Posts Tagged ‘Swakopmund’

Hi all

I always seem to end up apologising for not keeping these posts either up to date or even very regular so I do so again in the certainty that it is true !  Sorry

We left off last time with us making a long and arduous journey into the Chewore Safari Area on a secret quest.  The reason for the secrecy was that I already had plans to take my buddy AJS to the same place as a surprise and knowing that he is a follower of these ramblings I could barely divulge the destination could I ?

AJS arrived in early October and the very next morning we set out on those crappy bloody roads for Masoka Camp on the Angwa River.  We were accompanied by one of my other mates, DY, who has failed to go African adventuring for some decades and was itching to get “out and about” in the wilds.  A very pleasant and uneventful trip and evening and off into Chewore the next day.

Chewore Sign

Remember this ?

We checked in at the Parks Mkanga HQ and followed the road deeper into the area to see …………

Fossilised Dinosaur Footprints

Dinosaur tracks

Dinosaur tracks

They are, according to the experts ……..”Palaeontological experts who have studied this trackway of footprints are non-specific about the type of beast that made them.  All they will say is that the dinner-plate-sized “three-toe’d” prints, some of which have clear claw markings, are those of a huge carnivorous “theropod” of the Mid-Late Jurassic period.  That’s about 200 million years ago!”

Bigger than my feet !

Bigger than my feet !

Or those of AJS …….

Dinosaur footprint with AJS

Dinosaur footprint with AJS

They may well be in a very remote place but they are not too difficult to find.

Signage to the site

Signage to the site

Well after that little surprise it was back to Masoka for sundowners and relax before dinner.

Evening visitors

Evening visitors

Relaxing after a long and eventful day

Relaxing after a long and eventful day

Next day it was simply back on that bloody awful road and return to Harare being troubled most of the way with a dodgy tyre that we had to keep on pumping up every 40 minutes or so.

We slept, and the next day restocked, fixed tyres, and packed for a departure next day to Mocambique………..

.... but only after breakfast ......

…. but only after breakfast.

Now, I need to back track into August.  JNV and I went adventuring into Mocambique looking for special birds that are known to winter in that country.  Like the Malagasy Pond Heron and Mascarene Martin.  Needless to say it was a very interesting trip and we started off very successfully by finding Böhm’s Bee-eater south of the Zambezi (placing them firmly in southern Africa).  Unfortunately, that evening, JNV slipped in the shower breaking some ribs in the process !

Needless to say that put him out of action and we ended up back in Harare with just that one bird under our belts.

But the scene had been set, the explorations done, the appetite seriously “whetted” and AJS, JBW and I were on our way !

First stop Casa Msika in Mocambique’s Manica province.

Delightful chalets even if a little run down

Delightful chalets even if a little run down

Situated on a very empty Lake Chicamba

Situated on a very empty Lake Chicamba

I know this is only 3 or 4 hours from Harare but it does break the journey very nicely.

The next day we were off with a single stop in Chimoio to purchase necessary supplies (Read beer and chocolate into that!)

Turn left at Inchope onto the EN1, across the Pungwe Bridge.  I first crossed this river in 1959 !  No bridge then of course – just a pontoon.

Pungwe River Bridge

Pungwe River Bridge

Pungwe Pontoon 1959

Pungwe Pontoon 1959

Shortly after crossing the river you drive around a bend ………

The entry signage for Gorongosa National Park

The entry signage for Gorongosa National Park

Gorongosa is a fantastic park with a very chequered and interesting past.  See www.gorongosa.org

The accommodation available at Chitengo is very varied.

JNV's room

JNV’s room

My room !

My room on the last trip!

Reception at Chitengo

Reception at Chitengo

JBW and I stayed up there !

JBW and I stayed up there this time!

I know that it is a bit confusing but it is me trying to get pics from the two trips to really explain what Mocambique is really like.

The Gorongosa mammal populations are recovering very nicely since my previous visit there in 2000. See https://birdingzimbabwe.com/2012/05/17/birding-in-mocambique/

The Gorongosa flood plain

The Gorongosa flood plain

Reedbuck, Waterbuck and Oribi in their hundreds.

Elephant too .....

Elephant too …..

.... and Lions

…. and Lions

The elephant have been seriously traumatised by years of persecution, poaching and illegal hunting.

They have neither forgotten of forgiven ….

....she came on and on - to about four metres !

….she came on and on – to about four metres !

After two fabulous days in the park it was time to move on … so northwards we went. All the way to the Zambezi in fact.

The Zambesi is a huge river as JBW and AJS discover

The Zambezi is a huge river as JBW and AJS discover

We stayed at M’phingwe Lodge in the Catapú logging concession.  A truely delightful destination with great (and very affordable) accommodation, hospitable hosts and fantastic staff.

