Berna's travelblog Marco Bernasocchi's adventures blog

The Okawango Delta

Our first full day in the okawango is dedicated to a return trip to 3rd bridge. The very curvy road goes through a wonderful mix of dry savanna and swampy landscapes giving us amazing sightings. Just before Xini lagoon, we spot a sausage tree with a dead impala on it, blood is still dripping, the kill is this mornings. As Thys and I are inspecting the predator’s lunch, we see the leopard running away about 100 meters behind us. wow already our third leopard in this trip, and I didn’t even think to see one!! We keep on driving and see a lot of interesting wildlife. Zebras, elephants, hippos, giraffes, waterbucks, red leechwees, ground hornbills, fish eagles and vultures are all there, wonderful.
The closer we get to third bridge, the more concentrated we get on the two main reasons for us to take this road, cheetahs and wild dogs. Unfortunately, this time we’re not lucky.
After a lunch break with elephants roaming by, we start the drive back, high concentration again but still “nothing”. Left turn, right turn, woah… a fantastic leopard lying just by the track. He stays around for 10-15 minutes and than roams off to a nearby termite heap to show us that cats and leopards are not that different, they both come and go as they please and like to lay on their back…
We start again, our brains still boiling from the amazing sighting, when we see many vultures flying, there must be a carcass, so we go back a bit and perceive a lioness, there must be more. We keep on looking and find two adult males with very full bellies lying on both sides of the road confirming even more my theory that cats are all the same, eat, lie, sleep.
Back at south gate camp, big smiles on our face we start cooking dinner while taking pictures of a naughty honey badger around our tent.

After a pleasant night with the usual hyena visit, we start toward north gate and then further to xaxanaka. This area is much more swampy and bird-life is very abundant, we see plenty of fish eagles, pelicans, herons, yellow billed and marabu storks, hammerkops and spoonbills. Add some hippos, elephants, plenty of red leechwe and the stunning dead trees landscape of paradise pools and the day would be perfect. Well actually it is also the place we decided to give our “tip” to Maureen and Theys, we invite them on a boat cruise on the xaxanaka lagoon.
The trip is fantastic, this is the okawango as I always immagined it, reed filled swamps with shimmering rivers, anthelopes, hippos and many birds. Plain amazing.
Back at the camp we find our site occupied, but the problem is quickly solved by sharing the huge space.
Ready for sleeping, but a strange noise outside the tend worries us a bit, foremost because we can’t understand what it is. It sounds like a mixture of a large bucket of water being moved around, the waving of a light saber, Darth Vader’s breathing and branches being cracked. Really really strange. As it gets louder (and very very close) we finally manage to make sense of all the noises. The bucket is the stomach and the breathing and the waving is the trump of an elephant eating just by our tent. Wow and ohhh but we still manage to fall asleep and foremost to wakeup in one piece. You might think being in a tent in africa is dangerous because of all the large cats, but actually most wildlife related accidents are with elephants and hippos.

For our last day in Moremi we decide to do xaxanaka – 4th bridge – 3rd bridge – black pools – south gate and then down to Maun. This to try to spot wild dogs, cheetahs and crocodiles. The plan works only for the crocs. We get to see a very large one at black pools. The highlights of the day though, are the various water-crossings that we find in the way. Thys is not really in love with them yet, but he is a bit more confident than the first day.
In Maun Maureen an Thys invite us for dinner at the camp restaurant before we go to try to sleep near some extremely noisy animals… British teenagers on a summer sort of camp.

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