Thursday, December 1, 2011

Feedback - Okavango Fishing Trip

I’ve been back from my fishing trip for 3 days now, but my thoughts are still drifting around somewhere in the Okavango Delta. I simply cannot think straight, regardless of how hard I try. At first I thought this brain-dead feeling was attributable to the crazy decision of embarking on the 18-hour trip back without catching some sleep on route. But, by Thursday morning when that feeling of numb listlessness had still not departed, I realized that my mental state had been conquered by major depression, and that the only way I was going to solve this dilemma was to get the hell out of Gauteng ASAP, and as far away as possible from this madness – back to a tranquil place where the comforting calls of Fish Eagles sooth your soul and mind all day long.

What is it with the people living in cities anyway; where are they all rushing too? This Is Africa, dêmmit – things are supposed to work slow here!

I noticed the change in mood the moment I entered the South African section at the Skilpadshek border post. The officials on the Botswana side were friendly and courteous. You could actually read the sincerity on their faces when they greeted you, and asked you whether the sunburn on your face was painful, or not. Their laughter was also genuine when you shared a joke with them. On South Africa’s side they were hopelessly disorganised, deliberately annoying, and as hostile as hell. I would not suggest you even try sharing a joke with that lot!

By the time you’ve travelled about 2 hours in what is supposed to be your home country, and navigated your way through the ghastly town of Zeerust without being hit by a taxi, you’re memory is  jogged back 100 percent to the horrifying reality that you’ve entered enemy territory.

Anyway, enough complaining about this distasteful place they call “the Rainbow Nation”...

Although we were hampered by heavy rains for about 2 days, the fishing trip was an immensely enjoyable experience. Although we did not catch as many Tigers as we hoped for (due to the heavy rains), we did have our fair share of tussles with Barbers, who in most instances fought far better than the Tigers.  I lost count of the many ‘big ones’ that got away, partly due to my own lack of experience, and also the fact that whenever I happened to get a nice bite I was always busy doing something else - mostly engaged in the art of photography, or busy acquiring refreshments from the cooler.

Our river-expedition took us northwards up the Okavango Panhandle near the village of Mohembo close to the Caprivi strip, where our hosts introduced us to a 23-year old German fellow, who lived all by his lonesome self on a 40 hectare stretch of partially developed land bordering the river.  I was most impressed with this fine young gentleman and his broad knowledge of the local fauna and flora and all things Africa, and also European. If I had a daughter more-or-less his age I would most definitely have introduced her to this chap, thereby securing a permanent retirement spot for myself, of course!

The few photographs I’ve posted here only tell a fraction of the story. I do not have words to describe the rest.

Click on the images for a larger view (800x600 pixels)

Packed and ready!
Good road!

Bad road!
No road!
Bread doesn’t come fresher than this!
The Ngwesi houseboat moored at Shakawe
A sunny day

A cloudy day
 The calm after the storm

Mokoro’s after a downpour.
Note how they’ve been chained and locked…
They probably heard that the South African’s were on their way!

They say Prince Harry often visits this houseboat

My good (and proud) friend, Wollie, who organised and sponsored most of the trip.
NB: Very few fish were harmed on this expedition. All fish (except the small ones, which were used for bait) were released, alive and well, back into the river.

One of the Barbers, who fought like a Tiger

The campsite "Red Cliffs" near Mohembo

One of the many beautiful sunsets
The outdoor lounge on the Ngwesi houseboat

More photographs here.

Click here for details of the previous Okavango trip (March 2011)

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