After the Delta we headed north, first stop being the Moremi South gate camp ground. Just outside the reserve entrance we saw a group of elephant, giraffe, zebra and red buck, but did not even bother slowing down as we weren’t even in the reserve yet so we figured if the spotting was that good outside the reserve we’d see plenty more…. we were wrong.
That night we had a spotted hyena visit the camp, he obviously scavenges the camp sites often as he’d return quite quickly after we shooed him away. We took the camera to bed and waited for him after we turned the camp lights off to get these pics. So much for all animals being afraid of fire, he didn’t flinch as he ate some scrops right off the fireplace next to the fire.
Just after we retired Neels said there was another much larger one around the camp also but we missed him, the whole experience made us glad we shelled out for a roof top tent (especially with Max).
The next day was meant to be a quick half day drive to Savute and some game drives around there, a half hour into the trip we realised our mistake. Just because the map has a nice big fat white line that’s much fatter than most of the other lines, doesn’t mean it’s going to be a “real” road!
No, the “major” road we were taking was just a single lane sand track, much like ever other sand track we’d been on, twisting and humpy limiting our speed to 20-30 kmph. By lunch time we’d only just reached the North gate (around half way) at which point they told us the way forward was impassible due to some deep water crossings, and that we’d have to go all the way back to South gate where we’d camped the night before and take another route around.
Due to the fact that we’d seen the grand total of SFA the whole way up the track we weren’t so keep on the idea of doing it all again. At that point this real boertjie (Afrikaans) cowboy strolled in, he managed some other camp to the North and had just came through all the water crossings the guy at the gate was saying was impassible in a similar model hilux to ours (with a slight lift kit). He said both our cars would make it through the crossings no worries and offered to go ahead and show us the best line through each crossing.
I don’t know if there’s any official colloquial term warning about trusting cowboys but we “just” made it across the crossings, the point where water came over the front of Neels’ Pajero was and little too close for comfort. We were thousands of ks from civilization on deep sand roads in all directions, if we had have drowned one of the vehicles, it was definitely holiday over…. All is well that ends well I say!
PS: I actually really enjoyed finally giving the Hilux a good test… but the look on Neels’ face didn’t let me show it at the time.. Pete.
The road to Savute was just more sand, but pleasant enough, it got quite deep at some points requiring some low range actaion. At one point in the track we came across these weirdoes in two Kia soft roaders getting towed by a really cranky local in a tractor… when I say towed, I mean towed by a friggin chain as thick as your leg… I’m sure the front would have been missing by the time they got to Savute. Thankfully after crawling along behind them for a few ks they stopped at a little offshoot through the bush and let us pass.
That night we had a honey badger visit us, yep a stinking badger!!! Thing is you very rarely see them in the wild, apparently they’re quite a force to be reckoned with in the wild so we made sure we packed the camp up before heading to bed…. Unfortunately no photo.
Pete was fascinated by the fortified wall around the ablution block, the whole thing was like a military bunker, with the cinder block walls on the outside reinforced by 45 degree sloping dirt on the inside. It was made like that so it was elephant proof, because in the dry season the elephants dig all the water pipes up, you can see from the photo the bunker was elephant proof but the sign wasn’t.
Another great leg of the trip, we’d love to head back this way one day and give ourselves a little more time to explore… now that we know how far you can/can’t drive each day.