Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Part 4: The Moremi Game Reserve

A pod of hippo seen in an Okavango Delta lagoon not far from Camp Okavango. The hippo were very interested in our presence, edging closer until our guide decided it was best to move on.

On the morning of 8 December, we were up early for a walking excursion from Camp Okavango. Before we got underway by boat, there was time for a healthy breakfast consisting of muesli with rice milk, a fresh fruit salad and some toast, with rooibos tea on the side. All the camps also serve eggs to order, usually with beef or pork sausage, bacon and other side dishes.

Refreshed and energized, we enjoyed yet another exhilarating boat ride (same route as on the previous day's fishing excursion) to an island about 30 minutes away. This time around, we had our cameras ready but there was no hippo barring the way... We did make a small detour into a backwater area where we observed a pod of hippos, though. And inquisitive they were too, coming closer and closer to the boat until our skipper decided it was time to move on.

The island where we walked - I believe it is called Lopis Island - has some very diverse habitat consisting of open floodplain, with patches of woodland, and a nice strip of fairly dense riverine forest with sausage trees and large mangosteen trees amongst others. We saw a few elephant at a distance and walked towards a group of giraffe who no doubt saw us coming a long distance away. To make the walk even more interesting, the guides drew our attention to several interesting plant species and talked about their medicinal and other uses.

Back in camp, it was time for --- lunch! As always, the vegan & vegetarian members of the group were more than adequately catered for with salads, an excellent and flavorful lentil dish with rice, a fruit salad and a vegetarian tart.


A snapshot from the Caravan, en route from Camp Okavango to Okuti Camp, in the Moremi Game Reserve.


Another glimpse of some fairly typical Okavango Delta scenery, with floodplain, islands and waterways.

That afternoon, we took a short flight of about 10 minutes to Xakanaxa airstrip, for a brief road transfer to our next camp, Okuti. The design of this camp takes a bit of getting used to, with a type of plastic sheeting used instead of the more commonly seen canvas. I was pleasantly surprised by the interior of the rooms though - they were exceedingly spacious and very comfortable, complete with inside and outside showers. Although the rooms were quite close to each other (the available camp area at Xakanaxa is very limited) there is plenty of privacy and I was not bothered by any noise or conversation from adjacent rooms. The deck area and pool were very nice, and this camp would be a particularly good option for family parties with young children.

The front entrance to Camp Okuti, in the Moremi Game Reserve.

My room at Okuti - plenty of space!

A view to the outside from a room at Camp Okuti.

The pool at Camp Okuti. Several of us spent an hour or so here, cooling off in the refreshingly brisk water, and enjoying the fairly warm summer afternoon, with the temperature in the mid 80's F.


Our afternoon game drive from Okuti was on the quiet side but we did manage to locate a leopard right by the side of the road - this area is well-known for consistently good leopard sightings. Unfortunately there were as many as 6 vehicles at the leopard sighting at one stage.

Sundowners in the Moremi Game Reserve

Dinner at Camp Okuti was most pleasant with a pasta stir fry, roasted vegetables, freshly baked bread, and a very tasty vegetable & tomato soup as a starter.

After-dinner drinks are enjoyed around the camp-fire at Camp Okuti on the deck in front of the dining room/loung area.


Our morning game drive in the Moremi Game Reserve on 9 December was one of the most productive of the entire trip, as we encountered a large herd of buffalo, a couple of leopards in the same area (which is unusual as they are mostly solitary hunters), several giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, impala and warthog.


Baby impala seen on a game drive in the Moremi Game Reserve

Our guide Shakes worked quite hard to find this large herd of buffalo, following their tracks for at least an hour until he located them.


A closer look at a few of the buffalo. The middle one is either very old or suffering from a disease of some sort.

A small group of giraffe; these fascinating mammals are quite common in most areas of Northern Botswana.


A few more impala seen in the Moremi Game Reserve. These dainty antelope are ubiquitous all over Northern Botswana.

Interior view of a room at Camp Moremi, the camp next to Okuti. We inspected this camp while in the area.

Paul and Gretchen in conversation on the tree deck at Camp Moremi

A portion of the dining room at Camp Moremi

Checking out the deck at Camp Moremi



2 comments:

Daleen said...

Bert,
Indrukwekkende plek,die Moremi.Kan sommer sien daar swem groot nembwes rond tussen daai riete in die Okavango!
Wat makeer die buffel in die middel op jou foto,sy ribbes steek erg uit?Miskien n ou buffel?
Bert,n baie voorspoedige 2009 vir jou familie in Houston,mag jy baie toeriste kry.Sterkte met jou Boston voorbereiding,lekker draf.
Groete

Fishmagic said...

Very nice, have a great New Year.