I have already reported on Saturday morning on the houseboat. We arrived back at 10H30 and still had to shower, pack up and have brunch. I then had some time to investigate using the minor border crossing from near Kongola via Singalamwe/Imushu into Zambia and the seldom visited Sioma-Ngwezi National Park. Curt could not help me at all but did phone around to no avail. I tried the 2 numbers given to me by Piet “Toit” also to no avail, possibly because it was already late Saturday morning and out of office hours. The other bugbear was the foot and mouth barrier at Kongola. To use the above border crossing might well involve crossing this. As detailed previously we ran the risk of having to surrender our highly valued stash of choice cuts of meat from home. We decided to take the path of least resistance and proceed with plan B. I am still intent on the above route but that will be saved for another trip as we need to explore Caprivi more thoroughly in the future. Piet apologies for wasting your time but perhaps you should tackle it yourself in the interim.
“There are many ways to skin a cat. The simplest is usually the best”.
We eventually left CHS at 13H30 after farewells and thank you to Curt and Silke. What we have planned for our curtailed Caprivi trip is a couple of days in Mudumu NP and the same in Rupara (formally Mamili NP). This involves an anti-clockwise semicircle ending back near Katima, where we will cross into Zambia at the Sesheke Border Post and head for Livingstone and the much vaunted Peregrine Nest Campsite (Taita Falcon Lodge) on the Batoka Gorge, some 10km downstream of Victoria Falls.
The details of the route to Mudumu will be in Geeks but suffice to say this relatively short drive on mostly very good roads should take about 3 hours at most if you avoid the circuitous route we inadvertently took. Not the last time this will happen I will guarantee. As it was after taking the scenic route we were able to set up camp by 17H00. In brief we missed the badly signposted Mudumu Park HQ and had to backtrack some 12km to pay our fees.
The very helpful duty ranger encouraged us to take the far longer route along the Kwando River as he knew we had plenty of time to reach Nakwata Campsite no 3, which we particularly wanted and were able to book. There were no other people in the public campsites and although we were not sure if there were people at the private lodges and campsites we were to meet no other tourists in the park which was right up my alley. The ranger provided us with a detailed map of the park, patiently indicated the best game driving routes and generally made us feel welcome. There appear to be 2 or 3 other campsites which are all very attractively sited on the Kwando River bank. These camps are situated where the Kwando divides into 2 main channels and in between is the Nakwata Island. The campsites have no facilities whatsoever and are wonderfully isolated and private with really topnotch views over the river. All we really require is shade and a view! It was wonderful to be alone in a wild area again, am I becoming a hermit?
The park is in a wonderful setting with mixed woodlands, some areas of mopani trees and then magnificent riverine trees. The trees and bush were still very leafy and the grass at shoulder height, so game viewing was not easy but we saw a few breeding herds of elephant, warthogs, impala and a kudu on the way in. Supper was simple but delicious in the form of bacon, egg and cheese sarmies toasted on the fire. There were two hippo paths up from the water on either side of the camp and we needed to be on our toes. Although they seemed to complain bitterly the hippos used alternate nearby river exit paths as they set off for their nights grazing. Their presence close by was evident throughout the night!
Once again we were privileged to experience a technicolor sunset with the birds flying to their roosts etched in the night sky. We had noisy neighbors in the form of baboons roosting in trees a couple of houses down from us. Later that night after supper and whilst we were retiring, they became particularly agitated and once we heard their turds falling like bombs we wondered what was agitating them. Later a whole flock of guinea fowl took noisily to the air in the dark and there were later numerous impala alarm calls. By now we were safely in bed in the RTT and I remarked to Anne that there must be a leopard on the prowl. Ignorance is bliss.
The first 7 photos are of the houseboat trip.
Then follow a variety from Mudumu.