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// MY NAME IS DANIELAnd after years of dreaming I've sold everything I own and set off on the open road. I've made this site as a sort of photo journal of my travels. The map shows where I've been (red), where I've stayed a month or more (yellow), and where I plan to go (white). And so, armed with little more than a backpack, a camera, and a dream, I now take the road less traveled by. So it goes.


MAUN OKAVANGO DELTA After nearly a month on the road now already, my great African road trip continued into Botswana, my sixth African country so far. We stayed with a local woman at a cottage house, overtaken daily by bands of cows in desperate search of water (which you can see below). Maun is the gateway into the Okavango Delta, the largest inland delta in the world. Each season rains a thousand miles away in Angola collect and flow south into the Kalahari Desert, covering five thousand square miles of flat arid land in standing water, all of which ultimately evaporates before it can ever reach any ocean or sea. Maun is also a culturally rich town. We gave the Herero woman below a ride. Her headdress is designed to parallel that of a bull, reflecting their traditional roots as cattle pastoralists. The last thing to note is the termite mound I'm standing next to. They are so high so that when the delta floods, the termite colonies can move above the water line.
MOREMI GAME RESERVE OKAVANGO DELTA Moremi was one of my favorite experiences in Africa, perhaps because it was so different than anywhere else I had been. Unlike traditional National Parks, Moremi was created as a Reserve to allow the tribes that lived there to remain. A common issue with National Parks is the eviction of local tribes from their ancestral homelands in order to establish the park. Instead Moremi is divided into concessions, some of which are owned by the tribes themselves. The villagers are also allowed to use the land (for fishing or plant gathering for example) and they can insure that most of the tours are operated by local guides. You can see some of the villagers and villages below. The best part, however, is exploring the Delta by mokoro, a traditional canoe. It becomes evident very quickly that Botswana has a LOT of elephants. More than 100,000 which is more than anywhere else in the world. Elephant over population is actually a contemporary issue in the country.
CHOBE NATIONAL PARK OKAVANGO DELTA To the east of Moremi, sits Chobe National Park, the first national park created in Botswana. This is another safari park that can be toured by boat and has some of the most concentrated wildlife in Africa. The safari I took was by jeep in the morning and boat in the afternoon, photos of both you can see below.
GHANZI KALAHARI DESERT This is actually where we entered Botswana (from Namibia). The region was flat, dominated by scrub brush. Along the highways were more ostriches and warthogs than I could count. Termite mounds, some almost ten feet tall, were a common site. We stayed at an old farmhouse, I think originally established by a white Afrikaner family but now run by a black family from Zimbabwe who had fled economic crisis there. This was actually the fourth or fifth African farmhouse we'd stayed at so far. Each had been unique and special in their own way. This one, located in the Kalahari Desert, had a watering hole only a mile's walk from the house. We sat quietly there, at sundown, and watched the desert come alive as birds, warthogs, horses, pheasants, and even a herd of Kudu came down for a drink.
SAN BUSHMEN KALAHARI DESERT Until now I'd only seen the ancient drawings of the Bushmen, drawn in red paint, on cave walls in Lesotho and South Africa. I'd never seen the Bushmen themselves. The Bushmen, also called the San, were the original inhabitants of southern Africa. They were a nomadic people, their clans rarely larger than an extended family. In spiritual trances they painted images on rock face. Their way of life changed little over thousands of years. A century or two before the Europeans arrived, however, the Bantu arrived from central Africa, forming kingdoms and displacing the San. But they've managed to hold on here and there, and in Ghanzi are several San villages. A few European governments helped the San establish a community based lodge near their villages, as a way for the San to support themselves economically and share their culture. We stayed at that lodge and even took a bush walk, which involved some fire making demonstrations, hunting lessons, and cultural insights.
NATA CENTRAL DISTRICT Nata was our last stop in Botswana (well technically it was Francistown, where we dropped off the car (goodbye car!) but Nata was the last stop where I took any photos). We stayed at Eselbe Camp on the Nata River which was a really peaceful way to relax and spend our final days in this amazing country. We even made a few friends while we were there. But alas, the journey must continue. So it goes.