After the trip up from Maun we were excited to arrive at Dijara Camp. It is situated just outside of Mababe village and not far from Moremi’s north gate. As there are no fences we could see exactly the same animals as we could in Moremi, right on our doorstep.
We followed the signs to reception and found a small tent, with a couple of solar panels, on the banks of a small river.
There was nobody around and as we were wondering if this was actually the right place an old landrover was heading our way and out stepped Andre, the owner of the camp. We received such a warm welcome and he drove us to a campsite he thought suitable for us.
Andre then recommended how we set up camp with respect to the path of the sun, service we have never had before. The site was big, with a number of massive shady trees and overlooked the river. A bucket shower ablution was just outside the camp and for our use only. It was just perfect.
The only thing missing was a fire pit, when I asked Andre where we should make a fire, he turned walked a few steps and with his foot he drew a circle on the ground. “Here”.
We soon found out that there was no water in our tank, but no problem Andre was soon there with his “landy” and a pump, within minutes our tank was full. But it had a leak. Well it was one way of knowing if we had water or not. If it was leaking we had water.
With us relaxing in camp in the heat of the day we had two elephants come to drink at the river, they were not phased with us taking photo’s at all. It seemed as if we weren’t even there as they quenched their thirst and cooled their bodies. Something we were trying to do as well.
One thing we do on our trips is that every evening we give a penalty drink to the person who did the most stupid thing that day. This happened to be Jan on the first day. As when returning from a short afternoon game drive he drove past our campsite, thinking he must come back at some stage and see who had exactly the same caravan as he had and from the registration it was from his home town.
With darkness creeping in and no fencing around the camps, spot lights started scouting the area looking for any danger.
Iain, standing at his trailer on the edge of our camp called in a nervous voice “come look at this”. His light was shining off into a bush just near camp. I hurried over and there was a spotted hyena.
Iain said that he had heard a rustle in the bush and there it was. I asked if he had said hello to Russel. So that was it’s name. We even got Andre, the owner, calling it that.
Russel visited us every night during our stay and on the last night he brought friends.
He quietly waited until we had all gone to bed before he appeared. So taking photo’s of him meant we had to do it through the doors of our tents.
Jan clicked away happily on the first night, only to realize, the following morning, that his lens cap was still on – guess who got the penalty the next night.
It was about 40 km away, but for the whole route we could get to see wildlife, so we decided to leave early and make it a game drive.
It was not long out of camp that we spotted an African Wild Cat. It was right next to the road and with us stopping it moved off a few meters and lay down just watching us. These cats being shy and nocturnal are not often seen, so we had been very lucky.
The road to Khwai goes through some amazing bush, which is full off elephants. Just before Khwai the bush opens up with many waterways, which is the overflow from the Okavango Delta. There was of course a water crossing we had to do and some tricky bridges to get over.
We stopped on the side of the one of the rivers and that’s when the elephant hit our vehicle, breaking our back light. OK – it wasn’t an elephant. I reversed into a tree. I was up for the next round of penalties.
The village of Khwai is very small and cute. It is right on the banks of the Khwai river and on the border of Moremi Game Reserve.
There were lots of mud huts and a few buildings. Generally not many people around, but that could be owing to the temperature being well over 40 C.
We searched everywhere for ice but none to found, even the Shopping Centre didn’t have any. Their sign for ice blocks even being sort of cleared off. So it was going to be days of warm beers ahead.
Heading back to camp we came across plenty of elephants at a mud pool all bathing in the mud, throwing it over themselves and just having a great time.
Elephants do this for two reasons, firstly to cool down their massive bodies and secondly when it dries they rub it off against a tree, which removes parasites, baked in the mud, from their skin.
One large bull started heading in our direction and it was only then that I noticed that the big tree we were parked under was a rubbing tree for elephants. I thought it was probably a good time to move off.
Andre had gone through to Maun, so one of his staff offered to help and was busy loading the big water pump with all the piping onto a wheel barrow, when we offered to put it onto our bakkie. We all helped and soon our tank was dripping again.
Andre’s staff member said he was heading back to the village and as we could see reception from our camp, could we keep an eye on it. We were doing a good job at that until during the night all hell broke out. Metal was crashing, there was screeching and a commotion going on there. It sounded if hyenas were trashing the place. I was going definitely not going over there to check.
Strangely, the following morning, as we headed out, we were told nothing had been damaged. It was time to head north for the next part of our adventure, that being Savuti, in the Chobe National Park.