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Botswana Recce

Trip ReportJames HipkissComment

Botswana 28-4-13 We have arrived in Johannesburgh..!!! 4.30am the alarm was set and at 5am I met Karl at Norwich International Airport. After a quick check in we then had to be robbed by Norwich Airport and pay the ridiculous 'developement fee' of 10 GBP before we could continue through to security. Norwich Airport security was very strict, and we were almost naked before we could pass through the scanners.... Shoes off, belts off, jackets off watches off. There was several questions about the contents of our hand luggage before we finally were let through. We made a dash to the lounge area where I have a loyality card, which meant Karl and I could enjoy some 'refeshments' before the flight at 6.20am.

Short 35 min flight and we then landed in Amsterdam. Karl had booked 'assistance' with KLM, which meant that we were greeted by the ground staff and Karl was whisked away in his own personal mini bus and wheel chair. I managed to tag along as his 'official' helper..... :D. We then got driven directly to the next gate, which was handy as the arrival gate and our departure gate seemed opposite ends of the Airport! Once on the 777 Aircraft we settled down and got ready for the 10 hour flight. Karl found the seats rather uncomfortable and wished he could have upgraded..! During the flight we spoke to a local South African who told us what to watch out for and what to see.

Apparently Monkeys know how to open zips and Snakes will be seeking sun this time of year so will not be hiding. We arrived at Jo-Burgh and we met by the KLM ground staff again who whisked Karl away on a wheel chair. Two local guys sped Karl though the airport and to Passport control. At passport control the immigration officer looked at Karl's passport and told him he is refusing entry for Karl...... He did not beleive that Karl had no stamps in his passport, and did not believe that Karl had never been outside Europe. I noticed a little smerk come from the immigration officer, but Karl started to get rather concerned.... ;). After 5 mins of cheeky banter, the immigration officer stamped Karls passport and let him through. The officer then looked at my passport and fell about laughing at my hand written Indian work visa...... We are now at the Protea hotel and both Karl and I are tired from a long days travel, so its off to bed and up for breakfast tomorrow and get ready to meet the Bushlore team and our collect our hire 4x4.

Botswana 29-4-13 Waterburgh wilderness resort- After a great nights sleep in the hotel, Karl and I met for breakfast. The breakfast offered was fantastic and both Karl and I made the most of it as we knew that we were going to be heading into the Wilderness soon. At 8.50am Bushlore picked us up and we sped across Johannesburg for 45 mins to meet Clyde and Nicole, and to pick up our Defender for the trip. Our first impressions of Johannesburg, was that it looked a clean city with brilliant network of roads (which puts the UK to shame). Karl noticed that all the houses had 6ft high security barbed wire fences. Once we were at the Bushlore HQ, we did the necessary paperwork, and where then given an orientation of the vehicle. Its a 110 Defender with 2 x roof tents, split charge system, Internal water tank, Engel Fridge, High lift jack, Winch, Satellite phone, Garmin GPS with T4A mapping, 2 x gas bottles for cooking, Sand mats plus 4 large boxes which contain everything you could possibly need for cooking, breakdowns, Tyre repairs, recovery equipment etc.

We then were introduced to Nicole who gave us a briefing of our route. This included a pack with detailed maps, GPS positions and directions. We were then handed the keys and we were off..!! First stop was to stock up for lunch, evening meal and breakfast. We could not do a large shop as there are strict regulations for crossing the border into Botswana with regard to food. Several bottles of water were packed and we grabbed some Biltong to eat on the way. We set the Sat Nav for Waterbugh wilderness resort and proceeded to head out of Johannesburg. The route out went surprisingly well. Only once did we miss a turning but we soon back tracked and only lost 15 mins. The route North of the city went from busy multiple network of roads to one quiet dual carriage way with only the toll booths to stop your progress. Approx 3 hours later we turned off the tarmac and arrived at the Waterburgh main gate. 10 Kilometers later down a bumpy dirt road we then came across another gate for the resort. We panicked slightly as there was a padlock on the gate but after closer inspection the padlock was only holding a bit of wire onto the gate, so we quickly opened and proceeded through.

