Days 3 & 4: Baines Camp & Kwando Lagoon
For me, there is nothing quite as relaxing as soundlessly gliding down one of the waterways of the Okavango on a mokoro. This is exactly what I got on my afternoon spent at Baines camp. We drifted past banks of reeds and papyrus, spotting a multitude of different birds from the small malachite kingfisher to the African fish eagle. I was even joined by a tilapia that decided to leap out of the river and straight into my lap, giving me quite a shock. Luckily, Rob, my mokoro guide, kept the boat steady as I tried to relocate the fish back into the river otherwise I think I would have ended up in the water with it!
Eventually we came to a hippo pool, where the big male decided to take some interest in us and made his way over to investigate. As he neared he decided perhaps we weren’t as interesting as first thought and made a u-turn back to the main pod but not without a couple of big yawns to show us who was boss.
As we made our way back upstream we were joined by a herd of elephants who were making the most of the lush grass by the river. A fantastic experience to be looking up at these mighty animals from ground level. Finally we finished in a lovely spot for the obligatory gin & tonic sundowners. I thought that my afternoon couldn't get any more relaxing but on returning to the lodge I found the deck of my room lit up by candles and a huge bubble bath, larger than I’ve ever seen, all prepared for me. It was absolute bliss to lie there listening to the hippos and watching yet more elephants pass by.
Next morning due to an early departure by plane my guide suggested we do a short drive as we made our way to the airstrip and what an amazing short drive it turned out to be… We found a stunning female leopard relaxing in a tree, as we arrived she became a little unsettled but because we sat quietly watching her she relaxed again. Soon after finding her it started to rain lightly accompanied by distant thunder, the leopard took this opportunity to start a hunt on some nearby impala. It was absolutely fascinating to watch her as she used certain vantage points to work out her best approach.
She patiently made her way closer to them. Unfortunately, the game was given away by some birds who spotted her and made warning calls. Undeterred, the leopard found a shady spot and settled down to wait for a while before trying the hunt again. Unluckily for me it was time to get to the airstrip and my flight up to the Linyanti region and the border with Namibia.
Due to the rains in this region a lot of the game has already dispersed away from the river. Nevertheless, we set off on our morning drive to make our way over to what used to be a river many many years ago and where Carlos, my guide, thought there would be lots of animals. The drive there was quite long but when we reached our destination it was completely worth it as we saw large herds of animals with the highlight being a large herd of eland leaping over each other in their haste to get some distance between us and them.