Caprivi strip



// Nikon D7200 |-18.10887 : 21.67396 | alt. 1035m

It’s now time to go back to Namibia !
First thing first, we need to refuel before the border since it’s way cheaper here in Botswana. Then the border crossing….. well, no big deal, everything went pretty smoothly, everyone was helpful and friendly, if only it could be like this all the time :p
Nothing to worry about getting back to Botswana, I’ve got my visa still running 🙂

Border crossed, it was a bit shocking to re-enter Namibia. I have to say, people are extremely friendly in Botswana, and they make everything possible to make your stay as good as they can. Big difference compared to Namibia (even if I had a great time in Namibia)
First supermarket was kind of a disaster, and really hard to find any thing. Good thing we still have stuff from Botswana, but we have to stay a week in the Caprivi strip with our supplies ! At least, water is drinkable pretty much anywhere. This is also the end of bushcamping….

We drove along the Okavango river, in search for a nice spot. Keep this in mind, we come from the desert, and we’ve been driving for hundreds of kilometers without a single sight of this famous river !! We need to see water !
Right now, the only thing we feel is the dust in our mouth.

I went through all the tracks showing up on the gps to get closer to the river, but still nothing in sight. We finally found a guy in a small village to guide us to the river side. We ended up in his village, and obviously, we were the main attraction. At last, the okavango river was in front of us !
Lot of current there, and we were wondering how they were able to navigate here on their small canoe. Challenge accepted, one guy went on the canoe, and he did a pretty nice demonstration about how to steer his boat on this wide river !
That was actually very nice from him to show us that trick !

But then came time to discuss about camping. I asked the chief of the village if we could sleep there…… the whole village came to discuss, and they came back to me with a price……. 2000 nad 😀 ahahah (about 200euros)
Yeah, well you know guys, for that price, I could get a nice room in Paris. The discussion ended there, they had no idea about what they were asking !

I took back our guide to drop him by the main road, and he asked me for some beer. I still had a bit of rose left, and afterall, he guided us to the okavango, and we still had a nice moment there. So there you go my friend, take the rose !
That clearly made his day ahah!

And back to square 1, we are again in search of a place to sleep. This time we used the ioverlander database, and found a place called Mobola nearby. (S17.99128° E21.33007°)
Only 100nad per person, and the place is completely worth it. We camped 15m from the Okavango river, and they have a suspension bridge going to a small island, with a bar and patio overlooking the river….. cannot get better than this ? Well thanks god, they also have a freezer with meat, so tonight is braai again 🙂
Mobola camp was so great we extended our stay a little. Eiji asked me if I came across something better on my way…. maybe 3 or 4 camps as good as this, but nothing better. (considering the price, only 100nad, it’s difficult to find a better value)

Back on the road, I really wanted to see the Popa waterfall, but all the trails we saw on the gps were going nowhere. We did a bit of off roading, without any success. And this time, no local guy to guide us, and we won’t pay a campsite on the other side of the river, just to look at the fall.
Alright, we took the main highway, only route crossing the strip, and just a few kilometers out of town, I saw a sign saying buffalo park core area….. hmmm could be interesting.
As usual in Africa, park rangers really suck at marketing, and looking at their sad, nearly emotionless face, you may just skip that place. That’s where I noticed a few sheets on the wall, with visitors stats : july gets most of the visitors, there must be a good reason. And the park is only 40nad per person + 10 per car.

We drove 5kms in the park, and ended up cutting a massive group of elephants ! Some of them, scared, running around, doing circles, trumpeting us, not a nice feeling ! Time to get out of here before they attack !
You may not believe it, but a elephant hides pretty well in the bush ! And when you finally spot them in the wild, you are probably already too close.

We kept driving until a big opening on the okavango river, and this time, we found an even bigger group of elephants, maybe more than one hundred, with tons of buffalos around….. They are taking mud bath, pouring dust on their skin, this is the official spa !
We parked on the gravel road, 100m max from the group, and shut the engines off. A magical time sitting on the sliding door, watching all those animals. Something you can see on tv, but you could never expect it in real life. Stunning. We spent half an hour looking at them, and when you get so many, it’s not easy to spot the reaction of the group.
It took me way too much time to realize they were ALL looking at us….. A small group of elephants, shoulder against shoulder started to take position and moved slowly toward us, flapping ears, trump in the air…. hmmm….. time to get back to the driver seat, and get the engine running, Eiji did the same.

At that moment, the group started charging us at full speed. Elephants are famous for doing mocking charge, where they stop a few meters before you.
How can you tell if it’s mocking charge or a real one ? Just wait a few minutes, if your vehicle starts rolling over following a strong impact, this was NOT a mocking charge.
We floored our engines.
The only escape route was in front of us, driving all along the group. The noise of the charging elephants and our engines at full power, started to spread a wind of panic across the group, which wanted to run back to the safety of the bush, but our escape route was cutting theirs…..
We made it, not without a massive concerto of angry trumpeting behind us :p
Time for my heart to slow down now, this was very impressive and scary !

Now, sad news of the day, when I took my 400mm lens to capture a few birds, I noticed a loose part in it, and with all the shaking on the road, it made some terrible scratches against an internal lens….. damaged beyond repair………. No more picture of birds for the entire trip 🙁 That’s a bit early for that, I still had high expectations in Zambia and Zimbabwe…….
This is part of the trip :/

That night, I found a nice spot in the bush just out of the park, and while we had diner, we heard some noises coming from the bush….. Quick scan with our flashlight, and we could see eyes coming… not looking like predators… I had to figure out what it was. I went slowly, and came face to face with Cape Buffalos….. ok.. time to backtrack ! Then came more eyes, even more ! Until the point where it felt like we were standing in a stadium, hundreds of eyes watching us, this quiet moment before the storm….. but nothing happened 🙂

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