Monday, 31 August 2009

The Okavango Delta, Botswana

The Okavango Delta. It is August when the Delta is flooded. We are told we are lucky to see it now, this is the highest the waters ever been since 1961.

To get to our bush camp we take a mokoro. Newer ones are made from fibre glass, mine however is a traditional one, made from a Kegilia Tree, whose numbers are rapidly declining.

The mokoro is low in the water, but my poler, Francis, pushes it along gracefully as he sings a song. We glide gently through the reeds and lilies.

Wildlife can be seen far away on the islands, of which there are many. In the reeds, insects skip about and we spot a reed frog or two.

It takes three hours to reach our camp. By this time the sun is high, too hot even for the polers who take their siesta until our wilderness walk in the late afternoon.

We have two nights here, that is one whole day living in the wilderness, a whole day to take in the remoteness and uniqueness of the location.

But it is not enough, there is always something to observe or admire here, whether it is the stillness of the water or the sounds that echo through the night.

Friday, 28 August 2009

Chobe Waterways

The Chobe Rivers provides the border line between Botswana & Namibia before flowing into the Zambezi.

The water is greeny brown, dark but smooth. The only interruption in its cover is small waves produced by the many tourist boats swarming to find wildlife on its banks. Hippos break the surface now and then but we do not get near. They watch us, their eyes only fractionally above the water line before disapearing again.

In the water tiny white fresh water jelly fish go about their business. There are many of them.

In the sky, a fish Eagle swoops down and into a tree, following the cries of its mate.

The wildlife is plentiful. Crocodiles bask in the sun, hippos appear both on land and in the water. A herd of elephants slowly approach the banks. A
cormorant sits with its wings outstretched striking a perfect pose for eager photographers.

A crocodile knocks our metal boat, the splash is large and a dent is left, the sound of the collision rings through the air.

We glide along the river, eagerly looking out for anything new. The wind breezes by, refreshing and warm. The sound of the engine and waves lapping accompany the sights that we see.

In the distance is Namibia. This is where the sun is setting, with wildebeests silhouetted in the foreground. With a orange wake the sun sinks lower until all that is left is a blood red glow.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

The Mighty Zambezi

The Mighty Zambezi, known to be one of the best White Water Rafting destinations in the World. A winding river dwarfed by canyon walls towering up to 200 to 250 metres high, with Basalt rock lining the lower fraction.

It is low water, the best time to raft the many rapids. A whole day in this mode of transport allows you to really experience and observe the power and beauty of the river.

The water flows fast, the water dark green in colour, deep and deceptive. Before a rapid the water is smooth, with the pretence of calm until it drops into a wall of sheer white water, rolling and vicious.

The rapids themselves throw you about like a rag doll. It shows no mercy to those daring enough to encounter and take on its full force. One mistake, wrong judgement and you're thrown into its water, sometimes held under until the rapid releases you into a calmer pool below.

The water at least is warm, but to those on the raft under the blazing sun who are thrown in, the water feels cold, sharp, this with its power quite literally takes your breath away.

On the calmer stretches you have time to marvel at the smooth surface water, it is dangerous currents hidden below. Either side the black basalt rock shines in the sunlight. Birds flutter low, almost skimming the surface then darting back between the rocks. Where the rocks meet the green water insects swarm around a safety kayaker who has moved to the side to watch us pass.

On the rocks behind them small lizards are found. Further up, in various locations, a crocodile will sit, unmoving but watchful of those who pass by. They do not like the fast water, so they watch from a distance as the currents push us onwards.

Every now and then the rocks stop to reveal a white sandy beach surrounded by a few green trees, all that remain in this dry season, their colour preserved by the water nearby.

The sides of the canyon are dry and bare. Skeletons of trees line the sheer slopes. From the top, on and off, a selection of small, crispy brown leaves float steadily but gently down to the water below.

An eagle flies overhead but there is no time to wonder, the silence is broken by the rushing sound of a rapid coming up, increasing on our approach.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Victoria Falls, Zambia

Mosi-oa-Tunya - The Smoke that Thunders. Even in dry season the spray from the falls can be seen from a distance. The roar of the water tumbling from the flat upper Zambezi to the water far below.

A constant rainbow hovers where the spray and sunlight meets. From the bridge a light refreshing spray falls on all those gazing at this natural wonder. The air is clean, fresh, so much so it is almost intoxicating - it is nature at its finest, in its magnificence.

David Livingstone was right with his immortal words, 'no one can imagine the beauty of the view from anything witnessed in England...but scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight'.

The falls are one of the 7 natural wonders of the World. Both Zimbabwe and Zambia get to share it. We are on the Zambian side.

In the distance the Victoria Falls bridge stands prominently out high above the churning water below. It is no man's land.

