Accomodation: Commodore Hotel, Capetown
Transport : Mack Air, South African air and transfer by Illios travel
Today’s modes of transport got bigger and more stable as the day went on and just as well for that.
We started off on a short safari, our last pretty much for this trip and really the way to get to the Mokoro destination.
The mokoro is the African version of a gondola. It is generally made of mahogany but due to conversation and sustainable efforts (along with increasing tourism), the government mandated that a government approached fibreglass mokoro be used. The pole is made from a Eucalypt tree and really strong as we saw when one got stuck and the poor guy tried his best to get them unstuck before requiring assistance.
Our mokoro person was Major. Major had been in the jeep with us the whole time we were at the Delta. In Australian terms he was doing an apprenticeship after spending twelve months in a traineeship program. Now Major was not one of the biggest guides going around and so we felt sorry for him when he scored us (two hippos in the boat rather than in the water). He gave it a good crack even though there were some times when we thought we heard a hippo humph and I think it was really Major exerting all the strength he could muster.
As we approached the plane we stared at the pilot who looked like he was about 15. Hmm no co pilot unlike the last small plane. Hmm luggage won’t fit underneath. Fun. Squeezing inside we found two people that we had dropped off on the flight in. They were on their way to another lodge. She looked petrified. Not a good sign. The plane could really only hold us (four people), luggage and the pilot. Air came from the pilot opening his door as we cruised down the dirt airstrip. Whilst he gave us an emergency talk before take off there wasn’t really much point. If the thing fell from the sky we were screwed!!!
We dropped off the two about ten minutes later with the guy giving the girl a high 5 and the girl breathing heavily. Next stop Maun some twenty minutes later. Despite the fact that there were two people less it didn’t make for an any less squeezy trip and when I asked for some water, the kid pilot stated that it was only for emergencies…like what…we were flying over the Delta in a tiny plane that didn’t any have wheels that retract. What kind of emergency was going to require us to drink the water? Ah well no water for us…I guess it went with the no food, no entertainment , no toilet, no room and no air.
Twenty minutes later we touched down at Maun. Now if Kasane had exceeded expectations this airport didn’t…in fact it almost followed the same philosophy as the plane except that the was a water dispenser and one toilet (not one toilet block…one toilet). The heat inside and out was quite oppressive and I think it may have been one of the first times that we actually wanted to get on a plane to get some air.
The flight from Maun to Joberg took around two hours, after which time we needed to go through customs and collect our luggage, then put them at another luggage drop off for our domestic flight to Cape Town. This plane was the biggest one of the day and probably the emptiest. There was hardly anyone on it so we figured this must have been making up for the extra seat we paid for going to and from the Delta.
We arrived at Cape Town around 7pm and located the Elliot sign of our transfer guy from Illios Travel. He was a proud South African and Cape Town man and on the twenty minute drive from the airport to our hotel, he pointed out the signs and strengths of his city. Whilst it would have been tempting to go out on a wander, given the time, we decided to room service it and then look around tomorrow.