Ngepi Camp Another Amazing Adventure : Mokorro/Watu River trip with the great guide Cristof !
Another amazing Ngepi Camp Adventure : Mokorro/Watu River trip with the great guide Cristof !
We arrived to Bagani/Divundu around 7:30 p.m. after a seven hour bus ride on a much more comfortable bus than the ones we had been riding on! We had to wait for about 30 minutes before Margie came up in their vehicle to bring us back to Ngepi. While we were waiting the woman that runs the grocery/fast food part of the store came out and had us move our bags closer to the store. She seemed worried about us standing out in the middle of the drive. She also called Ngepi to make sure we were being picked up. Nice of her to do this!
Got to Ngepi and they had our campsite ready for us! Got unloaded and set up and went down to the bar to say hello to everyone. Ras was working and so we got to visit with him and the new manager Mark Kipling.
The next morning while having coffee, Christophe arrived and we decided to go on a mokoro ride with him. Breakfast was a kinda catchall of what we had left in the travel food kit so not worth mentioning.
There were three mokoro/watu's on the trip. There two guys from Germany and a girl from Switzerland on the trip. While we were waiting for everyone to arrive, we were treated to the antics of a black collared barbet and his mate going in and out of their nest in a tree right near the reception/bar area.
Finally we were all ready to go, had our safety talk, put on our life jackets, carefully got into the boats and off we went. The watu/mokoro is like a canoe made of fiberglass. In the old days, they were carved out of a single piece of wood but to conserve wood, they now make them out of fiberglass. We sit in the front of the boat in seats and the guide(s) stand and sit and paddle the boat.
We began the trip by being paddled upstream past the campsites, treehouses, and two of the funnier toilet/ablutions. Christophe tried to show us two black crowned night herons but alas we were unable to find them in the jungle like tree. Continued on upriver from the camp and we could see hippos in the water and we were getting closer and closer.
We approached the hippos from a sandbank where the water was quite shallow and we all pulled over to the side. There we were treated to a "hippo circus" for lack of a better term. Therer were about six large hippos in the water and they took turns opening their mouths wide and keeping them open so we could get as many shots of them as we wanted, then would close them, then open them again. After a few minutes of this, they closed their mouths and then turned and jumped sideways and down into the water over and over. What a sight! Guess I can see where the term "river horse" could come from. The guides thought this behavior was quite funny so must have a history of this type of behavior.
From here we headed back downstream with birds, trees, and other flora and fauna being pointed out along the way. Stopped on a small island to stretch our legs and Christophe saw a crocodile on the shore across the way. We all loaded up to go and see it up close and personal. They pulled the watu's up close and Christophe encouraged everyone to get out and come closer. Of course all the guys got right out and moved closer.
After this, we headed back to Ngepi having enjoyed a wonderful ride. Some of the highlights of this ride were:
cardinal woodpecker , African yellow white eye , pied Kingfisher ,little bee eater , squacco heron , giant kingfisher ,darter , Senegal coucal , greenback heron, chipping cistacola , icterene warbler ,malachite kingfisher ,reed warbler ,meyers parrot ,knob billed duck,little bittern , little sparrow hawk , gymogene
hippos, bushbuck, warthog,crocodile and western green snake on way home.