After we climbed the Baobab Tree, we headed back to the mainland. We drove to Kasane and flew to our safari camp. We stayed at amazing camp called Tholo Safari. The coolest part is that our camp was in the Kalahari Desert! The camp had it's own little waterhole where the animals came every evening at sundown. So after a long day of hunting, we would wind down with good food, hunting stories all while watching the animals come in for an evening splash. Not only this, but a hippo family lives in this watering hole! A mommy, a daddy and a baby. They stay in the water ALL DAY LONG and feed at night. This is great because as long as you didn't try to go swimming with them you were safe during the day. However, at night, we had to keep a flashlight with us at all times and were not encouraged to leave our tents after everyone tucked-in because they would often feed up at camp. In fact, during the night you could hear them eating and roaming around. I was pretty paranoid about the hippo situation... especially considering that we all hang out at the campfire until dinner and dinner wasn't until 9 o'clock every night!
Headed to Tholo Safari Camp
the hippo family
The watering hole at sundown... amazing!
Our first full day at camp, we let the boys venture out into the Kalahari with the their bows and guns while us girls had a little outing of our own. We hopped on a plane and took a quick flight over to another safari camp called Jack's Camp in Gueta, Botswana. Jack's Camp is out in the Makgadikgadi Pans in the Kalahari as well. It must be noted, that this is probably the coolest place I have ever been to date! Imagine big elaborate tents with scalloped awnings in the middle of the desert. You walk inside and it is fit for a queen. The tents are lined in beautiful pink cloth, antique African furniture, canopy beds, black and white photography covering the walls, stacks of vintage African literature sits on the dressing tables, dark hardwood floors, shampoo in glass bottles.... I could have stayed here for ever!
This is the ONLY official museum in Botswana! This little museum was in the main dinning hall.
You might be wondering why we flew to another camp in the very same country in the very same desert?
Well, we went to see the Meerkats! Those cute little groundhog looking kat thingys that like to crawl all over you.... yes, those! It was an awesome experience! Our guide drove us to one of the little colonies (which consist of about 20-30 Meerkats) and gave us the rundown of how things would go. We could not touch them! These little Meerkats are really quite smart! They always get to the highest ground, usually a dirt mound, sit straight up and look for predators like Eagles that might be close by. If they see a predator, they all start giving each other warning noises and take cover in their underground homes. They either do this or run around digging up scorpions for their crying babies NON-STOP. The little babies follow their moms around crying and begging for her to feed them. It was such an intimate scene we got to peer into.
Anyways, the idea is to slowly walk and sit down where a bunch of them are predator watching. Because they ALWAYS want to be at the highest point, if you are very still, they will crawl right up on your head and stay watching for predators! Talk about cool! The coolest thing actually happened while we were there. We tried and tried to get them to interact with us and there was only one of us they would crawl on (it wasn't me). In a final attempt to get the Meerkats to interact with us all, we waited until it was on Carolyn's head. Next, I slowly went and kneeled beside her, making sure my head was just a bit higher than hers. Sure enough, that little booger hopped right on my head! We did this with all six of us until we were all out there in a group where the Meerkat had hopped from one head to the higher head. It was surreal!
Here is the sad part... I didn't get those pictures on my camera :( They are on one of the camera's in Africa, but I am working on that. I do have some pictures of the Meerkats and pictures of them on Carolyn (the only person they seemed to be interested in) so I'll share those.
Cute little family... Remi would have LOVED this!
This is what we did... sit really still and cross your fingers that they would hop up on you :) Yes, this is me and that scowl is probably because I can't quite quit thinking about how dirty my pants are getting!
Before we left, our guide stopped on the Makgadikgdi Pan to take 'some really cool pictures'! They actually did turn out really neat and bless his heart, he was so proud of his photography skills :) This pan is bigger than Switzerland... cool, huh!?