Today is our last day in Namibia. Of course by the time we find an internet connection and actually post this, today will probably be a few days ago and we’ll be somewhere in Botswana. But hey.
We’ve spent the last 4 days at the magical Ngepi River Lodge, in the western corner of the Caprivi Strip. We’d heard great things about Ngepi – it was one of the few places we decided to stay at before we even left Jo’burg – and what a place it is. Our tent is pitched within spitting distance of the glorious Okavango River; this morning I caught a 6 pound tiger off the boat jetty; and for the last half hour, we’ve watched a family of elephants mucking about in the reeds across the river. We feel a bit like wealthy Texans on safari. Amazingly, it’s only costing us 95 bucks a night.
We’ve traveled a fair distance and seen quite a lot since our last foray onto the interweb. From Uis we continued north to Etosha, one of the world’s great game reserves and a place we’ve wanted to visit for ages. We didn’t think any game park would top Kgalagadi, but Etosha might’ve. It’s a bit more expensive than Kgalagadi, the camps are a bit more run down and some of the staff seem to think they’re working at a border post, but the game is so prolific and the scenery so incredible that we soon forgot about those things. We spent a night outside the Anderson Gate and then 3 nights in the park, one each at Okukuejo, Halali and Namutoni. We used up all our cheetah luck in the Kalahari, but saw plenty of lion and black rhino, and some really cool birds. The pan itself is quite something – a vast, shimmering-white nothingness that seems to go on forever. There was no water in it when we visited, which was good for game-viewing, but we’re super keen to go back in the wet season, when the summer birds arrive, the pan fills up and the whole dynamic of the park changes. We were sad to leave Etosha and had we not been going so far over our daily budget, we would definitely have spent more time there.
Our first night out of the park was spent in the drab mining town of Tsumeb. Sorry, Tsumeb, but you really were drab. We camped a hundred meters from the neon red lights of the Dros, where we didn’t go bos, and left as early as we could the next morning. From Tsumeb it was on to Rundu, a buzzing little frontier town on the banks of the Okavango. We camped right on the river’s edge, a few kms out of town, and spent most of the next day exploring the market and drinking Tafels in one of Rundu’s many shebeens. I also caught my very first fish of the trip – a greedy little 10” tiger – on my second cast, right in front of our camp.
A quick drive east from Rundu on an excellent tar road (we appreciate tar a lot these days) and we were at Ngepi. It was going to be 3 nights, but became 4, then 5. Do we spend another night? Or do we pack up and get out of here before we end up lost to civilisation altogether? It’s a tough call.