I only post pictures of food on Instagram, I know. Just had to share the Swedish deliciousness I bought at IKEA today. Happy Midsummer, you guys!!!! (Taken with Instagram)
Ok, so this is, according to Americans, a mid-size car. I repeat, a “mid-size car”. (Taken with Instagram)
Guess who’s going to Costco to buy some of these. 1360 grams of deliciousness. #craisins (Taken with Instagram)
Plane delayed 2 hours. Got a gift voucher. Thought Cannery Row would fit well with my destination. California, here I come. (Taken with Instagram)
Last food update, I promise. Having some #kladdkaka in Katoomba. (Taken with Instagram)
Edit: I like cooking for my hosts.
Although I’m not in Botswana at the moment, I want to try and write a post about every country I’ve visited on this trip. And although every country and every culture have amazed me Botswana was definitely one of my favorites. There’s just something about the people and the landscape that I found more beautiful than elsewhere.
Our first night we spend on a camp in the very south of Botswana, near the border to South Africa. Not much happened there, in the small town of Palapye. Botswana has an area of 581 730 square kilometers, or 224 610 square miles, and only has 2 million inhabitants. The population density is therefore a lot lower than my own country’s, Sweden’s, which is rare. English is the official language, even though Setswana is the most spoken. There are however numerous languages throughout the country, one for each tribe.
The main thing we had planned for our visit was a two-night camping trip in The Okavango, the world’s biggest inland delta. The Okavango River reaches the Kalahari desert and forms a 18 000 hectare big swamp-like oasis in the middle of the arid landscape. Its vastness is hard to explain.
When we were there is was summer, which means low season and also a dryer climate. Our trip started from the dusty outpost Maun and then continued by 4WD to the outskirts of the delta. There we met our wonderful guides Brave, Judge and Carie who took us to an island in the delta with their gondolas, in Setswana called mokoro, or mekoro in plural. I put up pictures from our delta trip about a week ago on the blog, if you want to have a look.
I’m not sure if I can explain how amazing my three days in the Okavango were. Me, Sandro, Frida and Jana completely clicked with our guides. We had big dinners at night and we also brought 5 liters of white wine that we kept chilled in a cooler box. After the hot days in the delta everyone got a bit tipsy after only one glass and we ended up having a big party dancing and singing songs in Setswana with the guys.
Being in the middle of the nowhere, far away from the nearest town, with only the green delta and after that the stripped desert, to surround you, is a wonderful and very quiet experience. No artificial sounds can be heard. At night the stars came out and I’ve never seen a sky so filled with stars as out there. The Milky Way was clearly visible and I watched Mars set on the horizon every night.
But the most beautiful was not that the stars were out every night, that the night temperature kept a steady 22°C, or that the cicadas were playing their hearts out without stopping. It was the fireflies. Down by the water thousands of them would sit, blinking in the dark, almost as if they were reflecting the stars above. And, as corny as it may seem, that is a good example of how traveling is the only thing you invest money in, that makes you richer in the end. I will never forget those nights.
We always stayed in camp after dark, since most of the predators in Africa are nocturnal. Anything from lions to hippos come out at night to live their lives away from the heat. At sunrise, sometime around 6 am, we’d go out for “walking safaris” to see elephants, zebras and various birds on foot. Around noon we’d swim in the swimming hole or learn to pole the mokoros. We had pap for lunch, which is a finely ground maize porridge that you eat with sugar and madila, a type of sour milk. I can eat most things, but after trying madila once I felt I had had my share. My stomach wasn’t all too happy about it either. You can buy madila at supermarkets all over southern Africa, but this was a homemade one. 10 liters of milk in an old water bottle, standing in the sun, going bad basically. Frida liked it though!
Like I said, the night temperature was perfect. No clouds, no rain. We slept with only our mosquito nets up. Good thing is that, although the Okavango is a vast swamp, it’s a low risk area for malaria. In winter the risk of getting any kind of parasite is even lower, I reckon, since it gets pretty cold out there. The southern countries in Africa, except South Africa, don’t exactly get four seasons, but they do have a winter that is far colder than the dry summer months. Judge told me that the water sometimes freezes and that they’ve even had snow once or twice in his lifetime.
I think that everyone’s aware of the fact that there are lots of constructed ideas regarding Africa and Africans. Wherever you travel, ideas like those tend to not be true, and sticking to that way of thinking will just make whoever is traveling confused. Being prejudice is just not smart.
I mean, Brave, Judge and Carie are all grown up in a village not far from the poling station, but it doesn’t necessarily make them different from someone grown up on a farm in Scandinavia. The world and its cultures are most complex than that. People are more alike that different, but the differences that exist are not bad. Difference is diversity and diversity is the reason to why I travel. How do I explain to someone that isn’t open-minded that Brave pulled up his phone one night, and started playing a Swedish heavy metal band. That’s how small the world is.
Leaving the delta was sad. We exchanged details with the guys and told them we’d had the best time. They told us that we were the best group they’d ever guided since they started the job, which was three years ago. Reading about the delta the first time when I was just a kid, this really is a childhood dream come true, and it was better than I ever could’ve expected. Okavango Delta, I have a feeling I will be seeing you again.