We are in Namibia and now venturing into our list of “lasts” … Last border crossing, last game park, last black market currency exchange and so on and so forth. We are only a few weeks away from Cape Town, how sad and exciting all at the same time.
We entered Botswana about a week ago, had a great time in Kasane reliving our first trip to the Chobe area but moved on quickly to Maun for the Okavango Delta experience we had missed in 2010. Amazing!! We took a stunning scenic flight over the Delta, taking in Wildebeest, Zebra, Elephant and Hippo from 500ft in the air.
Spent the day on a (very leaky) Mokoro canoe where we had to promise we could both swim and told not to worry about the Pythons, Crocodiles or Hippos.
We continued on to Moremi for a night of camping and what turned out to be the most terrifying night of our trip… Actually, our lives.
We have a hot shower (first one in a long time)… Prepare a Konyagi cocktail with fresh chopped lemons (first mistake)… Leave our packet of macaroni on the table (second mistake, the monkeys stole it)… Cook our fragrant beef dinner on the cooker away from the open fire, in the dark (third mistake)… A cacophony of genuinely blood curdling screams emanates from the darkness approximately 20 metres away… We hurl ourselves in to the car, crushing everything left lying on the seats assuming the worst has happened. It has.
After a few minutes of muted panic, we exit the car, locate our extensive first aid kit and head in the direction of the confusion… Torch lights racing back and forth, yelling, hysterical crying and rustling in the bushes. As our head torches illuminate a large set of glowing eyes lying in wait at the edge of our campsite I thank God for the man who approaches the animal from behind and chases it away… Richard was walking straight for it and was only metres away.
The gentleman explains that a child has been taken by a Hyaena. It has survived but suffered severe head lacerations… down to the skull.
What to do next? The family are holed up in their tent, no one knows what to do, cars start driving around with headlights on and then the crashing sound of an Elephant destroying the trees next to our car snaps us back into reality. Elephants love fresh fruit and lemons are all over us and the car.
That’s it then, we have to get out. Everything (chairs, knives, pots full of hot food, Konyagi cocktails and everything we could get our hands on) gets thrown in the car, any available space will do. We have to get out.
Back in the car again we realise the tent is up. Can’t drive anywhere with the tent up unless we kiss it goodbye for the rest of the trip! Poor Richard has to go back out and pull it down… No time to be fussy with me covering the surrounding area with torch light, it’s folded and clipped in record time and we are on the road to the nearest safari lodge. Except there is no road, in the darkness we have lost the trail and our only option is to turn back to the last place on earth we want to be.
There are two options, drive 30+ km’s through a deserted and pitch black game park full of hunting, meat eating animals or return to the campsite-of-terror for a long night waiting for sunrise. We decide to drive, stupid. Our tyre pressures are very low for sand roads and so we spend a gruelling 4 hours crawling our way back to Maun… The sand is deep in places and our faithful truck goes for a slide. Richard’s driving skills mean no harm or damage is done but our already frayed nerves really can’t take much more.
We arrive at the Old Bridge Backpackers at midnight, it’s completely full but after an emotional explanation of the evening’s events the watchman lets us sleep in the driveway, on the safe side of a locked fence.
In the morning we survey the expected damage, there is none! I realise I spent the 4 hour drive sitting on BBQ tongs, a camping lantern, the diagnostic tool, my handbag and our paper maps. Only the laptop had suffered with a few scrapes and gouges. The owner of the backpackers calls the local hospital to hear that the child is still alive and hopes are high.
Next up Richard wants to camp in Etosha, Namibia’s biggest and best game park. I don’t think so.