As we publish the June 2017 issue (Issue # 11) of House Sitting Magazine it’s fast approaching mid-summer… or perhaps it is almost mid-winter where you are?
As lovers of warmer climates we tend to follow summer from northern hemisphere to southern hemisphere, and then back again. We’ll be doing that at the end of the year, when we head Down Under to enjoy Australia’s beautiful summer from December to February.
But this year we’ve taken a bit of a break from our routine, and flown south during the northern summer.
We’re in Botswana, in the southern part of Africa, and we’re having to wrap up in the evenings and early mornings now, as temperatures drop when the sun isn’t up. Days, however, are usually hot, with clear blue cloudless skies.
We took this unique and challenging pet free house sit as we wanted to experience the adventure of a few months in Africa. We’ve certainly been doing that over the past few weeks.
We’ve met a few of the neighbours and have enjoyed some great evenings with them.
We’ve had hippos in the river just by the bottom of the garden. And just last week we headed out on a three day safari into one of the big game reserves on the edge of the Okavango Delta.
Our home owners had put us in touch with Steve, a very experienced local safari guide, and he arranged an amazing few days for us. We spent two nights camping in the open bush where wild elephants could roam through the camp. The night sounds included the throaty roars of lions on either side of us.
We saw one lion, a leopard (too briefly to get a picture), hippos, giraffes, zeebras, wildebeests, impalas, a warthog, and more elephants than we could count. The endless array of birds was amazing too.
Steve brought along a chef / assistant called Prince who managed to produce gourmet dishes every day, all cooked on an open campfire. He even bought along his own home-made bread!
The whole trip was a real once-in-lifetime experience… or was it?
We’ve been invited to visit the neighbours’ brand new lodge in the bush next week. They have a watering hole right out in front of their balcony, and elephants visit every day.
Keep an eye on the House Sitting Magazine Facebook Group for more photos and a perhaps a couple of videos.
At “home” we’ve had a few challenges to overcome:
- The new solar system isn’t performing as well in winter as it apparently did in summer, as the sun is much lower in the sky. By mid-afternoon the fence starts to shade the solar panels, so we have to monitor our use of electricity carefully. The solar company added two more panels to see if that would help for now.
- Last week the petrol-driven water pump that pulls water from the river to irrigate the lush garden simply gave up, seizing solid. It had to go into the workshop this morning, and the diagnosis wasn’t good. We have a borrowed one for now, so the garden should be OK.
- There has been an infestation of stink bugs, small harmless beetles. A very wet rainy season meant that they all hatched this year, and there are millions of them. They are everywhere, and each night we have to gather up hundreds of them from the walls of the house. They get in through the tiniest cracks and gaps.
- And to top it all off, the swimming pool is now merely ornamental, as its too cold to use! Bah.
But despite the challenges, this truly is an amazing experience, and there is plenty more to come as we still have almost six more weeks left in Africa.
We hope you are enjoying your summer, or winter, wherever you are.
And we hope you enjoy this month’s issue of House Sitting Magazine.
Ian and Vanessa
(house sitting in the African bush, somewhere near Maun, Botswana)