All is quiet in this vast marshland of Botswana. There are no elephants’ baths to interrupt now….just a quiet glide through marsh grasses and papyrus.
From a comfortable, shaded platform you could relax and watch the lily pads bob up and down on the water. The word billabong is thought by some to be of aboriginal origin from the word “bila” meaning river. The watering holes are believed to be the result of a river changing its course and leaving behind a stranded pool, which is replenished by rains during the Wet Season. (In certain areas of Australia, only two seasons are recognized: The Wet and The Dry.)
Karijini, the subject of my last two posts, is only a small part of the Pilbara, a dry outback region in Western Australia. The Pilbara has huge expanses of gum trees, spinifex grasses, and other desert plants.
The area pictured here is rich in ire ore. Miners fly in from other parts of Australia and work for an allotted period, then return home temporarily. Everyone we saw at the local airport where we flew out wore a miner’s uniform and was headed for work. We took a wrong turn one night and ended up at a huge mine that was all lit up like a big city. It could have been an interesting photo, but a sign said, “STOP! Do not proceed!” So we turned around. We saw trains and big rigs, much longer than the ones we have in the U.S., filled with iron ore.
The outback of Australia’s Northern Territory is consistently red in color and rather wild to traverse.