So, where to start? At the very beginning? No... too boring. Miles and miles of Botswanan nothingness en route to Hwange (Zimbabwe), via such uninspiring locales as Martins Drift, Francistown (might come back to that one, as we did have a tire slashed by would-be thieves), and Nata.
No, I've got a better idea. Let's start halfway through, at a good bit, where I'm drinking beer in a river in the Okavango Delta, the setting of my latest book, THE DELTA. (How's that for a seamless segue... seamless, I hear you cry/groan!).
It's amazing the people you meet in Africa. I came across these two fellow Aussies drifting down the Khwai River, which is, in actual fact, a tributary of the Okavango, in Botswana, and not the setting of an Alec Guinness movie, as I'd always thought.
These brave chaps were single-handedly navigating the Okavango Delta on floating lounge chairs with nothing but Castle Lager and Cheetah kill to sustain them (Cheetahs will run away if you threaten them, lions will kill you, as our heroine, Sonja, points out in the aforementioned novel).
I stopped these two latter-day Stanley and Livingstones and asked them if it was safe to be consuming alcohol in a river in THE DELTA.
I'd read an article in the authoritative SA 4x4 Magazine, bible of the modern-day beer-drinking African adventurer, a couple of years ago about this very place, the Khwai River Community Conservancy, which sits on the north eastern border of the Moremi Game Reserve in THE DELTA. The article promised abundant wildlife and camping at a fraction (about half, in fact) of the cost of staying in Moremi, just across the river. The local community would be uplifted by our money, and we would get to see lots of animals do all sorts of silly things that are banned in national parks - like swimming in the river.
That particular article featured a picture of some rather burly Afrikaner gentlemen sitting on lounge chairs, up to their necks in 'delta wine' (as the local waters are sometimes known), while supping on beers. The intrepid crew from SA 4x4 had been promised by locals that there were no crocodiles in the waterways in which they were reclining.
So I asked these two gentlemen, Barry Humphries (right), and Donald Bradman (left), what the situation was with crocs.
"We asked an African safari guide from one of the camps around here if there were crocodiles in the river," Barry informed me, over long drafts of rehydrating fluid.
"And what did he say?" I asked.
"He said; 'of course!'"
Armed with that information, what else could I do, but slip into my tatty Australian Army running shorts and reach for the Esky (cooler box/chilly bin, to foreign readers).
Just out of shot in this picture are two burly Land Rover Defenders which our party parked across the river to act as a crocodile barrier (like, I'm sure that would stop them). Just off to the left of this picture, about 300 metres back were a couple of lions that we'd earlier been watching sleeping off a big meal.
And people ask me if Africa is dangerous?