Caprivi Strip, 2014 Part 2

by david on March 20, 2015

Wednesday morning found me with an hour’s sleep and moving like I was 110 years old. However, I was in Africa and I refused to let this stop me. After I exhausted the coffee supply in the room, Janice and I headed for breakfast. After a big breakfast and eight more cups of coffee, most of the snarl had gone from my face and I could speak in coherent sentences once again.

Our driver was right on time and was gracious enough to help with the bags, and we were soon winding our way through Windhoek on our way to Eros Airport. Like a lot of cities with an international airport, Windhoek also has a domestic airport. Domestic flying in Namibia was a new experience for me and I was unsure if it was going to be a pleasant or unpleasant one. The problem was that we had too many bags. The international flight into Windhoek allows two bags per passenger. The domestic flights only allow one. For a price, and if there is space, you can bring an extra bag. I knew about the money, but the space/weight problem was a whole other issue. After a night of chronic back pain and no sleep, I was deathly afraid the extra bag problem was going to be a continuation of last night’s problems. Happily, that was not the case, and $85 later all the bags were checked and we were good to go.

The flight in the small Air Namibia Embraer 135 was uneventful and even yielded a pleasant surprise – biltong. Anyone who likes jerky will almost surely like biltong. Biltong is African jerky. It differs from American jerky in that it uses different spices. Two of the main ones are cloves and cumin. The difference is quite striking but very good. I have seen biltong in butcher shops and the like, but I never thought I would see it prepackaged and served in a commercial airplane lunch pack. Go figure.

I have been to some small airports before, but Katima was tiny. There was one large room that doubled as an arrival and departure lounge, with a men’s and women’s restroom, a closet that sold a few snacks and drinks, and that is about it. The luggage was offloaded onto a pickup and then delivered to the arrival/departure room and set in the middle of the floor. The whole thing was small, but it worked efficiently, and all the employees were helpful and courteous. I guess it should not surprise me as that is SOP in Africa.

We were to spend one more night before our vacation started and tonight’s location was the Fish Eagle B&B. The owner was at the airport waiting to meet us and take us back to the B&B. The drive jump started my safari mode. It was through the middle of nowhere just like the ride to camp. I started thinking about stalking, getting into position to shoot and wondering if I was up to the task of elephant hunting. Only time would tell. My thoughts did not drift long as our host caught my attention with his narrative about the local history and sights. He must have done a very good job as the 45-minute drive seemed much shorter. We arrived at the Fish Eagle midafternoon and after dropping the bags at the room Janice and I were eager to stretch our legs. She just wanted to walk and I really needed to see if my back would handle any degree of walking.

The Zambezi River was only a short walk away, so we decided to saunter on over and see what we could see. It looked pretty much like any large river in America except for one minor detail. There were signs every hundred yards or so with a simple warning on them. “NO SWIMMING, crocodiles and hippos”. If it were me, I would have added, “Swimmers subject to being eaten”, but I guess the other version worked just fine as we did not get close to the water.

Dinner was in an open-air thatched roof chalet and consisted of a huge plate of homemade stroganoff and several glasses of wine. A couple of brandies after dessert had a few of the thousand or so knots in my back coming undone and I was starting to feel better. It was still early when we bid our farewells and turned in. As soon as I started moving, the aforementioned knots decided to return. Despite a very hot and extended stay under a shower nozzle, they made their presence known for the night. Oh well, there is always tomorrow.

Biltong in a snack pack. Biltong in a snack pack.


No head scratching over the need for this sign. No head scratching over the need for this sign.


The Fish Eagle Lodge had small entertaining signs all over. This was one of my favorites. The Fish Eagle Lodge had small entertaining signs all over. This was one of my favorites.

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