I remember how it all started. I remember the early morning chill, the glowing sun a few meters above the horizon, the jeep proudly heading out of town towards the bush. I remember the first turn off into the bush to pick up some other guests staying in a lodge by the river and suddenly the scent of wild sage wrapped around us, growing ever stronger.
I remember the drive on the tar road passing villages, kids smiling, waving, and greeting us, herds of cattle, donkey carts here and there, goats scattered along the way, a couple of dogs running wild. I remember being simultaneously amused and appeased by the somehow cheerful simplicity and spontaneity of it all. I remember reaching the banks of the delta, the water looming ahead, shiny reward as the jeep courageously fought its way through the bush over serious bumps, heavy sands and flooded tracks to get us to our pristine destination. I remember the humbling feeling that all of a sudden I had entered the very heart of nature as I sat on my mokoro gliding over the winding arms of the Okavango through bending reeds and assemblies of water lilies. I remember lying in the middle of the night surrounded by the sounds of the bush, falling leaves, cracking branches, grunting hippos, under the impression that I would even be able to hear ants crawling and feeling as if I had been elevated to a new dimension of this world. I remember the polers’ voices filling my mind with their incredible knowledge of all elements around and feeling somehow ashamed of how ignorant I was of the thousand layers of nature. I remember hovering over the majestic delta in an almost euphoric state, fulfilling a child’s dream that proved to be so much more than the images I had mused over a lifetime ago.