Out of Africa

Another house sit comes to an end, and it’s time to move on again. We have reached the end of almost three months in the African bush, on the beautiful banks of the Boteti River, to the east of Maun in Botswana.

As is often the case we find ourselves feeling a mixture of excitement and sadness. We’re looking forward to new adventures ahead, but we are sad to be leaving this wonderful part of the world behind.

This has been our longest house sit to date, and it has been different to others in that we have got to know our neighbours much better than we usually do. Bruce and Yvonne, immediately next door, have become very good friends. We even got to spend a wonderful weekend with them at their guest lodge way out in the wilderness.

Omogolo Bush Lodges are in a very secluded location, and the first lodge they’ve built sits on a platform overlooking a waterhole which is kept filled all year round. In the dry season the waterhole is very popular with elephants, as it is one of the few easily accessible water supplies in the area.

Every day elephants come to visit. Some are regulars, some are first time visitors, but word seems to be spreading, and more and more keep arriving. You can sit on the balcony watching, sometimes just one or two big bull males, sometimes larger family groups.

The lodge is right at the water’s edge and the clean water piped into the waterhole spills into the pool just beyond the edge of the balcony. The more confident elephants will come almost to the balcony to drink the clean water pumping out of the pipe.

If you sit quiet and still they come so close, and are obviously very aware that you are sat close by.

The highlight of out weekend was the arrival of a large family group, including tiny babies. At one point we counted 27 elephants in the waterhole. Apparently a couple of days after we left there was a group of over 40 arrived.

This has certainly been one of the highlights of our stay here in Botswana, and a true “once-in-a-lifetime” experience. If you are interested in finding out more about this special place take a look at: http://omogolobushlodges.com/

Bruce and Yvonne also have a Botswana travel company and organized another three day excursion for us.

Just last weekend we drove further east, out to the edge of the Makgadikgadi Pans, where we had a couple of nights of adventure planned.

On the afternoon we arrived we were taken out to the bush where we met with an extended family of meerkats. You may have seen these cute creatures on TV documentaries. They are even more fascinating in real life.

The colony we visited were used to seeing humans around, and paid us little notice, going about their daily routine un-interrupted. They even took advantage of Vanessa as a higher lookout point.

Late in the afternoon we were issued our quad bike and rode way out into the middle of a huge salt flat, where we were to spend the night. We were the only two guests on the tour that night, so with just a guide and a cook, we felt like the only people left on Earth. It was utterly silent out there.

We cooked under the full moon, and slept on the ground under the stars. It was cold in the morning as we had breakfast, and we wrapped up warm for the ride back to civilisation.

We stayed at Planet Baobab, a wonderful resort built around the most fantastic trees we had ever seen. The baobabs are believed to live around 6,000 years, and the ones at the resort are thought to be between 1,000 and 4,000 years old. Nobody is really sure, as they don’t have rings like most trees, and age can only be estimated by measuring their diameter.

Our trip was booked through Omogolo Travels

Back at our house sit, we are now in the middle of our final clean up, preparing everything for the return of the home owners. They are back in two days, and we head off the next morning. We still have about ten days in Africa, time we set aside for traveling.

Our first stop is still in Botswana. A short flight from Maun will take us to Kasane, where we plan a wildlife river cruise. We then cross the border into Zambia and have a couple of days to explore Livingstone and see the spectacular Victoria Falls from the Zambian side of the Zambezi River. From there we cross into Zimbabwe where I’ll be celebrating my birthday at Victoria Falls.

Then its back to the UK for a quick visit and onward to the next house sit in Barbados.

So, yes, we’re sad to be leaving new friends behind, but as always the adventure ahead beckons us forward.

We hope you enjoy this month’s dose of lifestyle inspiration in House Sitting Magazine.

Ian and Vanessa

(just finishing our current house sit in Maun, Botswana)

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  • July 17, 2017

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