Maun was fairly uneventful except for the purchase of a new cylinder head (which I’d prefer not to talk about J). The experiences of our guests in the Okavango Delta are far more interesting however. For three days they stayed on an island in the middle of the Delta, far away from the rest of the world. Their rooms were on stilts above the hippos and crocodiles in the water below. Morning and evening game drives and a couple of boat cruises gave plenty of wildlife-watching opportunity including an incredible leopard sighting. The leopard was half hiding in the bushes and suddenly leaped out and dashed across the plain in front of their vehicle. Leopards are so elusive, so to see such action was truly amazing.
In Maun we said good bye to Dennis and Merete. They are heading back through the Kalahari Desert south to Cape Town. Dennis wanted some sand driving, so I’m looking forward to hearing about their adventures. Meanwhile Pia and Henning have come with us to Livingstone, via Chobe National Park.
From Maun we travelled east to Nata where we spent the night before continuing the journey north to Kasane. Along the way we nearly ran into a huge elephant that was hanging out by the side of the highway – that’s what I love about Africa: just driving on the highway and suddenly there’s an elephant!
Kasane is the jumping off point for Chobe National Park, the park with the highest density of elephants in the world. Henning and Pia had been spoilt in the Okavango Delta so Chobe was almost an anti-climax. While they were enjoying their game drives however, Francis and I discovered that we didn’t have to travel at all to see the wildlife. About thirty elephants decided the bushes on the other side of the fence near our campsite were the perfect grazing site for the day. So while we cleaned the van and prepared for the onward journey, the elephant herd munched about 50 metres from us.
Crossing the border from Botswana into Zambia is easier said than done. The Kazangula ferry is straightforward enough, but entering Zambia is another story. The customs official wanted Francis to produce a written letter giving him authorisation to drive his own car! There are three different taxes one must pay on bringing a vehicle into Zambia and rather than streamlining the process, the three offices are scattered throughout the port with one official who may or may not be on a lunch break at any given time. Nearly two hours later we were signing the final book to be released into Zambia. The correlation between development and bureaucracy was proven – the less of one, the more of the other.
Now we are in Livingstone. Yesterday we visited the National Park where there are walking trails to see the mighty Victoria Falls. At the moment, there is A LOT of water coming over and it is a very wet walk to see the falls. At the best of times one should wear a raincoat to protect from the spray. But currently, Victoria Falls simply laughs at a raincoat and you are better off taking your soap and enjoying the bath. We also walked on the bridge that is the border crossing from Zambia to Zimbabwe. The middle of the bridge is where the bungee jump happens, but none of us were tempted. There’s a less drenching view of the falls from the bridge as well, but still too damp to pose for a nice photo. In the afternoon Henning and Pia went walking with the lions. Getting up close to these massive cats, seeing their huge teeth, but patting them as if they are sweet little pussy cats was an experience they will never forget.
We have a day or two more in Livingstone before Henning and Pia fly home and Francis and I start the long drive back to Nairobi. That will be next week’s tale.