Have you ever been caught in such an amazing travel moment that you had to pinch yourself to make sure you were awake? Some nights Intrepid traveller Cynthia Kampschaefer still dreams of her Botswana adventure…
“I had one of the most treasured experiences of my life on an overland trip in Africa. At a camp in Botswana, a 96 year old gentleman, the ‘bone man’ of the nearby village, threw out his carved bones onto the ground to study them and do a reading for us. He told us where to find zebras, to watch out for the lions, and that we would have good hunting nearby (with cameras, mind you). Some of the shy, curious, friendly children who came with him hugged us goodbye. He left us with a little sorghum beer sitting at a warm fire marveling at the beauty of an astounding African sunset.
As the temperature dropped to freezing, we snuggled into our bedding and watched a billion stars above. We were not asleep long when the guide wordlessly nudged me awake. He gestured “come” and two of us sleepwalked behind him, not knowing what to expect.
That night, we had an encounter I can only describe as magical. A bushman tracker took us walking for an hour to a remote spot where we climbed high into a tree and up on to a huge limb that hung directly over a water hole. For a long time we sat silently amazed, watching the Southern Cross and the Milky Way stretching literally from one horizon to the other. Then we started noticing a kind of low rumbling that we felt in our bones. Slowly, the shadowed figures of elephants began emerging like phantoms from the darkness to bathe in the pond. Before long, a huge herd of about 50 of the grey giants were directly below us, splashing and drinking. After about a half an hour, they gradually moved on and disappeared back into the night, leaving us in awe-struck silence. This is a night that I will never forget in all my life. This was the night I fell in love with Africa.”
* photo by Cynthia Delaney – Intrepid Photography Competition