Quitting Kwai and back to the big smoke of Maun
There really is no end to the excitement here. Just when it seems to be all quiet on the African front a hyena visited us in the middle of the night, took a fancy to our dirty dishes ( it must have been my spaghetti bol.!) and stole the entire washing up tub and dishes. Some of the others saw it and took some photos, but none of us sleeping in the tents directly above the hyena heard a sound. I did wake a number of times and thought I heard some lions roaring, then realised it was Mario snoring in the next tent.
In the morning Ewan had to scout around in the undergrowth trying find our crockery and cutlery (metal dishes and cheap cutlery). Somewhere in the depths of the african savannah a hyena is drinking out of a metal goblet as we couldn't locate it anywhere!
The next day the convoy set off to find hippos in the river or the swampy delta surrounding it. We did see a few, but thankfully none too close. Also red lechwe ( a type of deer), and a stork, eagles and lots of amazinng birds. The most weird is the african kingfisher which has a dusty pink breast, an aqua head and the rest a bright green: when it flew the underside of the wings were bright aqua: it looked as if someone just mixed up some colours on a palette and smeared them on - not the usual colours for any bird!
We went back to the Wild dog plains to see if we could spot a leopard or more lions, but to no avail. Lots of elephants though, and a rather frightening moment when we thought they had blocked the road with a tree, and we were stuck too close to a large bull who was guarding his family including a very small baby. We were all much relieved to hear Loisnita in the first car say " It's OK the road isn't blocked".
We all have radios so we can communicate with each other: yesterday the kids sang us afrikaans songs over the radio when they got bored. With the radio and Gloria the GPS we can't get too lost so that's good. Although we did follow a few tracks which ended in water and we had to backtrack: Gloria's instructions here all end with the instruction 'seasonal'!
The weather has been fantastic: around the mid-20's every day and beautiful sunshine. It gets cooler once the sun disappears usually after a stunning sunset, but not as cold as the first night which was only a couple of degrees.
Erin and I have been sharing a tent as she was a bit concerned about the prospect of being attacked in the middle of the night. At Kwai, apart from the occaisional hyena, there are also lots of monkeys and baboons, but the baboons have kept their distance. The tiny vervet monkeys are very curious so we have kept everything zipped up.
Last night we did have a visit from an elephant who was keen to visit. The first I knew of it was one of the boys asking me if an elephant could push over the tree in the middle of the campsite: he was sizing it up as a possible source of escape if the elephant got too close, which mercifully it didn't!
All of the campsites have fabulous campfires so we build very large fires for warmth at night and to deter any unwanted visitors. Erin and I decided against walking to the toilet block last night in the pitch black, as a leopard had visited the campsites a few nights before and whilst it would have been a dramatic way to die we decided against it.
The kids decided that they would do a concert last night: there are 9 kids from 4 families ranging in age from 4 ( the gorgeous Meike) to 12 years old. They get on very well although the concert was almost cancelled due to artistic differences. You do realise what a global village we live in when you hear two girls, one afrikaans and speaks english, and the other (who lives in Paris with her parisian father and Afrikaans mother, Louisa) singing songs from Mama Mia, a musical about an english family living on a greek island!
Friday 1st July
We headed back to Maun to recover the credit card from the Bank, only to find that it was President's Day and the bank was closed. But we did find an internet cafe and managed to upload the blog I had been writing. Everyone here was thrilled to hear that I had said they weren't axe murderers, even though two of the vans have axes strapped to the back. We stocked up with food and alcohol from a roadside bar.
Ewan went on a small plane trip with 4 of the others over the Delta: they saw animals and had a good look at the waterways of the Delta. Now we're back at Drifter's just outside Maun before heading off tomorrow. We will have to do a quick trip into the bustling metropolis of Maun to go to the Bank, which should be open, but as they keep saying to us: That's Africa!!!!!!
Your chilly correspondent ( as the sun fades)