Friday, 28 December 2007

Moremi - Day 1

Zebras in Moremi
We arrived at Maun late in the afternoon after a full day of driving on probably the most isolated and least used highway in Botswana. We had heard conflicting reports on the availability of fuel at Kang, but decided to take the chance instead of going through Francistown and it turned out to be a good decision as the road was a lot quieter and well maintained.  Drove through Ghantsi (or is Gantsi or Gantzi – does anyone know?) seeing only cows, goats, donkeys and a couple of stray horses with the odd village dotting the landscape. 

Neither of us had any idea what Maun was about but Sashi had told Dru that the Audi campsite was a good place to camp, so headed there after having to ask for directions from a local walking down the street.

The woman at the campsite was pretty entertaining – don’t think that she knew much, because everything Dru asked was met with “Hakitse” (“I don’t know”) Finally managed to organise the campsite, along with firewood and ice for the next morning.  There was also a long explanation about grey boxes and numbers regarding the campsites, which we finally figured out meant those were the ones that had electricity and were booked… we think.  Parked off after finding a spot and got the tent open.  Took a walk around to check out the place – nice area with a pool, bar, restaurant and a clean ablution block.  Just a pity there is no privacy with the campers basically on top of each other.

Kruger makes it to Moremi
Dru was off to find the firewood promised to us – we had a big braai with lots of meat to cook ;) He finally got back with the minimal of drama with a couple of pieces of wood – wet as it turned out.  Luckily on the way, he stopped to talk to a group of about 7 older people, who were playing a strange game of marbles/bowls on the sand.  They were on their last day from fishing in the area, so offered him the rest of their charcoal, which he was glad to accept – rather use theirs than our precious lot ;)

Started a fire, opened our first beer and then Dru said he was going to go chat to the Japanese guy that was camped near us.  He had mud on his 4x4 bakkie, so there was a fair possibility that he had been to Moremi.

So we ambled over there and interrupted him to hear his story.  And what an interesting chap Go turned out to be.  He is from Japan and had been travelling through Southern Africa for the last four months.  And he is a photographer.  He takes wedding photos for a living in Japan, but his love is photographing the bush, so he had saved up for 2 years to do this 4 month stint.  He had done Namibia, through the Caprivi strip, before going through Chobe, Savuti and Moremi, then a stopover here to fix his bakkie’s starter motor before heading into the CKGR, down to Pretoria – then flying home via Cape Town.

His father had lived in Africa and given him his love for Africa, and normally made an annual trip for a few weeks at a time, but this was his big trip.  He is hoping to have an exhibition of his photos back in Japan, but told us the market is limited.  As for Moremi, he had just got through the day before and got stuck in the mud.  He had to unload all his gear and dig himself out, but luckily another car arrived and managed to get him out – he showed us the photos of him getting stuck – didn’t look fun…  Go told us that Moremi was wet and muddy – not the thing you wanted to hear the day before you have to go in! He showed us some of the photos that he had taken along the trip – some of which were fantastic – hope his exhibition goes well.  Dru and he exchanged business cards, and who knows – maybe he’ll look us up the next time he’s in Africa.

Done with Go, and time to get the fire going for our braai, with was going very sadly with all that wet wood.  But finally we managed to braai our dinner of ribs and kebabs.  In the meantime, Dru had a chat to the guy camping next to us – a Swiss guy that had travelled through Chobe and Savuti on his own as well – said the conditions were very, very tough and he got stuck in the mud as well – not looking good and the nerves increased…

Up into the roof tent pretty early to get a good night’s sleep before the beginning of our trip into Moremi National Park

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