Safari in Namibia: in the Land of Great Rivers

“Beven, if we’re not back until sunset, I break your legs ‘, said dusty Rodgers and Beven had nodded indifferently. Beven is more nature guides, drivers, boatswain, and a few hundred other things. Rodgers is Bevens boss, a rough leg of Irish origin and also notorious Androher of bone fractures. Together they are one of this typical caprivischen buddy pairs. Occasionally comparable to Derrick and Harry. Or with Petterson and Findus.

Rodgers wanted to reach his lodge “Susuwe” sunset and said something about Gin Tonic on the tree house platform overlooking the island and on the Kwando river. We followed this already throughout the day. First crossing by boat, to Reed Islands on steeds Hippofamilien past. Of graceful Antelope großäugiger sliding away under the gaze. Sometimes we came close to an elephant standing on the shore and then schlackerte it in a pretentious manner with the ears and trötete, until Rodgers called him now it is sufficient, and indeed, the animal strolled. Was probably afraid to his legs!

In the afternoon we were gone in the Jeep of Beven, which stood on the shore, somewhere in the nowhere, Beven said, he would be called just Beven. Instead of giving gas whether the threat of his boss scares, he drove slowly over the sandy slopes, until the sun began their descent. Then, he held, worked on a table, polished the glasses so that the rays of the setting sun is started, Biltong brought out, sliced dried wild meat into strips. As we pushed on, the elephant came to drink. Almost noiselessly moved past us and built on the shore. Sipping water, we the Gin Tonic, and only when the Sun was already low, Beven shooing us back into the Jeep. Through the now dark we johannestal on only light far and wide. “Susuwe”, said Beven. This word like a magical sound moved through the cool night air. For the last few metres to the island we got around on a boat. In the dark water, the hippos schnaubten, frogs performed wrong hung the Moon, thousands of times the stars sparkled. The lodge was hidden in the reeds, bathed in candlelight, and almost had this moment like a sweet dream of Africa, Rodgers had not said, but now at last he will break the legs Beven.

There had been many goals for a trip to Namibia. An entire country full of geographic wonders and wild animals. I but wanted to be sure in that part of the country, which extends like a forefinger from Namibia and shows on Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Angola. I wanted to where rivers flow seamlessly into each other. Zambezi, Okavango, Kwando, Linyanti Where water winds its way around Bush country and defying him off Islands, where elephants of their ways, without regard for the limits of people. I wanted to go to Caprivi.

Boats, ferries take me as long as I can remember. It is something nomadic in me. No matter where I am, always I want more: to the other shore, beyond the horizon. Caprivi is fulfilling this idea of pulling further, its rivers make it and the next frontier, the next country is always only a drive away.

Caprivi is called since 2013 correctly Zambezi region. A name, the Namibian Government has chosen to distribute the last shadow of the colonial era. But the locals continue to say Caprivi. The Strip is a geographic anachronism. Named after a German Chancellor, Leo Graf von Caprivi, was created solely for a purpose: so were the colonial masters of German South-West Africa, today’s Namibia, access to the Zambezi. Just so, this water-reeds-Bush-finger squeezes across by the neighbouring countries. And that is because of its far from the rest of the tourist destinations of Namibia, remote location, it is today a wilderness still little tourism discovered. Until Namibia’s independence in 1990, where South African military was stationed, because the apartheid Government of South Africa had acquired in Namibia. Not even Namibians were allowed to Caprivi, and fared well the animals there. The rural population killed her because she needed food or wild life left poached fields. The soldiers shot them for the same reasons or just for fun. in 1990, when Namibia became independent, Caprivi was a forgotten piece of land without perspective.

My trip began as a river cruise with a House boat on the Chobe. Left, Botswana was right Namibia, in between we glided away so quiet boat, as someone of the world have turned the sound off. Children playing on the river banks. Fishermen who landed in dugout boats with the morning’s catch. It was tilapia fish of considerable size. Water taxis, small metal boats, brought women from surrounding villages. Osprey drew circles and a giraffe delicately drank with tilted X-Beinen, kudu eyed me with meditative calm. Mean midnight-be in all these colors sound smell menagerie that belly-deep feeling of happiness which is me like a drug produced. And to whom I again and again to Africa travel.

In the evening, we docked on a sand bank. Cicadas performed, roaring lion, the Sun sank and released the sky for a huge perfect round moon. I hardly slept that first night. I heard elephants and hippos. The bushland on both sides screamed and sighed, and star flashed in my cabin. I felt like a child who experienced the world as a miracle.

The next morning, the boat without me sailed back. I went around on a motor boat. In the morning sun I fisherman nets had see mountains, the drops of water that had gefunkelt such as gems, and all of a sudden, it was impossible to leave the river. I wanted to ride and drive, me stick to this glitter and the sky blue.

