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Old 09-06-2012, 01:22 PM   #1
1NiteOwl OP
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Joined: Jun 2007
Location: Southern Africa
Oddometer: 88
Caprivi (S)trip

During my schooldays there was no TV in South Africa. Instead, we had photo-comics reflecting and directing the public mood at the time: cowboy stories like Ruiter in Swart*, Kid Colt, Tarzan characters like Wit Tier**, and Rambo stories like Grensvegter*** while at the drive-in theatres we could watch James Bond or … Kaptein Caprivi.

* Rider in Black ** White Tiger *** Border Fighter

Although it sounds absurd now, this was the era of the Border War where young men fresh out of school were drafted into the army and police force to defend our borders against the “infiltrators”, but got sucked into the Cold War.

Publications such as those above struck a chord with a nation that had to send her young sons far from home to face the boredom of patrols interspersed with the occasional “contact”- firefights with almost inevitable casualties, somberly announced on the evening news:

Much of this war was waged around the Caprivi Strip, a ribbon of land bounded by four perennial rivers – the Okavango, Kwando, Chobe and Zambezi.

This wealth of water supports an abundance of fauna and flora, including several hundred species of birds thriving in four National Parks – Bwabwata, Mamili, Mudumu and Mahango – the main interest of this particular trip. While the war had a major impact on the region during the eighties, little evidence of it remains today.

So back to the present. After last year’s trip through northern Namibia, Errol (Hermit) and I agreed to do a repeat this year. Mrs Owl is game for some game watching as well, but mrs Hermit is still recuperating from an operation.

Rough plan: head north to exit South Africa through the northernmost border post with Botswana to enter the Tuli Block. From there, ride northwards through Botswana to cross the Chobe reserve into Namibia and turn westwards, dropping in at as many of the parks along the way as we can fit in/ get allowed in. Cross the “Panhandle” of the Okavango delta and return along its southern edge before dipping north into Moremi and heading home around the Makgadikgadi pans. Before the rainy season starts.

Southern Africa is classified as a “basic hot” region, but a cold front moving through from the Cape results in snow across much of the land the week before our departure. It’s front page news!

Errol’s trip starts further south of Pretoria, near Lesotho, and his route reflects the headlines.

The weather prediction reflects the reality that this region is actually a desert (hot days, cold nights) and prompts mrs Owl to pack her Alpine sleeping bag:

1NiteOwl screwed with this post 10-03-2012 at 03:38 PM
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