Goodbye Namibia

Our last stop in Namibia was Popa Falls, some 40 kilometres from the border with Botswana.

We arrived mid-afternoon to our accommodation, to find we were the only visitors – for let’s just say, a while. The staff were suitably excited.

We were less so, given the approaching dark clouds, and the thought of the night ahead in our non-waterproof tent. “It’s definitely going to rain,” the receptionist informed us cheerily. 5 years in Africa later, it’s still difficult to feign sufficient enthusiasm about that sentence, which is inevitably seen as a piece of good news over here.

Popa Falls is a series of smaller cascades, creating a white-water rapids effect as the Kavango rushes towards Botswana and the delta.

Not having much to do – the boatman had clocked off early – we pitched our tent (glaring threateningly at the clouds), and then sat and drank a beer as the sun set over the rapids, before a surprisingly good steak at the “restaurant” which probably hasn’t ever seen a paying customer before.

The clouds seemed to be holding, and we retreated for a night in the tent. We woke up DRY!!! And headed straight out for our early-morning boat trip.

Our guide Lawrence took his job seriously, and promising us a great river safari we set off down the river in search of birds, hippos, and crocs.

Before long he had found us a family of hippos, peering out from the water. Not content for us to only see their ears and eyes, Lawrence drove towards them. “Don’t worry, they can’t overturn a boat this big!!” he said gleefully, ploughing onwards.

The hippos scarpered. In a tumult of spray and splashing and grunting, the huge hippos were climbing over each other – stepping on each others’ heads, to get to open water. Great viewing, great photos. A bit mean.

Giggling, we moved onwards, and startled a crocodile – about 3 metres long, which immediately took to the water and dived under our boat. Less funny…

We spent an hour and a half enjoying the safari, and saw hippos and crocs galore, as well as numerous lovely birds.

Another half hour was dedicated to viewing the cascades themselves, although, looking crestfallen, Lawrence informed us “the boat can’t go there”. (Not sure a river barge is suited to white-water rafting anyway, Lawrence).

After a quick breakfast sandwich, we set off for the Botswanan border, excited for the real adventure part of our trip – 2 weeks of camping in the Okavango delta, and the Kalahari!


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