Day 238. Thursday 17th August. Khwai Community Campsite to Xakagaxa. Campsite.

By 7am we were up and while breakfasting, could hear the marvelous, deep grumblings of Hippopotami nearby.

We were packed and on the road (track) by 9am. A 64k drive to our next destination.

Xakagaxa which sounds like Kakananga. I am sure you guessed it already…:)

Passing through the North Gate of Moremi Park by about 12.30pm, and after a few missed turns, found the campsite at 1.30pm. Everything is in decay.

Beautiful thatched roofed Park entry building with holes in the thatch. The camping cost is P1038 (NZ120) and while there are two ablution block’s working, the other one is derelict. A large water tank has either fallen, or been pushed off it’s mounting tressle and there it lies. There are weeds growing over the two solar water panels which may provide hot water for a shower. Where does the money go? We received a receipt for our charges, so the staff are not putting it their pockets!

On the positive side, you never know what you were going to see next, when turning a corner on the torturous tracks. An old Bull Elephant close enough to touch, nearly. A Warthog digging away in a muddy bank. Large Kudu running across in front of you. Impala by the score. Two large, mean looking, Southern Ground Hornbills. Looking like ground based Vultures. It’s a wonderland of birds and animals.

A gnarly old Bull Elephant minus a tusk.

Warthog, too absorbed to notice us..:)

It appears that most people that we meet on the track are being guided in 4X4 open Safari vehicles and have everything planned before they leave home? Us, we make it up as we go along and consequently are half a step behind. There is no promotional material to tempt you to partake of tours.

Southern Ground Hornbill

A rickety home made bridge had been built to cross one river and another stream had to be crossed as there was no alternative route. It proved easy and there was no need to walk it first.…

At our campsite, Poki is nose in towards the reeds. It’s a swampland and we must take precaution against exposure to mosquito’s as there are warning signs about Malaria. Not getting bitten is best, though we are taking Adam’s prescribed Doxicyclone, if we do.

There are piles of Elephant dung everywhere and beside Poki.

You would not believe the damage Elephants do to the trees. Some area’s rival what can only be described as a huge bomb has gone off about 2m above the ground. Resembling somewhat, a WW1 battlefield. Big trees pushed over for their bark. Whole branches torn off. I am sure nature has a solution, or there is some benefit from the destruction, but it’s hard to see, what!

It seems there are boat trips to see the animals, amongst the reeds. The boat has to be poled as it’s too shallow and congested to row. No information. I’m ambivalent.

Tomorrow we have 115k’s to go to get to the town of Maun. One 20L drum of diesel has gone into the tank making it half full and it should see us there, OK. We still have one spare. It will take us four hours and there is fuel at Maun. I’d like to have the oil changed there too.

Interestingly, the Zimbabwean owner of a Defender we spoke with a few nights back, said make sure you carry enough fuel to go where you plan to go, in Zimbabwe as you will not be able to find any, and food. Otherwise, he said, the place is great, you’ll love it…:) “No crime”, he said. Wow!

Jen has just been reading about one European family, at Maun, who, while sleeping in their roof top tent in a hotel compound,, had €15,000 in money and equipment taken from the vehicle under them. The night watchmen went home at 4am!!!!. They were arrested, but there has been no finding the stolen items. It seems the hotel have since made improvements to security

The day has seen hazy cloud and at 4.30pm the sun is going down and it’s warm but comfortable. I hope the cloud is not a portent for rain!!!

Birds are active and we may see game come past later on in the evening. We can hear Hippo grumbling in the distance.

As a parting comment for the day and a generalisation, I have to say Africa is not a friendly, welcoming continent. Only very occasionally will the passengers in a passing 4X4 wave as they pass. There are no cheery “hello’s” in the ablution blocks in the morning. Offering one, rarely elicits a response. That is not to say that we have not met some wonderful people.

Maybe tomorrow it will all change…:)

Update….Elephants near….

Well, it’s getting dark and we have just been treated to an amazing experience. Two old bull Elephants passed within 5m of our vehicle. Not paying us the slightest attention, all the time picking the leaves and small branches off a tree beside us and eating the longer grass growing underneath. They are massive and so gentle. Inaudible when they walk past. What an experience!! Just hope the video footage on both my camera and Gopro reveal all. One of them simply walked into the swamp and is now invisible.

Visits: 72


  1. What an amazing experience, good thing the ‘ephalants’ didn’t want the grass under Poki! Shame about the cost and attitude. Could be a sign of things to come in NZ. Did you try dropping your tyre pressure lower than 28?

  2. Hi Kelvin, yes, pretty special. The wonderful thing is the lack of any malice or aggression. Make you want to go up and hug them…:)

    Tyres. Think we have found a pretty good balance. 20-1psi in front seems to work. Could drop rear? Of course pressures rise with heat. Momentum seems to be an important ingredient.

    Loved the latest Tremain cartoon. Priceless.

  3. Dennis ! Re you being a bit knackered after few days of rough driving . If I am Lucky enough to have your energy and enthusiasm at 79 ?
    I will Very Mucho Happy !!!
    Keep on Trucking, it’s exciting just reading the JenDen Blogs
    Be Safe
    Ps can you send me the prescription for the drugs you on , so I can hopefully reach 79 ???

  4. Hey Alex, you are very kind. It’s the young chick that’s with me, that keeps me going…:)

    I was wondering what your secret is. Age doesn’t replace style.

  5. A Touareg would remove all these measures. Wash your mouth out said all the LR people

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