Life is good. We have hot, rich coffee and are watching the pink dapples of an impending sunrise ripple across the waters of the Kavango. Before long, a safari truck announces its arrival with a throaty diesel purr and we’re off on our first game drive into the Mahango National Park.
It’s a gentle introduction to the joys of this small park, which is now open to the larger Bwabwata National Park. We take the 20km Circular Route which follows the fossil river valleys of the park and it’s rough going. It’s a rewarding outing though.
Kudus are plentiful along with ostriches and giraffes. We are lucky to catch a leopard on its way to its daily hideout and we get to see some red lechwe dashing through the shallows. The lechwe are a first for me which makes the whole trip even more worthwhile.
Far too soon it’s time to head back to camp for breakfast which turns out to be another extraordinary event. Sitting in the open thatched restaurant with bacon sizzling on the grill behind us and river views in front, we lap up the scenery and demolish the fry-up before us, all the while wishing we had booked a longer stay. There are also kayak rides, trips to the local village and tiger fishing which we would have loved to try out.
On the Road Again
Alas, we must travel onward, so we bid Shametu River Lodge a fond farewell and set off deeper into the wilderness of Caprivi. We have an almost 3-hour journey to our next stop at Namushasha River Lodge, on the Botswana border.
It’s remarkably smooth sailing on tar past the surrounding game reserves to our destination and we arrive ready for some safari action at this luxury resort. We were fortunate to get our reservations here through our travel agent in Cape Town at a great price, otherwise we would be heading for a much lower key destination right now.
Namushasha River Lodge
We arrive with time to spare before our afternoon activity and take advantage of the break to explore around camp. We have booked a family chalet which has lovely river views from its private deck, but it doesn’t take us long to discover the communal viewing deck with its steady supply of refreshing G&Ts. We are rewarded with entertainment in the form of a baboon troop playing on the banks of the river.
We order a light lunch right there and then head back to our accommodation to change before our boat trip and safari drive.
On Water and Land
Our flat-bottomed boat ride is an adventure in itself as we circumvent basking hippos and jump at the sound of a leguaan crashing through the reeds to escape our advances.
Our safari sets off from a clearing on the opposite banks of the river a few miles onward and features mainly elephant and some more lechwe. We are fortunate to see a rare puku close to the river, which is another first for me.
While every moment of the trip has been memorable, the best part for me has to be the fiery red sunset that we witnessed on our return boat cruise to the lodge.
Back at Namushasha we adjourn for pre-dinner drinks and are treated to a lavish buffet supper before spending some time on our private deck reminiscing about the day’s events. With heavy eyes and grateful hearts, we retire to the plush comfort of our rooms, eager to see what the next day holds.
Did you catch the last episode in our “Cape Town to Namibia” series, Road Tripping Around Namibia – Off To The Caprivi ? If not, hit the link and join us on this exciting adventure. As our adventurers move on they navigate 3 different countries in one day – join them as they travel through Kongola into Botswana and onwards to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.
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