The well signposted turn off

The well signposted turn off

Quaint ablution block

Quaint ablution block

Delightful setting

Delightful setting

Right in the forest

Right in the forest

We stayed four nights and thoroughly enjoyed all of it.  The Inamitanga forest (which borders on Catapú) is magnificent and still contains all sorts of wild beasts …….

Protected species

Protected species (African Painted Hunting Dogs or Wild Dogs)

There is lots to see and do.  The 3.2km rail bridge at Villa de Sena, Mary Moffat Livingstone’s grave on the way to Marromeu and the newly completed 2.7km road bridge at Caia.

The bridge at Caia

The bridge at Caia

There was a great little restaurant on the north bank which had the most interesting collection of light fittings.

Locally manufactured poaching tools !

Locally manufactured poaching tools !

Needless to say, the birding was just fantastic. White-breasted Alethe, East coast Akalat, Mangrove Kingfisher, Green Malkoha, Tiny Greenbul, Brown-throated Weaver, Narina Trogons and yes, the Pitta too !

Eventually we had to leave.  Sad, I know, but move on we must.

Southwards through the Inhamitanga and Inhaminga forests.

Through the forests ......

Through the forests ……

Near Muanza

Near Muanza

Into the rather dreary town of Dondo and then to Beira.

We stayed at Clube Nautico right on the beach

We stayed at Clube Nautico right on the beach

On the beach .....

On the beach …..

This concluded an ambition of ours – years ago we had taken AJS to Swakopmund in Namibia on the west coast of Africa.  Now Beira on the east coast.   Yep – right across Africa.  A moment for high-fives indeed.

It was an uneventful trip home and then AJS was all too soon on a plane back to the UK.  A fantastic trip all around and now I need to be planning something new for 2016.

That’s all folks.  See you sooner than last time I hope.

Cheers

Tony

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Please bear with me folks but all this was before the full advent of digital photography so most of the stuff was scanned !!   Also we failed to take any worthwhile pictures on the journey until we eventually got all the way to the Atlantic !!!

Let’s start………….

Bird watching ?

After a long haul across central Africa from Harare to Swakomund on the Atlantic coast.  I was accused of bird watching ?

Swakopmund promenade at about six in the morning.

(I rather liked the “Palm Tree” cell phone tower !)

108 miles north of Swakopmund is this huge “service station” and the last fuel for 600 kilometers

The Namib Desert is indeed a desert !

The road up the Skeleton Coast is not too well defined !

A long way north of Mile 108 you turn right !

The Namibian scenery is awsome !

I told you it was awsome ! 

 

 

 

 

The scenery stays and you eventually turn left to Sesfontein

The Welwitchia is indeed a strange plant

There is an old German Fort in Sesfontein.
It now operates as an hotel. 

 

 

Andrew gets the scenery on Video

The road to Opuwo was certainly not boring !

Get ready for the amazing Epupa Falls on the Kunene River ! The far bank is Angola !

We were all dumbstruck as this was revealed !   Our camp site was in the palms on the right

Stunningly beautiful ! 

 

 

Our first night under canvas so Jan and Andrew celebrate an exciting day !

I came looking for a Rufous-tailed Palm Thrush and we found plenty of them !                 © 2003 — T. Sirotkin

Adenium boehmianum – a rare relative of the Sabi Star or Impala Lily

The Kunene River is a tranquil and beautiful thing !

The next stop was Etosha Pan

Springbok are very common

A nice big Giraffe

The Pan seems to go forever

The Black-faced Impala is only found here and southern Angola

The rare and diminutive Damara Dik-dik 

We got a bit close to this chap !

A wonderful camping dinner at Namutoni

En-route to Botswana we stayed at the delightful Roy’s Camp outside Grootfontein

Namibia provides great highway rest stops.
This one is in the heart of the Caprivi Strip

After weeks of daily driving we relaxed for days at Drotsky’s Camp near Shakawe on the Okavango River

At Drotsky’s we have Bill and Ben the flower pot men

I told you we relaxed !

Jan fishing

Dan and Daryll also relaxed !
(Sadly, a few years ago,  Dan lost his battle with cancer.)

I went birding…….
The near endemic Swamp Boubou

The enigmatic Pel’s Fishing Owl

A beautiful Kudu cow in Mahengo National Park

Andrew looking for crocodiles !

The Mahengo Bums !!

We did a day trip to Tsodilo Hills – the road was much improved.


Tony & Jan

The kalahari is pretty empty !

Cool colours

The colours change with the light

Different Lichens make up the colours

Inspecting rock paintings of a Penguin and a Whale !!

Our last Okavango sunset

We crossed the flooded Chobe River

Greg Watson met us in Victoria Falls

Cold beers at the Vic Falls Hotel……

…..were enjoyed by all !

Evidence that we were finally back in Zimbabwe !