April 07, 2011

Camping Safari Days Fourteen and Fifteen – Divundu to Kongola

We didn’t have as far to drive this day so took our time leaving Nunda River Lodge, taking more photos to remember it by.

Morning dew on varied grasses at Nunda

Very tiny frog near swimming pool at Nunda
Gray Go Away Birds

Meve's starling

Meve's starling

Yellow-bellied greenbul

Nunda River Lodge deck over the Kavango River

Once underway from Divundu, we encountered a pretty long stretch of highway through the Bwabwata National Park with reduced speed limits to protect motorists and elephants alike.

I talked to several people who had seen large herds crossing in this area, but unfortunately, we didn’t see a one.

We arrived at Namushasha Country Lodge in late afternoon and set up camp before afternoon rains arrived.

Just off to the left in this photo, and beyond the shorter fence, the ground sloped down to the Kwando River where we could hear hippos in the water at night.

The sign on the ablution block reads: “CAUTION Hippo & Elephant Movement At Night”. Getting up in the middle of the night for the bathroom gave us definite pause for thought.

Donkey heating water and warning sign re: hippos and elephants
But despite a real likelihood, our no-luck scenario prevailed and we had yet to see a single elephant on this trip. if there were elephants and hippos roaming at night, they were amazingly quiet moving through the camp.

Just before we left for dinner at the Lodge, the sun was going down over the river. While I’m now used to seeing vivid pink in Namibian sunsets, this was the pinkest sunset I’ve seen since we’ve been here.

Sunset, January 11, 2011 at Namashasha Country Lodge

Kwando River

Kwando River at Sunset January 11, 2011

The next morning, we took off for Mudumu National Park, not far away from the Lodge.  This is another pretty riverine area, bordering the Kwando River. 

The park roads were packed gravel/sand and only navigable by 4x4 vehicles.  The grass in some areas was above the hood of the truck.

 It turned out to be a great day for seeing animals.
Male vervet monkey with serious injury to his left front leg
At about 9AM that morning, a young herd of very wet elephants who had been bathing in the river, suddenly came out of tall grass to the right of the truck running across the road into more tall grass on the other side.  We were so surprised by their sudden appearance and they were in view for such a short time, that this is the only photo we were able to capture.  This young bull stopped briefly in the middle of the road to stare us down for a quick second or two before turning and following the rest of the herd to the grass. 

Young vervet monkeys at play
Impalas practicing their mirror image tricks again

Wart hog
Mother and baby baboon
another wart hog

Rain was imminent by early afternoon so with worries about having to re-cross the miniature lakes disguised as puddles again on our way out, we thought it best to head back to the Lodge rather than risk being flooded out where we were. By 3:30 PM when we arrived back at the Lodge, tropical rains had already moved in.

Since the soaked patio wasn't available,

we moved into the lounge area inside to wait out the rain.

When we asked if we could get coffees for everyone, we were delighted to find a full afternoon tea was already set up in the dining room. Tea, coffee, spiral cakes, rusks, muffins,

and sumptious architectural cake constructions were on offer.

What a delightful way to wait out a rain!

We happily waited out the rain for a good hour and a half or so before getting back to our campsite to re-set camp for the night.

The only negative about roof tents, is you must take them with you wherever you go, so you need to set them up again each night. On a positive note, however, they go up (and down) very easily.

With so many clouds still overhead, there was no real color in the night’s sunset. After enjoying a beautiful buffet dinner at the Lodge, we retired for the night with somewhat wistful mindsets. The next day would begin our trip back to Windhoek and most sadly for the professor and me, the fast-approaching time to have to say good-bye to the kids. Oh well, there was still potential excitement to be had — maybe hippos or elephants would make it into our camp overnight.

Unfortunately, they didn’t.