ok i'm back.... apologies for the delay.
Anyway,... the overall experience at Ngepi is unreal, and i will DEFINITELY be going back.
From Ngepi, we moved further along the Caprivi strip. i had booked us a camp site on the Kwando River, called Mavunge (T/A Mashi River safaris). The owner, an English Bloke, has a concession there in wild bush. I had only had 2 emails between us, and no deposit or any paperwork done. He had assured me, months before our arrival, that once he says we booked, ....we booked. And not to worry, that we'll sort out the payment (cash only), when i get there... I took his word for it,...
We headed for Kongola on the C49. There, we stocked up on beer, fuel, and some other bits and bobs. The place consists of a garage, and a shop, and thats about it. The shop is terrible, but we made do.
Mavunje is on a spit of land that meets the kwando river right opposite the famous Horse Shoe Bend, in the Bwabwata National Park. Its right in the pathway of moving elephant herds, as well as Lion, Hyena, wild dog, Hippo, crocs and all the buck.
We found the sign and headed down a tight twin spoor track through VERY deep Sand and acacias.
In some places the road almost cought us out, my dad having to try twice to get through with the hulix,... but no dramas.
About 12 km later, we came to a small opening in the veld and a British man appeared. It was him.
We immediately all got along well, and his genuine hospitality, and friendly nature, made him one of the best hosts we had come across.
Turned out that his knowledge of the area, its wild life, including birds, was exceptional. He is involved in Anti Poaching units, and community projects, all in all, just a bloody good guy. He's also touch as nails. No luxury for him. He lives 50m from the camp site in a clump of trees. An ex Military Tent as his home. No doors. besides his tented bedroom. This oke is hard core. imagine living like that for 15 odd years.
There are only 3 camp sites at Mavunje,... and there was no one else there.
He built the ablutions and kitchens with his own hands and they are absolutely incredible.
He made sure the place had fire wood for us, and the site was incredible.
Each site has its own Lapa, as well as a 3 sides thatch roof eating room with a view for when its raining. The ablutions are donkey driven, and beautiful, clean and unique.
I havn't included prices of things in this report, but i think this place cost R160/night for 2 people. I mean, it's ridiculously cheap.
Anyway, there were hippos 30m from our tent, and elephant dung all around our camp site.
It felt really wild and made me realize that we were seriously among the animals now.
Fish eagle calling out and waterbuck in the distance.
We lit a moer of a fire and made a poitjie.
It was once again ice cold but the stars made up for it.
I had arranged months before our arrival, to go on a river cruise with him, so That afternoon, we would leave the camp and head to a different part of the river, to board the boat. The reason for this was that the water levels were very low due to the trailing 3 year drought. Normally, he would have had the boats moored right at the camp site.
Anyway, no problem... at the agreed time, i hear a bang, clatter, and rattle of a vehicle approaching. Its him, in an old Hilux 4x4 single cab, 2.4 diesel, Circa 1992. We jumped on the back and he took us through som every interesting parts of the reserve. 30 minutes and some serious low range work later, we see the vessel.
I can see old repair patches to the side of the boat.... Hippo bites. :confused:
We crack a beer, trim the motors and head off. What a lekker place to be.
The reason i booked a cruise with him, and not Ngepi, is that i had read various testimonials of travellers who had stayed with him,.... and every one of them, spoke about his excited character, and his total enjoyment of showing you a good time, often doing 6 hours on the river, when you only booked and payed for 3hours... as he just gets carried away, finding all the small inlets and hippo channels between the papyrus,...
Well,.... this is exactly what happened. We ended up on the fast flowing river for over 6 hours of pure Adrenalin. Hippos EVERYWHERE... crocs, Eplephant herds in the water right next to us... it was sensational.
His knowledge of the river, every bend and sand bank, he knew. He knew which hippos to watch for and where. He tracked the elephant for us, shot down a few channels, and there they were. His knowledge on Birds was incredible and we just had the best time.
We had hippos lunching for the boat, and diving under us. Not ideal after the Okavango episode, but i felt a LOT better having a big boat between us, and a few beers. Also saw crocs, birds aplenty, lechwe, and waterbuck.
Anyway,... I highly recommend staying there and taking the boat cruise. It was unreal.
If you read my first post, you'd know by this stage, that i left my camera at home, (lets not even go there), so i was using an old iphone 4s with a dirty screen this whole time. so pics are awful.