Friday, May 26, 2017

First day in camp & bush walk

We arrived in Ghanzi yesterday after a six hour drive from Maun and have settled into camp here at Thakadu Bush Camp. During the drive yesterday, we stopped for lunch next to two enormous baobob trees, which we learned were thousands (!) of years old. After arriving in camp in the afternoon, we settled into our tents, played card games, and continued to get to know each other around the campfire. We will be staying here in Thakadu for three and a half weeks in tents while learning about the social and environmental dynamics of Botswana. We are all excited to begin the Study Abroad semester!

This morning, Professor Thoralf gave us a lesson about the geography of Botswana: the major towns, rivers, and environmental gradients that affect life throughout the country. We discussed some of the topics that we will be covering during the trip, including cultural groups, history of the country before and after independence, health, wildlife, and land management. Following the lecture, we went for a walk through Thakadu, where Professor Thoralf introduced us to the savanna environment - offering insights into topics ranging from insects and the tracks of animals to the uses of different trees and the dynamics of shrub encroachment. We are just now finishing up lunch and will be having Setswana lessons, the most spoken language in Botswana, this afternoon! Stay tuned for more photos and updates, which we will try to post at least every few days. (Though the internet can be more difficult to access and rely upon here, so we apologize for any delays.)

Enjoying lunch in the shade of a baobab.

We took turns riding in our guide's open-air vehicle.

Hanging out in camp for the first time.

Professor Thoralf gave us an introduction to the geography of Botswana in our main tent.

Heading off into the bush for the first time.

Professor Thoralf showing us some intricate weaver nests.

Julianne and Janna eagerly identifying species for their bird list.

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