26th of August 2018
We had no idea what to expect from our hosts, I was assuming perhaps a mildly fancy yurt on the festival site, kitted with hopefully a roll matt and a pillow. We followed our instructions to wait at a local cafe by the same name of the farm our hosts owned, upon arrival we were pleased to see familiarity on the menu, and hastily ordered two iced-coffees to cure us in the heat…and a Fanta orange for emergency sugar supplies (these became fundamental).
As soon as we could order, a young chap asks if I am Sophie, of course I am, and he is Thomas. From this point we followed Thomas in his amazing 4x4 Toyota pick up, loaded our bags and ourselves and met the team: ET (as in phone-home), Thomas and Sega
We then proceeded to do, what I later realise is a safari drive - or at least a drive through some safari - off the tarmac main roads of Maun, off road onto the sand tracks: we then zipped in-between trees, various cattle, a few dogs and some chickens. Sadly no elephants stumbled across us, although we were pointed out to the mounds of fresh dung by such a creature. So close, yet so far it seemed.
I had never been in a ride as cool as this Toyota, nor through terrain quite like the safari. Our guides imparted some wisdom explaining various plants and animals and birds. We learned all about termite hills, and their epic dystopia like structures.
We were then stunned further as Thomas drove the Toyota happily into the water; being from the city, this was other-worldy, and rather epic, in the shallow waters of the Delta’s edge cattle come to leisurely drink and bathe. We also saw an eagle from his hunting perch patiently awaiting to spy his pray.
After an exciting fourty minute or so drive, through water and all, we arrived at a gate, and drove into the farm lands. Thomas then showed us to our room, a chalet on stilts.
It was too much for James and I to handle, a luxurious resort room fit for royalty: we insisted Thomas must have us in the wrong place, but after being assured we were correct, we settled our things in the “Elephant Room’, of which a hole wall, and the higher parts of the ceiling were netted, so one could sleep gazing into the wild.
We were then shown the swimming pool area, the bar area, the eating area and chilling spaces. A true paradise nestled within the branches and wildlife of nature. We then proceeded to meet our hosts and their friends/festival team.
Thomas then suggested he showed us the festival site, of which was accessible via a mokoro ride away. So in we jumped into a long metal thin boat, that glides peacefully through the knee or so deep water, with Lilly pads, grass and the sound of frogs everywhere. The ten minute ride was tranquil and stunning. My friend and I transfixed on the sheer beauty of the delta, astonished to find ourselves in this position.
We arrived at the island where the festival is to be held: currently simple cleared bush on a small island surrounded by the delta. As we walk around Thomas paints a picture of where things will be, and we are introduced to Ben and Robert, the dedicated island security who have settled there for a week in a small camp.
Upon our return to the farm, we are offered to eat at our hosts table with them and their friends whom were all part organising the festival too.
Here we mingled with the owners of the farm, the festival, we ate and laughed. Everyone was incredibly friendly, my friend and I felt hosted like royalty.
We retired to our room after a few refreshing ciders, we tried to let It all settle in, excited for every forth coming stage of out journey.