Up and down hills, through rivers on a dusty track we finally found the campsite. We were greeted with a huge smile from Les who is the campsite guide, and were shown around our accommodation. Karl elected to take the more upmarket camp, while I just fell in love with the Canvas house complete with a double bed, solar powered lighting and a bath..!!! Karl and I both have fully fitted outside kitchens, and I have an outside shower with hot and cold water, while Karl has a small pool and fire pit area. After settling into our camps, we decided to go on a quick drive around the site. Les jumped into our Land Rover to be our guide. He is from Zimbabwe and has not had a day off since December! He stays at the camp all the time, and does not have much to keep him entertained. However his love for the animals was obvious. Les took us through another small river crossing past a Dam and up to the highest point of the area which is marked on the map as great for sundowners.

We stopped at the top and spotted Wilderbeast and Zebra just below us. We had also seen Waterhog and Kudu on the way into the camp. We then proceeded down the hill again, and were just about to round a corner when Karl shouted Giraffe! Poking his head just over the tree tops was a young Giraffe. W e stopped and waited to see if he would move. He just stood there so we inched the Land Rover forward and around the corner and we delighted to see two youngsters and an Adult who was towering above the trees. Lez thought the youngsters were maybe about 4 years old. We just stayed still and they became curious and came a bit closer to us. Both Karl and I were snapping away with our cameras! We then decided to head back to camp as it was getting dark and start the fire ready to cook our steaks which were delicious. The night sky was ablaze with stars since there was no light pollution, and the sounds coming from the surrounding wildlife was incredible. Both Karl and I decided to head off to bed very early as it had been another busy day and we wanted to get up early since we will be crossing the border into Botswana tomorrow and heading for the Rhino Sanctuary and meeting Oyvind and Sheelah from Kapp2Cape. What a fantastic first day!

Botswana 30-4-13 Khama Rhino sanctuary We said goodbye to Lazeroth and headed for the Botswana border. The road was good and we managed to average about 100 km/hr most of the way. The only obstacles we the wild animals that roamed around the side of the road, which often wandered into the road without warning. Eventually we arrived at the Border and stopped our vehicle and got out to exit South Africa. The process we simple and painless. We then had to exit the vehicle from South Africa. This was relatively simple, and just needed another form and a small exit fee to be paid. Once we had exited South Africa we then drove 20M and had to then enter Botswana. This consisted of a quick vehicle check to ensure we were not carrying any restricted fruits, or meats.

Within 60 mins we were through border control and into Botswana. The next stage was to change money which conveniently there was several containers with the words money exchange just outside the border gates. We selected one of the containers and changed our money to the local Pula. We then set our sat nav to the Khama Rhino Sanctuary and sped off. However our speed was soon reduced and there were several pot holes in the road which were the size of bomb craters!! We then spent the next 30 kilometres weaving around all the massive pot holes. If you were to hit one of these pot holes at speed then you would do some serious damage to your vehicle! We noticed a small town near to the Khama Rhino Sanctuary called Palapye. We decided to stop there to load up with supplies. It was a nice little town with street sellers and local shops selling everything from bits of string to Onions. We also decided to change some more dollars and went into a Bureau De Change.

There were two ques inside and we just picked one que as there were no signs. After about 45 mins of queuing we got to the teller who promptly told us we were in the wrong que!! We apologised for being dumb tourists and nipped over to the other teller to change the money. Finally we were on our way to the Rhino Sanctuary! At 16.30 we pulled in to the campsite and registered. We were told that game driving was only allowed between sunrise and sunset, so we elected to make camp and cook our evening meal. Just as we had finished our evening meal a familiar voice was heard, and Oyvind from Kapp2Cape came walking out of the bush! Kapp2Cape and Global Adventures finally met after several months of planning. We grabbed our seats, torches and a bottle of brandy and headed over to Oyvind and Sheelahs camp. We sat around the fire sampling Oyvinds Venison sausages. He plan for the next morning was to get up VERY early to do a game drive before heading off. Karl was not very amused by this, as he was not use to crack of dawn starts.

