Ten minutes after we first encountered Tripod, we arrived at Chief’s Camp, situated at the lip of a rich flood plain of the Okavango Delta. We sipped a cup of warm rooibos tea on the back deck of the lodge.
Across the flood plain, we observed a giraffe...
Later we were invited explore our exotic "back yard" in a faux-dugout canoe called a mokoro. I sat flat on the floor of the boat with my feet pointed towards the bow while my gentle guide propelled the
boat forward like a Venetian gondolier. It was comforting to silently glide through the water after our usual roaring through the wilderness in the open Landcruiser.
My guide, whose name I've regretfully forgotten, was boundlessly patient and stopped the boat each time I greedily snapped photo after photo with the water surface only inches from my lens.
I saw my son shake his head at me with a smile of great relief as he and his dad faded into the distance. What a luxury to creep through the reeds without feeling guilt for slowing down the expedition and without having to explain to my travel partners that I took these photos simply because I loved the colors...
...and that I needed yet another photo just because this was a different aquatic plant:
My guide pulled out one of the water hyacinths and expressed the clear liquid out of the bulb that floats just below the blossom. He told me, in very good English, that the local people use this liquid as medicine to treat river blindness, also known as Robles' Disease (Oncocerciasis), caused by a nematode worm.
He went on to say: "I see you like the water lilies. I will make you a necklace." I was eager to learn what he meant by this. He began by pulling out a water lily with a stalk that seemed to go on forever:
Then I heard a "snap... snap... snap ..." at an even tempo.
I turned around again and saw that he snapped the stalk at one inch intervals without severing it completely and slid off the outermost fibers down about another inch. He repeated this from the opposite sides of the stalk...
...until he finished snapping the entire stalk. He tied the ends to finish this beautiful fresh necklace from nature and ceremoniously handed it to me:
I proudly wore my new jewelry as we continued our ride. By this time my husband and son were completely out of sight. We stopped to view the Little Bee-eater (Merops pusillus)
Some of you already met the Painted Reed Frog during a Macro Monday last November; here's another one:
We caught up with the other boat and my son pointed out a hippo in the distance. We clambered out of the boat onto a termite hill and zoomed our cameras for a photo .
At the end the ride, my guide stopped the boat one more time, patiently waiting for me to notice more wildlife. I felt completely dense. I did not see a thing, only grass:
I turned around and gave my best quizzical look.
"Look closely," he said, "it's green."
And then I saw it. Eegads! I suddenly had the urge to take inventory of the boat and check to see if I was carrying any hitchhikers.
Spiders and tarantulas don't bother me one bit, but I get the willies when an animal has no legs. If you have any desire to see a larger version of the Olive Whip Snake, click here.
Slightly relieved that we weren't going to be brushing up against any more reeds, we docked back at the camp and I looked forward to showing off my new necklace at dinner.