At Chobe we bid farewell to four of our companions who departed on the long road home to Johannesburg.
That left just 6 of us to go on to Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe. The distance was not far, but the last 100km to our campsite was dirt road (track in some places) and we eventually arrived at our camp (with waterhole) just before sunset.
As we arrived a herd of dusty, gaunt elephant were jostling for water at the trough just below the hide. We spent a wondrous half hour watching these giants of the bush, just a few metres away from us. Then as darkness fell we set up camp and started cooking our supper on the fire.
Any thoughts of a leisurely nightcap watching the flames die down were blown away as we were chased into our tents by a huge thunderstorm. It crashed and flashed most of the night and we rose to a clear rain washed morning.
I will write another time of the amazing transformation that the mopani tree country went through over the next four days of blazing sun, sticky heat and nightly thunderstorms.
The most immediate impact was that the elephant vanished into the far reaches of the bush, no longer totally dependent on our waterhole. But we weren't on this trip to only look for animals. For the time we were there, we were the only humans at this waterhole with it's three resident hippo, one crocodile, visiting birds and occasional larger animals.
The word “peace” is really totally inadequate to describe our stay in Hwange.
|Sundowners at our own private waterhole|
Packing up our camp on the fifth day, we all vowed that we would return, some day......
Then it was back to Botswana (over that 100km of dirt road again), and the town of Nata. We didn't stay more than a couple of nights here as with no water in the Sua Pan, there were no birds to see. We did go out onto the pan to get a “feel” for the place, and had the lookout point all to ourselves for most of the afternoon until a noisy overland tour bus arrived to disturb the peace.....
I would love to come back here some day when the flamingos are here – apparently a very unpredictable event!
|Bud and Cath at Sua Pan|
From Nata, we took two days travelling to get to Mapungubwe National Park in South Africa. This is where we decided, on the spur of the moment, to spend our last 3 days of the trip.
|On the road, Botswana|
|A typical Botswana road........|
What a contrast!
In addition to the rugged, red rock scenery,gigantic baobab trees studding the plains and the wide sand filled Limpopo and Shashe Rivers, we also had our first rainy days of the entire 4 weeks. As with Hwange, this meant that we had to search for animals everywhere except at the waterholes.
But it also meant having some real fun on the muddy tracks. I had thought my car was looking quite dirty before we got there, but I drove it back to Johannesburg with a very thick coating of mud!
|Our last camp on this trip|
So, that was the end of that adventure.......
Four weeks, 6,000 kilometres, four countries, countless animals, many “new” birds, friendly people, spectacular landscapes and memories to last a lifetime.