• Caprivi Trip Report

    Caprivi trip report 30 June 2012-13 July 2012
    30 June 2012

    Leave Jhb at 3am in morning. Nice easy drive to Skilpadshek border.
    Reach border at 6:15am. Still dark. Quite busy but it seems a lot of people are going through to Windhoek. Botswana people not very friendly and don’t try and make anything easier. Whole process to cross border takes 40 minutes. Not bad at all. By the time we pass into Botswana, the sun is shining.

    Our destination is Thakuda Lodge on the outskirts of Ghanzi. Loooooonnnnngggg drive. On route we see ostrich, jackal, baboon, mongoose, vultures and goshawks. Aaahhh, we’re in Botswana.

    Reach Thakuda at 13:45. Check in and go for a quick snooze and then a couple of cold ones. We’re in the safari tents for the night. Have supper in restaurant which is lovely. We ordered our meal when we checked in and as we sat down, food was served. Never received such speedy service in Botswana ever! I have a gemsbok fillet. Delicious!

    1 July 2012 – 6 July 2012
    Leave lodge at 9am as we head off to our next destination – Ndhovu Safari Lodge in Western Caprivi. The drive up is ok. Roads not too bad and a couple of vet fence stops. Stop and get diesel in Serawe where there are chickens running around the petrol station. Reach Mohembo border post at 14:40. What a lovely little border post. In contrast to Skilpadshek, the lady on duty on the Botswana side is an absolute pleasure. Pass into Namibia and straight away we are in the Bwabwatwa National Park.

    We drive through the Mahongo concession of the park and soon after entering have our first sighting of Roan antelope on the main road. About 40kms on, we arrive at Ndhovu Safari Lodge which is one of the first lodges as you exit the Mahongo concession.

    Our hosts at Ndhovu are fantastic! We have booked the campsite for the next 5 nights and the lodge only allows one group of people at a time in the campsite. The campsite is stunning !! We are right on the edge of the river but quite high above the river so there’s no threat of hippos or crocodiles. In saying that the kids ran into a hippo munching on the lawns one night when they went to fetch wood. They arrived back at camp very quickly without any wood!! We are directly across from the Buffalo concession of the Bwabwatwa National park and one night we hear a real commotion which sounds like lions on a buffalo kill. The campsite has a covered cooking area which has electricity and two very clean, modern and new ablution blocks. Each has a toilet with a separate bathroom which has a shower and sink area. The ablutions are kept spotlessly clean. Campers are free to use any of the lodges facilities.

    We had a problem taking meat into Namibia but prior to our trip we organised with the lodge owner, Horst, to arrange us some meat for our whole trip. True to his word, he arranged what we asked for at a very reasonable price. The meat was excellent!

    The first night at Ndhovu. We had supper in the lodge which was very nice. Whilst staying at the lodge, we went into the park on a few occasions and also went over to the Buffalo concession area. I recently read a letter in one of the 4x4 magazines where somebody had stated that they were not very impressed with the parks there. We absolutely loved them! We did not see any predators but saw a lot of roan and sable antelope as well as elephant and the other usual animals. The parks were however lovely and quite different to what we are used to. The parks are on either side of the Kavango River so the area is green and lush. There are also drier areas to the park which we did visit but most of the animals were close to the water.

    The boys went on two fishing trips whilst at the lodge and lucky for two of them, they caught very nice sized tiger fish – one at 3kg and the other at 5kg’s. You are welcome to fish anywhere at the lodge including the deck area and from any of the boats there. Our son Liam, caught a couple of nembwa which we had for lunch. Lovely! One evening we also all went on sunset cruise which was very pleasant. The bird life at the lodge very impressive with a lot of new sightings for us. Daytime temperatures while we were there reached up to 38 degrees.

    6 July 2012 – 11 July 2012
    After packing up camp we head off to Nambwa campsite which is on the eastern side of the Caprivi and Bwabwatwa National Park. Pleasant drive with quite a few sightings of elephant. Just before taking the turnoff to Nambwa we turn in the opposite direction to go an pay our park fees. I don’t think a lot of people do this and when checking in at Nambwa we were not asked for our permit. Think that Namibian parks board are losing a lot of money in the process.

