OK, cards on the table up front – this was not going to be my kind of day.
Tsodilo Hills is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with rock paintings dating back 3,000 years. There are rock shelters, too. So, this is about Homo sapiens history and not Natural History. It is, though, an important site revered by the local people. It was good to meet our local guide for a wander.
It should be “an interesting day” from another viewpoint, though. At some point, as the years advance, we will be the oldest folks on an Explore! trip. This was not that day, however. Two of our three late arrivals were far from being spring chickens. One had several replacement joints that set off airport alarms causing delays progressing through airports. They also noticeably restricted limb flexibility. She also “suffered from bad travel sickness” so “needed the front passenger seat” since “you really don’t want her to be sick”, quoting her similarly challenged but slightly-less-elderly-but-still-older-than-us sister. OK, let’s get this straight. You have restricted movement and travel sickness, so you booked a 2200 kms (rough) road trip requiring you to clamber in and out of a difficult-to-access safari truck around Botswana. I’ll just thumb through the brochures to see if I can find any trip less suitable. How about a cruise in the Southern Ocean across the roaring 40s? Their drive up from Maun had been in a more regular vehicle. I’ll just watch the early attempts and get ready to catch. Oh, we were 8 ladies and only 2 men, BTW.
Okavango Spirit had been moved downstream yesterday from its original mooring “to avoid a local disco”. Its new moorings were very pleasantly isolated. We began the day by making the journey in the launch back to the jetty to drive 30kms back down the road, then 30 kms along another dirt road to Tsodilo Hills. Along the river we had a very close view of a huge Crocodile, initially resting on the bank, higher than our boat, until it decided that we were too close and launched itself at us. A few pulse rates increased – scary stuff.
The fun began as arrived at the boat jetty. Never mind getting into the Landcruiser, Ms. Restricted needed help getting out of the launch. Now for the Landcruiser. Front passenger seat, no problem. Excellent. The rest of us crumblies made it into the back with relatively little problem. Off we roared.
Arriving at Tsodilo Hills, disembarkation proved a bit more dangerous. One of our originals proved even less nimble than the late arrivals when it came to exiting. We developed our favoured technique of somebody able-bodied descending first, then physically placing Ms. Wobbly’s feet on the ladder rungs to avoid any further mishap. I’m sure it would have been less dangerous had she actually looked to see where her feet were going. Call me old fashioned.
Safely out of the Landcruiser, we spent 2½ hours with our young guide touring the rock paintings. The most interesting image for me depicted whales and a penguin. These ancient inhabitants must’ve travelled.
The return journey to the jetty and houseboat was via the water and wine shop before settling down to an evening meal of chicken curry, rice, veggies and potato salad followed by Swiss roll and custard. We were being well fed.