Caprivi Strip, 2014 Part 6

by david on March 30, 2015

First excursion in the launch

The game viewing was even better that the day before. When we would see something and want to get closer, the launch was pointed in that direction. The power and then the motor itself were cut and we drifted right on up to the attraction. We were anywhere from five to fifteen yards from game all morning. This morning we were able to get up close to our first crocs. They were on the small side (±10 feet in length) but, nonetheless, it was pretty darn cool. The number of bird species boggled the mind and seemed to be in a never-ending supply. It was a stellar trip, and we added waterbuck and lechwe to the list of species encountered. We also saw our first hippos on dry ground. Victor was our pilot once again and his knowledge of fauna and flora was most impressive. We were unable to stump him even once.

The village we went to was a working fishing village. By working I mean they fished and farmed for a living. They had recently started allowing visitors to tour and have the opportunity to buy some of their crafts and trinkets. The architecture of the village was an interesting combination of old and new. The structure walls were built the old way with a wooden frame and a mixture of mud, clay, and manure for the walls. Instead of thatch the roofs were made from modern corrugated metal roofing. While it was easier to install and maintain, I do not see how they could stand it in the summertime. It would turn the clay structure into the African equivalent of an “easy bake oven”. One other difference was instead of there being one large boma (fence) around the village, each home seemed to have their own. The only communal fencing was the elephant fence. The elephant fence was a strand of wire with glass bottles and tin cans along its length. The fence was high enough for people and livestock to come and go, but when an elephant bumped into the fence, it would rattle the bottles and cans together. The noise supposedly scared the elephants away. It has been my observation, however, that if an elephant wants to go somewhere, it is going to go wherever it wants to go. Thankfully, the alarm system was not tested while we were there.

After our tour, our group was directed to what I can best describe as the town meeting place for a little dancing and shopping. This meeting place was fenced in with a pretty much solid barrier of sticks and poles about 6’ high. It was probably 40’ in diameter and there were a few benches and stools made from sections of logs for us to sit on. The dancing may have specific ceremonial significance or some bits and pieces of a long-ago tribal origin (my guess is the latter), but it looked like the participants were just having fun. The dancers’ dress was mostly modern but some strapped grass skirts around their midsections just for fun. A few tourists were even cajoled to join in. I elected to stay in the background but it looked like everyone had a grand time. Once the dancing was over, the shops (blankets spread on the ground with goods on them) were open and we were invited to shop. Janice, as usual, picked out what she wanted and then expected me to haggle over the price. I have learned it does not work so well when she is holding what she wants and already walking away. It sort of telegraphs to the shopkeeper that Janice is going to take the merchandise no matter what price I have to pay. If she is happy and lets me continue to hunt, a few trinkets are well worth it.

 

A decent waterbuck keeping an eye on a small pod of hippos. A decent waterbuck keeping an eye on a small pod of hippos.

 

Up close and personal with Mr. Crocodile.  Up close and personal with Mr. Crocodile.

 

Combination of old and new. Walls of mud and manure on a frame of sticks and logs. Modern corrugated roofing. Combination of old and new. Walls of mud and manure on a frame of sticks and logs. Modern corrugated roofing.

 

Having fun demonstrating a traditional dance or just having fun? Having fun demonstrating a traditional dance or just having fun?

 

The local gift shop, the only place to shop.  Literally the only place to shop. The local gift shop, the only place to shop. Literally the only place to shop.

 

 

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