Drama and Karma by the River Kwai, Botswana

I was up again early morning and left before Claudio and others were up. After yesterday’s exciting sightings, I was confident for another spectacular wildlife display.

Augustine’s Flash Landrover, Kwai Region, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Augustine’s Flash Landrover, Kwai Region, Okavango Delta, Botswana

But things didn’t turn out as expected, as always. I followed a few overnight lion footprints on the track, without any sightings. It was quiet all around,  and not even the old faithful elephant made an appearance. I came to the spot where I crossed the river yesterday, I needed to get to the other side. Full of confidence, I drove into the water. I didn’t take the exact line as yesterday and Zimba’s right nose-dived into deeper waters. No snorkel air intake, I needed to check the air filter immediately. My fears proved right, the air filter sat in a pool of water. Catzo. I needed to check whether any water got into the engine.

Up close and personal with Zimba, Kwai Region, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Up close and personal with Zimba, Kwai Region, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Dismantling air filter housing from the engine, it appeared that no water has gotten into the engine. The air filter, however, was drenched and needed drying out.

Nose dive in to the Kwai River, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Nosedive into the Kwai River, Okavango Delta, Botswana

I knew that the Italians would cross here as well and waited patiently. It sure was a scenic part to break down, no animals showed up though.

Oops, left the window open, Kwai Region, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Oops, left the window open, Kwai Region, Okavango Delta, Botswana

A short while later, the Italian cavalry arrived.

Almost there, Kwai Region, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Almost there, Kwai Region, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Crossing the river in emphatic fashion, as expected.

Car wash Botswana style, Kwai Region, Okavango Delta

Car wash Botswana style, Kwai Region, Okavango Delta

Admittedly, river crossings are exciting to drive through, not if water gets in your engine though. Maurizio had a spare, fitting, dry air filter, which he lent me until mine dried up. It didn’t take long to reassemble the air filter unit and the key turned to switch on Zimba’s engine. Without issues, he started straight away. Yay, happy faces.

Classic shot, Kwai Region, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Classic shot, Kwai Region, Okavango Delta, Botswana

But only for about 10 seconds. The engine turned off and there were a few surprised faces. My heart stopped as I feared the worst. Trying again, the engine wanted to kick in, but somehow lacked on fuel supply,

Team work at Moremi National Park, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Teamwork at Moremi National Park, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Claudio and meanwhile all other mechanics agreed on. If there is water in the engine, it would have blown the pistons by now. Reassuring words somehow.

Unwanted rest, Kwai Region, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Unwanted rest, Kwai Region, Okavango Delta, Botswana

The girls and boys patiently entertained themselves, lots of experience as Frederica said. It took a wee while but the problem was found. The cable leading to the cellulite had been faulty for quite some time and just twisted together, without any tape. I am surprised you got this far Claudio said. Proper Italian engineering fixed the electrical issue in no time and Zimba kicked back into life. A big advantage to travel in convoy. We repaid our depth shortly after, as one car got stuck in the mud. The winch was quickly attached and the car freed in no time.

Typical bridge in Okavango Delta, Kwai Region, Botswana

Typical bridge in Okavango Delta, Kwai Region, Botswana

It was around lunchtime by now and we still had a long way to go. ‘Third Bridge’ Campground was still a 100 km through uncertain terrain away. We drove in circles until I pointed out to follow me, as I had driven this area yesterday, and maps.me clearly showed the path. My words were ignored as we rejoined through a fairly deep river crossing.

Cool as chips, Kwai Region, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Cool as chips, Kwai Region, Okavango Delta, Botswana

I took a lower crossing earlier and was on dry land already. I walked through the waters to give the all clear to cross, as all other vehicles had snorkels.

Nice and steady, Kwai Region, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Nice and steady, Kwai Region, Okavango Delta, Botswana

This, however, gave way to taking some river crossing action shots.

Most impressive, Kwai Region, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Most impressive, Kwai Region, Okavango Delta, Botswana

An off-roaders thrill seeking highlight. One by one, the vehicles dived nose first into the pool, getting a car wash over the bonnet.

The excited face on the youngster is just priceless, Kwai Region, Okavango Delta, Botswana

The excited face on the youngster is just priceless, Kwai Region, Okavango Delta, Botswana

The excitement clearly shows through the windscreen. A few got a bit over excited and entered too fast, creating more water movement.

Giancarlo action man, Kwai Region, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Giancarlo action man, Kwai Region, Okavango Delta, Botswana

What a spectacle to watch and even more fun to drive. 

