We sadly had our last meal, a yummy protein laden breakfast with Brent and crew before we left camp one last time. Brent drove us to an airstrip where we met our transfer (another light aircraft) that was going to take us to our next stop, a rustic camp on the delta, Oddballs.
Oddballs is the oldest camp in the delta. You are surrounded by water with boats being the best way of getting around. The boats are called mukoros that are dugout canoes and are captained by the men who own them and dug them out. We had a short ride from the airstrip to the camp. It was a small (only 12 guests), cozy and beautiful enclave. The beds were a big upgrade; we had a king size bed with a mattress and scrumptious sheets although we were still sleeping in a tent. However, the shower situation was still dire. There was a only slightly more sophisticated version of the camping shower and I did not get sufficiently cleaner during our stay.
The program at Oddballs was not really set up for kids. There was a 3 hour outing (boat ride/walk) in the morning followed by a big breakfast, 4 hour break, a big lunch, 2 hour outing and then dinner. The 4 hour break in the middle of the day was a bit problematic. We could get our kids to be mellow and read or rest for an hour or two but four was just asking too much from them. There wasn’t anything they could do at the camp like take a walk or running around outside because you might die by hippo. Our game selection (Apples to Apples, Mastermind and Grab Bag) had been played to death and I couldn’t get anyone interested in a reading of Gerald Durell’s My family and other Animals. Fortunately we were only there for 2 days so with a combination of threats, bribes and drinking on my part we managed to enjoy our stay and allowed the guests to enjoy their’s, with the possible exception of the French couple who took all subsequent meals in their tent after having lunch with us.
The outings were interesting. We left the enclave in the mokuros for islands in the delta where we would go on a walk looking for wildlife. We were given a not very reassuring talk about how not to run if we saw lion, leopard, hippo, elephant charging us etc….We needed to listen to our guide and he would direct us if we were in danger. As he his giving is this talk, the kids were thumb wrestling, day dreaming of American Girl, and blasting Purple Haze through their ipod. They will die.
When we weren’t walking around being wildlife fodder, we were in these very tippy boats being Hippo fodder. Our guides who appeared to be veterans of traveling the delta by boat were visibly nervous and cautious of the movement of every elephant and hippo. Our guide tried to give us informative and interesting talks about what we were seeing. Unfortunately, we had heard all of it before and had seen much more. I felt bad for our guide who was doing his best to come up with something we already hadn’t seen and were well informed about.
As I mentioned the food was good, the beds comfortable and the people trying their best to make it a great experience for us. They had a tough act to follow.