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Home -> Reviews & Tips -> Trip Reviews -> Linyanti & Caprivi 2008

LINYANTI & CAPRIVI TRIP 2008

 

In January 2008 we decided to explore areas of Botswana & Namibia which we had yet to visit. The plan was to visit Linyanti, the Caprivi and the western panhandle region of the Okavango Delta.
Due to the usual time constraints we spent alot of time travelling with little time to explore each destination with over 2500km covered in 5 days!! During the trip we enjoyed the company of Stewart & James Mcallister who we had arranged to meet in Kasane on the 31st before dropping them off at Nata Lodge on the 5th.
One of the major problems we faced was the rain which seemed to follow us throughout the trip causing problems as we didn't have time to let the tents and bedding dry out each morning before we set off!! The good rains in the region also meant that wildlife was scarce however the sightings we did have and the fantastic birdlife more than made up for this....
The highlights were Wild Dog in Linyanti as well as Black Coucal, Chestnut-bellied Kingfisher and Redshouldered Widow - just a few of the 150 different bird species seen.
 

Monday 31st December
Palapye - Nata - Kasane
In order to be at the Kazungula ferry for 5pm to meet the Mcallisters we set off early from Palapye stopping briefly in Francistown and Nata for food.
We arrived in Kasane around 4pm giving us time to check out our campsite for the night at Toro Safari Lodge. On arriving there we found the place pretty full with the campsites quite close together, so we decided to look elsewhere. About 1km towards Kasane we saw the sign for Ngina Safaris which we had heard of from a friend and decided we would check it out. Although the campsites were still quite close together the trees afforded a measure of privacy and the campsite wasn't as busy.
After reserving our campsite we went to meet the boys at the ferry before returning to cook a dinner of stir-fried chicken and couscous. As we had an early start the next morning we ruled out seeing in the New Year and went to bed early!

Distance travelled: 650km

 

Tuesday 1st January
Kasane - Ghoha - Linyanti
During the night it had rained quite a bit leaving the tents soaking, however there was nothing we could do but pack everything away and hope for drier weather later on to dry out the tents! Before we had finished packing the rain started to fall again leaving us rushing around packing the last items whilst getting soaked!! Due to the rain we didnt manage to leave before 8am...
At the Chobe entrance gate we were warned about the road to Linyanti as it had been flooded and a wildlife officer had been stuck there for 2 days!! We decided the best option would be to head for Ghoha gate and ask them the latest road conditions or alternatively attempt to get a reserve Savuti campsite for the night.
Just after we arrived at Ghoha another wildlife officer drove up and said he was going to Linyanti and we could follow him to see the best route through the water, which we did. After navigating a couple of water crossings (see further down) and some deep sand we arrived within an hour at Linyanti entrance gate.
After setting up camp we set out for a game drive however apart from a herd of Kudu & Impala we didn't see much before the rain started again so we headed back to camp to try and prepare for the rain as best we could. The rain hadn't yet fallen at the campsite but it was threatening rain all around so we decided to cook before it started.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we were siting round the fire getting ready to cook we heard the sound of running animals and looked up just as an Impala charged across the open space in front of our camp with a Wild Dog in hot pursuit!! The Impala collapsed, out of exhaustion, and the Wild Dog proceeded to enjoy his kill. Shortly after he was joined by another Wild Dog and together they ate the Impala just 10metres away from where we were sitting, seemingly unconcerned by our presence! Unfortunately the light, which had been poor all day, was fading rapidly so I had to get out my flash in order to salvage some semi-decent photos of the excitement!
The whole thing lasted just over 10minutes (just enough time for James to finish his shower and see them!) with the Dogs moving off shortly after leaving us to catch our breath and think about making our dinner!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We cooked a beef stew with potatoes and other vegetables whilst hoping for Hyena's to come and investigate where the Impala had been killed. Sure enough a large Hyena appeared and we watched him for a few minutes before we went to bed. What a way to start the New Year!!
Distance travelled: 190km

Wednesday 2nd January
Linyanti - Katima Mulilo - Nambwa
The next morning we spent a leisurely time watching birds and enjoying the antics of the Vervet Monkey's before their alarm calls alerted us that a predator was around. We couldn't see anything but a few minutes later we suddenly saw the Wild Dog's back again looking for any remains from their kill the night before. After finishing off what little there was left they wandered right through the campsite, past the ablutions before trotting off into the surrounding woodland.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reluctantly we started to pack up the vehicles as we still had quite a distance to go to get to our next destination - Nambwa Campsite in Namibia. After signing out we took the cutline road again towards Ghoha, passing a small pool occupied by a rather unfriendly Hippo just south of the Entrance Gate. We managed to navigate the water crossings with no problems at all, remembering to use the same tracks we had used on the way to Linyanti!
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We reached the border by lunch and after completing the formalities we headed to Katima Mulilo for some lunch as well as to stock up on supplies. NB The foreign vehicle road tax can't be paid at the border and has to be paid at a small office just near Katima! We left Katima later than we should have meaning we didn't reach Nambwa until late afternoon which didn't give us any time to do game drives in Bwabwata. With rain threatening (again!) we cooked dinner - Kudu mince with pasta - before heading to bed.
Distance travelled: 305km