Maybe Caprivi would have been forgotten, and I would never go there traveled. But then the animals came back or back and settled. First of all not to the delight of the inhabitants. The lion ate the cattle, the elephant zertrampelten the fields. So how should the people have an interest to protect the new livestock? The Windhoek businessman of Rodgers was one of the first who invested in Caprivi, and understood that the development would not work if we exclude the population.

Rodgers made his home for several years Caprivi, sat in the huts of the chiefs, hear what residents wanted and needed to be able to live in peace together with the wild animals. “We had to give an incentive to people, to protect the wildlife. That went only by we gained profits from tourism to them, gave them shares of the lodges.”

Parallel to the private efforts to the region, germinated and grew a large vision. Angola, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Namibia decided to create a cross-border nature reserve, where the animals in the truest sense of the word have limitless freedom. At the same time, this nature protection should become the source of income for the population living within the reserve. Conservancies, protected areas, which are subject to the municipalities, were staked, ecological corridors created counted as wild animal populations. 20 years later, in the summer of 2012, the vision became reality. The Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Park, just opened Kaza,: with 440 000 square kilometers is roughly the size of Sweden. 36 national parks lie within its borders. Germany has added 35.5 million euros. Caprivi is heart of the five countries area and has also pioneered the implementation of the environmental and social goals of the project.

I learned the history with the Tiger fish roulette on the third evening. We arrived by car and again with many boats in the Nkasa Lupala National Park, our accommodation was the tented “Casa Lupala”, which comfort made camping seem ridiculous and useless to the location of the rest of the world the word. Reeds, water ways, Oinking hippos and elephants, my heart wanted to never, never otherwise.

That morning we could not go, because an elephant family to our jeep stood and little pleased on our feeble attempts responded, again for us to conquer the car. We had to wait until they moved on. Also in the evening through the camp, and we moved to heard her gasping and Malmen, the cracking of the branches. Maybe it was the Gin, maybe the stars, at least told Rodgers from a very own Caprivi dare confused him: seasoned men wrap…-you can already guess what-with aluminum foil and then swim through the river. To the delight of Tiger fish, which are attracted by everything, what flashes. A story that needs no further details, but shows that Caprivi is Namibia, but has its own laws.

Of course, dusty Bevens has not broken legs. Finally, he still needs him. When we arrive on “Susuwe” namely Beven served us supper. There are pumpkin soup, grilled Kudu steaks, young vegetables, South African Red wine and pudding English for dessert. Like every night in this water landscape, in which the lungs fill with best oxygen, I’m enough hungry, to eat an entire Kudu. After dinner, we sit around the campfire, have pulled out the shoes, and painting figures in the sand with their bare feet. Beven chats under the covers of his 16-year experience with tourists. Time has complained an Englishman on the nocturnal grunting of hippos, times a Swiss surprise found that Namibia is not more German southwest. We laugh a lot, look at the stars with far the back head, sipping on our glasses and philosophize about the cons and deceptions of life in civilization. “It would be nice…”, we say. But then we let the set in the air. We know it’s a romantisierender idea, no longer need as this sky, these rivers.

When I accompanied by Beven and a flashlight or other outdoor equipment, go late into the night to my cottage, a hippo runs away with nodding butt and plunges into the darkness in the river. We hear it PLoP. Whether it all was not even boring?, I ask Beven. The star, the animals, the water, the rest? Somehow it would reassure me, yes he said now. Then, my doubts about the civilization would be over. But Beven shakes his head, laughing. “Oh well,” I insist, “Bush is Bush, elephant’s elephant, hippo hippopotamus.” Beven looks at me pityingly. “But in the Caprivi. Caprivi is different, every day.” I nod. He, the boy is right.

The travel guide for Namibia

A complete travel package for the Caprivi is book about “Evening sun Africa” (www.abendsonneafrika.de). The described here trip with an overnight stay on the boat and continue with cars and boats through the national parks of Mamili, Nkasa Lupala and Bwabata, as well as other six nights at the below lodges costs approx. €2350 per person in a double room.

Flights from Frankfurt to Johannesburg and Kasane in Botswana with South African Airways from 1130 euro, our site.

Overnight at the “Susuwe lodge” with all meals and all activities per person per night EUR 330, our site.

“Nkasa Lupala lodge”, the overnight stay in a luxury tent per person per night in double occupancy costs about 120 euro. Tel. 00264/81/ 147 77 98, our site.

House boats on the Chobe or Linyanti via our site.

Individual transport in Caprivi and safaris are organized by Tutwa tourism and travel. Tel. 00264/64/40 40 99, our site.

More information about the tourist office, our site.

To read: “The Namibian book-highlights of a fascinating country,” travel guide from Kunth publishing, 240 p., EUR 24.95

Eleven adventurous reports Fabian von Poser: “report Namibia: through the eyes of the Cheetah”, 132 pp., 14,90 euro, Picus

Text: Andrea Jeska BRIGITTE WOMAN 02/14