Your eyes cannot stay on the bridge for long. Instinctively, they are drawn back to the falls. The white turned water contrasting with the dark stone it cascades upon.

From the air the falls are even more spectacular - one can truly get a sense of the sheer size and marvel at the dramatic landscapes.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Africa Awaits

'The time has come the Walrus said, to talk of many things...'

That's it then, I'm off to Africa in less than 24 hours taking what seems to be more notebooks, pens and electrical items for my observational research than anything else!

Both excited and nervous, never been to Africa before so there will be a lot to take in....and write down of course.

Due to the nature of my tour it seems I may not have the chance to get any internet access at all, so.....on my return I will have to type up some notes from my observations and travel journal for all to see.

Will post again on my return, and hopefully will come back with tons of script ideas based around arenas....well, hopefully not too many otherwise I may have a tough time choosing which to use.

But for now....Africa awaits!

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Preperation - One week to go!

Ahrg! Can't believe there is a week to the midst of gathering things I will need for my research. Am probably taking more notebooks, pens, cameras, batteries and recording equipment than clothes at this stage!

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Delta and Chobe Waterways

Only two weeks to go until my tour in Africa where I will be observing life on the road in my moving arena and the external arenas that we visit.

I am keeping an open mind and am trying not to get images of what I may observe out there. This is my first trip to Africa,'s actually a lot of first things for me: crossing the equator to the Southern Hemisphere, seeing wild animals, trav
elling overland, the list goes on and on. Until I get out there, I only have my idea for an arena and of course its practicalities.

What I observe and what creative ideas I may get from my observations may be plentiful with such a wide range of exciting arenas.

But before babbling on about observations in my African arenas, it may be helpful to say a little about where the tour goes!

Below are details from Acacia Africa's website:

Delta and Chobe Waterways
Countries: Botswana, South Africa, Zambia

Sunsets over the Kalahari Activity opportunities at Victoria Falls Huge elephant herds at Chobe National Park Mokoro safaris through the watery Okavango Delta Rhino encounters at Khama Rhino Sanctuary


DAY 1, Johannesburg, Nata

From Johannesburg we cross the border into Botswana, skirting the immense Kalahari and making our way to Nata for our first night camping.

DAYS 2 - 3, Livingstone, Victoria Falls

We drive to Zambia and our campsite on the banks of the Zambezi, near Victoria Falls. We visit the Falls themselves, plunging deep into the Bokota Gorge and enjoy a day free to try some of the activities on offer. Ride the rapids, raft the white waters, take a bungy jump or maybe take an elephant-back safari! Scenic flights are also available to view this spectacular area from the

DAY 4, Chobe National Park

We cross into Botswana and head south to Chobe National Park where you may wish to game cruise the Chobe River, spotting the park’s large elephant herds at the water’s edge. Hippo, crocodile, antelope and various other animals are also regularly spotted coming here to drink in the late afternoon.

DAYS 5 - 8, Maun, Okavango Delta

We start the day with an optional game drive in Chobe before heading to the Okavango Delta. We explore its enchanting reed-filled waterways and tranquil islands by foot and mokoro (dug out canoe) while camping for two nights in this watery paradise for a unique wilderness experience.

DAYS 9 - 10, Khama Rhino Sanctuary, Johannesburg

We travel to the Khama Rhino Sanctuary, recently established to restock the area with rhino and other grazing animals. We take an evening game drive across the reserve, enjoying the open horizons and animals we meet, as the day turns to dusk. Our final journey takes us back into South Africa where our tour finishes on arrival in Johannesburg.

Lots of opportunities await and I think what is exciting is that anything can happen, I may be swamped with tons of ideas for scripts in such an enticing choice of location.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Choosing an Arena

Where to start, where to start?

My original idea was an arena focusing around transport. I liked the idea of a form of transport as an arena in itself, travelling overland and interacting with many other external arenas/locations.

Looking into this I realised I was probably aiming a little too high, that whilst it may be a good idea on paper the practicality of it was not. I needed something that was appealing to me, I've always found it is hard to be creative if something did not inspire you, but the thought of a moving arena interacting with many external ones really made me curious and keen to find something.

So, I looked around various tour companies and found one or two of particular interest. After emailing them I held my breath and prayed that someone could help me out.

In the meantime I looked at various other modes of transport as a backup plan, which it never hurts to have. I visited Swanage Railway and other locations but this overland arena kept leaping back to the forefront of my mind, only for me to keep extinguishing the idea with little hope someone could help.

Imagine my surprise when Acacia Africa, an overland tour company emailed me back offering me a place on an overland tour in Southern Africa for 10 days!

A simple email which set me on my way to the moving arena I had hoped for, surrounded by the most varied and fascinating external arenas I could have imagined!

Thank you Acacia!