11-29-2012, 11:44 PM
Joined: Jun 2007
Location: Southern Africa
Time to Turn Back
As at most of these places, boat rides are on offer. We arrange a mokoro trip the next morning, to take a closer look at the “waterfall”. Our guide Joseph, who tells us his father was a member of Koevoet battalion, and after the war they stayed in South Africa until 1996, when he decided to move back to his roots.
The mokoro gets towed upstream by the camp’s cruising boat and we get dropped off a stone’s throw from the falls.
The “beach” is really sandy, with rocks jutting out on the short climb to the falls. Close up, Popa Falls looks more impressive than before.
Wildlife along the shore is limited to crocodiles and waterbirds like this reed cormorant.
Local fishermen compete with both for a catch. The water is pretty shallow along the riverbanks- it’s the end of the dry season.
Joseph points out a jackalberry tree and explains that our campsite has been named after the seeds (Nunda).
Back at the camp, we reluctantly pack out bags. We’ve reached the furthest point of our trip, and now it is time to start the return ride home.
It’s a short stretch from Nunda to the Botswana border, and after the formalities plus another 50 Pula road tax we soon reach the Mahango Game Reserve again (we passed through it last year on the way to Kaokoland). We get warned to stay on the main gravel road through the reserve after signing the register at the gate.
After a “splash and dash” for fuel in Shakawe we cover the 10 km to Drotsky’s Lodge. Ikageng is at reception and waves us on down the road to the campsites after making arrangements to join in the sit-down supper.
We end up next to site we had a year ago and take our time to set up camp before drifting over to the bar for a beer with Cyril, who is running the camp and has been around these parts for decades. We quiz him about the northern loop around the delta, which we considered doing, but he says its all reserves and not accessible by bike.
After a great buffet supper We light up a fire - because we can!
As we are enjoying breakfast I spot a familiar face cleaning out the fireplace: it’s the man who found my GPS last year (ripped off my bike by the monkeys)!
Time to pack,
Time to pay. Mrs Drotsky is at reception with Ikageng and offers coffee on the house before we go, while I photograph the carved pangolin anteater (“ietermagog”) behind the counter. It is unique in being the only mammal with reptile-like scales.
We mention our interest in visiting the Moremi reserve and within one minute we are connected to Joyce and Simon Paul at Maun Rest Camps who say they can take us the next day- whoohoo!
I did mention that the Dakar was needing attention the previous day, and as we try to leave Drotsky’s, it won’t start. Fortunately after a quick tow the engine bursts into life. I should have paid more attention to this…
We ease down the road skirting the delta in a south easterly direction- we have been warned of speed traps. It’s a hot and boring ride.
Even the cattle seek out the shady spots.
After about 125 km we have a choice of two filling stations in Gumare.
150 km further brings us to Lake Ngami.
Our timing is spot on: the catch of the day is just being hauled in, while piles of fish are being scaled and gutted nearby.
Bream, bream, bream
All along the shore, Marabou storks stand watching for scraps while the fishermen keep a beady eye on them.
One of the fishermen asks for help with his Chinese outboard motor and we decide to do our good deed for the day. After some stripping and fiddling it is obvious that the motor has seized. A sharp smack with a rock and spanner succeed in freeing the piston, but after two pulls on the starter it’s stuck again- we recommend a rebuild to the hapless owner.
There’s another veterinary fence just outside Maun where we get a free Wash ‘n Go before proceeding.
We reach Maun late in the afternoon and after getting some fresh supplies at the local Spar and a bundle of firewood en route we scan the side of the road for signs to Maun Rest Camp.
We find it soon enough and find Joyce in the office, with a string of dogs in tow.
There is a permanent tent available, but then Simon arrives in his Land Cruiser and suggests “The Green House”.
Once we get there, we call it heaven.