We all bedded down at 9pm ready for tomorrows adventures!!!! Botswana 1-5-13 Kalahari I woke at 4.30am so decided to get up and have a shower and have breakfast as I knew this was going to be a long day. After a while Karl woke and was not amused at the early morning walk up call at 5.30am! Amazingly we managed to be all packed up and met Oyvind and Sheelah at 6.40am for our Game drive in the park. Thankfully Oyvind agreed to lead as we were still red eyed from the early morning and they had been out for a game drive already so had an idea where to go. We set off along sandy tracks and stopped at a few viewing points over the plains. Grembok, Wilderbeast, Springbok, Zebra and Giraffe were all spotted but the Rhino decided to stay hidden for that morning. We then headed out of the camp and back onto the road to make our way to the Kalahari. We had a long drive ahead, and made good progress but we had to stop at the National Park office to pay our park fees for the trip. On arrival we were surprised to find the office shut! It was a holiday, so a quick text to Bushlore confirmed we could pay our park fees at the gate. So off we went in search of the main gate for the Kalahari park.

All of a sudden my GPS told me to make a left turn, which I did onto a sandy track. The GPS then said 80 KM to the campsite.!!!! The main gate was 40KM along the track! We bumped and swayed and rattled down this track for ages getting deeper and deeper into the Kalahari. Finally we found the main gate and paid our fees and headed off in search of our first campsite. The tracks we very rough and corrugated with the odd deep sandy section. We finally found our campsite but by this time the sun had set so we had to make camp in the dark. However once we had settled down, we looked up at the sky and were amazed with the night sky!

It was incredible! We all bedded down at 9pm as we were all shattered. However it was a strange feeling being tucked up in the roof tent 80Km deep into the Kalahari. This is not somewhere that you can call to get help quickly! I fell asleep wondering what animals might be sniffing around our tent during the night.. Botswana 2-5-13 Kalahari night 2 I woke at about 7am, and had a fantastic nights sleep!! Oyvind and Sheelah had already packed up and were heading out for an early morning game drive. Oyvind had looked around the camp that morning and had confirmed nothing had been sniffing around our tent. We then packed up camp and also headed out at around 8.30am. Our next nights stop was 30 Km further into the Kalahari! We bumped and bounced along the tracks and spotted all sorts of animals. Every so often we would stop and scan the horizon with our binoculars but sometimes the animals would burst out of the bush and run in front of the Land Rover. We found our 2nd campsite at around 12pm, so Karl and I elected to head even deeper into the Kalahari and spent the next 3 hours going a further 30Km.

We then returned to the campsite and wanted to relax but there was a swarm of bees which kept attacking Karl and I so we jumped back into the Land Rover and went for another drive. We returned to camp later to find the bees had gone. However we were sharing our camp with a family of ground squirrels which we watched for ages, until all of a sudden we heard a noise and out of the bush came a fox with one of the ground squirrels in it mouth.

It ran right through our campsite and did not seem bothered we were there. Oyvind and Sheelah made a fantastic stew and we sat and listened to the noises in the night and wondered at the stars. Somethng was making a lot of noise close to our tent while we were cooking but nobody really knew what it was.. I have never been in a place so remote. Its an amazing experience being somewhere so distant from anything. This is one nights camping I shall never forget..!!!!! Botswana 3-5-13 Khamuga campsite Another 5 am start as we had to do the long drive out of the Kalahari. When we left we backtracked most of the way, but this time we took a slightly different route before we got to the main gate. We were bouncing along the sandy tracks looking out for all the usual animals when suddenly Karl shouted Blood hell Lions..!! Right in the middle of the track were two massive male lions who were sunbathing themselves on the track.

As they spotted us they got up and slowly walked into the bush. We were absolutely buzzing with excitement and were chatting about the experience as we moved off then again Karl shouted Lions again. Right in the middle of the track was another male lion walking right towards us!!! The adrenaline was pumping fast now as he got closer, and we quickly decided to wind the windows up!! The Lion then stopped and took one look at us and then walked off into the bush. We moved forward to see if we could see where he went and had the fight of our lives when we spotted him right beside the track no more than 2ft away from the Land Rover. He was just lying down licking himself and yawning. His eyes looked right at us which is a sight I will never forget.!!!

