Day 15 – Sunday 11 June: Okavango Delta/Johannesburg
Sadly it’s time to leave the Delta, and make our way back to Johannesburg.
After a full cooked breakfast, we walked the 5 minutes to the adjacent airstrip where we waited for our aircraft to arrive. First to leave were Heather and Garv in a Cessna. Then it was our turn. Di, Steve, Norman and I boarded our GA8 Airvan which was under the control of Captain Nick and a trainee co-pilot. I unfortunately couldn’t snare a seat up the front this time … damn! But wow, this aircraft was positively luxurious compared to the Cessna 206 that transported us into the Delta! For a start, this was an 8-seater, and it had larger windows, a centre aisle, and a sliding door. Woo hoo!
And we were off, headed back to Kasane. From a 9,000-foot vantage point where I could take in a panorama of this unique landscape, I could understand how the Okavango Delta just got added as the 1,000th entry on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. It is an extraordinary piece of the world indeed!
After a 1 hour 20 minute flight, we landed in Kasane. We were met by a Wild Horizons driver charged with driving us to the Botswana/Zimbabwe border. And so we made another border crossing at the Kazangula Border Post where we were then met by driver Emmanuel who would transfer us to the Victoria Falls airport. Emmanuel was an enthusiastic, funny guy who looked a bit like Bob Marley! During our drive he regaled us with stories about his wife who is a hairdresser. Given his penchant for all things “hair”, he was pretty taken with my hair, and shared hairdressing tips with me during our trip! How hilarious … traversing African outposts with a Zimbabwean “Bob Marley look-alike” giving me advice on colouring my hair!! Just prior to arriving in Victoria Falls, we had to stop and let a male elephant cross the road in front of us! I will miss this so much!!
We arrived at Victoria Falls airport well in advance of our 13:55 departure time. So we had lunch at a nice café in the terminal. And I had a little look around the shops, stopping to buy a bottle of Amarula for just $6 AUD! I will miss that too!! And I’m still kicking myself for not buying the bronze vuvuzela I saw in a gift shop there … damn!!
Then it was time for our flight back to Johannesburg, a short 1.5 hour British Airways flight. We landed in Johannesburg about 4:00pm, and made our way to the City Lodge Hotel which is attached to the airport. After checking in, we had showers, then headed downstairs to the lobby to meet up with our safari guide Shaun. How wonderful that he brought along his gorgeous wife Andrea, as well as his parents, Ros and Gary. It was so lovely to get together and recap our extraordinary two weeks of safari adventures. We presented Shaun with his “Giraffe Dude” thank you card, had “Three Leaping Leopard Ladies” photos with him, then said our goodbyes. Hugs all round! It was sad in a sense because it closed the chapter on the safari segment of our holiday. But what an incredible, out-of-this world fortnight it was!! Truly unforgettable!