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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Jacana

If I were to describe Chitabe as a roller coaster ride filled with excitement due to all the predator sightings then I would have to describe Jacana, our second camp located in the Jao concession in the Okavango Delta, as a lazy river boat cruise. Not that Jacana was boring. It wasn't. But it was the opposite of Chitabe in practically every way.

The flight to Jacana was 30 minutes and Mr. Deep and I were the only passengers on the small plane. When we arrived we were picked up at the airstrip by Bee our guide. How funny that his name was Bee and our guide at Chitabe was named BB. Anyway, Bee picked us up and we drove for 30 minutes in an open air safari vehicle. We then came to a boat launch and took a boat an additional 30 minutes to Jacana. 


I can't take credit for this photo but here is an aerial view of the Jacana camp that I borrowed from the Wilderness Safari website. 
It is hard to imagine that some of the areas where we were boating dry up completely during the year. At certain times the safari vehicles can be driven on roads right to Jacana. At this time of year though Jacana is completely surrounded by water and the roads turn to rivers. 

red lechwe
Close up of a hippo's head
Based on the various modes of transportation that it took to get there, you can imagine that Jacana is quite remote. There are no phones, TVs, cell phone service or internet at Jacana. The staff get their updates about what is happening in the world when one of them has a few days off and leaves the camp for a time.  There must be some kind of radio communication because somehow the staff know when to pick people up and drop them off at the airstrip but that is all. Like Chitabe, the electricity is solar meaning that at night everything runs on batteries that have been charged by the sun throughout the day. 

To add to the feeling of being completely off the grid, as we were driving to the boat Bee told us that we would be the only guests at Jacana for the entire three days. At first, I was a little sorry to hear that as we had met some nice people at Chitabe but I very quickly (15 seconds) got over it and decided that having the place and the staff to ourselves would be fabulous. If we were late to dinner or a game drive no one would care. If we were loud and obnoxious no one would care. We were THE guests. 

Jacana reminded me of Gilligan's Island. I don't know why but a lot of things I see in life remind me of TV shows that I watched as a kid often in reruns after school. Luckily Mr.Deep has the same point of reference and any time we see a monkey one of us will sing the Monkees theme song. But back to Jacana I could imagine being shipwrecked on an island surrounded by a lagoon and having to build huts out of the materials available. Also I could imagine living there with no knowledge of what was happening in the world and lying in bed at night listening to the sounds of wildlife...hippos are loud.  But Jacana also had a pool, a full bar and fabulous food so it wasn't really like life as a stranded castaway.



Gilligan's Island right?
If the professor on Gilligan's Island had built a bar it might have looked like this.
The Okavango Delta has salt islands meaning that when the floods come the water contains salt and minerals and then when the water evaporates the salt and minerals remain. 
The papyrus grows in the water but is not rooted to the ground so the hippos and crocs can easily walk/swim right through. Hippos don't swim. 

Banded mongoose
Driving through the flood
View from our room






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Hello and thank you for taking an interest in my blog. This blog tells the story of some big life changes. First, my husband and I have moved from the U.S. to South Africa for three years. We moved due to an exciting opportunity my husband had with his job. Second, I won't be working anymore. I'm actually not allowed to work so that will be different given that for the past twenty years I've been somewhat of a workaholic. I'm excited to share our adventures with you! My thoughts and opinions are my own.