Friday, December 30, 2011
To Katima Mulilo,Namibia for Xmas
From Livingston you drive west 210km to Sesheke,which is a good tar road,except for about 10km where you have to dodge some potholes.I picked some locals up hitching,and then assisted some poor bloke with a flat.He needed a jack,so he used mine then it got stuck and we all had to lift the car to get it out,and in the boot he had a slaughtered cow,in a plastic wrap amongst his tools and the flies.
Once again I am late for the border which closes at six.The Zambian side is chaotic and am the only white guy around,and in the immigration office which is 12ft x 12ft there are the officials and 10 of us,and they are stocking it full with beer while we are all trying to fill out worthless paperwork.Last time when I came through Churundu border with a hired vehicle they would not let me in cause they claimed I had forged all the documents,and the police chief said I would have to pay $100 bribe to get in.I paid reluctantly,but what do you do?
This time I had a borrowed car and they never even asked me for the letter of authorization,so I then dashed over to the Namibian immigration.
Was 3rd world to 1st world,the immigration offices that is,I think i prefer 3rd world,much more action and chaos,people pushing and shoving,and the body odour is pungent.I was the last one to leave at just after 6 and they had closed their books,and I was sent down to the petrol station to pay my road tax of R140!
Continued 8km.to the Caprive River Lodge arriving just in time for a delicious Bream fish meal.Keith and and Mary gave me a beautiful chalet no.3 which overlooks the Zambezi,just spectacular.The chalet is spotless with 2 beds with wooden carved headboards and a small fridge wit chilled water and glasses.The President stays here when he is in town,2 chalets down and his 2 guards have to stay in the wooden bungalows on the other side 50 meters away,and then they have another chalet where they have their meetings.
Up at 5:30 sitting on the deck watching the Zambezi flow by and the variety of birds all around chirping and eating.Then Keith gave me his rubber duck to use on the river and took me upstream,hippo's and croc's popping up every now and then.I then ventured out on my own downstream for hours,there is just no one around,except for the bloody hippo's.Saw one big croc on the sandbank and then slithered into the water,but has two babies as well.We later rowed up to the same island in paddle skies cause Keith wanted to show me the croc's,but only the baby was around,mum I am sure was not far away,just that she was below us and we could not see her.Two days later paddled up there on my own,you tend to paddle faster and rest less and concentrate more on water movements which lead to bowel movements.It's a little scary,especially when I docked at the bank and the kid in a fishing boat said to me "Kayaking on the Zambezi,you've got to be crazy to do that" thank god I had just finished.He is a local and comes to catch Tigerfish which they are besotted about in this part of the world.You only get them in the Zambezi and people come from all over the world to catch them,they put up a helluva fight.I was fortunate to have one as you can see he is 4.3kg.
the next day,Saturday,I drove west 110km to Bwabwata National Park which is on the Kwando River and has an abundance of wildlife.I drove 40km alongside the river and at the Horseshoe there were people stopped watching the elephants in the water.That's where I met Dave and JiJi,who didn't waste anytime offering me a beer,750ml.of beer,he chugged them like water and kept offering me,like every good African.He had seen a heard of 1200 the day before up river,so he took me there and not one showed up,but we did have some more beer.What a nice couple shared their lunch with me and all kind of nasty crocodile stories,it's the people you meet along the way that makes the trip.
On my way out i saw a huge pod of hippo's and went down on the bank,which wasn't smart,but I wanted a good shot of him yawning,which turned out ok.Drove back to the lodge through an incredible rainstorm.Cleaned up and sucked on a few Windhoeks and met this pomme who had dinner with us and then retired to bed.
Xmas Day: The pomme and I,lets just call him Lee Ford ,cause that's his name after all.Is calling him a pomme an insult,I don't know,they call us soutpiel,not the pommies but the boere.We went down to another lodge and man can this pomme put them away,he would make a good South African,well not really with his milky white skin.returned to Caprivi River Lodge where we all had Xmas dinner together with another huge family,was great fun,no snow or being cold,the only thing missing was my family.
Posted by whitworth at 9:01 AM