I usually run away whenever I feel things are getting to me.
Hibernation I sometimes call it. Loneliness other people call it but whatever it is it usually works.
This time I thought about running away but instead of into a dark room with a pen and paper, into a habitat filled with water and rocks all over. Trying new things was the motto for these past holidays and exploring the wilderness seemed like a good idea at the time. This past December was the official commencement of my exploration of Botswana and the hidden treasures it has. I decided to start somewhere very close to heart; about 30 kilometres away from my mothers’ home village. Ladies and gentlemen this is December i took a trip to Moremi.
Located 60km from Palapye, the remote village of Moremi holds a treasure. With an endless supply of water ‘from the gods’, lies the Goo Moremi Gorge 6 kilometres from the village. The Goo Moremi Gorge is one of the many tourist sites in the Central district and has about 5 waterfalls within it. As the name suggests, it is a narrow valley between hills or mountains, typically with steep rocky walls and a stream running through it.
Previously a place where villagers would go and have their cattle drink the fresh water, it was soon developed into a beautiful resort with numerous activities. The resort has for a while been operating but only recently was it officially opened by the President of the republic of Botswana. Nowadays people can book to go for intensive hiking trips which can take a day in order to see the highest and furthest waterfalls (number 4 and 5) or one could go have meals and swim at the Chalets or even set up camp there for an added cost.
The most exciting part of the Goo Moremi Gorge comes from its deep history. Going through the gorge to reach the third waterfall, which is about 750m from the beginning of the walk, one passes many historical points. Before I mention them allow me to mention that in our tswana tradition, our people believed in ancestral spirits and that they had a connection with the living. The Batswana believe that ancestors usually communicated with us in a way or two, either when they are not happy about something, or want to alert us about something or whenever. This is most evident in the gorge because according to legends and elders of the Moremi village, there was a large rumbling sound at 2 am on the 13th of July 1980 coming from the gorge. Remember that the gorge is about 6 kilometres from the village so the sound had to be loud enough for them to hear it. When traditional healers were asked about what the sound meant, they said that the ancestors had gave them a sign that a chief had fallen and later that day the death of the first President of Botswana Sir Seretse Khama was confirmed to have occurred about that time. Today going through the gorge, the stone that fell from the top of the hill to the bottom, which made the loud rumbling noise to alert the Moremi people of the passing of the great Chief can still be seen and is now named the ‘Sir Seretse Khama Alarm Stone’.
The Gorge is not only a climb through mother-nature but if one is lucky and early enough, they can run into wild animals. Since it is in the wild, certain creatures are sometimes visible at certain times. Unluckily i could not feast my eyes on the vultures but i sure ran into familiar trouble with a group of baboons on my way out. Going through the gorge was an intense workout which pushed a lot through their paces but a lot of people of different age groups managed to make it to at least the first waterfall. It was a great way to unwind in the hot December sun and it really got me back in touch with my roots. Botswana is a broad place filled with many heritage sites waiting for us to explore them.
Take a breather and explore the wilderness every now and then. It can be good for you. You meet new people, make new friends and most importantly, relax.