Country number: 64
Territory number: 70
When? December 2002, Southern Africa Trip, coming from Zimbabwe, going on to Namibia
Who? Group Tour
‘It is better to walk than curse the road. ‘
En route from Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe we navigate the perimeter of the Caprivi Strip, a strange elongated finger of Namibia, to Chobe Game Park. The park is famous for vast herds of elephants and it doesn’t disappoint. They are giant enough to fill the camera frame without a zoom and there are grey specks of elephants as far as the eye can see across the savannah. These are Kalahari elephants, the largest of them all. Disaster. We’ve been told we have to pitch our own tents. I’m distraught, until it transpires that my tent mate, Liz, loves anything practical. When we arrive at the sites she packs me off to the bar and sets everything up on her own. She says it’s easier without me. We have two twenty something guide cum drivers (Brett, South African, Sven, Namibian) who amuse us by cooking topless, as well as coping with all the chores. This sort of camping isn’t not too bad at all. It’s just a bit grubby.
I signed up for this trip because it featured an eclipse and I loved the atmosphere of the one in Cornwall. We pitch up to this clearing in the middle of the bush and get a brilliant clear view. It lasts from 7.05 to 8.20. We all pose for photos in our eclipse tour T-shirts – which we have been made to pay for. On to Maun and a laze by the pool.
Next onto the renowned Okavango Delta, a vast inland river delta in northern Botswana. Here we are punted past hippos, elephants and crocodiles. Even when there is no wildlife to spot it’s extraordinarily relaxing laying back and peering through the waving fronds. I think that all I need is a fan and some grapes. Maybe, it’s not as relaxing for Andy and Deb who manage to capsize their boat. Going solo has its advantages at times.
Sundowners in the bar, to the accompaniment of the Frog Song, leading us to invent a toilet detecting compass. Namibia next.