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From Nata we headed up to Kasane, which is in the top corner of Botswana where 4 countries meet – you have Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe all meeting at one point. It is also where the Chobe National Park is, and we were keen to see it. At Mapungubwe we had met a couple who highly recommended a spot called Senyati Safari Camp, the turnoff for which was just a couple kilometres short of Kasane. On our drive up we spotted the turn off so thought we’d give it a try, even though we didn’t have a reservation. Luckily for us they had a space so we stopped off there and set up camp. The initial plan was to spend a night or maybe two nights there so we could have a full day to do the Chobe National Park, then head back towards Maun and start exploring the Okavango Delta.
Well, that was the plan, but we almost immediately threw that out the window. Because this camp has a great little bar, perched on stilts just in front of a permanent waterhole. And permanent waterhole in this area means elephants galore! The waterhole is lit up at night time with a floodlight, and from around sunset all the way until you’re too tired to keep your eyes open any more (i.e. really late at night) herd after herd after herd of elephants comes down to drink. We’ve spent easily 6 hours a night watching an uninterrupted flow of elephants come down to drink. Oh and then there’s all the usual game too, including some decent sized herds of Buffalo, impala, baboon, giraffe and during the night you hear Hyena calling too.
When we had arrived, a lone old buffalo cow had been hovering around the waterhole, obviously on its last legs. It was struggling to even get to its feet after lying down and hardly moved around at all. Then the first morning we were there, it went behind a bush and lay down and died. The vultures were there within hours and having a feast. Unfortunately with the bush in the way we couldn’t see it directly, but we were allowed to take the landy over for a closer look. Then another buffalo fell into the mud at the waterhole and was too weak to get out. The people who run the place took a bakkie round and using a big tow rap round its horns pulled it out the mud to give it a chance. But it was too weak to stand up and spent the day struggling to try get to its feet without success. At one point it fell back into the mud and so the guys pulled it out again but still, no luck getting it to its feet and so the only option left was to get hold of the National Parks Board who sent some staff around the euthanise it. The local Park’s vet needed to examine the carcass for disease and so it was taken away, otherwise it would have been in the perfect spot to watch the vultures and scavengers complete the circle of life!
Our third day here is definitely set for a day in Chobe park, so keep an eye open for that blog!
Add comment October 15, 2011
Nata Lodge turned out to be our base for 3 nights. The first full day we had there we decided to have a nice chilled day – the last several days in a row had all been spent sitting in the landy driving around. Our plan for that first day was simple – catch the South African world cup rugby game (vs Somoa) in the morning at the bar, then do some washing and finally spend the afternoon chilling out round the pool topping up the tans. And thats exactly what we did!
The 2nd day we were at Nata we were up early to head out and see the Makgadikgadi Pans which were just down the road. Always a good idea to hit those sort of things before the heat of the day rolls round. We spotted 3 other game viewing vehicles taking tourists around when we first arrived but they were gone within minutes and we did not see a single other vehicle or person for the whole 6 hours we spent driving around. So awesome getting a place like that all to yourself (as the lonely planet puts it: “The Makgadikgadi Pans collectively comprise 12,000 square kilometres, so while the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia might be the biggest single pan in the world, the Makgadikgadi network of parched dry lakes is larger.”) We managed to find the resident flamingoes – the flock must have had a good couple thousand of them easily – but they were a loooooong way off over the flats. And without backup vehicles you don’t want to drive to far because if you break through the crusty top and hit the mud underneath, you will be going nowhere in a hurry (when we walked off to go get a closer look at the flamingoes by foot we still broke through the crust – the landy would have stood no chance).
We had a great time though exploring the pan – the reception didn’t have a map of the place and could only give some very rough directions so we put our dive master training to use and made ourselves a map as we went along with notepad and pen! It actually came in quite useful and let us explore without fear of getting lost. We spotted some interesting game too, including 4 jackals and our first springboks! After lunch out on the pan watching the massive dust devils go swirling past in the distance we headed back to escape the heat and veg out in the shade and around the pool for the rest of the afternoon. Next stop would be Kasane up next to Chobe!
Add comment October 15, 2011