My Life Lesson Learnt in Botswana

I recently had the opportunity to realise a long-held dream of visiting the Okavango Delta in northern Botswana. Many parts of this delta – the largest inland delta in the world - are only accessible by boat or Makoro (the wooden canoes used by local fishermen) and where there are roads, a 4x4 vehicle is essential in many parts.

I was travelling with a friend who fortunately had such a vehicle. Other people we encountered were not as lucky, and were travelling in a minibus. When it came to crossing a river, the guide who was leading us told us to drive slowly into the water, so as not to create a wash which would rise up over the engine, drowning it. The driver of the minibus decided not to heed this advice, no doubt assuming that as he didn’t have a 4x4, speed and momentum were what were needed to successfully negotiate the crossing. He duly raced into the river, causing a wave of water to wash up over his vehicle, drowning the engine and stranding him in the middle of the river. My friend and I proceeded as advised, driving slowly and carefully though the water, and eventually arriving safely on the other side.

The life lesson here is two-fold: Firstly, advice given by someone experienced in the area they are advising you on is more often than not well worth listening to, and secondly, speed and enthusiasm are not always going to get you where you need to go. Slow and careful will more often than not get you safely across life’s rivers.