NAMIBIA – Katima Mulilo
We now have a Namibian Mobile Number – + 264 81 417 8599 (for the next 3 weeks)
The Landy’s service was only half the story………..the long hard bumpy roads of Africa (esp. Tanzania) took their toll and I needed new Shocks for the rear and three new rods at the front. Just as we were leaving Livingstone, the aux battery (that does all the work for the fridges etc.) died – good riddance, it’s been a pain in the butt for ages and we managed to get a replacement Deep Cycle battery from Foleys. In the great scheme of things this tops the importance list as one cannot function in this climate without frosty lagers!!
It’s now been close to 90 days on the road and we have covered over 10,000 kms………….Michael Palin, eat your heart out! We arrive at K.M. on the late side, due to the battery issue and find a local “dive” to put our head down for the night. You gotta hand it to me Emma, I’ve treated you to some very salubrious establishments on this trip………….NOT!!
9the October to 12th October
Mamili National Park (Nyasa Lupala) – Rupara Camp
I love this place, not a soul in sight anywhere, it’s a wetland paradise made up of two islands – Nyasa and Lupala, they are bordered by the Kwando River on one side and the Linyanti on the other. Just across the Linyanti River is Botswana with its upmarket lodges. Basically paying $600.00 p/p p/n versus the $6 we pay at Rupara for a very similar experience.
Namibian wildlife has now built steel bridges (used to be wooden poles) that make access very easy.
Rupara is set right on the banks of the Kwando, we have our own kitchen and ablutions and total solitude. The birdlife here is spectacular and we’ve added a few new sightings to our growing list, including the rare Wattled Crane.
Elephants are everywhere. They are a little skittish but nothing major, certainly no charges……yet!
This place has Miombo woodland and open Savannah. So far we have spotted Elephant, Buffalo, Zebra, Kudu, Reedbuck, Impala, Wildebeest and Waterbuck.
The Sighting of the Year Award (nominated by me!) – Pangolin!!
Not just your common gardener Pangolin sighting, no this one has a baby on her back! We were just driving along a dirt road, close to camp when suddenly the Pangolin appeared running across our path. We both jumped out, very excited and managed to fire off a few pics before she hid herself in the undergrowth. If you’re bushwise you’ll understand the rarity value and wow factor. If you’re not……..well, it’s a bit like seeing the Queen picking her nose, it may happen but you never get to see it!
I’ve met lots of people that spend their life in the bush who’ve never seen a Pangolin so we consider ourselves blessed to have witnessed this.
12th to 14th October
Mashi River Safaris
The Camp we’re staying at is Mavujane and is adjacent to Babatwa National Park, it’s about 60kms from Mamili.
It’s owned and run by a quirky Englishman – Dan Stevens, who knows the area, waterways and Babatwa like the back of his hand. He’s also very knowledgeable about photography and great at lining up the shot for you. Dan does river safaris and is able to get you close up and personal with the animals. He cruises the waterways in his comfortable boat and the animals don’t have the same aversion to the boat that they do to a vehicle. So it’s possible to get very close, especially this time of year when they are all at the water’s edge. It’s a welcome relief from all the driving and the camp is quite funky, located on the banks of the Kwando.
It’s getting hotter by the day and touching 40C on some days, so cruising on the river is just the ticket.
We went out for a late afternoon cruise. Dan stopped so we could get out and bathe in the shallows (see pic). Quite refreshing and not at all dangerous…………..or so we thought! Shortly afterwards, we found a spot where there were Red Lechwe jumping across the islands. Suddenly all hell broke loose. A gigantic Crocodile exploded out of the water right in front of the boat. The water was less than a meter deep and it just happened to be one of Dan’s swimming spots (he was swimming here just two days ago!!). The Croc must have been all of 5m in length, a monster and certainly the biggest we’ve seen on this trip.
Interestingly, the previous day I enquired about the Crocs only to be told……….”there’s not many around here and what there is are small, as there’s limited large fish in the Kwando”. Famous last words, I think this Croc has bigger things than fish on his mind . What do they say? “Africa’s not for Sissies.”
14th to 17th October
Babatwa Natiobnal Park (Buffalo and Mahango Core areas) and Popa Falls.
Our next stop is Mahango and we’re now staying at Ndouvu Lodge on the banks of the Kavango River.
En route we stopped at Popa Falls, a very pleasant rapids area in the Okavango River system. We did take a dip here, although I had to go on reconnaissance to search for lurking Crocs before Emma would join me.
After that we spent the afternoon at Buffalo.
The Okavango river runs through this area on its way down to Botswana to ultimately become the famous Okavango Delta. Babatwa Buffalo and Mahango Core areas straddle the river on either side.
Ndouvu Lodge is on the banks of the river and we have another beautiful and private spot right on the river’s edge. Plenty of Hippos in the river, so not the place for a cool off dip.
Yesterday we spent the day at Mahango. Both Mahango and Buffalo have sizeable herds of the very rare Roan and Sable Antelopes. It was special to see them in numbers just doing their thing and they were not shy at all.
Today (16th Oct.) is our last day here and tomorrow we head for Etosha Pan National Park.