I was born to be a duchess: When we got there, we found out our mistake – it was the wrong river

Pic: Pixabay

OUR crack-of-dawn start for the Moremi Game Reserve was delayed by the discovery that we had drunk three-quarters of our beer supplies in one-quarter of our holiday.

Despite all the addings and subtractings we did later, we never did manage to fathom out how we had disposed of so much liquid in so short a time.

Using as an excuse the fact that we were carrying insufficient water to supply all our fluid needs, we waited for the liquor store to open before setting off northwards.

At the gate of Moremi we were directed across a sort of bridge, made of tree trunks lashed together and looking as if it would not support the weight of a Mini. Corrie walked across so that he could film from the other side when I drove Katie over it.

I didn’t much enjoy driving to the other side. The tree trunks rolled and jumped as we crossed them, so that it was like a half-mile cattle grid and the whole structure bounced as well.

At times I was certain that we were going to be precipitated into the jaws of some waiting crocodile.

We were heading for the river – wherever it was. We had once seen a map of the area but had only a very hazy recollection of it and had to rely on guesswork for our directions.

The river had to be somewhere to the west of us, so that was the way we wanted to go. Unfortunately the one and only road led northwards and we had no option but to follow it. We drove and drove and drove and we saw not so much as a footprint of an animal.

We were already pretty fed up with the situation when we met the game warden. We were even more fed up when he told us that we still had another 30km to go before we reached the river.

We were also rather puzzled. Surely all the various streams which make up the Okavango Delta were to the west of us? How could we reach any of them by driving another 30km north?

When we got there, we found out our mistake – it was the wrong river. We had forgotten about the existence of the little tributary – or rather, distributary – known as the Kwaai.

There were a few water holes along the road to the Kwaai, and here we did see some game – a few baboons, two warthogs and something which looked a bit like an impala with deformed horns.

Corrie thought it was an impala. I thought not. We agreed to differ on the subject, filmed it and forgot about it.

When we finally reached the river, we found that we had also reached the far end of the game reserve. This didn’t make us very happy. We had driven right through, on what appeared to be the only road, and seen almost no game.

What were we going to do for the next four days, with nothing to film?

We also found that there was nowhere to launch the boat and the locals informed us that the fishing was no good either. We should, they said, have gone to Xaxanaxa.

It was too late to do anything about the situation, so we made the best of it, pitched our camp, and engaged a guide for the following morning, to show us where all the animals were hiding.


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Susan Cooke
Features Editor

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