After that experience we were like little kids and were smiling and giggling all the way back to the main gate. We finally left the Kalahari and headed to Khamuga Campsite. A short drive along a tarmac road and then we headed off onto a dirt track and then onto a ferry..! The ferry can only be described as a true African style ferry! See the photos for what I mean! We arrived at Khamuga and started to sort the Land Rover out as the back was in rather a mess. However the back door lock had jammed and we could not get into the back of the Land Rover. This meant we also could not get any of our camping kitchen equipment out! A tin of corn beef it was for tea! A quick call to Bushlore and we were booked into Land Rover garage in Maun tomorrow to get it sorted. We then headed off for a game drive and we astonished at the amount of Elephants all around the park!

They were everywhere and only a few meters from the Land Rover. We spent 3 hours driving in deep sandy tracks making sure not to get stuck, and stopping every 5 mins to photo the many Elephants who were either bathing, drinking or giving themselves a mud bath. What a fantastic day! Lions in the morning, with loads of Elephants in the afternoon! Can it get much better then this???!!!!!!! Botswana 4-5-13 Thamalakane river lodge Another 6am start and we were off through the National Park and we had decided to exit through the North Gate. For about 2 hours we bumped and swayed down deep sandy tracks which were power sapping. Low range diff lock was needed and a heavy right foot to battle through the tracks. Not much game was seen this morning but after yesterday no one was really bothered as it would be hard to top yesterdays sightings. We stopped at the North gate and signed out of the park and headed for Maun.

Maun is a big town and is the last place to stock up before heading further north. We stopped at Maun and got provisions for 5 days as we will not see civilization for 5 days after today. Fuel was topped up to the max and we then headed off to Land Rover at Maun to get our back door fixed. The lock had jammed shut and since all the cooking equipment was in a storage drawer at the back then we could not cook anything unless we got the back door open. Charles at Land Rover Maun worked all afternoon to fix our back door. We then headed off to the Thamalakane Lodge and what a shock we got when we arrived! What a fantastic place!!! Right on the rivers edge and signs around saying beware of the Hippos and Crocodiles! The lodges were just luxury and were a welcome rest from the roof tents! We showered and got some washing done then headed straight to the bar! I think we will sleep well tonight after our steak beside the river washed down with a few of the local brews!

Botswana 5-5-13 Third Bridge After a fantastic night we set off for Third Bridge campsite at Moremi. If you thought that we would be crossing 3 well constructed bridges you would be wrong! One thing I have learnt from this trip is never to rely solely on your GPS! We have had a couple of occasions that the GPS co-ordinates that were supplied were not quite accurate! Oyvind and Sheelah had great fun in watching Karl and I blindly follow the GPS and then watch us scratch our heads when we did not end up where we thought! A good old paper map, is always good to refer to, and we shall not blindly follow the GPS anymore! Our GPS stated that the Third Bridge campsite was 9.9Km from the Main gate. It was actually more like 38Km!!!! I was glad I took a second GPS so to cross reference. We set off to find our campsite and within 100 Meters of the main gate were 3 Giraffe (Now becoming rather common!!) The tracks were deep with sand and diff lock was needed and sometimes low range, and a heavy right foot to power through some of the sections. We then rounded a corner and spotted a herd of Elephants drinking at a water hole.

We stopped and watched them for 10 mins until they started to walk off. We watched which direction they were going and noticed that they would be walking right across our track. We edged closer and within a few minutes we watched as the first Elephant gingerly put his foot onto the track to cross. He seemed to stop and look at us and was checking to see if we were ok, and he could cross. He stepped out and very soon was followed by about 15 other Elephants, with some baby calfs following. We were about to head off when half of the herd then crossed back over to the other side. Now we had a dilemma!!! To proceed meant driving through the middle of the herd, but if we sat there we could have been there all day waiting for them to move, as we still had 30 Km to go to our campsite. We very slowly edged forward and kept the engine revs down.

As we got in the middle of the herd one Elephant on each side of the track spun round and glared at us. To say that Karl and I were concerned was an understatement! We were cra**ing ourselves! Thankfully the two Elephants just watched us drive past, and didnt show any signs of charging. With a wipe of our brows we were though. We bounced and bucked and came to the First bridge which we could avoid as there was a track past it. The second bridge was collapsed so we managed to avoid that one as well. We did not need to go over Third Bridge as our campsite was in front of Third Bridge, but I think we will need to go over that in a couple of days. There is no way around Third bridge from what I can see, and the construction of all the bridges is old tree trunks and nothing else.! We arrived at the camp at 2pm, so for the first time of the trip, we could relax in the afternoon. We had Papaya and Lime for lunch, but then discussed the fact we had lime in the rubbish bin which could attract Elephants! The Lime was quickly disposed of, as we had enough close encounters with Elephants today! For the first time we had a relaxing afternoon and we all decided not to go for a game drive and just relax.

