After watching the level of the Boteti River dwindling over the last few months it was amazing to see the river on the rise again.
As the river had only for the last 2 years begun flowing again after a 24 year period, we were thinking the worst, so this was a ‘goose bump’ feeling for us.
The river gets its water when the Okavango Delta overflows, which in turn gets its water from the highlands of Angola. This takes about 6 months to reach the delta and hence even longer to fill the Boteti River.
We have so many spots we like visiting on the river, the closest of which, are just inland from the town of Mopipi. But as we drove through the village, the wind had picked up the dust from the now very arid and patched land and visibility in places was not much more than a 100m. Cows heading to drink from the river did not help either. So we headed on to Rakkops.
It is along this stretch of road that the river crosses it. It was here that we could clearly see to our joy that the river was much higher than our previous visit.
We headed about 20km past Rakkops before turning off the road, past a view cattle posts and there was the Boteti River. A sparkling blue and lined with magnificent trees whilst it cut its way through this arid environment.
We relaxed with our binoculars, bird book and buffet picnic. Yes, there was a cool box as well.
There was a continuous stream of cows, donkeys, goats and horses coming to drink just down stream from us. The presence of elephant dung kept our eyes open as well. A group of local farmers drove down to the river to fill water containers. They inspected the river very carefully before rolling up their trousers and heading into the water.
They mentioned to me that a crocodile had been seen here, hence their caution. They also told us that elephants were plentiful here, but they normally came to drink in the evenings. They had a dead sheep on the back of their vehicle that they said had been killed by a hyena. So this area has got wildlife, we weren’t lucky to see any of it though.
It was so peaceful sitting on the banks and watching life go on. A pair of Fish Eagles were mating in the sky above and across the river a Red-billed Hornbill was breaking open elephant dung to find insects, grubs or even fruit.
A Little Egret foraged in the shallows and beautiful Grey Herons flew up a down the river.
We unfortunately couldn’t stay until evening to see the elephants, but next time we will bring our tents.