Hippos fun for cover, Kwai Region, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Hippos fun for cover, Kwai Region, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Understandable, hippos weren’t impressed by this commotion.

Northern Moremi National Park Gate, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Northern Moremi National Park Gate, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Lunch was called at the Northern gate to ‘Moremi National Park’. I decided to move on and had ‘lunch on the go’. I arrived at ‘Xakanaxa Camp’ first and decided to detour via ‘paradise pools’. 

Paradise pools, Moremi National Park, Okavango, Botswana

Paradise pools, Moremi National Park, Okavango, Botswana

A name like that screams out spectacular, or disappointment.

Last outpost before the swamp, paradise pools, Moremi National Park, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Last outpost before the swamp, Paradise Pools, Moremi National Park, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Large dead trees dotted the landscape, with a few green flowering ones on higher ground.

Dead trees bizarre reflections at paradise pools, Moremi National Park, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Dead trees bizarre reflections at paradise pools, Moremi National Park, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Shallow pools here and there added reflections to an already impressive sight.

Paradise wonderland, Moremi National Park, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Paradise wonderland, Moremi National Park, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Termite hills were built on higher ground trees, the only way to stay dry and alive when the flood waters arrive.

Classic photo, Moremi National Park, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Classic photo, Moremi National Park, Okavango Delta, Botswana

A lone elephant bull slowly made his way through this amazing landscape, not close to the waters for reflection photos. Paradise in the Okavango Delta.

Monkey outpost, Moremi National Park, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Monkey outpost, Moremi National Park, Okavango Delta, Botswana

I passed 3 young vervet monkeys making a tree their playhouse.

Almost human like, Moremi National Park, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Almost human like, Moremi National Park, Okavango Delta, Botswana

These normally entertaining monkeys are hard to take photos of, as they are quick and very shy.

What’s up with chew? Moremi National Park, Okavango Delta, Botswana

What’s up with chew? Moremi National Park, Okavango Delta, Botswana

These three, however, were rather playful in front of my lens.

On the lookout for mischief, Moremi National Park, Okavango Delta, Botswana

On the lookout for mischief, Moremi National Park, Okavango Delta, Botswana

With no elder monkeys in sight, they were up to mischievous ways.

Still chewing, Moremi National Park, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Still chewing, Moremi National Park, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Rather unusual, none the less amusing to watch. Rank order is established in early years already.

Play fight establishes rank order, Moremi National Park, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Play fight establishes rank order, Moremi National Park, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Elephants once more rule these plains around ‘Third bridge campground’ in fascinating fashion.  

Intrigued by Zimba? Moremi National Park, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Intrigued by Zimba? Moremi National Park, Okavango Delta, Botswana

This bull crossed the shallow lagoon from the other side and walked calmly straight towards me and Zimba. He never showed any aggressive behaviour along the way, but I decided to give way when he came very close.

Kicking up dust and grass, Moremi National Park, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Kicking up dust and grass, Moremi National Park, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Another one wasn’t moving much at all. Feeding on dry grass, he used his trunk to hold on to the grass and then kicked the grass out off the sandy ground. 

Too cute to watch, Moremi National Park, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Too cute to watch, Moremi National Park, Okavango Delta, Botswana

The absolute most entertaining goes to this youngster. Passing the actual third bridge, I spotted a young elephant bathing and eating reed, whilst frolicking in the waters. 

Full stories of my elephant encounters will be written in a separate setting. 

We booked 2 actual campgrounds for this large convoy. One for the whole bunch off Italian cramped together, and one for me alone it seemed. Never ceases to make me wonder. 

Nothing is more exciting then sitting in the dark in your camp to hear bushes and twigs cracking not far from you. A small herd of elephants decided to pass by right next to us. It wasn’t long after when I heard a familiar voice ‘Ben! Spritzer!’ With a larger number on adults, Frederica always kept a glass Spritzer behind for my arrival. Bless. Most off the times, she was the first time to ask to see my photos, which had become an annual evening ritual. Today’s water crossing shots got everyone excited. Me too.

2 thoughts on “Drama and Karma by the River Kwai, Botswana

  1. Well it seems your luck ran out this time. You’ve done really well to get this far without a snorkel, or I’m assuming, not covering the air filter for the river crossings, which makes me wonder how adventurous the previous owners were.

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    1. Well, there were admidetly a few human errors on my side… just got cocky and didn’t drive the same line as the day before, super Zimba got drowned… been really lucky so far… knock on wood it stays that way…

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