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Africa 2009 Itinerary - Botswana

Saturday, March 14 – Jwaneng to a campsite

Five hour drive to the campsite where Paul and the safari company waited for us, lunch and free afternoon for swimming and reading, 6:30 gemsbok stew dinner, sit around a campfire to watch Bushmen dances

Sunday, March 15 – Sleep at a campsite

Early rise, bush walk with a Bushman medicine man who pointed out animal tracks and the use of plants, saw wildebeest, breakfast at the campsite, drive to the D'kar Museum about the San people, late lunch at the campsite, sociology presentation on the epidemiology of Botswana, free time until 7:30 dinner.

Monday, March 16 – Tsodilo Campsite

Wake at 6am to break camp and eat breakfast, drove six hours north to a new campsite, saw ostriches/donkeys/cows everywhere, set up camp, dinner with a talk by Paul on Bushman culture.

Tuesday, March 17 – Tsodilo Campsite

Morning hike in groups to see Bushman rock paintings, browse craft selection at the campsite, sociology presentation on AIDS, option to hike or stay at the campsite, cows ate people's drying clothes off the line, dinner, Secret Leprechaun gift exchange, stories around the campfire.

Wednesday, March 18 – Poler's Trust Chalets on the Okavango Delta

Break camp, drive to the Okavango River, lunch at a picnic shelter, ferry across the river, visit to a boy's school for orphans and street kids (had a swimming pool, haircutting shed, tv tent, garden, chicken coop, metal/auto shop, chicken slaughterhouse, brick-making yard, classrooms, dorms, rec room where we were treated to a drum and xylophone performance), reach a lodge with chalets for dinner and sleeping.

Thursday, March 19 – Poler's Trust Chalets on the Okavango Delta

Wake at 6:30, meet our guides/oarsmen of the mokoro boats, two hours on the river in them, rowing up to hippos and elephants, reach an island to walk through the bush to see impala, warthogs, baboons and wildebeest, picnic lunch under a tree, hour rowing back to where we started, return to the chalets around 4, meeting to discuss the itinerary and dinner at 7, talk on the Okavango Poler's Trust to develop tourism in the area.

Friday, March 20 – Swamp Stop Campsite

Visit to Seronga for a walking tour of the town (town hall to meet the chief, clinic, primary school, police station, ride in a donkey cart), talk from a woman who keeps a garden and bees to help HIV patients with nutrition, meet speedboats on the river for a ride down the Okavango, picnic lunch on an island, continue on the boats to the Swamp Stop campsite, set up camp, swim in the pool, dinner.

Saturday, March 21 – Campsite outside Maun

Up at 6:30, broke camp, drive to Maun, lunch at a French restaurant in town, internet time, set up camp, free time, dinner.

Sunday, March 22 – Bush Camping

Break camp, game drive (impala, giraffes, elephants, hippos), attempted to reach another campsite over flooded roads, dig the safari trucks out of the mud, find a clearing under a tree for lunch, dig the trucks out of the mud again, saw more animals (zebras, warthogs, impala, waterbuck, vultures), gave up and returned to lunch spot to make camp, dinner, chatting around the campfire, stargazing.

Monday, March 23 – Bush Camping

Early morning game drive (zebra, impala, warthogs, giraffe), find lions while exploring a new road, down time at camp until lunch, sociology presentation on malaria, afternoon game drive to see the lions again, braai dinner, chatting under the stars.

Tuesday, March 24 – Audi Camp in Maun

Morning game drive (same animals plus a kudu), break camp, go through same flooded roads out but avoid getting stuck, saw more elephants and giraffes, reached Audi Camp in Maun, set up camp mid-afternoon, free time to swim/shower/shop/read/relax/chat, dinner in the camp restaurant at 7, free evening.

Wednesday, March 25 – Audi Camp in Maun

Wake up at 7:30, sociology class on The Invisible Cure, free time until a picnic lunch, drive to a local cultural center for a talk/demonstration of village life (food, baskets, traditional healing, music, marriage, homes), basket shopping, free afternoon at camp, leave at 5:30 for a cruise up the river to Paul and Dr. Maher's house for pizza and stargazing, dance party on the boat ride back.

Thursday, March 26 – Audi Camp in Maun

Morning sociology class on The Invisible Cure, drive to the Harry Oppenheimer Okavango Research Centre for a lecture on their work, session with the district's government AIDS organization, lunch back at camp, drive to the district hospital for Q&A and a tour, stop at a basket shop, free evening, dinner at the camp restaurant.

Friday, March 27 – Khana Rhino Sanctuary

Pack up camp, drive to the Khana Rhino Sanctuary, settled in the dorms, dinner at the campsite, sociology presentation on the Gates Foundation around the campfire, chatting around the campfire when a black rhino charged us (no one was hurt!).

Saturday, March 28 – Khana Rhino Sanctuary

Up at 6:30 for a game drive (warthogs, wildebeest, white rhinos with a three-day-old calf), free time at camp, lunch, free time, sociology class at 3:30, go to the watering hole at 5:30 to watch the animals as the sun set, saw a rhino on the drive back to camp, dinner, campfire talk with our guides Rainy and Six about Botswana, witchcraft and culture.

Sunday, March 29 – Khana Rhino Sanctuary

Game drive in the morning, visit to a museum in Serowe, visit to the burial hill of chiefs, lunch at a hotel with live marimba music, back to camp to study, another evening sundown trip, dinner at camp.

Monday, March 30 – Bush Camping

Up at 6:30, sociology test at 8, drive to another campsite, set up, lunch, free time, hike where we climbed rock walls while being chased by baboons, free time, sock wrestling matches, Project Bush fashion show, dinner, game of "Baby, if you love me, give me a smile" around the campfire.

Tuesday, March 31 – Yellow Wood Game Lodge, South Africa

Break camp, drive back to South Africa, picnic lunch on the road, arrive at Yellow Wood Game Lodge and settle into chalets, hike up a waterfall, dinner at the lodge restaurant.

Wednesday, April 1 – Johannesburg, South Africa to Washington, D.C., USA

Wake at 6:30, game drive, hot breakfast, leave at 10:30, fast food lunch on the road to Joburg, shopped in the airport, boarded a USA-bound plane.

Three weeks of classes to finish up.

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