DISSAPOINTING CHOBE NP
21 Aug 2008
Kasane, Botswana (Ngina Safaris Camp S17 47.786 E25 13.322)
Chobe NP entry fee: 120Pula pp ($20), 50Pula / vehicle
SARAH: Chobe NP turned out to be very disappointing but I guess no park can compare to South Luangwa. We saw more animals in the evening around the river but even in the winter bush spotting game inland was difficult. The riverside drive was pretty and it was strange driving on such sandy tracks game viewing. Although we saw a beautiful Sable antelope, large maned lion, tortoise, hundreds of ellies and other plains game, the sightings weren't that charismatic. We're getting really fussy now when it comes to parks but all in all it was only a very ok day in what I would rate a very average park with lots of holiday makers from SA. It's the busiest park we've been to filled with loaded 4x4's with trailers and driven by unfriendly holiday makers. To top our day off we had a braai which took hours to cook and we were grumpy and tired and wishing we were back in South Luangwa. I wouldn't rush back to Chobe too soon.
22 Aug 2008
Kasane - Nata (Nata Lodge Campsite)
BRUCE: We took our tie this morning and only got on the road at about 11ish. The scenery that we drove through today was awesome Mapane bush. Really beautiful with yellows and oranges. We also made an obligatory stop for some mapane firewood which is phenomenally good to cook on. In fact we have not used the gas in weeks now since South Luangwa NP, with the exception of Zulu's Kraal. I really think that Larium is starting to have more of an effect on me now and to a lesser extent on Se. We are very nervy at the moment and I am full of indecision. We both agree that we do not want to go to Moremi NP and would rather do Ethosha in Namibia. That means that we are driving all the way around the delta for nothing as Kasane is on the Nam border. We realised this and nearly turned around after 250km. In the end we carried on to Nata and had a really good planning session where we wrote down all that we had agreed so we can't change our minds again! This campsite is awesome and they have a really good bar and pool too. WE had a great braai and spent a great evening with a couple from Pretoria. Jonathon told us a fascinating story about him being in a plane crash in the Sahara in 1994. He was captaining a WWII spy plane when it went down in Western Sahara. One of the best stories I have ever heard!
SALT PLANES AND BOABABS
23 Aug 2008
Nata - Gweta (Planet Boabab Campsite)
SARAH: We decided to do some exploring of the salt pans on out own so set out for Sowa Pan following some tracks from T4A. The scenery in Bots has been very different again with vast open Savannah grasslands and now saltpans. The pan we went to was small and we enjoyed lunch on it before driving to Gweta. There are a lot of NP around here that we would love to go to but we've decided to save our money for Etosha in Namibia so are passing through Bots quite quickly with the intension to return one day. Planet Baobab Camp was very civilised with a pool and everything a campsite needs set among 5 huge baobab trees. I actually miss the hard camping days where a cold shower and flush toilet was hard to find. Travelling this close to home is so easy and unadventurous. We were meant to go to another saltpan for sundowners but left too late so ended up having a drink in the savannah plains with Mapane and Baobab trees scattered around. We had a great campfire and cooked spag bol under the most beautiful sky of stars.
24 Aug 2008
Gweta - Maun (Seidia Hotel Campsite)
BRUCE: today was a short drive to Maun where we focussed on catching up on some admin. We updated the blog and also did a small supplies shop. I bought us 2 lovely T-bone steaks that are vacuum packed to allow it to be taken through the road blocks that have been set up to combat an outbreak of foot and mount disease. For some reason they do not want you taking meat around the country but we have been told that if it is vacuum packed it is ok. The campsite is ok, but a little sandy. We went through our photos of South Luangwa again, which were great.
OUR MEAT NEEDED A PASSPORT
25 Aug 2008
Maun - Sepupa (The Swamp Stop)
SARAH: After a quick stop at spar we headed north to the Okavango Panhandle. To see the swamps properly you really either have to fly over them or on a boat cruise into them, both of which don't fit into our budget at this stage of our trip. We're really skimming through Bots and leaving lots for us to return to. We had a rather eventful time getting to our camp as Bruce describes, "Today was the most action that we'd had in Bots. My vacuum packed meat failed to meet the approval of Botswana's thickest police man at a road block. I refused to move until he agreed to call out the district veterinary officer who sided with me and issued me with a permit for my steaks. Yip, now my steaks have a passport too! This made the going easy for the remaining checkpoints."
The Swamp Stop campsite sounded very promising but turned out to be a bit of a disappointment. The South African guys running it are complete k*** too and at $14pp it was really expensive. It was nice and secluded though overlooking some swamps and the stars on the dark night were incredible. We had toasted saams for dinner on the camp fire and enjoyed another evening around the fire.