Our travel day started with pancakes and coffee at the campsite. Since the Vineyard also offers conference rooms, we watched a group play break-up games while we were there. Or they watched us eat breakfast, as you ‘d take it. We stopped at a souvenir store on the way to the airport. It offered not only “normal” things, but also hunting trophies. There were many antlers and taxidermied animals, even lions and leopards.
The demand seems to be great. You can also buy oryx or springbok skins at street stalls. However, I would not have expected that rare animals are so easy to buy. We drove again to the “Puma” gas station and then to the Rental Station. Altogether we drove 7009,8 km in our 28 days roundtrip Namibia-Botswana-Zimbabwe. Unfortunately we could not return the car and the camping equipment undamaged. We only found out there that the floor plate of the second tent is broken and the bumper hangs down on the right side. The elephants were a bit stronger than we thought. Our cover is still missing and the rear one has two big cracks. Not to forget the dents left by the stone throw in the Caprivi peak. A few scratches on the roof and the body the employee did not even put on record. The car is fully insured through the comprehensive insurance. With the camping equipment we must probably make the own contribution of 10,000 NAD. At least we got off lightly ourselves and remained uninjured. Probably more people die by elephants and hippos than by lions!
We had a visit this morning from two ponies, two springboks and an ostrich. The ostrich wanted to come with us most of all.
After we were already 1 hour on the way to Windhoek, the reception of Bagatelle Game Reserve contacted us that we haven’t paid the bill completely yet. Since we had booked everything together in advance online, we assumed that everything would be clear. But only the campsite was paid by credit card and the game drive still had to be paid. So we went back and paid our open bill. Thus we lost some time, which we would have needed to sort things. This was done in the dark at our new campsite near Windhoek, in Vineyard Country. For dinner we cooked rice with schakalaka. We used up our supplies +- some small stuff.
In the early morning we could see the full moon and the sun in the sky at the same time. Before we could continue our journey, we had to go through the border formalities at the gate with the Botswana border control. Then at the Twee Rivieren gate post we got our permit for today’s park drive and headed west at 9:30 to the Mata Mata Park entrance/exit. We spotted a badger and many birds of prey. Bird ostriches were rubbing their feathers in the sand. Two cheetahs lay under a tree a little further from the road. Giraffes were walking along the (dry) riverbed. Ibex, wildebeest and oryx were walking to the waterhole. A very nice safari.
At the Mata Mata – gate we got the entry stamp for Namibia. Afterwards we drove for about an hour to check in at the Kalahari Farmstall Campsite, which we discovered while driving by. Today we had pasta with arabiata and peaches with vanilla sauce for dinner. Afterwards we did some research. Afterwards we sat down for a while to chat around the campfire with Christel and Helmut from South Africa.
At Bush Camp Kwando (by the way it consists of 4 campsites directly at the river and only 2 were occupied) we went early in the morning to the lookout point and over a bridge to a small island. Hippos we heard all night and in the morning, but in the dense reeds they were not to be seen. Instead we observed many beautiful birds. A woodpecker, a go-away bird, weeping drongo, lesser bee-eater, Marico sunbird, Angola butterfly finch and the Red-billed Hornbill. Wetland – a birders paradise! Then after a nice breakfast we drove on. Without any incidents we crossed the border to Botswana. At the border you have to pay for the car Road Permits for Botswana (about 8 Euro). Then you have to drive through a water ditch, get out and disinfect the soles of your shoes in a bath. We were also asked if we wanted to bring in fruit or meat. In Botswana you are welcomed right at the border station by two huge Baobab – trees.
Monkeys hopped across the road, elephant dung lays around, and warthogs run through town in Kasane. Today we had peach with vanilla sauce for dinner.
Today a peacock, a rooster and two alpacas kept us company during breakfast. Then we left in the direction of the Caprivi Game Reserve. We stopped at a mud house and asked the resident if we could take a picture.
In a moment there were 4 children watching with interest. These kids were friendly and laughed a lot. We gave them something else to snack on.
Every now and then you pass through a police checkpoint. They look at the driver’s license and the vehicle sticker. About 3 km behind such a checkpoint, near Mukwe, several kids jumped in front of our car on the road, so we had to drive slowly. They wanted something and threatened us with stones. Since we didn’t stop, they threw the stones at the car. We have a thick dent with paint damage and again lucky that it was not the window. Since we knew that the police was behind us on the road, we turned around and reported the incident. Two plainclothes officers drove with us to catch the “perpetrators” in the act. But since the guys probably expected it, they didn’t show up. The policemen assured us that they would talk to the parents, and we drove on. The throwing of stones happens more often, because here in the camp it also happened to Dutch tourists the day before. Hopefully the insurance will cover it. Our campsite is idyllically located directly on the Kwando River and we watched several hippos splashing around at sunset. For dinner we had potatoes with butternut squash in coconut milk curry.
After a hearty breakfast we continued to Rundu. Once again on tarred roads. Here you can see a bit more trees and bushes. In Grootfontein there was a big construction site, so we took our break a bit further along the road. Palm trees and huge termite mounds, which partly look like sculptures are on the left and right of the road.
Shortly before Rundu there are many small villages, where people live partly in round mud huts with thatched roofs, in the simplest conditions. Many people (including children) were on the road with containers to get water. There were some stalls on the side of the road. We bought two small carved elephants. In Rundu we refueled the car – 102 liters/1444,50 N$. Then we did some shopping and drove over a 7 km long sand road to Kaisosi River Lodge, our campsite today. Here one looks directly on the Okavango – river. For dinner we had vegetable allsorts with cheese sauce.
After a short night we went to the Halali waterhole “Moringa” again this morning. It was not as spectacular as last night. “Only” a Marabou stork, a Kudu, ducks and guinea fowl. We then continued through Etosha National Park to Camp Namutoni a former German fort. There many zebra mongooses made the area unsafe. Totally cute!
Herds of zebras, blue wildebeests, giraffes, elephants, warthogs, springboks and the big bird “giant bustard” were spotted.
At the Kalkheuwel waterhole (artificial), zebras literally jostled for the best spot with springboks and warthogs. Out to the eastern Lindquist Gate we turned immediately left into Onguma Tamboti Camp. Here we have a new “campsite” today. In the evening we went for dinner. The restaurant offers a view of an in-house waterhole. A few giraffes, antelopes and ducks did the honors. I had a pizza and Reiner an oryx steak..
This morning we started into the Etosha National Park. At Andersson’s Gate we started our midday game drive and drove via Okaukuejo to Camp Halali. Maximum speed is 60 Km/h but you can only drive at walking pace in parts. At the Rietfontein waterhole were many ibex, ostrich and zebra drinking. Two shield ravens kept an eye on us. At Camp Halali we opted for a night game drive. We were already at the camp at 16:00 and cooked ourselves first noodles with Schakalaka. At 19:00 o’clock we started in the jeep with guide Dennis. Since there was only one group with us, we had the second jeep to ourselves. The first 1.5 hours there were hardly any animals to discover. Then we were back at the waterhole from noon and suddenly two leopards stepped out of the bush. A wonderful sight under the starry sky at the water with reflection.
We have “accompanied” the two leopards still a piece and are then at 22:00 o’clock again in the camp. Dennis gave us the tip to go to the Halali Camp waterhole. We sat there until 2:00 o’clock in the night. We were quite frozen afterwards, but there was a real theatrical spectacle. A lion was “guarding” the water hole. A small jackal came running from time to time. A rhinoceros came and went again. It did not dare to drink at first because of the lion. When the lion stroked around the waterhole once and then disappeared into the bush three more rhinos and a spotted hyena came to drink.