What I did on my holidays - 2005/6 travel blog

A bath room with a view

The swimming cage


Weather: hot and sunny

Landscape: uninteresting, except for the riversides

It's a dull, sleepy drive east to Bagani, and the wacky Ngepi Camp. Here, it's not the honey badgers that you have to watch out for, but the hippos and crocs. They're there in the Kavango river, and the hippos at least wander among the tents after dark. Yes, we're definitely in Africa now.

During the day, the hippos can occasionally be spotted engaging in more familiar behaviour: heads bobbing up and down in the water. They're vegetarian, but still manage to kill more humans than any other form of African wildlife. If they feel threatened, they will munch your canoe and then you. No sign of the crocs yet, though.

The campsite isn't just wacky for its wandering hippo population. You can swim in the river in a small cage that keeps the hippos and crocs at bay. The cage doesn't need to be bigger, because you can perform your breaststroke into the current and stay in the same spot. Or you can bathe in a tin bathtub in an open air bathroom that has one side open to the wild. Even the showers have bizarre designs, and there is a toilet called "the throne" that is a wooden throne facing on to the open river. A very cool campsite.

We have a welcome afternoon off here, to relax before our delta canoe trip. As I write this, I am sat under a shady tree watching the river, and the occasional hippo, flow past, and the brightly coloured birds flit between the trees. I put the Psion away for a bit, and that evening the bar empties itself to look by torchlight at a python and two frightened bushbabies up a tree.

It's bonfire night, but fireworks are forbidden. We're right by a couple of international borders here, and last time they set off fireworks, more than one army turned up to investigate.

So far, Africa is certainly giving me the change of scene that I was looking for. It's wild and uncivilised, and like nowhere else on earth.



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