Oyvind spotted some Hippos in the river right beside our campsite and we could hear them grunting and snorting. Karl elected to cook some stew, as he enjoyed the stew that Oyvind and Sheelah made in the Kalahari, so we set about preparing the food. The fire was lit, and Karls stew was soon bubbling over the fire. The Hippos kept on grunting and we also heard Hyenas in the distance. The sun went down and the stars came alive in the African sky once again. As we sat around the fire we also heard the roar of Lions. It was a surreal experience sitting around the fire very deep inside the Okavango Delta listening to Hippo, Hyena and Lion as we eat Karlss stew! After tea I elected to do the washing up, but there was no lights at the toilets, and I could hear rustling in the bushes, so I decided to do the washing up in the morning when it was light.!!! We went to bed at the usual late time of 9pm, and I sat in my tent listening to the Hippos grunting and snorting and splashing about, the Hyenas crying and the Lions roaring, the frogs calling, the crickets chirping, plus I had the other pleasure of Karl snoring!!!! This would not be a quiet night in the bush!!

After a fantastic night we set off for Third Bridge campsite at Moremi. If you thought that we would be crossing 3 well constructed bridges you would be wrong! One thing I have learnt from this trip is never to rely solely on your GPS! We have had a couple of occasions that the GPS co-ordinates that were supplied were not quite accurate! Oyvind and Sheelah had great fun in watching Karl and I blindly follow the GPS and then watch us scratch our heads when we did not end up where we thought! A good old paper map, is always good to refer to, and we shall not blindly follow the GPS anymore! Our GPS stated that the Third Bridge campsite was 9.9Km from the Main gate. It was actually more like 38Km!!!! I was glad I took a second GPS so to cross reference. We set off to find our campsite and within 100 Meters of the main gate were 3 Giraffe (Now becoming rather common!!) The tracks were deep with sand and diff lock was needed and sometimes low range, and a heavy right foot to power through some of the sections. We then rounded a corner and spotted a herd of Elephants drinking at a water hole. We stopped and watched them for 10 mins until they started to walk off.

We watched which direction they were going and noticed that they would be walking right across our track. We edged closer and within a few minutes we watched as the first Elephant gingerly put his foot onto the track to cross. He seemed to stop and look at us and was checking to see if we were ok, and he could cross. He stepped out and very soon was followed by about 15 other Elephants, with some baby calfs following. We were about to head off when half of the herd then crossed back over to the other side. Now we had a dilemma!!! To proceed meant driving through the middle of the herd, but if we sat there we could have been there all day waiting for them to move, as we still had 30 Km to go to our campsite. We very slowly edged forward and kept the engine revs down. As we got in the middle of the herd one Elephant on each side of the track spun round and glared at us. To say that Karl and I were concerned was an understatement!

We were cra**ing ourselves! Thankfully the two Elephants just watched us drive past, and didnt show any signs of charging. With a wipe of our brows we were though. We bounced and bucked and came to the First bridge which we could avoid as there was a track past it. The second bridge was collapsed so we managed to avoid that one as well. We did not need to go over Third Bridge as our campsite was in front of Third Bridge, but I think we will need to go over that in a couple of days. There is no way around Third bridge from what I can see, and the construction of all the bridges is old tree trunks and nothing else.! We arrived at the camp at 2pm, so for the first time of the trip, we could relax in the afternoon. We had Papaya and Lime for lunch, but then discussed the fact we had lime in the rubbish bin which could attract Elephants! The Lime was quickly disposed of, as we had enough close encounters with Elephants today! For the first time we had a relaxing afternoon and we all decided not to go for a game drive and just relax. Oyvind spotted some Hippos in the river right beside our campsite and we could hear them grunting and snorting. Karl elected to cook some stew, as he enjoyed the stew that Oyvind and Sheelah made in the Kalahari, so we set about preparing the food.

