Friday, February 24, 2012

Life in Botswana: Safari, December 1991

Another excerpt from my parent's memoirs, Life in Botswana.

Over Christmas Week we drove to a small airport near Johannesburg and flew on a charter plane to Benguerra Island off the coast of Mozambique, closer to Beira than Maputo. We landed briefly at Maputo to clear immigration and refuel. Benguela Lodge is a beautiful sun-soaked resort with ten thatched cabins on stilts, the only tourist accommodations on the four-mile square tropical island. It is South African owned and managed.

We were there seven days and ate fish and seafood every lunch and dinner. The food was the best we've had since we've been in Africa. At Benguela there is a Hobie cat available and a 32 ft catamaran for island hopping and moonlight cruises. 

Beach combing for fancy shells is a big sport. Game fishing is available: one boat with four men came back with 30 bonito and kingfish, each about 5 lbs. Another time a young man caught his first marlin which weighed in at 200 kg, 440 lbs. He was so excited that night that twice he bought drinks for the house. The tail section of the marlin was smoked for canapes. The rest of the fish was cut up and given to the villagers, about 400 of whom live on the island. They farm, catch small fish by netting, staff the lodge, and sell sea shells.

Twice we were driven to the far side of the island to a beautiful sand beach on the open Indian ocean, protected from large surf by a coral reef 200 ft from shore. We were the only people on that side of the island. Sand dunes and pine trees edged the wide beach. One mile out from the island is another coral reef. Snorkeling is done inside the reef and scuba diving outside. 

Early one morning we were driven to two fresh-water lakes where we saw many birds and one large crocodile. Near the lodge is a crocodile farm with about one thousand small and medium crocs. On our last evening we were taken on a dhow to a spit at one corner of the island where we got very close to 1,000 flamingo. They were feeding on crabs, hundreds of which were scuttling at the shore edge. 

Only one more entry left to post in the Life in Botswana series! I'm sorry it will soon come to an end.

1 comment:

  1. I'll be sorry it comes to an end as well. What amazing photos and the beach looked as nice as any I've seen!