Upon leaving Zambia and recruiting 5 new members to the group, making our group a lovely 17 girls in total! We head to Botswana. The heat in Botswana is immense, and I understand it’s very difficult for you to comprehend at this moment when you are sitting in England in the freezing cold (sorry to rub it in, but couldn’t resist)!

As we approach the boarder to enter Botswana we have to take a small ferry ride to cross the river. However as with most things in Africa, this is not as simple as it seems. As we approach the ferry crossing we are notified that there is a problem on the other side, and some impatient idiot tried to get off the ferry before it docked and is now stuck with his car jammed between the river bank and the ferry. We were stuck for 2 hours in the blistering heat. In that time girls fainted and people were having nose bleeds. It can only be described as similar scenes from a Carry On movie or Faulty Towers. Looking back on it now, it does seem funny, but at the time it was quite scary.

But hey, “T.I.A Darling” as they say in Africa!

Finally, we crossed the river and traveled to Chobe National Park. This national park is renowned for its wildlife and sightings of the big five. Later that evening we ventured out on what can only be described as a wooden platform held afloat my empty plastic barrels! Despite concerns and giddy to view what the river had to offer, we hopped aboard and set out on our sunset cruise down the Chobe River with a cooler box full of fresh chilled beers. YUM!
The only word that can describe what we experienced that night is ‘WOW’, it was unbelievable. Over the two hours we spent drifting down the river we witnessed wild elephants bathing, giraffes grazing, herds of buffalo’s migrating and came face to face with the biggest crocodile I have ever seen, and no, this isn’t the beer talking! It really was that big. HONEST!

The following morning we rise early and head to Maun ready to prepare for our overnight stay in the Okavango Delta. We are warned we would be ‘roughing it’. Just so you are aware, this means we will be without fresh water, electricity and have to make do with a hole in the ground for toilet facilities. With our overnight bags packed we head out to meet our Poler’s who will take us to our camping destination by mode of transport know as ‘Makoro’s’. These are dugout canoes , handcrafted by the locals from fallen trees. I must add at this point, if ever you get the opportunity to take up such an experience – DO IT!
Laid back resting on our camping mattresses we travel down the Delta for our destination for the evening. This ride was more relaxing than an Indian head massage and reflexology combined. Seriously, I can’t tell you enough how enjoyable this ride was. However, it did leave the group in a weary, dazed state when we arrived at the camp. They weren’t kidding when they said we would be roughing it! This was a campsite made for the likes of Bear Grylls. There was nothing around us but bushes and trees.
Darkness quickly fell and before we knew it we were all sat around a beautiful camp fire singing songs to the Polers – like “Pole, Pole, Pole Your Boat gently down the stream”. No drink was involved, I promise! It was a great night, and one none of us will be forgetting it soon.

Heading to our next destination – Windhoek. This is the most Germanic influenced part of Africa. The houses are quaint and idyllic. Nothing like the houses and accommodation we have seen throughout the rest of Africa. It was the strangest experience to walk into a local supermarket in the town and hear German radio over the speaker system.
However beautiful and picturesque Windhoek is, I’m sorry to report not much happens here, other than my first opportunity to go for a real early morning run. The air is cool and similar to summer mornings in England. So for me personally – it was bliss!
The views were even more beautiful from the pier that I went running on, with the waves crashing below my feet.

Leaving Windhoek on the Kalahari Desert road, we head towards Swakopmund, where the Etosha National Park is.
After 15 safari drives, you’d think the drives were beginning to get a little boring now, but nope! They are still as interesting as the first. After all this is what Africa is about. Etosha National Park didn’t fail to surprise us either. At the camp site, well a few 100 yards away, was a manmade floodlit watering hole. As it is peak dry season at the moment, this is one of the only watering holes that exist with water in it, so all the animals come here to drink, day and night.
It was great to see a face-off with a baby rhino and an adult elephant here, and exceptionally funny. The baby rhino obviously thought he was much bigger than he was and did his best to stare down the daddy elephant. However, nature prevailed and the baby rhino scarpered before long when the daddy elephant starting charging towards him.
At the watering hole we were told to be quiet, but it was difficult not to giggle at the tremendous courage of the baby rhino! Bless!

Leaving Swakopmund very early in the morning we headed to Fish River Canyon. For those that don’t know this is one of the natural wonders of Africa and the world’s second largest canyon to America’s Grand Canyon. Just writing about this feature of our tour really doesn’t do it justice. As soon as we pulled up in our truck, the view was seriously breathtaking. As if the view was enough though, me and Sabrina thought it would be funny to get as close to the edge as possible. Until rocks started falling at our feet and we decided it was that funny anymore!!

Moving on from the heat of the canyon we travel to our final country in Africa; South Africa. Our first destination is a small campsite on the edge of the Orange River.
Approaching the campsite, little did we know what a night we were in for!
Prior to reaching the site, and with it being our penultimate night together, we all decided a party was in order, and the theme was towels….yes towels!
We were allowed to wear nothing but our travel towels, and so that’s exactly what we did.
After a day of swimming across the river, and reveling in the novelty of being in South Africa on one side and back in Namibia, we cracked open the ‘wine’ if that’s what it can be called and the fun began!
After that point I don’t remember much more of the evening (or least that’s what I’m going to tell you!) All I can disclose is that we all had a very interesting, but good evening and we girls finished the night wearing just bikini’s!! Oh and I managed to misplace my flip-flops and in their place were some ‘Bad Girl’ flip-flops….still to this day I don’t know where they went….but I think someone must have been telling me something!
Why we didn’t just have a bikini party in the first place, I don’t know!!

Anyway, with our heads a little soar heads, we were ordered to leave very early in the morning and venture across to Cape Province. Here at Cape Province we would taste some of the delightful wines South Africa has to offer. My initial reaction was, please no I can’t drink anymore. But after a few glasses, my head was on the mend and i slightly sloshed, again!! But you know what they say; hair of the dog and all that!
However, what happens when you have 17 girls, that are very merry and about to end this life changing tour? Well, I’m sure you can guess, but it wasn’t only the wine flowing that night, but many tears too.

All in all this has been a life changing experience, the people I have met on and off the tour have influenced me in so many ways, and made me a better person. I have made some friends for life in Africa, and I look forward to making many more memories with them when I get home.

Africa and the people within it have taught me humility and I am thankful to be such a humble person. I will never forget the experiences I have gained in Africa, including the cold showers, how happy people can be with absolutely nothing and the breathtaking beautiful scenery and I will continue to grow and be a better person.

I can recommend this trip to anyone and everyone……so if you do one thing in your life, don’t think twice and book your trip to Africa!

Now, enough of being the advert for Africa……got to go India is calling!!