Saturday, July 21

Okavango Delta

Brett: We crossed the Mohembo border quickly with no searches. Road tax was $15. After a long day of driving, passing through the foot and mouth areas twice, we reached Maun. Maun is much more developed that we expected, but we really liked it. We stayed at the Audi Camp ($10pppn) and treated ourselves to Oxtail Stew. We cycled into town the next morning (12km each way) on our little folding bikes that refuse to give up. We picked up our tickets for the next morning, caught up on internet and found the Nandos.

We caught a taxi with a really cool taxi driver recommended by the Audi Camp. The airport was tiny and I had to stop Mary asking our young pilot how long he had been flying for (or even worse, how old he was...to be fair, he did look about 15). We took the little 4 seater plane north over the Okavango Delta - it wasn't as wet as the year before, but it was spectacular and cool to see giraffe and buffalo from the air. We landed on a dirt runway where Bate the game ranger picked us up and took us to Kwara Camp. The Okavango Delta had been near the top of the list for trip activities and we decided to splash out. The tracks in the delta are deep, soft sand, with the game drive vehicles spending most of the time in 1st and 2nd gear. We took a boat ride through the delta, seeing rare Sitatunga buck, Tsesabe, crocs, hippos and water lillies. The water was shallow and the flat bottomed boat kept touching it. The lodge was very nice and the staff were singing and dancing for us before we ate - awesome.

On the morning game drive, the highlight was a pride of 6 lions. There were also some buck in the water and it was really cool to be on a game drive, driving in a foot of water and crossing little wooden bridges when it got too deep. We had a siesta and then went looking for wild dogs in the evening. We saw lots of birds and we saw the wild dog's den, but they were out hunting.

We had a choice of activities, so on the last morning, we choose the game drive over the mokoro (which looked fun, but had less chance of seeing game). We found a pack of wild dogs (another first) - there were 10 adults and 10 puppies. They were fantastic and we spent an hour watching them play. On the way back, we saw 3 cheetahs posing (and completely ignoring us), a lion and lots of elephants wading through the water.

We had originally booked in at Moremi 3rd Bridge (which turned out to be close to Kwara anyway) but we were feeling exhausted so we changed our booking for Nxai Pan ($19pp entry) as it was less out of the way. There was about 35km of deep soft sand into the park, but we managed ok - we also passed an anti-poaching army tank with a turret gun and gas launchers. We camped at South Camp ($22pppn), which was great - we had the campsite to ourselves except for a very large elephant that came to visit in the night - he knocked down a few trees on the way into our campsite and passed about 3m from the car - he was tall enough that from the roof tent, we were still looking up at him. In the morning, we were surrounded by 2 dozen horn bills - not shy and looking for food and then met the really great site keeper. There was a lot of activity around the one waterhole, but the rest of the park was quiet. We got out and tried to pump up the tyres which we had let down to get through the sand, but there was a loose connection, so we drove really slow on the tar to Gheta where we found an mechanic/entrepreneur with an air pump that could help.

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