At the beginning of the year we played around with many ideas of where we would go for this year’s major bush trip. Eventually Sue and I decided that a week at one place would be wonderful and relaxing (yeah right).
We really liked Dijara Camp, that we had visited during last year’s trip, so we decided to go there. Dijara is situated just north of Moremi Game Reserve and with no fences the animals just move in and out. One great thing about Dijara is that the animals just come to you and you don’t have to go and look for them.
I always feel that a trip begins when we start with all the preparations. Some such as servicing the trailer, and getting new tyres aren’t too fun. But it gets exciting when it gets to planning menus, shopping and packing .
One new thing we were taking this time was solar panels and batteries to run our fridge/freezer. We tested the system over 24 hours here at home and it was all working well. We normally relied on running the fridge off the car during game drives, so this was vital as we were just going to relax at camp and watch the animals as they came to us.
The first day was going to be long as we decided to drive from home to Dijara without stopping over in Maun like we normally do.
The morning did not start well as our trailer had a flat tyre. I had checked them the day before and they were fine – so what was going on here. The tyre had enough air in it to drive the 400m up to the garage – but their compressor was not working.
We pulled out our portable compressor and pumped up the wheel. The tyre valve was sticking and hence why we had a flat in the first place. Not a great start for our relaxing holiday.
As we were heading on the dirt road from Maun to the northern reserves I felt we needed to drop the tyre pressure a bit, too suit the road conditions. Whilst we were doing so 2 ambulances went flying past us. A further med-rescue vehicle flew past us when we were on our way again. Who has been munched by a lion or attacked by an elephant.
We went through the vet fence that basically forms the boundary of the game reserves. At a small village we noticed that the 2 ambulance were attending to somebody.
The not far outside the village we noticed a number of cars stopped ahead. We discovered that there had been a head on collision. The medi-rescue vehicle was here. The cars were a mess. There was a hired tourist vehicle and a local car involved. Equipment and personal belongings were spread all over the place and we could see a number of bodies. A small helicopter was parked just off the road.
We find out later that, with the tourists, the girl was fine, but the guy was battling for his life. On the back of the local car were children, one of which had broken a leg.
Feeling a bit shattered at the scene we did the final leg up to Dijara without a hitch. The water crossing was closed owing to the height of the water. It was here that we saw our first animals, that being a herd of giraffe and elephants. One of the elephants showed us how to do the crossing but we didn’t follow and took the detour around it.
Our campsite at Dijara was absolutely stunning – shady and right on the banks of the Khwai River. An elephant was drinking just downstream, a waterbuck was on the bank across from us and we could see giraffe in the tree-line. This is just what we wanted.
As it started to get dark Sue pulled out our fancy spotlight and it immediately went from bright to dim – it must have bounced against something that triggered the light to come on whilst we were driving.
And hence finished quite a day.
Part 2: A relaxing day and nice game viewing