The fire was lit, and Karls stew was soon bubbling over the fire. The Hippos kept on grunting and we also heard Hyenas in the distance. The sun went down and the stars came alive in the African sky once again. As we sat around the fire we also heard the roar of Lions. It was a surreal experience sitting around the fire very deep inside the Okavango Delta listening to Hippo, Hyena and Lion as we eat Karlss stew! After tea I elected to do the washing up, but there was no lights at the toilets, and I could hear rustling in the bushes, so I decided to do the washing up in the morning when it was light.!!! We went to bed at the usual late time of 9pm, and I sat in my tent listening to the Hippos grunting and snorting and splashing about, the Hyenas crying and the Lions roaring, the frogs calling, the crickets chirping, plus I had the other pleasure of Karl snoring!!!! This would not be a quiet night in the bush!! After a fantastic night we set off for Third Bridge campsite at Moremi. 

If you thought that we would be crossing 3 well constructed bridges you would be wrong! One thing I have learnt from this trip is never to rely solely on your GPS! We have had a couple of occasions that the GPS co-ordinates that were supplied were not quite accurate! Oyvind and Sheelah had great fun in watching Karl and I blindly follow the GPS and then watch us scratch our heads when we did not end up where we thought! A good old paper map, is always good to refer to, and we shall not blindly follow the GPS anymore! Our GPS stated that the Third Bridge campsite was 9.9Km from the Main gate. It was actually more like 38Km!!!! I was glad I took a second GPS so to cross reference. We set off to find our campsite and within 100 Meters of the main gate were 3 Giraffe (Now becoming rather common!!) The tracks were deep with sand and diff lock was needed and sometimes low range, and a heavy right foot to power through some of the sections. We then rounded a corner and spotted a herd of Elephants drinking at a water hole. We stopped and watched them for 10 mins until they started to walk off. We watched which direction they were going and noticed that they would be walking right across our track.

We edged closer and within a few minutes we watched as the first Elephant gingerly put his foot onto the track to cross. He seemed to stop and look at us and was checking to see if we were ok, and he could cross. He stepped out and very soon was followed by about 15 other Elephants, with some baby calfs following. We were about to head off when half of the herd then crossed back over to the other side. Now we had a dilemma!!! To proceed meant driving through the middle of the herd, but if we sat there we could have been there all day waiting for them to move, as we still had 30 Km to go to our campsite. We very slowly edged forward and kept the engine revs down. As we got in the middle of the herd one Elephant on each side of the track spun round and glared at us. To say that Karl and I were concerned was an understatement! We were cra**ing ourselves!

Thankfully the two Elephants just watched us drive past, and didnt show any signs of charging. With a wipe of our brows we were though. We bounced and bucked and came to the First bridge which we could avoid as there was a track past it. The second bridge was collapsed so we managed to avoid that one as well. We did not need to go over Third Bridge as our campsite was in front of Third Bridge, but I think we will need to go over that in a couple of days. There is no way around Third bridge from what I can see, and the construction of all the bridges is old tree trunks and nothing else.! We arrived at the camp at 2pm, so for the first time of the trip, we could relax in the afternoon. We had Papaya and Lime for lunch, but then discussed the fact we had lime in the rubbish bin which could attract Elephants! The Lime was quickly disposed of, as we had enough close encounters with Elephants today! For the first time we had a relaxing afternoon and we all decided not to go for a game drive and just relax. Oyvind spotted some Hippos in the river right beside our campsite and we could hear them grunting and snorting.

Karl elected to cook some stew, as he enjoyed the stew that Oyvind and Sheelah made in the Kalahari, so we set about preparing the food. The fire was lit, and Karls stew was soon bubbling over the fire. The Hippos kept on grunting and we also heard Hyenas in the distance. The sun went down and the stars came alive in the African sky once again. As we sat around the fire we also heard the roar of Lions. It was a surreal experience sitting around the fire very deep inside the Okavango Delta listening to Hippo, Hyena and Lion as we eat Karlss stew! After tea I elected to do the washing up, but there was no lights at the toilets, and I could hear rustling in the bushes, so I decided to do the washing up in the morning when it was light.!!! We went to bed at the usual late time of 9pm, and I sat in my tent listening to the Hippos grunting and snorting and splashing about, the Hyenas crying and the Lions roaring, the frogs calling, the crickets chirping, plus I had the other pleasure of Karl snoring!!!! This would not be a quiet night in the bush!! After a fantastic night we set off for Third Bridge campsite at Moremi. If you thought that we would be crossing 3 well constructed bridges you would be wrong! One thing I have learnt from this trip is never to rely solely on your GPS! We have had a couple of occasions that the GPS co-ordinates that were supplied were not quite accurate! Oyvind and Sheelah had great fun in watching Karl and I blindly follow the GPS and then watch us scratch our heads when we did not end up where we thought! A good old paper map, is always good to refer to, and we shall not blindly follow the GPS anymore! Our GPS stated that the Third Bridge campsite was 9.9Km from the Main gate.

