Peace on earth – this is something we all hope for, but do we really expect to find it? Dara Leonard went in search of somewhere tranquil and her journey led her to Botswana…
“Have you ever felt 100% at peace with yourself and what you were doing? The first time I had this feeling was when I was in the Okavango Delta. If you can picture this scene… the sun is shining bright overhead, there is a slight breeze on a perfectly warm day. You head down to the water’s edge where the mokoros (local canoes traditionally made from a dugout tree) are all lined up with people from the nearby community there to help load the boats. .
After packing all the camping and cooking gear that we’ll need for the next two nights, we set off in pairs to explore the delta and to find our camp site. The locals stand on the back of the mokoros, helping to guide the boat through the reed grass with long poles that reach the bottom of the water. There is now a line of these flowing boats gliding their way through the grass. Butterflies and dragonflies are dancing all around. As I look to my left I see elephants grazing on the river bank.
We spend about two hours being poled down the Okavango Delta. With the sun on our faces and our feet dangling near the water, we have time to relax, sit back and watch the scenery move by slowly. Our local guides spot a nice place to set up camp – under a big acacia tree along the bank and we are the only people for miles around. We set up our tents, making sure that the ground underneath is flat and clear of elephant dung, meaning elephants graze through here regularly.
After the tents are set up we prepare lunch. As we are eating our sandwiches we look across the river and see elephants grazing as well, hoping that they stay close enough for us to keep watching, but far away from our tents when we are sleeping. I don’t think there is anything more peaceful than this anywhere in the world.”
* photo by Johanne Cantin – Intrepid Photography Competition