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!