OKAVANGA DELTA (North-West, BWA) to NGOMA (Zambezi, NAM)
Saturday December 3rd, 2016
TODAYS MILEAGE – 331 miles or 533 kilometres
TRIP MILEAGE – 16170 miles or 26023 kilometres
As the crow flies, it's only a couple of hundred kilometres from the Nguma Island Lodge to Camp Chobe, but seeing as our truck "Jimi" can't fly, we had two choices. One was to head south through Botswana, around the bottom of the Okavango Delta, which is a 12½ hour, 600 mile (967 km) trip on a "good day", on less than ideal roads. The other choice was to take the northern route around the top of the Delta. This would be approximately a 6½ hour, 300 mile (500 km) journey on well-maintained supposed national highways. The big caveat here, was how many hours would it take to clear our second Botswana/Namibia border crossing. The usual time being 4-6 hours, but on the weekends there is only a skeleton crew manning the respective posts.
As luck would have it, clearing the border only took us ½ an hour tops, in which "Mama Lolo" was also able to buy several decent sized fish for tonights meal. We were plugging along down Namibian Highway B8 at a great clip and then lucks fickle fate changes the day. A Greater Kudu decided to step out in front of us and wasn't feeling so great, in fact it wasn't feeling anything, after "Jimi" our truck hit it going 80 kph.
Quite a few Chakalakas went to check out the kudu and drag the carcass off the road, while I went to inspect the vehicle damage. We'd lost all the lights (head, park & clearance) on the passenger side of the vehicle, the bullbar was severly cracked in several places and a couple of air lines had come loose. With some wire and some bush mechanics, I got the truck patched up as best I could before everyone returned. We got back on the road, only to pull into the first local Police station we came across. Our driver "Maverick" explained that as we hit the Kudu in a national park, we had to immediately report the incident or risk being charged with poaching. Apparently this law had to be enacted because of locals running down edible and/or saleable park animals regardless of how big or how many fences they went through before the animal "stepped out in front of them". All up we spent the best part of 3 hours kicking a rugby ball around the cop shop while all the paperwork got sorted out.
As a side note, the police went back the scene of the impact about 15 minutes after we reported it and could not locate the carcass. It appears the locals picked it up and off they went. I reckon I know what the Sunday roast is the week.
Unfortunately for us, the knock-on effect from the suicidal kudo would be felt on the form of having to drive 45 miles (72 km) from Katima to Camp Chobe in complete darkness, in torrential downpours, all the while avoiding livestock and impatient maniac drivers to took our one headlight to mean we were a motorbike. After about the third incident of nearly collecting a oncoming vehicular hood ornament in the grille, the passenger compartment became very quiet and tense. I had to chuckle to myself though, as I thought the conditions were a lot like driving in the centre of Australia.
• OKAVANGA DELTA ~ Nguma Island Lodge (North-West, BWA)
• MOHEMBO ~ Border Crossing (North-West, BWA)
• ROAD B8 (Kavango East, NAM)
• ROAD B8 (Zambezi, NAM)
Day 17 - Okavango Delta – Caprivi Region
Today we bid farewell to the Delta and head north. After being re-united with our truck, we enter Namibia, travelling through the Caprivi strip and onto our accommodation for the night. Our camp is situated near the border between Namibia and Botswana and across the river from the famous Chobe National Park.