Just before we entered Namibia, the president announced that the names of some Namibian regions and towns were to be changed in recognition of the tribal people of Southern Africa.
Lüderitz was re-named as !Nami≠Nüs (the symbols represent different click sounds).
The Caprivi region was renamed as the Zambezi region.
At this point, we had to make up our mind whether to go into Botswana, then to Zambia; or cut across the formerly named Caprivi Strip to Zambia. We had heard much about Botswana and were very tempted to drop in for a couple of weeks. However, the wet was coming down from the north, and we wanted to be out of Zambia when we met it, so we chose to take the Caprivi Strip option, as we could do this faster.
Ngepi, an environmentally aware campground with imagination and a sense of humour. Bathrooms and toilets were all open air, some with themes, some with river views. We stayed 3 nights, on the 2nd morning we woke up with a family hippos out the front, who hung out there for most of the day.
Mahango National Park, a nice and very compact park. We drove all the tracks in a few hours and saw giraffe, elephants, various bocks, zebra, monkeys. This elephant showed us how he held food in an ‘elbow’ of his trunk while he took small amounts at a time to feed into his mouth.
Nambwa Conservacy – seemed to be popular however there are only 7 campsites, therefore pre-booking is a must! There are a number of lodges in the area that take their guests on safari drives, we did a couple of self-drives.
We spotted a hippo, which sunk down as we drove by the waterhole. We stopped the car to sneak back on foot and hid behind some bushes and trees. After a while, the hippo surfaced and walked through the water comfortably and weightlessly, unaware we were spying on him. He then turned and disappeared up a channel through the reeds. Being one of our first hippos sightings, we were pleased with our stalking.
We also had our first Buffalo sightings but they were quite shy and kept a big distance.
We came around a corner; up ahead was a big group of elephants next to the track. I stopped not wanting to upset the elephants. The alternative track was a long backtrack, and a long drive around. I got out to tell the South African man and son that where following behind us.
We let them go around us and they continued and drove on, pushing through them, so I followed too, hoping that we would not come around a corner to face some upset, angry elephants. There were elephants left and right standing under the trees, every corner more elephants left and right …. a big group. We drove through steadily trying not to disturb them, only one felt he had to flap his ears to scare us ….sorry elephant, it always seems to be the young boys trying to prove themselves.
The South Africans continued on but then returned to parked right near it. It retreated into the water. He was enjoying that grass, and waited by the edge to come back out and munch on the lovely grass again. Eventually he did come back out after about and hour.
Meantime after our lunch a group of elephants can down to the water for a drink. I think if we were not there they would have stayed longer to swim and play.
We took another drive and when we came back there was a group of elephants enjoying themselves and playing in the water.
A lodge safari vehicle was driving around to them. The elephants started leaving the water and making their way up the beach to the safety of the bush. The safari vehicle raced on to cut them off. The protective elephants did their best trying to scare the car back (giving the tourists spectacular photos), and making a shield as the young elephants, babies and others passed behind. When all the elephants had passed, the car parked and the driver and tourists got out laughing their heads off – Bloody Muppets.
On our way out another group of elephants were at the water. We stopped to wait for them to finish as the road went between them and the bush; but more groups of elephants started arriving, waiting for opportunities to have a drink. We could have been waiting for hours and hours, so we left and drove though as calmly as possible so they could drink in peace.