Mirror Reflections – Botswana & Russia

Carrying kayaks at Victoria Falls

Life in Botswana

Showtime in Botswana’s Okavango Delta begins in austral winter, at the height of southern Africa’s dry season, when runoff from the Angolan highlands turns the drought-weary delta into a 10,000-square-mile (16,093-square-kilometer) water park. “Elephants bathing in the afternoon sun, lions stalking red lechwe, eagles snatching fish out of the water,” says Olivier Langrand, head of Conservation International’s Africa and Madagascar divisions, “you won’t find such an explosion of life anywhere else on Earth…………….”

Visit: http://www.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/0509/trips/africa_botswana_zambia.html

Kayaking the Bashkaus River
Kayaking the Bashkaus River

Life in Russia

This river has been described in many ways. Three of my favourites being “One of the most difficult and committing gorges on the former USSR”, “Like Siberia’s anus. When it rains, the sphincter is unhappy and closes up, and the backlog goes all the way to the neck”, “Tomorrow we paddle the Bashkaus, if it rains, we risk our lives.” Basically, this river was a serious undertaking. The first people to raft this river noted 127 obstacles before they even reached the first major rapid – the Key. But the thing we were most worried about were not the rapids, it was the rain. Our Russian friends had soberingly made what turned out to be a fatal error in getting on the river during a rainstorm only the week before. Fortunately for us there was clear blue sky all around. We could only hope it would stay that way. With all the hype about this immense spectacular gorge it was an intimidating few days. However we had been blessed with fine weather and low water levels. ‘The Family’, the ‘Meat-grinder’ and the ‘Stubborn’ were all successfully navigated. Before we knew it, we had reached the lake, caused by a huge landslide, which marked the end of the difficult section. A sigh of relief was breathed, we were out of the gorge, but this was still not the time to relax. There was one last major obstacle to overcome. The ‘Landslide Rapid’. There were two options………………

Visit: http://www.thepaddler.co.uk/expsiberia.html

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