Thursday 3rd January
Nambwa - Rundu - Ngepi
The next morning we just relaxed by the river looking out for an elusive Otter that made two brief appearances. Shortly after packing up the rain began so we scrapped our plans for a game drive and headed for our next destination.
On the way we called in at Popa Falls for a quick look round and arrived at Ngepi Camp in the early afternoon. We decided that the clouds looked ominous so didn't bother unpacking the tents which was a good job as it proceed to bucket down for the next hour! There was nothing to do but sit in the vehicle and wait until the worst had passed. Once the rain had eased we decided to rig up the ground sheet to try and build a fire and start cooking however we had no wood left and Ngepi Camp had left all theirs out in the rain!! After managing to source some dry wood from a nearby village we set about building a fire under the tarpaulin.
After a hearty Springbok stew, we relaxed round the fire enjoying the fact that the rain kept most of the insects at bay! We then decided to build a fire under the donkey boiler (surprised there was no hot water in the showers!) in order to have a shower before we went to bed.
Distance travelled: 220km

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday 4th January
Ngepi - Shakawe - Guma Lagoon
After the rain of the night before the day started off quite brightly and a walk round the campsite revealed a number of interesting birds such as White-winged Widowbird, African Pygmy-Goose, African Golden Oriole and Cape Parrot.
After packing up we headed south towards the border. The road becomes gravelled just south of Ngepi, passing through Mahango Game Park - we didn't see much wildlife apart from a tiny Leopard Tortoise crossing the road.
Again the border crossing was completed with no problems and we headed to Shakawe to buy some meat and get some fuel, before driving south towards Etsha 13. We called at Sepupa Swamp Stop for lunch - very nice setting overlooking the river and the food was good when it eventually arrived almost an hour later!! Our campsite for the night was at Guma Lagoon Camp with the guide book warning that the tracks out of Etsha13 can be confusing! After asking directions twice we finally got confirmation that the terrible sand road we were on was indeed the right track and would lead us to the Camp!!
After 30mins (12km) of slogging through very deep sand we arrived at the Camp. The Camp is well situated with stunning views over the Lagoon from almost all the tents. The dining area has a decking that also overlooks the Lagoon. After being shown our campsite we decided to take an hour boat cruise on the Lagoon before sunset - the rates are reasonable. There were not too many birds of note however the scenery made up for it with Papyrus grass lining the lagoon.
While we were out the wind picked up and it looked like it could rain so we headed back to our campsite to make plans for cooking our last meal. We decided the best option would be to use the well-equipped kitchen/dining area to save having to rig up the tarpaulin again. We knew we would be leaving early so we made use of the cutlery and crockery provided so as not to have to re-pack the car - as we were the only guests we had the kitchen to ourselves! Fortunately the rain held off and we were able to do a braai for the first time!
Distance travelled: 150km

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday 5th January
Guma Lagoon - Maun - Nata - Palapye
After waking early we set off for Etsha13 - even heading to Etsha13 the tracks were confusing and the sand very deep. After stopping in Maun to refuel we arrived at Nata Lodge just after 1pm where Stewart & James were picked up. While they headed north we headed south, after a quick lunch, arriving in Palapye at 7:30pm - 13hours on the road!!

Distance travelled: 1000km

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chestnut-bellied Kingfisher, Linyanti Campsite
Vervet Monkey, Linyanti Campsite
African Wild Dog, Linyanti Campsite
African Wild Dog, Linyanti Campsite
Cutline road near Kachikau
Linyanti Entrance Gate
Linyanti Campsite
Linyanti Campsite
Grumpy Hippo, Linyanti
Grumpy Hippo, Linyanti
Landrover Swimming, Linyanti
Landrover Swimming, Linyanti
Nambwa Campsite, Caprivi
Ngepi Camp campsite, Caprivi
Wild Dog Impala Kill, Linyanti Campsite
Wild Dog Impala Kill, Linyanti Campsite
Tiny Tortoise
Shakawe Filling Station
Sepupa Swamp Stop
Guma Lagoon