31 July 2020.
Contact us for more details on this and other specials that are sure to appear on the horizon soon!
Feature image courtesy of National Geographic, showing elephants crossing over the flooded plains of the Okavango Delta.