After spending less than 48 hours in Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe to kick off a three-week trip to southern Africa, I headed across the border to the airport in Kasane, Botswana to start my journey to the Okavango Delta – a trip that started with just a bit of drama.

My ultimate destination in the Okavango Delta was Gunn’s Camp and I had booked my flight from Kasane to the camp through the camp staff. To get to Kasane, I needed to book a transfer car from Victoria Falls, which I did through my hotel, the Ilala Lodge. Simple, right? Not so much.

Even prior to my arrival in Zimbabwe, the Gunn’s staff keptasking me when I would arrive in Kasane so they could confirm my flight. Andthe hotel staff kept asking when my flight was so they could schedule mytransfer. Chicken, egg, chicken, egg.

Long story short, I ultimately left Victoria Falls byprivate transfer around 11 a.m. to get to the Kasane airport for a scheduled 2p.m. flight. The border crossing between Zimbabwe and Botswana was painless andquick and the only hiccup was that the driver who was supposed to meet me atthe border didn’t show up, so my Zimbabwean driver ended up taking me all theway to Kasane.

I arrived at a one-room, mostly empty airport around 1 p.m.My airline, Moremi Air, didn’t have its own counter, so I checked in at anotherone, receiving a handwritten boarding pass after my bags were weighed andchecked. I was taking a puddle-jumper flight to the safari camp, so luggageregulations were strict: only 15 kilograms total and luggage had to besoft-sided; no rollerboard suitcases or backpacks with frames. After checkingin, I learned that my flight had been pushed back to 2:50 p.m.

Around 2 p.m., I looked up from my Kindle and realized thatthe entire airport had cleared out and it seemed like the few remaining staffwere packing up to go home. Butterflies started churning in my stomach and Istarted formulating a plan B in case there actually wasn’t a flight going tothe Okavango Delta that afternoon. Of course, I panicked for nothing. Promptlyat 2:15 p.m., another group arrived, and I could hear planes landing on therunway. There were six others: two German couples and two Austrian women. To myshock and amusement, the two Austrian women were traveling with massivehard-sided suitcases, which quickly earned them the wrath of the check-in guy,who said he would have to check with the pilot to see if he would allow thesuitcases. I bit my tongue as they claimed that their travel agent told themtheir luggage was fine; I had received multiple instructions throughout mybooking process reminding me of the restrictions, so I can’t imagine theydidn’t as well.

By 3 p.m., we were in the air! Flying over the Okavango Delta was incredible; the flight lasted about an hour and 20 minutes and for most of it, we were flying low enough not only to see animals below us, but to take pictures! I saw lots of elephants, as well as zebra, giraffes and even hippos out of the water. The pilot also helped us out by pointing out the animals he saw ahead of him and dipping low so people sitting on both sides of the plane got good views. I couldn’t help but think about the fact that the flight was cheaper than my Victoria Falls helicopter excursion, but more than four times as long and was more entertaining!

We landed just after 4 p.m. and Andy, the camp manager met us at the airstrip and led us to the entrance of the camps, which was just a short walk away. As we enjoyed glasses of juice, we listened to an overview of the camp and the rules (don’t walk around alone at night!), and then went to drop our bags in our tents before heading out on a short mokoro (dugout canoe) ride, so we would at least get some activity on our first day. It was great to get out on the water as the sun set and we got to enjoy our first wildlife spotting, albeit giraffe very far in the distance.

Now, a note about the “tents” and this “camp.” These are notlike old-fashioned camping tents that you pitch on the ground and snuggle intoin a sleeping bag. No, these are permanent structures with solid floors, realbeds, and an en suite toilet and shower that just happened to be covered incanvas walls that give a “tent” feeling. This was not roughing it by any means.That said, when we returned to our tents in the dark after returning from the mokororide, it was cooler than I expected, so I went to close all the tent flaps tokeep in the warmth – and in doing so, I unleashed a small black lizard who hadbeen hiding inside one of the flaps! I admit I was slightly freaked out andjust stood there, staring at it until a guide came to get me for dinner. I’msure the guide got a good chuckle when I asked him to come inside and look atit; he assured me it was harmless.

Dinner was served around 7:30, with everyone who was stayingat the camp eating at a communal table together. It was a small group, though,as Gunn’s only has six tents and, being shoulder season, they were not full. Sothat first night it was just me, a French couple on their honeymoon and the twoAustrian women from the airport, who turned out to be a mother-daughter pair.Dinner was surprisingly good, with soup, entrée and dessert courses. They evenhad homemade gluten free bread for me! I was very impressed. Everyone called ita night by about 9 p.m., eager to rest up for what would be an early wake up callthe next morning. All in all, it was an excellent start to what would be threenights and two full days in the Okavango Delta.

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