Return to Maun

We packed our camp bed rolls for the final time and, at 07:30, waved our last goodbyes to Rasta and Ona as they beavered away breaking down our last camp at HATAB Campsite MGR8T beside the Hippo pool.

Mongoose-225963We left the Moremi Game Reserve by a different route but over similarly bumpy and dusty tracks to head back to our original hotel in Maun. En route a Mongoose shot across the road in front of us and paused to stare as we approached, so we paused briefly to return the compliment. There are several Mongoose species in Botswana and I think this one is the Common Slender Mongoose (Herpestes sanguineus).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAbout the only remaining wildlife of note that we saw heading back was an Elephant with a calf (hiding behind mum) showing how to use a trunk to suck up water from a pool beside the road. She’d lost a tusk.

As we got closer to civilization, we had to pass what Bibi called a Buffalo fence which was designed to separate the wild animals from domestic livestock. This resembled a border crossing and we had to disembark to disinfect our feet against foot and mouth disease, though the disinfectant pad on which we had to tread was almost completely dried out in the sun. A short distance later we got onto a tarmac road which was blissfully free of potholes, for the most part.

With the red fuel warning light glowing ominously, we arrived back at the Sedia RIverside Hotel in Maun. We had travelled 2186 kms over largely bumpy and dusty roads and tracks, happily with no punctures or breakdowns. This felt noteworthy because on our 1996 safari in Kenya we had been plagued by daily punctures, sometimes two a day. Bibi’s Landcruiser had been equipped with new chunky tyres just before our departure and that may well have contributed to the trouble free run.

Red-billed Oxpecker-226010Yellow-billed Oxpecker-225532On our previous visit to this hotel when we’d just arrived in Botswana, the gate to the Thamalakane riverside had been locked. After a relaxing lunch, though, we tried again and this time the gate was open. We went to investigate, carefully avoiding some cattle save for snagging a Red-billed Oxpecker (Buphagus erythrorhynchus) which rode on the back of one of them. There is also a Yellow-billed Oxpecker (Buphagus africanus) which I’d snagged riding the back of a Giraffe during our safari.

Ischnura senegalensis-226004Sympetrum fonscolombii-225981I was pleased to find some Odonata activity in the reeds beside the river. I was a bit less than excited because there were just two species neither of which were new to me. The dragonfly was the more or less ubiquitous Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii), which must have one of the widest distributions of any and now breeds in Britain. There was also a damselfly which is nearly as wide-ranging, the Tropical Bluetail (Ischnura senegalensis). We’d met this chap previously in southeast Asia. It occasionally turns up as a vagrant in Britain within imported pond plants. At least it was another two species for this trip.

Francine and I had used but one power bank each on the trip. Our limited experience seemed to indicate that you recover about 12,000 mAh from a 20,000 mAh power bank. That equates to 6 or 7 camera batteries. The limitation is a bit disappointing but just seems to be physics; it is otherwise decently portable technology for recharging both camera batteries and mobile phones. Nonetheless, having three power banks each, we had rather too many. Bibi, though, had expressed an interest in one of the power banks so I sold one of the new, unused ones to him. One of our travelling companions had also expressed an interest so we offloaded another one to him. A pleasure doing business with you, sirs.

Posted in 2022 Botswana

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