I am not a morning person. At all. I have no idea how the safari industry became my calling - it all happens way too early. Your guide comes to your tent with a very friendly 5:30am wake up call. Ugh! That early on vacation? Why did I sit around the campfire having one more drink until 11:30pm last night? Why did I indulge in another chapter of my book? All of these things float through my sleepy mind from a warm bed that is clearly not ready for me to leave either. Alas, I rally as curiosity of what the morning might hold gets the better of me. Will it be a pride of lions feeding on the spoils of last night’s hunt? Or perhaps a rare glimpse of a porcupine as it scuttles back to its den?
After a mug (or two) of coffee and a bite to eat, we head out. It is May, and winter’s purchase is quietly taking hold in the Okavango Delta. The grass is tall and their dewy seed tassels shimmer in the early morning light. A mesmerizing layer of mist sprawls across the grasslands, creating a scene that resonates with something deep inside you.
I have been on safari a thousand and one times. But every morning is different, promising something new, something special. You never know what it will be, but it is always something. On this particular morning we were identifying some little birds when out of the mist appeared a family of lions. There is something about the way a lion walks that is unlike any other animal. There is a regal assuredness to it. A quiet strength that lets you know they think they’re king of the savannah as well. We watched enraptured as their powerful paws silently parted the grass, each breath condensing in the sunlight of a cold morning.
It is on mornings like these when you feel the power of Mother Nature and her subtle guiding grace. What a beautiful world we are lucky enough to live in. Sometimes it is important to just sit and observe, taking in all the things, big and small, that go on around you. As always with safari, it was completely worth getting up for.
Experience your own piece of Botswana magic.
Photos by Mango co-founder Teresa Sullivan.