Worms at the Okavango

From Etosha, we drove north to the top of the country where the Kavango river divides Namibia from Angola.  We would be following the river as it winds its way through the north of Namibia into Botswana, and down into the Okavango delta.

Arriving in Rundu, we checked into a cute little guest-house on the shores of the river, and were given a chalet in luscious gardens of tall African trees and flowers, with a view of the river below. The staff quickly handed us a menu, informing us we had to pre-order any evening meals.

It was an easy enough decision – with every type of river fish listed on the menu; we picked a grilled whole local bream. However, Tom couldn’t resist the mopani worms to start…

So at dinner out came a bowl of 1-2 inch fat worms, deep-fried, with a bowl of honey to dip them in. Tom tucked in, daring me to taste a couple. Luckily it was dark, so gathering my bravery I caved – hand me one. Dubious, I squeezed it. Too soft! Swap it for a very, very crispy one, I said. Digging out the crispest of the lot, there was nothing else for it…!

No real texture – just crispy, and as for taste… a mild bitterness but otherwise unoffensive. OK, I took another to try with the honey. Better than without the honey, but still not much more than “not bad”. I won’t be eating any again, but surprisingly not really a traumatic dining experience.

After the excitement of the worms, we sat and ate our lovely fish with our hands, drinking lovely chilled rose, and sat chatting deep into the night while the bats flew around in the trees above our heads.

In a very tech-addicted moment, in the morning we moved to a different lodge due to the first one having no Wi-Fi… we really wanted to speak to our mums after 4 days offline!

Our new accommodation seemed even lovelier, with little chalets nestled right on the water’s edge, and the river much much wider at this point.

We worked online all afternoon, then ran back to our room to shower in time for dinner. Fresh and ready to eat, something caught my eye on the bed. I moved closer… a tiny maggot. I flicked it off. But then there was another, and for that matter, another… and another. Ripping back the sheets I found our bed was full of tiny maggots, hundreds of them.

Marching over to the reception to ask to be moved rooms, we were shown to a different room.  Also with worms in the bed. “It’s because of the thatch roofs”, we were told. As if I cared why I was going to have to sleep with worms.

We made the most of dinner and sunset on the deck over the river, and in the dark resigned ourselves to the idea of sleeping with worms.

I woke up constantly, flicked as many worms as I could away, and went back to sleep.

So there you have it, our first two days at the Okavango – eating worms and then sleeping with them.



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