acacia blossoms

acacia blossoms

Thursday, November 6, 2008

where am i?

We are in northern Botswana -our feet in Kalahari sand under a wide arcing sky. Rain is all around us. This morning the crump of thunder reverberates and the bull frogs are going crazy in the channel with their rhythmic calls.

We are staying in a wooden house perched on an anthill overlooking a grassy floodplain. Elephants buffalo giraffe and others walk past here on their way to drink at Lake Zibidianja at the head of the Savuti channel. This area is known as Selinda and we are in the Selinda Reserve. On Google earth we are just off the southern most point of Caprivi Strip on the Botswana side.

As Botswana is primarily a desert country, these northern waterways are critical to the survival of many wildlife species that migrate here as inland waterholes dry up during the winter. An ancient channel bed known as the Spillway links the Selinda area with the Okavango Delta. In years of good flood waters an arm of water reaches out from either side, and locals speculate on whether the Spillway will ‘flow’ again should the two arms connect.

Lake Zibidianja is fed by the Kwando River which flows in from Angola – as the waters leave the lake the river becomes known as the Linyanti. This river with two names forms part of the border between Botswana and Namibia. At the southern point of the Lake is the Savuti Channel – another ancient river bed that has a history of drying up for fifty years, then flowing again, then drying up. Apparently this is due to the slightest shift in the tectonic plates that underpin this country. Recently water has been pushing into the channel again bringing the kiss of life to forgotten hippo pools and water bird habitats.

We left the drought stricken lowveld ten days ago and drove up to Maun, the safari capital of Botswana. Here we spent a few days reconnecting with old pals and catching up on news and safari anecdotes before driving up the west side of the Delta to an island near Ikoga where we keep our houseboat, the Catfish Running. With daytime temperatures in the middle 40’s being on the river was probably the best place to be! We had arranged to meet with Dan there who was coming to fit the steering and hydraulics; and later with Denis who was to help us fix wonky planks on the decks, and install decking to the front and rear (fore and aft?); Before they arrived however we had the river to ourselves and found, as luck would have it, that we were in the epicentre of a barbel run. But that’s another story for the next posting …


Janelle said...

HELLO!! About bloody time too y'old river tart! sounds AWESOME. we're still waiting for the rain here...hectically dry...getting mad haboub type winds...and we can smell rain from somewhere miles away on the steppe...lovely to read your stories again! xxx janelle

Angela said...

And with all those river names I`ve never heard of...magical post.
Sounds as if you were out of the world, Val. Did you HEAR all the exciting news outside your paradise place at all? Amazing how life can go on and you think in 50 year-eras instead of hourly news.
I hope you are having a peaceful time (you are not expected to to plank work, are you?)and will tell us all about Selinda when you return. Miss you!

A Mum said...

we're all waiting for the bloody rain. it's doing a jig all the way around the outpost. waves, thumbs its nose at me, grins broadly and moves off again. bloody stuff.

Anonymous said...

Enjoy your time in the heat and beauty of Selinda. You describe it so well. I'm waiting for more on the Barbel run....

Anonymous said...

Wow. This sounds incredible to me. You live a magical life.

CJ xx

Fire Byrd said...

Another evocative post, I'd been missing my Africa fix!
How long are you here for?

Lori ann said...

yes! names, images, (still thinking of giraffes walking by) your post was over far too quick val. I guess I'll have to go back and read it again, and then go check google earth. I'm so glad your well and having a time too!

Val said...

hello all and thanks for your quick response! am in the office on borrowed time again :-)have been thinking of you guys plenty while out of range...

Janelle - he he its great to be here again, and lucky us to have some rain.Dont know how widespread it is but hope you get some too very soon.

Angela - yeah funny but we were out of comms in all senses and only caught up when we got to radio here - dramatic stuff hey!

reluctant mesahib - holding thumbs for you - it will rain soon for sure

Rob - barbel run story going up now :-) thanks for hanging in

Crystal Jigsaw thanks - life is full of magic i think.. i love reading about yours too

fire byrd - hello! probably the next couple of weeks before travelling back to SA..

Lori Ann - have a couple more postings to do now..

thanks again xxxV