Blog-tswana: The Amazing Okavango Delta Bucket Shower!
Note: I’ve just spent the last two weeks in rural Botswana, teaching writing classes on a creative writing safari. There was no Internet, and sometimes no electricity, both of which are useful when it comes to uploading stuff to my blog.
I did, however, blog offline whenever my netbook battery was not conked out. I’ll be uploading those blurbs over the next couple of weeks, now that I’m home in Seattle.
By Dave Fox
Sankuyo Safari Camp, Okavango Delta, Botswana
This first of three safari camps I’m staying in seems to be modeled after Gilligan’s Island. It has modern flush toilets, but they are outdoors, surrounded on three sides by a bamboo fence, and exposed on the fourth side, looking out over a lush green field of grasses and foliage. The area I face is secluded, so no people can see what I’m doing, though if a perverted elephant or baboon wanted to take a peek, he could.
But what really makes this camp Gilligan’esque is the bucket showers. Like the toilets, the bucket showers are outside contraptions, in a little, fenced area next to each tent. Sankuyo Camp has what are possibly the most decadent bucket showers in all of Botswana.
At most safari camps that have bucket showers, if you want hot water, you must request it. A lady boils water for you and carries it to your tent. But Sankuyo has gone high-tech with a solar-powered water heater that feeds hot water throughout the camp’s eight or so tents. To use the bucket showers here, you must first run the hot water tap in your tent’s sink for five or six minutes. Eventually, piping hot water reaches your tent and burns your hand while you are checking to see if it is hot yet. You may now add some cold water to the mix if you choose not to scald your entire body.
Next, unwind the rope from its rope-holder-thingy, and, using a pulley suspended in the tree next to you, lower the bucket down to sink level.
Swivel the tap around from the sink to the bucket, fill the bucket with hot water from the tap, and hoist the bucket back up to tree branch level.
Now, turn the nozzle to release the water and go stand under it. Do not forget to remove your clothes before standing under it.
Thanks to a Southern Hemisphere invention known as “gravity,” water will now sprinkle down upon you for approximately four minutes of sheer watch-out-for-the-spiders bliss.
If you’d like to come along on a journaling and creative writing adventure, I occasionally offer small group trips in Asia and Africa, and can also schedule private trips for groups of four or more . For more information, please drop me an e-mail or subscribe to my free newsletter through the box in the right-hand column.