10-12-2012, 03:31 PM
Joined: Jun 2007
Location: Southern Africa
Into the Parks
As the new day breaks, we slowly pack up and air the tents before continuing to Katima Mulilo. Within a few minutes we enter the town and look for the Total garage.
After paying our Road Fees (N$140) and refuelling, it’s time for coffee next to the Tourist office down the road.
While we are standing at the reception of a brake and clutch specialist, an officious-looking local pulls up to ask if we can’t arrange to sell him a Kawasaki scrambler. As it happens, Errol had to leave his KLaaR at home when it would not run reliably on his shakedown ride and they exchange contact details, but shipping may be a problem!
After stocking up on supplies, we ride out on the B8 to Rundu. That’s a long way off, even on these straight roads that could put a crow out of business.
We want to do a loop through the national parks to the west. That means we turn southwest down the C49 just outside town:
Some local products are on display along the way, but their utility is restricted to this area.
..and the proximity of water.
Many kids in school uniform happily wave as we pass. Perhaps it has more to do with the start of the school holidays than with us.
Learning to Serve starts here.
We reach the end of the tar and hit the dirt.
Mostly, though, life out here in the sticks life is simply about survival, starting with long walks to and from water sources.
And it starts early- even these little girls have to help.
The turnoff to Mamili is about 140 km from Katima: but it’s signposted as Nkasa! They seem to be into the renaming game here just like South Africa.
The approach is…interesting around the first water features.
…over a rickety bridge
..that can take a loaded 4x4, but I’d hate to see this in the rainy season…
..like this submerged bridge further on.
Many of the dodgy structures have been replaced by new steel bridges.
On the first one we run into a “fanclub” who mob us to they take pictures of each other with their cellphone cameras.
The road skirts around wetlands and we start to see game along the way to the Main gate.
There’s an intersection before the entrance (there is no gate) with an office to the right and what looks like a private campsite towards the left. We turn right and meet up with Morris, who runs the office. He’s friendly enough but quite insistent that “those Hondas” aren’t allowed in. “Are BMWs welcome then?” but he misses the joke and refers us down the road to “one of the private camps”.
There are some of the ..er, sandier sections to navigate before we get there, but what we find is quite a pleasant surprise.
It’s called the Nkasa Lupala tented lodge, and from a deck with a mokoro décor theme we have a great view over the marsh in front of a wooden deck. There’s cold beer, and we settle down to enjoy some whilst asking about the entertainment and accommodation options.
The tent lodges are N$1400 per night per person (about USD 170), but there’s a community campsite “only 10 minutes away”. This turns out to be an understatement as we have to retrace our tracks to Mamili’s office, back a few km to the main road to reach it:
You could do worse than this, with a fresh fire under the “donkey” for hot showers and firewood provided for free. In the bushes behind our tents an elephant is munching away at the branches.
On the other side is an open “kitchenette” with a fireplace where we prepare our supper on our community hosts’ grille as the sun sets over the water covering the marshes in front of us. What can I say but “Another great day in Africa”?