Sunday, November 3, 2013

BOTSWANA A 4 x 4 Adventure - Part 3

The warthogs in the riverbed were actually quite relaxed
The drive into Ngepi Camp is an interesting exercise. There is an owner with a warped sense of humour. At first it is amusing reading rude little signs, but then, it isn’t really that interesting anymore. The campsite is a treat however, with some soft grass underfoot. However, that is only until you discover that the loos on this property are amongst the most bizarre in the world. Suffice it to say that doing number two becomes a challenge because your neighbour can look at you through the reeds separating the two cubicles. The showers are even more interesting. Hot water is a challenge and the donkey (that provides the hot water) has to be stoked (yes it is a fire thing) by guests to ensure that they get hot water. No such thing as ensuring this by the camp owner and the chaps from Bhejane have a thousand other things to do. Once you have hot water you can proceed to the showers. But, be warned they are “quaintly” rustic. I quite like the concept of showering under the stars but find it disconcerting when I have to straddle a treestump trying to get at the water. The pool of water on the concrete step also does nothing for my sunny disposition when my pants get wet and my feet have sand all over them ensuring that the inside legs of my jeans now have an inner lining of riversand. 

One of the hundreds of Kudu of Buffalo Reserve
Early the next morning we hightail it to Muvhango again hoping to catch some sight of the lions that were around the previous day. At about 11am we return to camp and my head is pounding. I collapse onto my inflatable mattress (whoever dreamt of such a ridiculous option for sleeping) and I stay there for two days. I consume every headache tablet I can find and collect medication from all and sundry in order to at least feel reasonably human. Like flies sprayed with a lethal dose of doom, we fall, one after the other, and almost every family in camp is affected. This is course is why there are no photographs of the camp. On the third night in camp I can make it to the dining area to try and eat. Have I mentioned the fact that I have a food allergy? Eggs. I know it is unusual and I am assured by the organizers that the camp cook and staff will look after me. Haha... and all that. Their idea of taking care of my allergy is to warn me which foods I shouldn’t eat. Which of course means I can’t eat 75% of the food prepared. Oh, and did I mention that they don’t try to provide any sort of replacement. Upside of all of this is of course that this is the first holiday I have ever been on that I don’t pick up any weight.

Another Kudu 
The vervet monkey who rescued the day
All doped up (never will I go anywhere again without Coryx, the only restorative that has any effect) we make a sortie into the Buffalo Reserve. I have never seen so many kudu in a single reserve anywhere else in Southern Africa. The Buffalo stay out in the river and once again the light is not what could be considered magical. However, a little vervet monkey saves the day when it sits on a log and the filtered backlighting works its magic. Later that day I finally capture a crimson breasted shrike and now I can stop trying to photograph this very annoying bouncing bird.

The crimson breasted shrike who is now no longer on my list

Back to packing up the tent and onto the road we go. Our journey takes us through the Bwabwata Game Reserve and the revelation that the track we visualised we would be following is now a mighty highway. Traversing the Bwabata Game Reserve was as frustrating an exercise as going through the Makgadigadi Pans as there was no time to stop or even take the camera out of the bag. After a long day we make it through the border post at Ngoma and onto Kasane.

Sable and Roan in numbers I have never seen anywhere else.

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