One of my favourite family memories is Christmas in the bush many years ago. I had recently moved from Botswana’s capital, Gaborone to Maun. My brothers were visiting me for the holidays so we decided to go on a day trip to Moremi for our Christmas Day celebration.
It was before my time with Penduka Safaris when I got to know Moremi very well. My brothers and I all grew up in Gaborone, so none of us knew the way but we figured if tourists can do it, so can we. We met a friend of a friend who said he would happily join us. As he was a guide, he would lead the way.
We set off in a large group between two vehicles. The vehicle we were in somehow took the wrong turn and we lost the other vehicle which also happened to be carrying all the food. We tried searching for the other vehicle for quite some time but just could not see where they had gone. We soon realised we would never find them. We were stuck on Christmas Day with no food.
Eventually we found ourselves in Khwai village. It was ten years ago when there was only one lodge and no campsites, just bush. The people of Khwai village welcomed us and we decided to spend our Christmas day with them. We came across and open tuck shop which sold only dry goods. We bought a lot of canned fish and spaghetti, some plates and a lot of drinks. The people at the tuck shop filled up a large tin bucket with ice to put the drinks in (a special treat to have ice in the bush in those days!)
We spent the day with the people of Khwai village exchanging stories, jokes and songs between us. There was so much laughter it was hard to believe we had only just met. Though none of my family enjoy eating tinned food, we all agreed it was the best Christmas in a long time! When it was time to go home we saw some great wildlife on our way back and found the other vehicle had arrived in Maun before us – it turned out our ‘’guide’’ was just as ignorant as us when it came to the bush.
In the end, it didn’t really matter that we lost our guide, and with him, all the food – we had had a beautiful bush Christmas anyway.