We were up at dawn today so that we could have breakfast at 7am when they opened for breakfast which enabled us to be on the road as early as possible. We were headed to Maun on the Trans Kalagadi Highway and we needed to be in Maun early afternoon as some of the group (everyone excluding us) had booked to do an hour flight over the Okavango Delta.
There is really not a lot to see between Kang and Maun. It is 550 km of road and basically 2 towns between and nothing else. The terrain is pretty much bushveldt for the whole 550 kms. Occasionally there is a small herd of cattle or some goats on the side of the road but no other sign of civilization. It does make you wonder where the people are who own the goats and cattle. We did see a reasonable amount of wildlife though even though we were driving at 120 km/h. We saw a lot of Steenbok (one of the convoy said they stopped counting at 20) and numerous birds. There were numerous Crowned Lapwings on the side of the road and we also saw some birds of prey (including some White Backed Vultures). It was quite amazing that you could sight things at 120 km/h.
Our only stop was at Ghanzi (one of the two towns on route to Maun) and that was to refuel and but something for lunch. There was a brand new mall in the town and half the shops were still empty though there was a Shoprite in the mall (not a lot of variety). We kept heading for Maun and no further stops got us to Maun at 1:30pm. The place where we are staying is Audi Camp which is just to the north of Maun on the river. Us and the other family (name rhyming with Boyles) are staying in the ‘House’, the one couple (let’s call then the Whiters) are staying in a permanent tent (has beds in case you’re wondering) and the finally family (let’s call them the Wattsons) are camping.
Michael helped out with the tent erection and the rest of our family (after dropping off our bags) headed back into Maun. Helen and Chloe to do some food shopping for the whole group (at the Woolworths which we had been told was to found in Maun and caused a traffic jam when it opened) and Stephen and I to go to Toyota to fix the fuel filter and then to the National Parks office to get the permit to get us into Moremi. One of my staff had very kindly called in advance to Toyota to warn them that we were coming and they had said they could fix the issue quickly. Quickly is all relative though in a town like Maun. The service manager took our details and then drove the car into the garage section (after I showed him how to turn it on!). The guys actually fixing the car were very chatty and showed us how to drain the fuel filter (water builds up from the poor quality diesel) and they changed the filter as well. The longest time was taken in trying to find an Allen Key (no 5)!
After the car was fixed we headed to the National Parks office to get the Moremi permit. All the while we were getting whatsapp messages from Helen explaining how the Woolworths was a joke – basically no fresh produce (and definitely no meat). They headed to the Spar to buy the rest of what we needed. Getting the permit was relatively painless (though it is pretty expensive). We picked up Helen and Chloe and headed back to Audi Camp. We still had enough time before sunset to do some birding around the camp and managed to spot a lifer in the camp itself (now up to 399). The others in our group did an hour flip over the delta in a plane (actually two planes) and everyone seemed to enjoy the experience. We have done that previously and so didn’t want to do it again (which turned out well as we needed to fix the car).
The accommodation we had booked was advertised as self-catering with a kitchen. As it turns out the kitchen was taken away to make a laundry (though their advertising brochures still say kitchen!). The patriarch of the family whose name rhymes with Boyles said “what they mean by self-catering is you cater for everything yourself including plates, cutlery etc”. When you’re not prepared for that it does make it slightly harder but we managed to have a braai though the steaks were pretty poor and hardly got eaten in the end (that was the only passable meat Helen could find though in town). The company was still pretty good!
Until tomorrow … M (because he has helped with the braai every night), S (because he helped with the car, permit etc today and birded with me even if it was briefly), C (because she complains she is always last), H & P (because they complained I never put myself last)