It was actually more like 38Km!!!! I was glad I took a second GPS so to cross reference. We set off to find our campsite and within 100 Meters of the main gate were 3 Giraffe (Now becoming rather common!!) The tracks were deep with sand and diff lock was needed and sometimes low range, and a heavy right foot to power through some of the sections. We then rounded a corner and spotted a herd of Elephants drinking at a water hole. We stopped and watched them for 10 mins until they started to walk off. We watched which direction they were going and noticed that they would be walking right across our track. We edged closer and within a few minutes we watched as the first Elephant gingerly put his foot onto the track to cross. He seemed to stop and look at us and was checking to see if we were ok, and he could cross. He stepped out and very soon was followed by about 15 other Elephants, with some baby calfs following. We were about to head off when half of the herd then crossed back over to the other side. Now we had a dilemma!!!

To proceed meant driving through the middle of the herd, but if we sat there we could have been there all day waiting for them to move, as we still had 30 Km to go to our campsite. We very slowly edged forward and kept the engine revs down. As we got in the middle of the herd one Elephant on each side of the track spun round and glared at us. To say that Karl and I were concerned was an understatement! We were cra**ing ourselves! Thankfully the two Elephants just watched us drive past, and didnt show any signs of charging. With a wipe of our brows we were though. We bounced and bucked and came to the First bridge which we could avoid as there was a track past it. The second bridge was collapsed so we managed to avoid that one as well. We did not need to go over Third Bridge as our campsite was in front of Third Bridge, but I think we will need to go over that in a couple of days. There is no way around Third bridge from what I can see, and the construction of all the bridges is old tree trunks and nothing else.!

We arrived at the camp at 2pm, so for the first time of the trip, we could relax in the afternoon. We had Papaya and Lime for lunch, but then discussed the fact we had lime in the rubbish bin which could attract Elephants! The Lime was quickly disposed of, as we had enough close encounters with Elephants today! For the first time we had a relaxing afternoon and we all decided not to go for a game drive and just relax. Oyvind spotted some Hippos in the river right beside our campsite and we could hear them grunting and snorting. Karl elected to cook some stew, as he enjoyed the stew that Oyvind and Sheelah made in the Kalahari, so we set about preparing the food. The fire was lit, and Karls stew was soon bubbling over the fire. The Hippos kept on grunting and we also heard Hyenas in the distance. The sun went down and the stars came alive in the African sky once again. As we sat around the fire we also heard the roar of Lions. It was a surreal experience sitting around the fire very deep inside the Okavango Delta listening to Hippo, Hyena and Lion as we eat Karlss stew! After tea I elected to do the washing up, but there was no lights at the toilets, and I could hear rustling in the bushes, so I decided to do the washing up in the morning when it was light.!!!

We went to bed at the usual late time of 9pm, and I sat in my tent listening to the Hippos grunting and snorting and splashing about, the Hyenas crying and the Lions roaring, the frogs calling, the crickets chirping, plus I had the other pleasure of Karl snoring!!!! This would not be a quiet night in the bush!! After a fantastic night we set off for Third Bridge campsite at Moremi. If you thought that we would be crossing 3 well constructed bridges you would be wrong! One thing I have learnt from this trip is never to rely solely on your GPS! We have had a couple of occasions that the GPS co-ordinates that were supplied were not quite accurate! Oyvind and Sheelah had great fun in watching Karl and I blindly follow the GPS and then watch us scratch our heads when we did not end up where we thought! A good old paper map, is always good to refer to, and we shall not blindly follow the GPS anymore! Our GPS stated that the Third Bridge campsite was 9.9Km from the Main gate. It was actually more like 38Km!!!! I was glad I took a second GPS so to cross reference. We set off to find our campsite and within 100 Meters of the main gate were 3 Giraffe (Now becoming rather common!!) The tracks were deep with sand and diff lock was needed and sometimes low range, and a heavy right foot to power through some of the sections.

