Joined: Jun 2007
Location: Southern Africa
Amongst the offerings at the Nkasa Lupala Tented Lodge is a game drive. Since our Hondas are not welcome in the reserve, we have booked a game drive for the next morning. By six o’clock we are sipping coffee and our guide, Joster, soon arrives in his Land Cruiser with two German tourists aboard. There are elephants all along the road we covered twice yesterday.
While the sun is just rising Joster takes us past a large termite mound and explains that, after the insects have been devoured by an anteater, warthogs like to move into the empty shell.
We struggle a bit to match the animals we see with Joster’s nomenclature- he has his own names for the animals in the reserve, like the new “Sad Will stork”.
Despite driving right up to the Kwando river, we see no predators but only some buffaloes far away, a few impala and elephants closer by and quite a few water birds in between.
Until some reed buck jump across the road.
It’s windy by the time we get back at the camp and pack for the next reserve. The return to the main road is much quicker than the previous day and we soon pass another two-track turnoff. It’s the Mudumo Game Reserve, but we give it a miss. Bikes are not likely to be welcome there either.
30 km up the road we pass a little village and go looking for supplies.
Unfortunately the beer is warm because the paraffin for the fridge ran out.
Across the road, better luck.
A little further is the turnoff to Camp Kwando, our next destination, less than 2 km from the main road.
We can Highly Recommend this place!
Surprisingly, the campsite is “full” but after some negotiation a spot for 3 bikes and 2 tents is found, as well as a braai grid for the meat packs on sale at the office.
After setting up the tents, we settle down on the deck overlooking the river after which the camp is named. The sight is stunning.
Mrs Owl is mesmerised …
… by the Jacanas walking on the water below.
It’s time for a boat trip up the Kwando river with the camp’s aluminium boat. Like the rest of the camp, it’s well organised and includes drinks.
Naturally, there’s quite a bit of bird life along the river banks and we spot bee-eaters and kingfishers, some plovers and the usual crocodiles.
Another pod of hippos.
We return after sunset and set about preparing supper. Across from us two semi-retired couples from Swakopmund spoil us with cold Windhoek lager and wine. They make up for the meagre braaipacks we bought.
Next morning we get some advice for other places to stay from our new friends, who line up to see us off.
We exchange addresses and head out for the short ride to our next campsite.
A few hundred metres from Camp Kwando is a “mansion” behind two imposing baobabs. We pop in to see what is happening behind the thatch fence.
There are only men, and they are busy brewing some umqombothi (sorghum beer). Surprisingly, they are using South African ingredients!
We are shown around by Mike Kamburi, who is actually from Divundu (200 km to the west) where he has a plot of 20 ha. He wants some help to farm it, but there is not much we can do even when we get there two days later.
It turns out they have a vegetable store in one of the huts. Pity we did not stop by yesterday!
There’s a wide gravel highway with more road works along the way to Kongola.
We get fuel, but the Trading Store is closed - it’s Sunday! Fortunately, we can get some fresh coffee across the road at a small café run by a German fellow with a local partner. He’s happy to sell some of the stuff, as he usually ends up drinking it all by himself.
Our next camp is just across the river from here, and fortunately there is a kuka shop along the way, open for business.
We pass underneath the new 350kV transmission line connecting central Namibia to Zambia’s power grid (and not Ruacana, as I first thought).
The bridge across the Kwando river is the gateway into the Bwatabwata National park, our next destination.
The turnoff to Bumhill camp is directly after the bridge. We have had reports that it is run-down and has been abandoned. The sign points skyward and the brick buildings nearby are burnt out, the water-tower is devoid of a tank.
But three of the platforms overlooking the Kwando river are still intact, with bathrooms and solar water heaters, although most of the thatch is on the ground.
We settle on the largest platform and, grabbing some of the thatch into a bundle, quickly sweep the floor clean.
Within a few minutes the tents are up, food is laid out, riding kit is blowing in the breeze and it’s time to unpack the booze.
Beer from a cup, cider from a bottle and a truly spectacular setting.
We make supper upstairs, watching the power lines coruscating on the horizon while Errol counts the gearchanges of the trucks crossing the bridge.
The ablution blocks are falling apart, but fresh water is 100m downhill, where we are able to clean up ourselves and the utensils.
But we are not alone.
Kudu and impala graze in the forest, where elephants have made their mark by rubbing the bark off a large baobab.
We later hear that this tree is actually a member of the aloe family, and its bark has medicinal qualities that the elephant make use of.
1NiteOwl screwed with this post 11-01-2012 at 03:57 PM