Botswana, Namibia and Victoria Falls. 2008 - Okavango, Botswana

From Ghanzi we drove to Maun which is the main tourist centre for trips to the Okavango Delta and the Central Kalahari.

On the way we were stopped twice because of Foot and Mouth restrictions. Both times we had to get out and step in some disinfectant and the tyres of the truck were sprayed. We were also asked if we had any fresh meat products and the fridge/freezer and our cool bags were checked. Fortunately we just had some frozen chicken in the freezer which we were allowed to keep.

We stopped at Sitatunga Rest Camp 10km to the South of the town but were the only independent campers there - all the others were overland tour groups, some came in small groups in minibuses but other large groups arrived in big trucks, most just staying for 1 night. This was our least favourite camp as the bar was open until 12.30am and, on the 2 nights that we were there, there was partying into the small hours. However during the day it was quiet and there were plenty of squirrels and birds to watch. We went into Maun for a morning to find out about trips into the delta but were put off by the prices, at least 100 per person per night plus flights as most of the camps are only accessible by plane - perhaps another time.

We then drove to the Okavango Panhandle, which is just begriming to be developed so much quieter than the main delta. It's South of the Vetinary Fence so does not have the variety of animals that you can see in the expensive Delta camps to the North and East.

We stopped at Nguma Island Lodge (S18 57.223 E22 22.354), on the edge of the Delta, for a couple of nights.

This is the view from a deck overlooking the Delta, all you can see is huge papyrus and reeds growing as far as the eye can see with occasional groups of trees.

One morning we went on a Mokoro trip - a Mokoro is a long narrow flat-bottomed canoe, usually made from a single tree trunk, although the ones at the camp we stayed at were made of fibre-glass in order to save trees.

It was a terrific trip, we thoroughly enjoyed it. Once out in the mokoro we discovered that there were lots of channels through which the boats could pass, some were wide open stretches of water whereas other were very narrow.

Kevin sat in the front of the canoe, I sat behind him and our guide and poler mostly stood at the back guiding the boat through the channels with a long pole.

As the river was quite low at this time of the year our poler had a bit difficulty in getting through some of the channels!

We did see one hippo in the water but it soon disappeared however there were plenty of birds and plants to look at and our guide was very informative and interesting.

We saw plenty of water-lilies and got close to a pair of Fish Eagles who were perched in a tree overlooking one of the channels.

Near the campsite we saw several Carmine Bee-Eaters who would sit on fences or branches looking out for tasty snacks!

One evening we went on a sunset cruise. Our guide took us out across a big lagoon and out towards the main river channel before heading back and rounding the corner into the large lagoon just as the sun was setting - he'd done this before!!

 

Kalahari, Botswana
Okavango, Botswana
Tsodilo Hills, Botswana
Kavango River, Caprivi, Namibia
Kwando River, Caprivi, Namibia
Zambezi River, Caprivi, Namibia
Chobe National Park, Botswana
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Tuli Block, Botswana
Diary.

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