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Botswana Day 1: Small Planes and Small Creatures

We landed safely in Johannesburg about 5a local time and had roughly six hours to kill before our next flight to Maun, Botswana. But there were things to do. First up, of course, was getting thru Immigration, picking up our luggage, and then Customs. This process took a while but wasn't too bad. We then had to rearrange our baggage as a representative from the African Rock Hotel was supposed to meet us to pick up our non-safari luggage to store until we returned to Johannesburg. We had a bit of a snafu in that the cafe where we were supposed to meet had changed names but figured it out soon enough and Givemore arrived from ARH to fetch our bags. Mike had an English breakfast and I had an omelet and I was still fretting about the money situation. So we stopped off at Western Union to find out the details on wiring money from the US. We were assured this would not be a problem. It was now time to re-check our bags on South African Airways for our flight to Maun. We headed to our gate and passed some time again at another Mugg & Bean cafe. It was a lot of wait and wait and wait. Finally, our plane was ready to go. Since we were on a smaller plane, we were bused from the main terminal out to the tarmac. When we arrived to the plane, our assigned row of seats did not exist. Not knowing what to do, the flight attendants told us to sit in any vacant seat. So we sat in the front row, the only place where there were two seats together. Apparently this was "first class," although the only difference from the other seats seemed to be the meal that was served. This did not sit well with the lady behind us as she bitched and moaned the whole trip about it, even though they didn't serve us the "fancy" meal. We didn't care; we were so exhausted that we slept the short 1.5 hour flight anyway. We landed in Maun where we met our travel agent from Safari Specialists. I explained our money situation to her and gave her a head's up that my mother would be in contact. Then we boarded our final flight of the day, a four-seat plane piloted by Itor, and headed to Tau Pan in the Kalahari Desert.
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The runway on which we landed
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We landed safely and unloaded our gear. We were met by our guide, Vasco, and tracker, Souper.
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We stayed to make sure the runway was clear for Itor's take-off.
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We arrived at camp a few minutes later where we met the manager, Joseph, and had a quick camp orientation. Our "tent" was beautiful and the front deck and outdoor shower had a spectacular view over the waterhole.
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Walking from our cabin to the main dining building.
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Bar area in main building
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Public bathroom at main building
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Firepit and viewing deck from main building
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After a quick clean up, we headed out for a short, two hour game drive. At this camp we were paired with two, older Swiss ladies who spoke very little English but were as nice as they could be. They were excited and we all seemed to communicate effectively, even with the language barrier (our guide did not speak Swiss either).

The game drive started out with the smallest of creatures.
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And moved on to some bigger ones - kudu.
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Guineafowl - also known as the Kalahari chicken.
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Weaver nests.
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Wildebeest.
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Springbok.
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Bat-eared fox couple.
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Jackal approaching the bat-eared foxes.
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Squirrels.
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Cape Fox.
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Abandoned ostrich egg.
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Rabbit.
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Black Korhaan.
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Steenbok.
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Before stopping for sunset drinks, we did see an African wild cat but unfortunately, it was skittish and Mike scared it away. We headed back to camp and enjoyed a buffet dinner of spinach rolls, Thai-style chicken curry, mushroom chickpea curry, rice, butternut squash, broccoli, and bread pudding for dessert. Dinner at Tau Pan is communal with the guides and other guests. This evening we talked with five other guests from Finland. We spent some time around the campfire then enjoyed an outdoor shower, listening to the lions roar in the distance, hoping we would find them the next day. After a long day, we made it to bed around 12:30a.

Posted by deniseandmike 14:05 Archived in Botswana Tagged mike botswana pan kalahari tau

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