Our trip: Okavango Delta: Shakawe

It was not a day I was looking forward to – from Katima we were heading down the Caprivi to Mohembo border post and back into Botswana. This was d-day on my residency permit and if they were even going to let me back into Botswana was of much concern.

Everybody was making wise cracks about my situation and asking where I would spend the night or how I was going to get through the rest of the Caprivi and down the whole length of Namibia to get back to South Africa – which did not settle my nerves.

It was a long drive from Katima to the border post (over 300km), with miles of the same bushveld, some villages broke the monotonous vistas and we were treated to a few elephants. Where the road crossed the Chobe River flood plain and Okavango River made for a pleasant break in scenery as well.

But then the moment of reckoning arrived – the border post. My nerves were shot – the Botswana official first mentioned giving me 1 extra day in Botswana so I could sort out my permit and after some sweet talking I managed to get 5 extra days. 2 of those days were weekend, so the offices wouldn’t be open – so I would have to go to Maun Immigration to get things sorted. But what the hell I was allowed home.

Life seemed immediately better, the air fresher, the people friendlier and even the cows blocking the road weren’t a problem anymore. We headed through to Shakawe which is situated on the Okavango River where the river begins to spread out to form the Delta. After refreshing supplies we headed out to the most stunning resort called Drotsky’s Camp and a place I highly recommend.

Getting onto the river by boat was the main attraction and we had booked one for the whole day – something I thought was an over-kill and that I would get board, so we decided to divide the boat trip into 2 hours in the morning and 2 in the afternoon.

Anne and Brian decided not to join us on the morning trip so the 4 of us set out for the 2hr cruise. Hardly on the water we had an amazing view of Sue’s favourite bird – the fish eagle, this was closely followed my hundreds of white-fronted bee-eaters in and out of holes in the river bank. Then it was a malachite kingfisher, then a croc. We hadn’t even gone 50m up the river yet.

The birding was absolutely amazing and obviously the big one was the Pel’s Fishing Owl. Unfortunately it was perched in a tree above a military base and we couldn’t get in close.

Tristan threw his line into the crystal clear water which had beautiful white lilies bobbing about on the surface. On his second cast his line ran and he had a bit of fight with a large catfish, which he landed and posed quiet happily again to have photo’s taken.

Whilst quietly siting fishing we heard the rumble call of elephants and the distant snapping of branches – we hoped that later they would move down to the river to drink.

After more birding and fishing, both Sue and Cailin gave it a go as well, but with no luck. Sue’s style had the kids diving for cover and chuckles from our pilot. It was well over 5 hours by the time we got back – what a brilliant morning it had been – so much for getting bored and more to come.

We headed out further up-stream in the afternoon and once again the birdlife was amazing with excellent sightings of Fish Eagle, Kingfishers, Slatey Egret  African Skimmer, Black Crake and plenty of other species.

 

We also saw the elephants that we had heard early that day.

Once again the fishing was great – our pilot catching a small tiger almost immediately, then Tristan caught one – THEN Anne caught her first Tiger ever, to her delight.

With the sun beginning to set it was going to be a quick trip home. Our pilot opened the throttle and we went flying down small curving channels between the reeds, swinging right and left. Africa’s version of Disneyland. A Goliath Heron took flight and we managed to follow this beautiful bird for some distance.

WOW What a great day it had been.

ITS HELL IN AFRICA BUT SOMEBODY HAS TOO PUT UP WITH IT 🙂

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About PeteMorrie

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