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Chapter 13: Mowana Blues



We collected our bags and headed back to the airstrip, where we squeezed back into the tiny bush planes, and headed for our last stop, the Mowana Safari Lodge. Savuti was really the end of our bush adventure; Mowana was located in the town of Kasane, and was not a bush camp, but a regular hotel, situated on the bank of the Chobe River. I came to Mowana a changed man. A week ago, a luxury hotel like Mowana would have been my preferred habitat. But now...well, I was missing the bush. We drove from the airport, which was a real airport with a real paved runway, over the real paved roads of Kasane, and checked into the real, sterile rooms of the Lodge. There was a TV and a Gideon Bible in the room. Yup, back to the real world. Blagh.

Now again, this is a matter of contrast. Mowana is a very nice hotel (although we wound up not being terribly impressed with either the food or the service), but in comparison to the bush camps, and especially Moremi, it was just a reminder that the trip was nearly over.

For game drives, we went to the nearby Chobe National Park, which being near Kasane and so many safari lodges, was jammed with safari vehicles. On out first afternoon trip there, a big herd of elephants cavorting around by the Chobe River drew almost as many vehicles. Back to viewing in the water-rich environment of the river, we saw more hippos, crocs, fish eagles, cape buffalo, and meter-long water monitor lizards.



An elephant dust-up: a herd of elephants take a dust bath by the side of the Chobe River

The food at the lodge was OK but not great. Meals were prepaid, but drinks were not, and just a Coke was $2. When you asked for water you got bottled water and were charged, but we eventually discovered you could get tap water for free. The snacks and drinks brought on the game drives were not up to the standards of the bush camps, either, and I couldn't help but notice that the guides failed to check around in the bushes for dangerous critters before letting us get out of the jeep, as the bush guides had always done.

Around Chobe National Park:



A juvenile baboon plays a risky game of chicken with a monitor lizard:





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