Investing in a fancy camera and a an 11-week DSLR photo course seemed to be paying off because I was allowed to be one of the very first people to see our Khwai Bedouin Camp personally and of course take & deliver some images for our office and all of our interested partners & clients.
The week before I was due to leave I witnessed our new Ops assistant Joanne and our Operations Manager Wayne preparing the set-up of our new camp. Only after having seen the camp complete (after helping to set it up) I realized how much work it must have been to think of really everything…
I left Le Cap, Afrique du Sud in the early morning hours of the 28th June (the morning after Germany beat England 4:1 in the World Cup). I have been at O.R. Tambo International Airport plenty of times before but this time it was different… Everyone was excited – making their way to different safari destinations in-between, before or after having witnessed a live football match at one of our amazing stadiums. But the one thing that surprised me the most was that despite international criticism about our new national instrument – the vuvuzela – almost every single person that left O.R. Tambo had a vuvuzela in their hand luggage.
My flight to De planet de baobab à Maun, Botswana Airport took two hours – when stepping out of the plane onto the runway and then smelling the distinct smell of the Le Botswana bush, I just had one thought: I am back! Back in the bush! It seemed that the football fever hadn’t even arrived here – everything was still the same: laid-back, quiet and safari-themed.
Our camp manager Buxton & his son Shuffle picked me up from the airport and off we went to our camp – a mere 3 hour drive from Maun, passing Shorobe and the Buffalo fence into the direction of Moremi North Gate.
We arrived at the camp just after dark and the crew was already awaiting us with a cooked dinner… They so far had managed to set up only one tent for the only female in the camp (me). I was impressed as I hadn’t expected that and had prepared to cuddle up in my sleeping bag somewhere on the roof rack of our vehicle.
I was awed by the spaciousness of the tent & that our Ops team had really thought of everything. There were beds with proper mattresses, a place to put your bag, hangers for some clothing, pigeon holes underneath the bed instead of a bedside table, a box for storage and even a mirror in the bathroom!
The next two days the whole team worked hard in order to set up the camp for the clients’ arrival on Thursday, 1st July. Before breakfast, the next day, we cleared the different areas where we wanted to set up the different tents making sure that from every tent you have a perfect, undisturbed view of the surrounding bush. Our 4 camp staff then started setting up each tent.
I was kept busy with the sanding & varnishing of the bathroom tables and was able, just before sunset to set-up the first tent properly. A simple safari tent was converted into a cozy home. Having said that though, there is nothing simple about the outside structure of our tents – the pictures will provide proof…
The duvet covers were brand-new and the pillows are still extremely fluffy. The red bedding gives the tent a warm feel and Joanne even thought of a cozy blanket for the cold winter nights and for the extremely cold nights, clients can make use of a hot water bottle.
The bathroom has a proper flush toilet, basin with a tap & even a shower. There is nothing better than ending a day, which you spent in the dust of the bush, with a warm shower, which I was able to enjoy that very same night. The shower, basin & toilet get their water from waterproof shower bags that are elevated outside the tent and filled up by our staff with hot and/or cold water when desired.
During 2 and a half days a team of 6 men and one woman had:
• Set up 7 luxury safari tents
• Chased away a few monkeys that were eating our eggs
• Made 12 beds, put on 12 duvet covers, 12 pillow cases and tucked in 24 sheets
• Dug 24 holes for showers & toilets
• Chased away some more monkeys that found a liking to our porridge
• Attached 30 pieces of hose pipe to showers, toilets & basins
• Shortened 7 showers (they were too high for the water to flow)
• Set up a dining room tent with 15 chairs, 2 tables, 1 bar and 2 benches
• Watched plenty of elephants walk through the very centre of our camp
• Polished 60 glasses for our bar
• Chased away some more monkeys that were inspecting our freshly made-up tents.
• And last but not least cleaned up the mess we had made.
During the nights I witnessed two lions roar, hippos grunt in the nearby Khwai River and even heard the calls of a pearl-spotted owl.
Every night Wayne & I sat around the campfire confirming that we would swap these hard days of work in the bush any day with our office jobs. (I have to admit though that I might want to sort out my own meals 🙂 … though don’t worry our meals on our safaris are completely different to what I ate while I was there)
I am hoping to return soon bringing enough time to enjoy this safari paradise. Khwai River is literally just around the corner, or better yet around a bush. It doesn’t take us longer than 5 minutes to be right at the edge of the river…
To all our clients that make their way to the camp anytime soon or later in the year: enjoy this nature tranquility and the feeling of being a part of it. And please take a second or two to marvel at the freshly varnished bathroom tables!
Written by: Katja – Marketing Manager at Jenman Safaris