Our Botswana travels began in the Central Kalahari, a “semi-arid desert” according to our guide. We saw almost no surface water there; as a result, we saw no large animals that depended heavily on daily water, such as elephants, hippos and buffalo. But as soon as we entered the Okavango Delta, streams and water holes were stunningly popular places to witness the routines of these wonderful creatures. We continued north through the Moremi reserve and Chobe National Park. Water was available everywhere.
In the delta we took game walks rather than game drives. In single file we quietly followed local guides who were vigilant about keeping us safe. Each of us had to agree in advance to follow the local guide’s instructions. When he moved us into hiding, we hid. When he stopped us in order to “ask” snakes to move, we stopped. (One lesson, “What to do if a Black Mamba appears,” kept everyone in line.)
On our first walk, we took a short break along a marshy area. Our local guide disappeared for a few minutes; upon returning he said, “We will wait.” Two elephants slowly ambled into view across the marsh, then a third, then the rest of a herd.