Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Savanna Dry

We'd converted our money from Rands into Pula, the currency in Botswana. The first night was spent in a dirt camp ground where it promptly rained after we pitched our tents. And by rain, I mean pelting monsoon rain. But it wasn't all a wash. We huddled under the tin roof of the outdoor kitchen with a fabulous bottle of Tall Horse while Jess cooked up bangers and mash. While we made coleslaw, which the wind blew over. And then we remade it. Then finally after a couple of hours and an incredible dinner, the storm blew over. And it left a mud puddle shaped like the continent of Africa.

Here Sky and Ember are showing you our coordinates on the map. Ok, so they're not. Cause they're in the Congo on the map. Unless that's Cameroon. All they knew is they were playing in mud and no one was stopping them.

In the morning it was time to pack it all up and head to a campsite further north which would hopefully be drier. See, this was actually the second night of rain in a row and we were feeling a bit soggy. Ok, completely waterlogged.

When we pulled into Elephant Sands, the skies were sunny. And right in front of us was an elephant in the campsite. What are the chances right? Well, actually in Botswana they're pretty good. Because there are over 100,000 elephants in the country. And the campground didn't have any gates to keep the wild life out like the other places we had stayed. But I didn't actually think about that until later. Much later.

See the elephant behind Grandma Barb and Grandpa Dale? That's where we ended up pitching our tents.

It was one of the hottest days of the safari. It was like Africa hot. And savanna dry. Perfect for drying out. Except that after we set up the tents in the mid-day sun, we were marinating in our own sweat. Would our smell attract or repel the wild animals? I'm not sure. But they had a pool where we could cool down. Which is right next to a watering hole that the elephants frequent. So what the the odds that there's one there drinking there when we go?

Apparently, pretty good.

Mark caught this thirsty elephant on film. Now that's my kind of Elephant Bar.

That afternoon we went on a game drive just down the road in these cool open air jeeps.

Awwww. Slow down. Elephant crossing. Isn't that cute?

Check out the serene giraffe. This is awesome!

Oh my god! Is that a leopard? Amazing!

Wait a minute, we're right near our campsite that has no gate. And so is he. Wait just a second. Just a day or so ago we discovered that the Boomslang is an indigenous and very poisonous tree dwelling snake. Which made all of us crack up. (You may want to refer to my post Space for what boomslang is slang for.) But right now, that's not really funny. Ok, it's still totally funny.

So this is the point of the game drive when we stop and get out of the jeep to have a a cold drink brought along by our guide. And perhaps you're thinking, whhhaaaaaaaatttt? Just like I was. There's crocs, leopards, black mambas and boomslangs out here. Thank god he packed Savanna Dry. Which looks like a beer, but it's a hard cider.

And it took the edge off and I relaxed a bit.

So then I was totally fine with Craig posing for a picture at the edge of crocodile infested waters. Why not?

And so what if Jade is standing on a termite hill which would only make her presence more aparent to predators especially while wearing my very noticeable red t-shirt because we fit in the same clothes now?

And psheeeesh, we probably won't get stuck when we drive through the croc infested waters. Right?

And I'm pretty sure it's fine that River stands up in a moving vehicle driving over rough terrain loaded with wild animals without even so much as a car door to keep him from falling out. After all he doesn't have enough meat on him for any animal to be interested in eating him, even though he is conveniently snack size.

And hey? Why don't we stop again and all get out and pose for pictures by this tree like we're in Disney's Animal Kingdom? Except that I'm sure Disney would have charged me at least $10 for that Savanna Dry.

But that wasn't the case.
Cause this is Africa!
Tsamina mina eh, eh
Waka waka eh, eh
Tsamina mina zangalewa...

We made it back to camp unscathed before dusk. We had dinner with a bunch of suicidal moths who kept throwing themselves into our drinks and then my mouth. Yeah, even the moths are hard-core in Africa. I contemplated showering off my stank until I saw the huge African spider that must have been contemplating the same thing in the bathroom. So I headed to bed, stink and all. It was quiet and peaceful. At least it was for an hour or so.

Until, Craig heard a noise and got up and looked outside the tent. And there 25 feet from our tent was an elephant outlined by the light from the stars which were amazing that night. We watched him until he sauntered in the direction of the watering hole. We drifted off until about an hour later. That was when we heard the roar of the lion. And we didn't open the tent to see how close it was. Cause right then, I didn't want to find out the answer to whether lions are attracted to human b.o. or not.

NEXT UP: Zambia


Anonymous said...

I absolutely love that the driver gave you hard cider in the middle of the trip because otherwise you'd have been in freakout city. I confess that even I would have been willing to camp out to enjoy that kind of beauty, though! said...

He gave you the hard cider because he didn't bring any tranqs (which might prove useful for any approaching wildlife...)

Anonymous said...

I live in Morocco and read your blog, which is really brilliant. I think that you should write a book about your experiences and that the book should become a film. Just like Eat Pray Love...

The Loerzels said...

Wow Anonymous! (BTW, I'm guessing you're English from the use of the word brilliant.) Thank you very much! We would be like the sequel and I think it would have to be called Eat, Pray, Whine. Or would that be Eat, Pray, Wine? Now the big question is who would be cast to play us?

Anonymous said...

Ha, yes! I am English and I read your comments in the London blog with interest....maybe if I had said awesome in my comment - you may not have guessed. I think that Drew Barrymore could be in the running to play you. She is creative, funny and clever. She was also in that roller derby film so can skate. Seriously though, I think you should chat to publishers about your work. You have a BRILLIANT way with words and your writing is fresh, original and genuine.

The Loerzels said...

Hahaha. Yes, awesome would have made me think we went to middle school together. But, wow Drew Barrymore. I was thinking more Drew Cary. By the way, my husband read this and accused me of writing comments to myself "anonymously". Which I would never do because I only patronize/criticize myself anonymously.

Anna and Kim said...

No, actually, you criticize yourself pretty darn publicly (although certainly without cause). Great post. Wonder if we can get any Savannah Dry around here?

Dangerous Linda said...

Hi, Marie! ~

I'm amazed by this adventure you call your family life in Africa! I can't say I'm jealous, because I would not want to see my kids in that mud or sleep in a tent surrounded by wild elephants, lions, and spiders. But, I'm so glad you're blogging so I can share this experience vicariously from the safety and comfort of my own home! I think it's such a gift for your kids to grow up this way -- kudos to you and your hubby!

Also, you look amazing in your bikini -- rock the Kasbah, Girlfriend!

I'd like to share this post at


The Loerzels said...

Thanks and thanks Danger girl!

A Brilliant Life said...

The safari series is rocking it girl. I am loving each poost and I feel like you are taking us with you on it. Great job.

Joy Page Manuel said...

Ok so I'm super late in reading these posts but man am I glad I finally got around to it! How cool is this???!!!!! And I have to say you and your husband are such cool parents, first for taking your family here and for letting them do all that scary play in the mud! Seriously, I can't imagine letting Noah do that. I'm ashamed of it and I know I'm depriving him of a lot. Maybe give me 5 years okay? THANKS for sharing your adventures Marie!!

Gary said...

Just working my way through your posts using the handy "You may also like:" links.

You may also like this:

I've been watching Pete's Pond for several years and have seen some interesting stuff on this feed. The fast panning and zooming sometimes gets annoying. It's a lot better than the old days of watching a herd of thirsty elephants go out of frame and just hearing them frolick in the pond. Now, at least the operator can track the action.

Bookmark it and check it out once in a while. You're bound to see some live African watering hole action at some point.

I really like the night bug sounds too!

Once again, enjoyed your post!

Thanks for sharing!


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