Aardvark holes and the halfway point
Trip Start Aug 15, 2009
30Trip End Oct 05, 2009
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Where I stayed
The next day we started off going to another island for a guided walk. Again in the mokoros, we got close to the first hippos of the trip. C and I were in the first mokoro so as I was in the front this time I was cleaning all the pathway's spider webs off for everyone else - no spiders in them luckily. We got to the island and were prevented on starting the walk due to a herd of elephants blocking our path and sussing us out, but we eventually got going. Wildlife wise there was not really anything of note but at our halfway point A somehow fell down an aardvark hole and twisted his ankle. When we got back to (our new) camp, I had to play Dr... which I have seem to have done alot on this trip somehow?! Our new camp was on a separate island but this one was set up for guests and we had BEDDED TENTS! There was the option of going on another walk but a few of us decided to chill instead - I made friends with another camp dog (again, becoming a regular thing). A (after I helped ice and bandage his ankle), C and I had beers and read a South African Cosmopolitan magazine together stunned at some of the titles of the articles and having a good laugh.
The next day we were off to Rainbow Camp, back in Namibia. We needed to cross back in order to not be driving through water and sand for 2 weeks and instead only take 2 days. Rainbow camp was beautiful - on the shore of the Chobe River with a pool and grass and upgrades to houses for only ZAR150 (about $20). I made friends with their dogs there too. Savanna was a mastiff x ridgeback and only 6 months old but freakin' huge! He would get very excited at the prospect of so many pats and back scratches but I didn't get quite as close to him as A2 did - a new girlfriend for him perhaps?!
After Rainbow Camp, we were over the border and into Chobe National Park for 2 nights
The next day was an early start and off to Chobe (actually in the park as we were staying right on the endge of it) for a morning game drive. We split into 2 open trucks and off we set - our truck saw a hippo really close and we were between it and the water (the least advisable thing to do) but we got some great shots out of it! We also got Buffalo, more hippos, a lioness, sable (quite rare and even rarer to see them and roan which we saw the day before), dik-dik, bushbuck, impala, banded and slender mongoose and then as we were leaving we were lucky enough to see the endangered Wild Dog (pups included!). We thought the only way the other truck could beat us was if they saw a leopard. When we got back, the highlight of their trip - a leopard! bugger. It was only last night it was revealed that they had just made up that story though and tricked us for a number of days. We got a sunset cruise as well in the afternoon (after lunch around the pool) where we saw a multitude of hippos out of the water (very cool), crocodiles, baboons, and some elephant. We were about to turn when over the horizon a herd of elephant was spotted - about 250 of them!!
Yesterday we arrived in Livingstone. It took us a fair while to get through the border, usually a quick processs but we've learned that ferries can be the time killer. This particular border (Botswana to Zambia) is actually a meeting point of 4 coutnries Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe so politically it's difficult to get a bridge in so Zambia provides a ferry. There is a queue for commercial trucks going back miles! We could beeline it to the front lucky enough being a tourist truck but that wasn't the biggets time factor. At the Zambian border, we got through ok individually but then got held up with the "truck payment". To amuse oursleves we had local sellers come by to try and trade or sell their goods - hippo carvings mainly. O managed to swap a pair of dirty socks for a hippo! I ended up buying one lying down because it didn't look like the stock-standard type. When we eventually got to our home for the next 4 days, there was a rush to upgrade then head off to Vic Falls. It's currently quite low so not as spectacular as it would be say around April but still massive. We did a bit of rock hopping and got quite close to the edge for some amazing shots. The craft markets their are certainly aware of the tourists though. Their first prices are so expensive but you could get them down after a bit of bartering. I've sussed out who to take with me in future shopping trips based on this. I swapped some rubber bracelts for a real one (malachite) and also got a brass one which I've been eyeing out for a while and got 2 for 1... or so the guy said, haha. It is amazing how many people have brothers in Sydney though...
Today was a microlite over the falls - amazing and so recommended. I got to fly it which it seems only our pilot (3 out of 6) would let us do
This afternoon, the group is off to do a bungy package. I'm only doing the bridge swing (safer for my back but apprently even scarier than basic bungy!!) and tomorrow is off to Zimbabwe for lion encounter and elephant walk with A2, J and L. Very much looking forward to that!
POST TRIP INFO
TIP: Look at your options in terms of activities and do as much as you can but don't over do it either. You want to take advantage of being able to have a day to relax by the pool. (or at least half a day). Look into crossing the border to do some activities in Zimbabwe instead. The border is very easy and if you have a company taking you across it's easier again. Be aware that if you get dropped off at the borger gate and want to get to the other border gate it's about a 20min walk (across the bungi bridge too). The options there include Lion Walks, Elephant Safaris, White Water Rafting, etc. They're often cheaper than the Zambian side, even including visa costs
TIP: If doing the Bungi, you will be doing it off the bridge between the borders of Zambia and Zimbabwe. During the day this is fine, you will only be hassled by people selling things (so still be aware of your belongings). You will need to cross the Zambian border (if coming from that direction), get a 'ticket' or pass, walk through the gate and keep going until you see the bridge. Before you go onto the bridge there is a stairway going up on your right - the reception is up here. You need to pay in $USD. We recommend doing the Combo of the 3 (bungi, bridge swing and zipline) as it works out much cheaper than doing even 2.
On completion of your bungi, if it's nearing 4pm - ask them if you can pick up photos/ dvds tomorrow morning. DO NOT WAIT UNTIL AFTER 4.30pm TO LEAVE! The border closes at 5pm (not 10pm like they tried to tell us.) As this is between Zambia and Zimbabwe, after dark it can get very dangerous and, especially if you're white/ young/ female/ alone any of the former, you'll look like an easy target. (so we were told). If you do get stuck, be prepared to bribe you way out.