Monday, September 29, 2008

Safari tip number 34. Don't swim in the Okavango in the morning

Greetings all, again, from the goat's bum of Africa, Maun.... Wrote this garbled post a few days ago.

Heading up-country back into the Delta again tomorrow for four days at a predator research camp. Yes, I do lead an interesting life. The things I do for you LOF. Anyway, thanks very much to all of you who commented on the recent posts, and all you lurkers as well. (pics to come, redcap, as we say in the trade). Read on:

Woke up feeling a little fuzzy this morning, Legion of Fans (LOF) after a few too many Windhoek Lagers last night, so I thought a refreshing dip in the mighty Okavango River might be in order.

Fear not, chickens, I planned to take the waters within the safety of a river cage swimming pool to protect me from the many crocodiles and hippos that infest the river.

I’m writing this from the banks of said river at the perfectly charming Ngepi Camp Ground near Divundu (another goat’s bum of a town) in Namibia’s Caprivi Strip. It’s not all drinking and swimming in crocodile infested rivers, LOF… I am in the process of researching book seven.

Anyway, I went for a dip in the cage yesterday afternoon and found it most agreeable, particularly with an ice-cold Tafel Lager in hand. Windhoek Lager is the Foster’s of Namibia – ie only the tourists drink it – and to mark yourself as a true Namibian you are supposed to drink Tafel. Actually it’s not s nice as Windhoek, but when in Namibia…

The waters of the Okavango, or Kavango as it’s known hereabouts, were mighty fine and cool, clean and refreshing. Apparently we are drinking water straight out of the river here in the camp ground, hardy folk that Mrs Blog and I are.

Stretching and yawning I wandered to the edge of our campsite to take a look at the briskly flowing river. Unfortunately, rather than water fowl and crocodile snouts what greeted me was a raft of soap suds and, if I’m not mistaken, a couple of floating man-made objects, if you get my drift.

I realised that morning time must be when the good folk of Bagani village, a couple of kilometres upstream, perform their ablutions. Perhaps not the best time, then, to dive into the cage, lest the bars act as a solid pollutant trap.

This is a working river, LOF. A living, breathing (at times heaving) thing that provides life to man and animal alike, as well as a fast flowing sewage system.

Don’t get me wrong. Once the burgers of Bagani have finished their morning reading of The Namibian and completed their business the Kavango will be cool, clear and pristine once more, and it will be my pleasure, somewhat later in the day, to immerse myself in it.

There is more about our travels at so I urge you to go there now and beef up the numbers on their site meter, and perhaps post a comment or two on my posts to remind my good friends at Getaway how popular I am.

To summarise the last week or two of travelling:

Zimbabwe – no fuel or food and a shortage of paper and ink to print money, but plenty of animals to be seen in Hwange National Park, where Mrs B and I did our annual game census.

Kasane, Botswana – a charming little ville, as always. Newsflash, African adventurers – the camp sites at the Safari Lodge now have electricity and sites have been demarcated so there is no risk of some German pitching his tent on your doorstep (tent-flap-step?).

Namwi Island Camp Site, Katima Mulilo, Namibia. Katima would qualify for goat’s bum status were it not for the sparkling new Zambezi Shopping Centre, featuring that cool, inviting African oasis that is the Pick ‘n’ Pay supermarket. Forget Christianity, Pick ‘n’ Pay should colonise Africa, bringing light, ducted air con, pepper steak pies and fresh fruit and veg to the darkest reaches of the dark continent. Namwi Island camp site was a beautiful little piece of Afrikaner/Teutonic orderliness in a province of dust, goats, bums and plastic bags.

Nambwa Campsite, Kongola, Caprivi Strip. Wisely, the proprietors of this picture postcard perfect campsite scratched out the number of kilometres on the sign pointing to their little slice of African paradise from the main road. Had we read that it was 15 kilometres from the tar road we may very well have turned back after the first kilometre. I tell you folks, it’s harder than it looks to drive 15 km through deep sand, much of it in low range, first gear, for the four-by-four fundis among you. Mrs B was just about making small potty in her safari pants at some points, but Tonka the Land Rover and I got into it and though the road seemed as if it would never end, it finally did, on a sand island in the middle of the Kwando River. Elephants, hippo and other grass eaters abounded and I do believe I heard a leopard in the evening. Bliss.

Greetings, too, to the extended Martin family of regional Victoria, who met up with us for the Hwange Game Count this year, and a guided tour of places in and around Hwange National Park where the fictitious Michelle Parker (as opposed to the real one) and the equally make-believe Shane Castle and Fletcher Reynolds all had sex with one another in my book, SAFARI. A fun time was had by all – us, the martins, Shane, Fletch and Michelle. We all stayed at the Sprayview Hotel at Victoria Falls after the count and while the bar was open, sadly (or fortunately, depending on your point of view), there were no trashy Aussie backpackers present.

The adventure continues…


ali g said...

Next time you go swimming up that creek you'd better take your paddle.

Java said...

OMG, only in Africa! LOL
Mind you, I'd probably be back in the water again as well as soon as it flushes away.

Java said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Wont be swimming in there again..thought they were just baby hippos