Saturday, March 7, 2009

March 7, 2009: The first safari, or facsimile thereof.

Because there were three L4C volunteers in Gaborone today, the program officers arranged for us to go to the Mokolodi Nature Reserve located about 15 kilometres outside of Gaborone. The taxi driver, Thebe, picked me up at 9 am and we collected Manured another from L4C and off we were. The third person was flying to Johannesburg and could not make it.

The reception area is an interesting, I assume, traditional design and attractive with thatched roofs on the buildings and all done in traditional colours. Manpreet immediately ran into a "Student Without Borders" participant from Kingston, Ontario that she shared housing with, who worked at the Reserve. He showed us some special exhibits of enclosures as we had an hour before the actual drive around the 5000 hectares to see the animals in a relatively free state. The exhibits were of the most poisonous adder, some lizards, a Nile Crocodile and a python. He explained that the Reserve was for conservation, study, education and trying to breed some at risk Botswana animals.

Our drive about soon began and was prefaced by some information and a statement that we might not might not see any animals. They are incredibly well camouflaged and the vegetation is thick and heavy this season due to a wonderfully wet summer that has all the watering holes full and the grass tall and green. Well, we ended up seeing lots and I was reduced to the typical tourist in the pictures of the white invaders: sitting up on the open vehicle with my camera and zoom lens and snapping away every time something moved!!

The driver stopped often and in a very casual fashion offered us a wealth ofinformation about the particular animals we encountered. We saw: elephants, giraffes, impala, wart hogs, haartebest, kudos, Malibu storks, cheetahs (sleeping in the tall grass during the heat of the day and so could not get e recognizable shot of them), Brilliant yellow weaver birds, zebra and a monkey near the reception centre plus one in town when I was out for a walk before dusk, and also a baboon along the road on the way to the reserve.

As Manpreet, who is a long term and experienced volunteer with L4C, having arrived 10 whole days ago, said; " What a great way to start your Botswana adventure!"


  1. Just to fill you in, Vancouver is expecting -6C Tuesday night and -7C Wednesday night. Enjoy the heat!!

  2. you lucky dog... or should I say hyena!