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Birds and Companions

Community Highlights Travel Philosophy Birds and Companions

I have never been a fan of birds. Now I know why: I've only ever seen pigeons and crows. The trip to the Delta opened my eyes to the diverse and vibrant "bird-life" here in Southern Africa.


Speaking of birds, I have to mention this lovely couple that I met from South Africa, Peter and Joan. Peter and Joan are in their 60s, and have traveled the world, in over 60 countries. Peter is an ardent bird enthusiast. He is fully equipped with everything you need for bird watching: a pair of $2,000 binoculars that he won at a bird enthusiast conference (of course), a palm pilot with a complete list of birds, their descriptions, and their calling (the sound they make), a book that has all the birds that you can find in Southern Africa (with pictures of them in juvenile, mature, and flying state of being), and a check list. Accordingly to Peter, there are around 800 different species of birds in Southern Africa, and him and Joan has spotted over 700 species! Peter's zeal for birds is infectious, not only for me, but for everyone that we traveled with. We started to spot different types of birds and writing down their names. At the end of my trip, I sat down with Peter to get the names of the all the birds that we saw in the past two days. There were 49 different species! I simply wrote down whatever he told me to write down (I don't think I saw all the birds he had mentioned; or even if I did, I wouldn't have known the difference). The few that I am sure of are: Squaco Heron (there's a ton of them flying around in the delta; they are the recognizable white ones); Black Coucal (apparently a rare bird to find, which is why I remembered); Broad-Billed Roller (the way it flew was simply amazing; reminded me of biomimicry, there are so much to learn from nature); there are many more, like I said, all 49 of them! I may never become like Peter, or Joan, who is also great at recognizing the birds, just by their calling. But I am definitely starting to appreciate them. It's amazing how ignorance could make you miss such beautiful parts of nature.


Apart from Peter and Joan, I was fortunate to have met the lodge managers, who started Moremi Crossing (MX) from scratch 6 years. Linda and Cliff are retired now, but only back at MX for three weeks to cover for the current lodge manager. I had some great conversations with both them. I learned that Linda and Cliff had been married for 41 years, knowing each other since age of 15. They were originally from Zimbabwe, but had left the country due to political instability and war. And since then, they had moved to Botswana, and now living in Kasane, where I am visiting next week (I've been invited for tea while I'm there, which I gladly accepted). Knowing Linda and Cliff, Peter and Joan made me realize that it is such a blessing to be with your loved one, and experience all that life has to offer. There was also this German couple, who loved to make jokes, which was very un-German-like, but I really enjoyed their company.


On my way to the airstrip leaving the Delta, Linda sent me to the dock, Peter and Joan had woken up from ciesta and waved goodbye from their balcony, and Cliff stayed with me until the Airvan took off (the flight was delayed by an hour and half). It was hard for me to say goodbye to the Delta, not only because of the amazing wildlife and nature, but also because of all the wonderful people that I had met, all the stories that I had heard, and all that I had learned. It saddens me to know that I probably will never see them again. But for the brief moments that our lives crossed paths, I am grateful.


Goodbye, Dear Okavango and my friends, for now! I will be back.


This featured blog entry was written by jg_adventures from the blog My Botswana Journal.
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By jg_adventures

Posted Fri, Nov 21, 2014 | Botswana | Comments