Fox. On the Road is a series of travel related posts I write for Eurocircle.com. Follow it, for more musings on aimless wandering, light bulb moments, and amazing experiences: http://www.eurocircle.com/forums/profile/72991-sherry-kumar/
Departures are always hectic. Getting a group of over-excited travelers from all over the world, to board correct flights and land into Windhoek, Namibia on time is never easy. It takes months of planning, cajoling and organizing to pull off Eurocircle’s African Safari, 2015– skills I simply do not possess.
From making sure everyone has their vouchers, extensions, optional excursions, airport transfers, insurance, vaccinations, to coordinating everyone to land in the same place, at the same time, and make sure they’re all properly fed, safe and tucked in, I am always overwhelmed and pressed for time to make sure everything runs smoothly.
There is no room for anything personal in my suitcase this year, because it is full of enough tummy meds, and Immodium to plug up a herd of buffaloes. This year, the itinerary is a bit more adventuresome, and it involves a two night stay in the outdoors. The first night we sleep in tents under the starry sky of the Okavango Delta. The next night, we share a mud hut with the San Bushmen tribe of the Kalahari.
As well traveled, and adaptable as I am, never in my life have I slept in a tent, or owned a sleeping bag. Friends who slept on the Okavango before, warned me of monster bugs, centipedes the size of a football, and that wild animals visit the camp in the middle of the night. It is not unusual to hear a scream or a roar in the darkness, or wake up to something scraping the sides of the tent, trying to get in. Something tells me my back will not be able to endure the hard earth of the African bush, and that my tent mate will be listening to me “Om” all night trying to stay calm.
What was I thinking? Perhaps I was ready to try something I had never done before, and got over ambitious when I heard we could ride dugout canoes straight into the Delta, maneuver our way around hungry hippos and angry crocodiles, then pitch tents in the bush. Did I make a mistake, when I chose to forego a comfortable hotel room, to experience a night with an indigenous tribe in Botswana? “Shared ablutions” is the only description of the plumbing available to us.
As I pack Huggies baby wipes into my suitcase, I am wondering if my deodorant will be adequate protection in the scorching heat of the desert for a full 48 hrs, and what exactly to do when sand and dust encrusts my hair (the way it did on tiger safari in India), and there are no showers for miles. I’m fairly certain I am under-prepared for this trip, as more experienced campers stock upon dehydration powder, army knives and flashlights- I still haven’t figured out what they are for.
All I have done to prepare for this adventure is to buy an expensive camera, upgrade its lens, and take photography lessons for a month, to make sure I don’t miss a moment of this experience. And if I have to decline food for 48 hrs, in hope of avoiding the “shared ablutions” of the bush, so be it.
To tell you the truth, I am not ready for this. I always prided myself on crossing the globe multiple times before I turned 10. My parents made sure we were exposed to everything from a young age, and when we traveled to distant places like China and India as kids, they never coddled us with special foods or child-friendly itineraries. As a result, I learned to eat pigeon, snake, yak balls, cat and dog, and never complain, but now I cringe at the thought of crawling into a tent, and washing up under a shower that trickles rain water out of a bucket . I’m exaggerating. I’m sure.
As daunting as the two days in the bush are, we will head back to a charming boutique hotel with clean linens and glorious wifi! As I upload my photos onto Flickr, you’ll admire my bravery on the Okavango and the Kalahari, and I’ll brag about spearing an impala with my bare hands, and roasting it for dinner for my travelers.
In the mean time, check out our photos from previous Eurocircle trips, and follow me on social media below.