Namibia 2009 - Back to Richmond via Botswana

Chobe National Park

Following the same route through the park that we did last year, again there were lots of animals.

 

These guys were fishing on the Namibian side of the river (which isn't a National Park).

We didn't see any big cats but did stop and watch groups of elephants swimming, playing and having mud and dust baths.

Fish eagle.

A large kudu bull.

Later we came across groups of elephants sheltering from the sun under the trees.

Several blue waxbills visited the campsite.

Makgadikgagi Pans and Kubu Island.

These pans are the remains of what used to be the biggest inland lake in Africa, even today covering an area of about 12 000 square km. During the wet season they are filled with water and impassible and even when they look dry you can get stuck if driving off the main tracks as under the thin top crust can be some very sticky mud.

Kubu Island is only about 20m high and 1km long but can be seen from a long way away.

On our way to Kubu Island (where there's a campsite) we started off driving along sandy tracks through bush and grassland. Gradually there were fewer trees and and patches of bare pan.

Occasionally we passed small villages.

From the main road to Kubu Island is about 90km and it took us 3 hours to do the trip.

 

 

 

The Islnad consists of large pinkish-grey boulders with bushes and trees growing amongst the boulders.

 

There were plenty of huge baobab trees.

 

From the 'top' of the island there is a good view over the surrounding pan.

 

Can you spot Kevin to the left of this baobab tree?

It started to get cloudy so we had an early 'sundowner'.

During the night the wind got up and there was lots of sheet lightening to the east and south of us.  Later there was a bit of rain but only for 15 minutes or so, however the wind kept up all night so I didn’t sleep too well.  At 6.15am the tent collapsed on us – one of the side poles had broken!!  On investigation it didn’t look like something that could be easily fixed so Kevin managed to hold the tent up while I packed away our sleeping bags, mattresses etc and put them in the truck - at least the tent didn't collapse in the middle of the night!!

The next day we drove further south which involved driving across the pan (being careful to follow the tracks) for about 30km.

It was still very windy and despite keeping the windows closed plenty of dust managed to get into the truck!

If our tent hadn't collapsed we'd have probably spent another night at Kubu Island - yet another place we'd like to visit again.

Interestingly, when we got back to Richmond, an edition of the TV show 'Top Gear' featured Jeremy Clarkson & co. visiting Kubu. It was disappointing to see the lack of respect that was shown to an ecologically and, for the local people, economically important area, as the trio proceeded to dig ruts in the pan with their wheels, simply because they could.

South Africa.

Once back across the border we noticed how green the countryside was. We stopped for a couple of nights at Abba Game Lodge, about 200km north of Johannesburg, staying in a self-catering cottage and being able to watch the final of the Currie Cup (rugby) in the bar with a few cold beers.

The worst part of our whole trip was traveling through Pretoria and Johannesburg (on the N1 freeway) as the there were lots of roadworks and some awful driving by the locals, overtaking, undertaking, cutting in, speeding. I was glad that Kevin was driving. 

The very green KwaZulu-Natal Midlands on our way back to Richmond.

1. Namib-Naukluft National Park - south
2. Windhoek, Walvis Bay and Swapokmund
3. Namib-Naucluft National Park - north
4. Skeleton Coast
5. Southern Damaraland
6. Northern Damaraland
7. Kaokoland
8. Etosha National Park
9. Waterberg
10. Caprivi
11. back to Richmond via Botswana
Diary (Word '97 document)

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