Let me start by just mentioning about my spelling of Savuti: a lot of literature and maps spell it, Savute (with an “e” at the end). Hence I thought I had it wrong as I put an “i” at the end, until I saw these boards.
Well if I am wrong, so is the Department of Wildlife and SKL camps.
Dijara Camp had been wonderful, the lush forests and water all over, but this changed quickly as we headed north to Savuti (a region of Chobe National Park). The thick bush opened up into massive, arid grasslands.
There was little game on these plains, but we did see the odd impala on fringes and were lucky enough to see 2 Secretary Birds. It was also a first for us to see a Yellow Mongoose, which was quite relaxed running up the road and jumping occasionally up on his haunches to see what was around him.
The vegetation changed again, the ground was compacted mud and the trees were low and well spread apart. It was through this section that I hit a bump and our trailer’s brakes locked tight. I couldn’t move it at all.
Had my fears of this trip turned into a reality. We have heard so many stories of people having to ditch their trailers and even cars on roads up here. This kept going through my mind as I looked at our trailer.
I pulled forward again – but nothing budged. Sue then suggested reverse – worth a try – the trailer moved. I went forward again and it moved fine – so, thank goodness, we were back on the road again. I stopped a kilometer on, just to check that the brakes had released fully; by feeling that the wheels weren’t overheating, actually relatively cool, I knew we were safe.
As we entered the Savuti region we once again saw massive grasslands but now fringed by massive trees. It was incredible to see how all the animals congregate in the shade of these trees. It was late morning by this stage, and the temperature was just under 50 C, so I didn’t blame them and probably the clever place to be.
The last 5 km to the camp the road became deep thick soft sand that is always interesting when towing a heavy trailer. We were very relieved to see first a football field (could be an interesting game with lions and ellies around), which meant we were close, and then the gate to the campsite.
By the time we were setting up camp the temperature had got up to 51.9 C. Yes that’s hot. Sue completely wet herself from the tap and Iain just sat under it. Jan had a hose pipe with a sprayer which then came out and it worked well over the next few days.
Not getting ice in Khwai was paying its toll. Somebody thought the food should go into our fridge and not beers – obviously it wasn’t my logic – and we were down to our last ice block, which dwindling fast in the heat.
Jan and Iain’s fridges were really battling, food was beginning to turn, this was only day 4 of 9 days in the bush. It was getting tougher for us out there.
A day later, trying to save the meat we decided to cook it all and just eat it cold. I also put my oven to good use, roasting eisbeins and baking croissants and bread.