Botswana - an axis of the wild world
Botswana - far, novel, not tourist... You, as if a huge boat, the bottomless ark rocking on hot African winds: its inhabitants do not change in the millennia, they only remove from a nose on a stern, from a stern on a nose... You fill the sails with pink dawn and crimson declines. Herds of the wild wild beasts teeming under these sails are frightened and incalculable. On them from your night sky bright stars and sometimes - warm “pools“ - rain drops pour...
Welcome to the South of Africa, to Botswana. I hope that here it will be pleasant to you, weather will not deteriorate, we will not go astray that each of us will follow rules of safe stay in the savanna, in busha, on water and, at last, that to you will carry, and you will meet “the big five“: elephant, rhinoceros, buffalo, lion, leopard. About rules - separately: not to go out of cars, at stops from them not to depart, not to come nearer to any thickets and bushes. At night in camp not to go beyond a door without the ranger, in lodzha - in pools not to swim after a decline. Moving across Okavango, not to lower in water of a hand and leg - in the river crocodiles and snakes. Here, actually, and all - governed a little, - blurring in a smile, the guide Greg Marshall spoke. - Forward, on cars!the guy is talkative
A. It appears, here is how here occupy tourists: at first frighten by Africa, and then when all believe in terrifying stories, for certain show the lured lions and elephants, we laughed, loading photoequipment into luggage carriers of “Tuaregs“. They were provided once again by the Volkswagen company for the test - the drive and, of course, in order that the world before the eyes of reporters hackneyed from Europe appeared in other as it was approved in the program of travel, wild, beauty. And it must be said that the first days spent in Botswana in the city of Maun, did not change the general opinion. Though to admit, incidents began in the morning.
At dawn, hours in five, a number of companions were awakened by a pipe which roulades began to sound directly under windows. Then to it the anthem of Botswana from street loudspeakers which was muffled, in turn, by wild bird`s polyphony increased. Interestingly! Pipe, anthem. Dream it vanished as if by magic... Around not a soul, but over the head life is in full swing. Hordes of mixed and multi-colored birds hyped up kroner of all neighboring trees, from them fruits, branches, leaves departed. It seems that here 1 000 bird species really live. And the pipe blows everything, only where it, unclear meanwhile. We go on a sound and we see: under a huge eucalyptus sits unimaginably thick, healthy it is black - a gray bird with huge as at the opera star, “breast“ and blows that there are forces. And nearby, in the small pool where the day before lodgers escaped from a heat, on a water surface huge leopard frogs, some huge “cockroaches“ flounder about, and by all this slowly there passes a monitor lizard with glass eyes, diving under a chaise lounge...Eight hundred kilometers of run declared by the program first amused
. Some strange figure for seven days. But is for asphalt, and for a way where, by and large, roads are absent, - there is enough. And in their absence the Botswanian miracle also begins. In the former British protectorate Bechuanaland, nowadays in Botswana, - 20% of the territory a civilization are untouched, 17% - occupy national parks and reserves. Them in total about 20. The biggest - Kalakhari, Chobe and the delta of the river Okavango.
of Okavango - an outline of Botswana, its poetry already in the name:“ the river which never finds the seas“. Spreading on fifteen thousand square kilometers, forming cascades from lagoons, sleeves and islands, it is lost in Kalakhari`s sand, and all river labyrinth represents the huge empire of animals and birds. The disturbed by the boat, black, white, gray herons soar up into the sky directly over the head. Elephants pass river sleeves before a motorka nose, but they here, seemingly, the most peace if, of course, not to touch them. Whereas their neighbors in the list of large types - hippopotamuses not too love strangers in the territory and are absolutely unpredictable in behavior. The first collision with them got out a lot of adrenaline of crew, all cautions were somehow remembered at once. Hippopotamuses indeed appear from water as ghosts, begin to sniff, move loudly with the big nostrils and somehow with skill to surround the boat. The guide does “full back meanwhile“ and waits when the group of “bandits“ (as a rule, this family from 6 - 7 individuals) calms down and will be beaten to one of coast. Those safely leave under water, and the helmsman traces them on hardly noticeable movement of water. And here it is necessary not to yawn, the main thing that the motor did not decay (on shoal it clings sand with vegetation and becomes deaf often).“ We press on gas“, and the boat rushes literally in one and a half meters from multiton family. It is a right extreme, more precisely - recklessness. But you think of it then. On one of sites hippopotamuses did not pass the boat of minutes forty as if playing with our cameras. At first all this invention seemed interesting, but then when in the opinion of hitherto sure guide the alarm flew, all somehow became gloomy. That is no place to run - at coast “crocodile logs“, and around thick nostrils of hippopotamuses lie. Eventually, we nevertheless bothered them. Animals conceded, but respect for themselves added so what to fish next day the crew went not in full strength.
