Landing in Maun, Botswana, the airport was awash in small bush planes and one building for passengers to transit. You exit the plane and walk to the terminal -something that became commonplace in Africa -walking to/from your plane which I liked. I had been traveling for four days to get here and had one more flight to go – the small bush flight into Oddballs Camp. There would be five of us on the plane – a British couple living in the US, a Canadian couple and me. We chatted during our wait for the flight and I was lucky that they were all so nice especially as we would be together the next couple of days. We met the pilot and he stuffed the duffels in the storage area and we kept our backpacks on our laps. He eyed us up & down (no time to lie about your weight or suck your stomach in) to figure out how to load us properly and then thankfully using yoga moves we all contorted this way and that way and fit into our seats, buckled up and prepared for the flight. I had gone from a flat bed business class seat with amenities, to a coach seat with a meal to this seat with a seatbelt as the only amenity. Up until this point, I could have been anywhere in the world -everything seemed familiar -airports, hotels, planes, etc. – not until I got on the small plane did it hit me – I’m going on safari!!!!
Flying to Oddballs Safari Camp
The flight was about 30 minutes and we all had our faces pressed to the windows looking down – it was the end of winter, the rains hadn’t yet come for spring so the animals had few water sources. All around us was dusty brown landscapes -you could almost feel how dry it was just looking at it so seeing some water made me feel for the search that the animals do each day and how they are in danger just wanting a drink of water. I was tapped on the shoulder and told to look over there – I did as told since the noise doesn’t give you a chance to chat or hear anything. From the plane, I saw a group of elephants walking together – OMG! It hit me that I was in Botswana going to experience something amazing – I was not fast enough to get my camera together to snap the photo of the elephants but I would have many more opportunities to see elephants. When you travel solo, it is moments like this, feelings that are hard to properly explain when you first experience something, that make me sad others are not with me to share the experience.
We started our descent which always makes me in awe of pilots – I see nothing, nothing, nothing and all of a sudden, there is a small strip of sand/field that becomes our landing strip. Welcome to Oddballs’ Camp in the Moremi Game Reserve! My travel agent insisted that I stay here for a real, unique safari experience. This was a bit pricey to add – despite the look of the tent, it was expensive and required the separate flights in/out which add cost but to experience the Moremi Game Reserve in the Okavango Delta you need to fly in/out and spend a bit of money to do so. Luckily since I was able to save money using points elsewhere on the trip, this became a reality for me to add to my adventures. We were greeted by many staff and three guides – each couple would have their own guide and mokoro boat – as I was on my own, I was assigned my own guide and mokoro boat.
Arrival at Oddballs Camp in the Okavango Delta of Botswana
Our bags were taken to our tents, we were shown to the bar/common area to meet with the camp manager for introductions and to learn how the camp operated around our safari schedules. We were instructed on the camp and rules (i.e. – free to roam in the day but must be taken to/from tent/common area at night escorted, solar camp so electronics can be charged with the manager in the morning if needed) and then given time to unpack, come back for lunch and then we would go out on our afternoon trek.
My Safari Tent and En-Suite at Oddballs’ Camp
I was taken to my tent, the tent I worried about for months having never camped before (I’m a hotel girl and lack of turn down service or room service constitutes “roughing it”) – my tent was elevated with four stairs and attached to the outside en-suite (haha) bathroom.
While the photos on the website show the bucket shower, I was happy to learn it was a bit more fancy as the bucket gets filled, hoisted and tied to the pole which then directs the water to the attached showerhead. The décor reminded me of Gillian’s Island in a way but no coconut radios or hammocks.
The tent was a standard tent but without the sleeping bags – each tent had two beds with a storage flap next to the beds where I kept my flashlight and bottle of water.
So now all sorted in my tent and ready to go – let’s go on safari!