10-03-2012, 03:15 PM
Joined: Jun 2007
Location: Southern Africa
Kasane Camp & Cruise
We ride a few kilometres west on through Kasane to our planned campsite, Chobe Safari Lodge. Unfortunately, it is also the preferred choice for many tour operators and it’s packed to capacity with tour groups doing the safari thing.
The catering on these tours is something to behold.
We ride back through Kasane and eventually settle on Thebe River Safaris near the turnoff to town (Camp 5 below). It’s not nearly as crowded as we set up our tents, although this changes soon after.
Our catering is rather more modest, but we manage to borrow a “table” from Candy and Mike next door, who operate a 4x4 rental agency from Cape Town and have flown up to collect a damaged vehicle. Cold St Louis, Savannahs and “instant” spaghetti bolognaise for supper- yum!
A French family pulls up alongside as the sun sets and the father (of the four kids) sets to work erecting tents, unpacking luggage and utensils- all on his own! We invite him over for a beer and end up exchanging pictures and impressions- they have just come from Savuti, 200 km to the west in a rented Land Cruiser.
The next day is an SWM (Shopping, Washing and Maintenance) day and we start early.
At sunrise the camp slowly comes to life as bedraggled tourists emerge from a variety of tents and head for the ablution block. Interestingly, these are shared between males and females (quite common around these parts).
The French tourists strike up a conversation with Mike while we chat to Candy. They compare prices for the vehicle rental and the supplied kit. The amount of included kit in Mike’s offering is actually quite impressive: a full tool set including cable ties and duck tape, hi-jacks, fridge, cooking utensils, crockery plus the usual rooftop tent and a side-shade. In addition to that, a satellite phone is also supplied. We manage to scrounge some double-sided tape for a small helmet repair.
Since we are still in the peak European holiday season, there are overlanders galore. If you can handle the same company in a bumpy truck for an entire month, it’s an economical way to see a lot in relatively little time: most cover South Africa from the Cape through Namibia, Botswana’s parks and then finish at the Victoria Falls. Longer tours will cover southern Africa from Kenya to the Cape (or the reverse).
We want to clean up and stock up so I set off to get some basic supplies from town. Most items are readily available at the local Spar and can be paid for by card. Mrs Owl has taken a liking to the bags of salted peanuts Errol travels with. It’s something she never touches at home, but out here the salt and oil help to replenish what we sweat out during the day.
Errol checks his chain and refills his Scotty. And dunks his inflatable mattress in a bath to try to locate the source his nocturnal discomfort.
After washing our smelly kit, I lube the chains and try once again to bleed my front brakes. The improvement is marginal.
While the laundry flaps in the breeze I try out the sewing needles I eventually found in Kasane to fix mrs Owl's jacket loop, which broke at Nata. Lots of needles, but the points bend as I try to stitch. The quality is hopeless.
Yesterday’s acacia thorn might have been a better option!
Since the camp is right on the Chobe river, we hear the grunting of hippos through the night. Although there are warnings about the hazards of crocs and hippos, this all that separates us and them:
We book on a river cruise (the first of many), get collected at three and dropped off at the jetty. It’s a huge boat, two decks and lots of seats, but no drinks on offer.
The view from up here is excellent, although the draught of the boat precludes it getting close to the shore. The confluence of water around this area supports a wildlife wonderland.
We come across a crocodile still chewing the bloody remains of an unfortunate animal’s leg.
The island between the Zambesi and Chobe rivers is packed with elephants. They use their trunks to rip out bundles of grass and reeds, while egrets follow in close pursuit to catch whatever gets disturbed by this activity.
Waterbuck and lechwes thrive in this wet environment.
A pod of hippos waiting for sunset to go feeding.
Closer to the edge- some intrepid fishermen cast their nets from tiny craft. Safety last!
All too soon, the sun sets and people start snapping away at the spectacular view. It's one of the highlights of every day we spent in this area.