We then rounded a corner and spotted a herd of Elephants drinking at a water hole. We stopped and watched them for 10 mins until they started to walk off. We watched which direction they were going and noticed that they would be walking right across our track. We edged closer and within a few minutes we watched as the first Elephant gingerly put his foot onto the track to cross. He seemed to stop and look at us and was checking to see if we were ok, and he could cross. He stepped out and very soon was followed by about 15 other Elephants, with some baby calfs following. We were about to head off when half of the herd then crossed back over to the other side. Now we had a dilemma!!! To proceed meant driving through the middle of the herd, but if we sat there we could have been there all day waiting for them to move, as we still had 30 Km to go to our campsite. We very slowly edged forward and kept the engine revs down. As we got in the middle of the herd one Elephant on each side of the track spun round and glared at us. To say that Karl and I were concerned was an understatement! We were cra**ing ourselves! Thankfully the two Elephants just watched us drive past, and didnt show any signs of charging. With a wipe of our brows we were though. We bounced and bucked and came to the First bridge which we could avoid as there was a track past it.

The second bridge was collapsed so we managed to avoid that one as well. We did not need to go over Third Bridge as our campsite was in front of Third Bridge, but I think we will need to go over that in a couple of days. There is no way around Third bridge from what I can see, and the construction of all the bridges is old tree trunks and nothing else.! We arrived at the camp at 2pm, so for the first time of the trip, we could relax in the afternoon. We had Papaya and Lime for lunch, but then discussed the fact we had lime in the rubbish bin which could attract Elephants! The Lime was quickly disposed of, as we had enough close encounters with Elephants today! For the first time we had a relaxing afternoon and we all decided not to go for a game drive and just relax. Oyvind spotted some Hippos in the river right beside our campsite and we could hear them grunting and snorting. Karl elected to cook some stew, as he enjoyed the stew that Oyvind and Sheelah made in the Kalahari, so we set about preparing the food. The fire was lit, and Karls stew was soon bubbling over the fire. The Hippos kept on grunting and we also heard Hyenas in the distance.

The sun went down and the stars came alive in the African sky once again. As we sat around the fire we also heard the roar of Lions. It was a surreal experience sitting around the fire very deep inside the Okavango Delta listening to Hippo, Hyena and Lion as we eat Karlss stew! After tea I elected to do the washing up, but there was no lights at the toilets, and I could hear rustling in the bushes, so I decided to do the washing up in the morning when it was light.!!! We went to bed at the usual late time of 9pm, and I sat in my tent listening to the Hippos grunting and snorting and splashing about, the Hyenas crying and the Lions roaring, the frogs calling, the crickets chirping, plus I had the other pleasure of Karl snoring!!!! This would not be a quiet night in the bush!! Botswana 6-5-13 Moroko trip (Third Bridge) I woke at 6.30am and had one of the best sleeps in ages! We were booked on a traditional canoe trip up the Okavango Delta at 10am. We looked at my Botswana book to see what type of canoe it would be and Karl had a heart attack as he realised that he was about to be sat in an old canoe and taken deep up the Okavango river where Crocodiles and Hippos might be! To get to the boat station took about 90 mins through various types of terrain and low box and diff lock needed all the time.We arrived at the boat station and the first thing that was thrust into our hands was a indemnity form! So at least if we got eaten by Crocodiles then the National Park would not be liable! We were taken up the river for about an hour where the local guide told us about the wildlife. It was so peaceful just floating up the river.

I could not help think of my Father when we were on this trip up the river as I knew he would have loved it. The water was very clear and we could see the bottom most of the time. Each side of the river was high reeds and the water was covered in water Lillys After an hour we turned around and drifted back to the start. It was a fantastic experience which I will never forget. To be so deep inside the Okavango Delta being taken up the Crocodile infested river in a Canoe was amazing!!!! We returned to camp by driving the second half of a loop and Karl enjoyed driving back. The track twisted and turned, and had some deep sandy sections.