Our guide, Water, was born in the Okavango Delta in a village called Gio. His tribe is called the Bayei tribe (BYE-AYE-EE) and they are known to be “Water People” due to their location on the Delta. Water’s given name is actually Tumeletso (Tumi-le-TST-so), but as most African’s do, he gave himself a second name so tourists like us can pronounce his name! Water has been a Guide for more than 18 years and before that was a Poler for the Makoro boats for many years.
He grew up in the bushveld around the Delta and is a master at birdspotting and of course tracking animals, although has lived through some harrowing experiences. Facing down a lion head-on (and living to tell about it!) is not such a scary experience according to him, but surviving a brutal elephant attack while on a game drive 8 years ago was his worst nightmare come true. An interesting factoid that many people don’t know is that Hippo’s are actually the most dangerous animals in Africa – they kill more humans per year than any other animal. But, in my experience (and in Water’s expert opinion), Elephants are really the animals to watch out for when going on a safari – so if you come across them on a self-drive or a game drive of any sort, keep your distance, be aware of your surroundings, and be ready to bolt at any second!
Okay, enough trying to scare you… Jason and I had such a wonderful few days getting to know Water throughout our game drives and over meals at the camp. We were very sad to say goodbye but we hope to be back again and will definitely request him as our guide again. If you make it to Xakanaka Camp, I highly recommend asking for him as your guide! And to our friend Water – we will hold you to your promise to find us a Leopard next time!