In river waters - seventy species of fish. We got only one - local som in number of three big pieces. In two hours it not densely. But, as it became clear, we just are not able to catch them. Inhabitants of the delta, Bushmen including, cope with a task in a different way. Gather wild fruits, the local name “fivaberitr“ (Latin it was not succeeded to learn), burn down on a fire, pour out in the evening in still coastal water ashes, and bring together in it semi-dead fish in the morning. We ask: “Ashes poisonous?“ - “Yes“. - “So, so and fish poisonous“. “No, fish tasty“... These mysterious fruits still treat for a number of diseases, giraffes and elephants eat them. It is thought if we tried that fish, then, probably, would already not write about Botswana. But on that they and Bushmen - the faithful children of the nature who built up the special relationship with it: they believe in “mutually test“, related communications with the wild world. Their hunting way of life was considerably destroyed by the modern person. But the remained certificates - the rock paintings left by ancestors and records of travelers eloquently speak about abilities of peaceful co-existence of this tribe with everything that surrounds them.“ Bushmen“, radical inhabitants of the delta, literally mean “those who collect wild food“. - collect. They still prepare the worms to the mopena living on the bushes of the same name (who are a darling, and, above all, very nutritious food of elephants). Kindle fires near termitaries - insects fly up to fire and “without blood“ become almost ready and very popular dish. The Bushmensky unification with the nature was reflected even in their articulation: only they can say on - to special “x“, “q“ and a combination of “xhl“, making a trudnovyrazimy kletskayushchy sound, besides initially - for imitation animals...
We travel about on the savanna and busha, getting over from camp in camp. It is impossible to spend the night under the open sky here indeed. It is possible to become a good dinner for numerous animals, and stories of guides once again confirm it. On the eve of our arrival in one of camps the lion attacked even the ranger, the skilled and trained person.
... And again five mornings. Already habitual time for awakening: and birds “blow“ from this hour, and daily campaigns begin with it. Behind - sleepless night: to rough pleasure of not numerous local population we, dear visitors, became expensive doubly because “brought them“ such long-awaited rain. No, it was even not the rain, but heavy rain, with a thunder and heavy wind which shook already shaky wooden lodges on wooden “legs“. The crash stood behind the window representing a grid such that it seemed, trees fall. And correctly it seemed: for morning of a footpath to houses were filled up. Someone from these trees fell heavily on a roof, jumped on it, squealed and even “laughed“ in a voice. Here - that the rum which is drunk not enough in the evening because the one who drank up did not hear the events was remembered. In fifteen meters from the house hippopotamuses all night long champed - as it was good them in this revelry of the nature. Later the cartridge with record of sounds of the African night brought to Moscow became for many an unsolved rebus, assumptions were made that on a film - an earthquake and even hunting for a hippopotamus in the rain.
Small group as a part of four people and two armed guides we go on a foot walk across Africa. Small - because fans of zoology and botany it appeared in our ranks a little. And in vain. Hardly we got over by the boat through the lake and came across first “signs“ of presence of animals as we right there trusted in our rangers telling about local flora and fauna in eager rivalry, it is even more. These faithful children of the nature showed us old local game: having put on one “sign“ on language, they began to compete who is farther it will spit. (Also we assure you, they were spat not with hope for tip at all, money it is possible to offend here.) In general these “signs“ for local - the book. Throughout all walk we learned so much how many you will not find in scientific work about habits of animals. What was eaten by elephants which of them are sick, who is healthy how many males the impala (a species of antelopes) in this territory which of them are young, who is old when here last time there were lions? And so on. When one of guides dashingly jumped on a termitary, and we tried to appease it, - explained to us that if the courses in a termitary are not visible, then insects are inactive and they do not care about world around. And still, it appears, there are huge islands created by termites. There is such creation.
Wonderful morning! Africa washed by a rain changed, in places blossomed, herds of antelopes “turned reddish“, and some of them were so drugged by freshness that wandered from us in twenty meters. Pacified by “primitive chaos“ in which Bushmen unconditionally believe, we returned to camp and found cheerful awakening of our colleagues: one went and studied traces of the animal who chewed a pack of the cigarettes forgotten on a verandah, others shared impressions about terrible night sounds. Someone drank tea in the company with monkeys, throwing up it cookies, and on a dining table, near the left butterdish, the unknown bird sparkling on the sun as sapphire, and methodically doklevyvat oil sat. But the fun was ahead. It appears, at night one of our associates, listening to a thunder and a crash, approached a window, the same - mesh, and lit. The cigarette lit darkness before it, and its spark slightly was reflected in something. The person stood, and then is suddenly unclear why grabbed a whistle, but, fortunately, in time it was stopped by the workmate: on the other side of a grid two elephant eyes stared at them...
I cannot get used to all this. It is not the country, and continuous provocation where it seems: well still it is possible to see also what to be surprised to, but there passes hour, another, and you see what eclipses the previous picture, and adults become children, inserting the 100-th film into the camera. You go by the car - you remove a landscape which changes with each ten kilometers: there is a Martian landscape, with the ashy earth and the same ashy, fancy trees in outlines, they absolutely naked, lifeless, suddenly live, emerald. There are wild, impassable thickets where branches of different trunks were interwoven each other, - and everything waves and moves without wind. Went out of the car - before eyes exotic birds, red, green, white fruits, huge termitaries which at sunset seem silhouettes of people. You go to the savanna by the opened car - you watch silently the elephants playing with water for the lionesses stretched directly at a wheel. Here one of them approached almost closely, you hear its breath and, probably, turn pale: “What, terribly?“ How to answer this question if several seconds ago you as if did not become as if the consciousness left: you are living or is already dead? Whether for fear, whether from delight before these chilling green eyes.