    We follow quite a large group into Nambwa who keep getting stuck. Eventually at one of their “stops” we are able to get past them. On checking in at Nambwa, we are told that there is no record of our booking even though I have it in black and white. Kennedy, the gent on duty advises you can only make bookings by telephone. Luckily we are able to negotiate with him and there is space for us at campsite no 2 for the next 5 nights.

    Nambwa campsite is gorgeous and yes, you do need a 4x4 to get there. The camp sites are all set along the river. There are only 6 of them. The ablutions are lovely, all made with reeds. There is no electricity so it’s advisable to shower during the day. The donkeys are lit early in the morning and then again at around 4 pm. 3 sites share an ablution which has 2 toilets and two showers each for both men and ladies. At the back of the site there is a raised decking with a view over a vlei. We saw water reedbuck there nearly every day as well as giraffe one day which we had not seen a lot of in the area. One evening at sunset, we had elephants in camp and when following them, saw a huge herd on the vlei. It was a stunning sight.

    We spend a super 5 days exploring Nambwa and Horse Shoe bend. The boys went on another fishing trip with the boat fetching them right in front of the camp site on the bank of the river. Whilst fishing they explored all the water ways around the area.

    One day we also headed off to Mamili National Park. Were told beforehand that we could not camp here as it has been under water for a couple of years. I do not think that we headed deep into the park but there is a community campsite on the outskirts and quite a new lodge which we stopped at and had a cup of coffee. The park is also lovely which lots of water areas but little that stopped you from going anywhere.

    11 July 2012 – 15 July 2012
    Pack up camp for the last time. We are heading off to The Old House in Kasane for the next two nights. On route, we stop at Caprivi Houseboat Safari’s for lunch. We spend almost three hours there – lunch, some cold ones and a spot of fishing. Pity we could not fit it in our trip to stay here. This lodge has tons of appeal. Lovely chalets and a nice campsite. Lunch is delicious and the kids fish for a couple of hours in between playing with the dogs.

    We pass through the Ngoma Border into Chobe. Must be one of the prettiest border posts we have been through. It is tiny with us all struggling to fit into the one little room which is boiling hot. We however soon cross over and straight into Chobe. See loads of animals as usual driving from the border to Kasane. At Kasane we check into the Old House, have a couple of cold ones and get ready for supper. Tonight we eat at The Old House with all the locals. Decent food.

    Early the next morning, we head off for a game drive in the park. Despite all the rumours re road restrictions, we have no problems at enter the park at opening time 6:30am. Chobe as per usual does not disappoint. Animals and/or birds everywhere. Driving along the riverfront we spot a number of vehicles and camera flashes and head off in that direction. A pride of lions with some big cubs are playing along the river front and after a while move inland where we meet the male of the pride walking right alongside the road. We spend the next 5 hours in the park and come across a huge herd of elephants sleeping. A lot of them are sleeping lying on the ground. It was absolutely amazing!! Something different and extremely peaceful. A buffalo herd even moved through them and these ellies were not phased one little bit.

    Headed back to Kasane for lunch and then headed off on a sunset cruise. This is something we have never done before as we have always camped at Ihaha and because of gate closing times it has never been possible to do the trip from Ihaha. It was probably the highlight of our trip. We had a small, fast little boat and an awesome guide. He was very knowledgable and got us really close to the animals without disturbing them. He also know exactly where to park the boat so as to get the best sunset views.

    For supper that night, we had curry at the pizza parlour!!! It was lovely but service was very slow. The owners stood behind the counter all night while only one waitress was on duty. They did apologise to us when we paid but you would have thought they would have assisted the poor lady.

    The next morning we headed off to Martins Drift at the crack of dawn. Just outside Kasane we saw quite a few ground hornbills which we had not seen at all along our trip so it was a nice ending.

    Stayed at Kwa Nokeng Lodge for the night before heading home to Jhb.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Caprivi Trip Report started by Bushlover View original post