Moremi National Park

 Posted by Elizabeth at 6:36 pm
Sep 172011

Moremi National ParkIt is a long drive from Ihaha in Chobe to Third Bridge in Moremi so we were on the road at 6.15am. The road is good tar for about 40km south of Ngoma gate, from there it becomes sandy tracks or gravel all the way to Moremi. At Chobe we were told that we would need to take the western transit road then head east through Mababe, entering Moremi at South gate and then head north to Third Bridge. When we got to the south of Savuti we forgot about needing to go through Mababe and turned west for Moremi North gate instead. The going was fine until a few kilometres north of Khwai where we came across a large expanse of water with what looked like a number of tracks through it. Wayne got out and walked them all. The best option was solid ground, but at one point it was deep enough to come over the tops of his legs and was about 15 metres across. Hmmm decision time. Do we turn around and go through Mababe or continue on? We decided to turn back given we were on our own and did not know whether there would be any other water crossings that were worse than this one. Just a couple of kilometres back though we came across a local heading the way we had just come from. He told us he was going to cross it, had done it the day before and there was no deep water further on. He agreed to cross first and wait for us to cross in case we had any issues so we turned around and went back. He crossed the water without issue, but it still took us a few minutes to decide whether we were going to cross or not, during which time a herd of elephants decided to cross a few metres away. We needed to cross now or turn back. With some nervousness we went for it and crossed without a problem. Phew! There were a couple of other smaller water crossings, although one was nearly as deep but shorter in length but they were not a problem. Once we reached Moremi North gate they told us we would still need to go down to South gate as the northern route was blocked with water, but we had saved quite a detour by taking the water crossing.

Red Lechwe, Moremi National ParkFinally about 5pm we arrived at Third Bridge to be told that the camp manager wasn’t there and they couldn’t decide what campsite to put us on (someone was already on the one we had booked). Another couple also arrived and were told the same thing. After about 30 minutes the guy told us both to go to the same campsite and share it in case someone else turned up and had booked the currently vacant sites. Hmmm I don‘t think so. Someone was on our site, but we had to share in case someone else turned up and we were on their site? In the end the other couple went to the site he said and I told him we would go to another site and IF someone turned up they could share (knowing full well the site we picked was really too small to share and they would put them on another site before they would make us share). Not surprisingly no one turned up and we had the site to ourselves.

09153126a_resizeThe camp is nice and our site was grassed although I don’t think all the sites are. The showers were really hot with full water pressure (always a bonus), clean and fairly new. The camp is on some water but the reeds are really tall and there was so much water around that we didn’t see any animals in camp. We heard lion a couple of times and hyena but that was about it.

As there was still so much water in the delta a lot of roads were blocked and impassable. It was worse up at Xakanaxa where we could really only find one route to take. The game was pretty sparse as well because of the water although we did see a cheetah and her cub and a pride of lions on our last day. During our 4 days there we saw impala, elephant, giraffe, kudu, red lechwe, topi, cheetah, zebra, wildebeest, warthog, hippo and lion although none of them in any great number.

Lions, Moremi National ParkSecond bridge was out and you either had to take a detour or do a water crossing. One day we were parked right near the bridge and heard two local vehicles coming at a hundred miles an hour towards the water crossing. One went through fine, the other though ploughed into the water and came to a grinding halt as they sunk into the mud. Turns out the first car took the usual route but the second one wanted to try one of the alternative routes to see if they could make it – and I thought the locals knew what they were doing! We went over to help them out. The winch really struggled to pull them out as they were buried up to their axles in the mud, but eventually it succeeded.

Both of us had really been looking forward to Third Bridge but in the end were somewhat disappointed. The park and camp are lovely but we were hoping to have animals in camp and lots of game around but the abundance of water meant that was not going to happen. Oh well, we’ll just have to come back again.

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