Safari April 2016 ~ Day Eight ~ Going Home

Day 8

We awoke after our last night under canvas in the Okavango. Before heading for breakfast, we packed out bags and left them outside our tents. The dining tent had been dismantled and just the table and chairs remained, standing in the middle of the camp. As we ate our breakfast, behind us our tents were being taken down and our bags were being loaded into a trailer.

Boarding our vehicles for the long drive, we bid farewell to the camp staff who throughout our stay had gone that extra mile to make us comfortable, well fed and watered, and had done so with good nature, smiles and laughter. They waved and hooped and whistled as we drove of into the bush leaving them to pack everything away.

The morning was chilly with a layer of thin mist hovering a metre or so above the ground. We stopped to watch our final Okavango sunrise as the red sun rose from behind a block of trees.

Shadrack at sunrise

Everyone was wearing jackets or fleeces against the chill. Ahead we encountered the buffalo herd we had seen the previous afternoon. A large bull had obviously had a narrow escape at some point. The bulk of his tail was missing, leaving him with a stump only a few inches long.

On a much smaller scale, we stopped to watch a spurfowl climb to the top of a small dead tree to survey the landscape around. However, on reaching the topmost point, all he would have been able to see was mist.


But the sun was starting to climb and the mist in turn would start to burn off. As we made our way towards the exit gate of the Moremi Game Reserve, Shadrack suddenly stopped the vehicle. We weren’t quite sure why, but then he pointed. In the bushes at the side of the track was the face of a hyena staring back out at us. How Shadrack had managed to spot is was baffling. The hyena took a good look and then turned and vanished into the undergrowth. It was as if the hyena just wanted to check that we were actually leaving.

Moremi Reserve Gate House

As we approached the exit gate, two bull kudus galloped across our path. I was going to miss sights like that. The gate house was a welcome stop for those needing to visit the toilet and an opportunity to stretch our legs.

Our arrival at the gate house did not go unnoticed. Burchill starlings, ground squirrels and hornbills emerged from the trees and undergrowth.


It seems that tourists who stop at the Gate House often enjoy a picnic and feed these remarkably tame and fearless creatures.

I’ve got nothing for you.

Ground Squirrel

Whilst we were all together, I took the opportunity to thank our wonderful guides on behalf of the group and present them with an envelope each with their collective tips. I thanked Shadrack for introducing me to my first hyena, for arranging for a male lion to come and visit my tent and for allowing my to get a close up view of the tip of a bull elephant’s tusk.


I thanked N’cosie for his vocal dexterity that had brought the wild dogs out of the bush to visit us. I also thanked him for the lengths he had gone to, to orchestrate an entertaining demonstration of how to rescue a stranded vehicle from a swamp. But above all I thanked them for making our camping safari a trip of a lifetime and providing us with memories we would never forget.

We took the opportunity for a last group photo, boarded the vehicles one last time and made our way to the airport.

My travelling Safari Companions

We still had a long way to go and people were quiet as they contemplated the end of what had been an amazing safari. Our time in the Okavango had given us so many memories we would cherish and so many stories to tell our family and friends on our return.

As we made our way along the tracks we came across the occasional road block, and when we returned onto the tarmac roads, we encountered slightly more domesticated hazards on the road.

Impala have right of way.

Domesticated road hazard.

We had time to stop for a light lunch at a lagoon not far from Maun and then we boarded the vehicles for the last time.

Our flight back to Johannesburg

If reading this blog has whetted your appetite for a wildlife adventure, then you would be hard pushed to find a better option than camping in the Okavango Delta.

I booked my trip through a wonderful company called Naturetrek who have been organising expertly guided group and tailor-made wildlife holidays and cruises to all seven continents since 1986. Whether your ambition is to watch tigers, jaguars, bears or whales, or a birding or botany tour, or a focus on mammals, butterflies or wildlife photography, Naturetrek would be top of my list to check out.

Naturetrek Wildlife and Nature Holidays

They organised my adventure with Letaka Safaris, based in Maun in Botswana. I hope you get a sense of how well looked after we were by Letaka. Our guides, our tented accommodation, the camp staff and food, the safari vehicles were all excellent. The staff of Letaka played a massive part in making our trip such a success and I thank them for that.

Letaka Safaris

But of course, the biggest recommendation of all goes to the amazing Okavango Delta and its spectacular wildlife. It is a unique oasis populated by the most wonderful creatures.

It may not surprise you that I wanted to do it all again, and in September 2019, I did just that. This time I took along my best friend Malcolm, and our adventures, of which there were many, will be the subject of future Sunday Safari bogs, starting in the New Year.

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