Safari Guide Experiences of October in the Okavango Panhandle

© Dry, dusty and desolate
The heat is intense, not the sweat-staining humid heat of the tropics or the sewer-stinking heat-vapours intensity of human cities, but rather a searing, dust-scented intensity - and there is no relief in the shade, where an imagined breeze carries the heat further in to the soul. It is a time of discomfort for all wilderness creatures and for the people who live the seasons of Africa.The earth is tired from the long, dry winter and what vegetation is left is withered and brittle. At this time dust harvests swim across an unresisting earth, an earth scarred by a savage season.

The Promise Beyond the Suffering

From early morning in October the heat pulls life into clustering groups straining into the diminishing shadows and beyond the shadows the horizons dance in imaginary lakes, teasing heat-tormented creatures.

It is called suicide month for the air is still, breath-gasping still. It is a time of suffering, and there are victims, with only the wilderness undertakers reveling in the time.

The heat is intense, but it is also invigorating for as the days pass the air becomes thick with a promise. Expectation builds in the suffering and all creatures are aware of the change, for it is written in the seasons.

Forerunners of Change

As the forerunners of a revolution, vagrants dare the season, but quickly disintegrate in the oppressive regime - but with each day the promise of a change increases as the seasons sense a shift in the balance of order ....

And then a morning may dawn in cloud, and the expectations reach fever pitch, but soon the heat pushes the cloud aside, and the earth gasps in disappointment - and screaming frustration takes over....

The promise of fulfillment will pass and instead spill out on the distant horizon. A feeling of intense frustration will fill the air.

Another day in October: .... and the day is greyed in the fires of the season, smoke hangs in the air, daubing the moments in a stained haze ....

Still, the promise of rain lingers in the air.

By Leigh Kemp
Botswana Safari Tours and Game Lodges
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