The plan was to visit Mudumu National Park today and so we agreed to have breakfast immediately it opened (7am) and then head to the park. The owners of the lodge had given us instructions of how to find the park office (as that is where you need to pay for the permits) and then where we could drive. They said it would take us no longer than 20 minutes to get to the office but we soon realised that we had driven past it. Bryan put one of the points in the park into his GPS and we headed off to Hippo Pools but never found the park office. After a lot of discussion we eventually ended up at one of the lodges and Bryan got instructions from the guy where the park office was and we headed back to find it (and did). Unfortunately we had consumed an hour already by this stage.
We got the detailed instructions of where to go and the lady said you drive left out of the office and ignore the no entry sign as that takes you onto the park roads. We did that and not 500 meter down the road we met the people who were in front of us getting their permit, stuck in the sand. We jumped out and dispensed our significant 4×4 knowledge and said they need to let their tyres down (which they duly did) and engage 4×4 mode (which they also did) and then reverse back and then go forward (which they fortunately also did). Our significant advice got them unstuck and they were off. While some of us were dispensing our advice, the others in the group were letting down our tyres so that we didn’t get stuck either.
The ‘roads’ in the park are really tracks and we managed to find some less well-traveled ones. At times the grass was almost as high as the car. Michael elected to sit on the roof of the ‘Beast’ and hold onto the roof racks for stability with his feet dangling through the sunroof. While that gave him a good view, unfortunately it gave him a good view of the landscape only as game was very sparse. We saw a hippo, a sole male Red Lechwe, some zebra and a few birds. We eventually gave up and decided to head back to Camp Kwando.
After an afternoon of relaxing, catching up on emails, reading etc, some of us (two vehicles with 8 people out of the 14) decided to head back and try the eastern side of the park. At the park office they said there were two waterholes and at the furthest one there was a hide. So we headed to that section. We again saw very little getting through to the hide but did side a herd of elephant coming down to drink (just as we were driving away). We also saw a Roan Antelope (again a solitary one) which are generally harder to see than lion. He was spotted by Ben (the 8-year-old who is the youngest in the group of us … I am now calling him ‘eagle eyes’ Ben). At the other waterhole we saw zebra & baboon and managed to see two Meyer’s Parrots – they are special birds of the region (not a lifer as we had seen them previously when we came to the Okavango Delta).
This evening was a special dinner as it was Bryan’s (one of the group’s patriarchs) birthday today. We had told the staff at the Camp and so they made him a cake and after we had eaten our main course they came out signing in the local language with every second word (or at least it sounded like it) being ‘Bryan’. After some singing and dancing they presented Bryan with a cake and one of the staff informed all the guests at dinner that it was Bryan’s birthday and then they sang happy birthday to him in the local language and another two songs to welcome all the guests.
And so ended another day in the Caprivi strip …
Until tomorrow …. P, H, S, M & C