The intrepidfoodie in Botswana part 2

Delicious spread at Muchenje Lodge

Muchenje

This is a rustic looking lodge that is set on the escarpment overlooking the Caprivi Strip which has many animals grazing on it. The central area is open to the cooling breeze.

Muchenje then took us on a game drive into the Chobe National Park along the river. The guide K.G was very knowledgeable and answered all questions. Down on the floodplain we saw many Zebra, and stopped to watch Giraffe and Elephant. We also had some Kudu pass really close to the game drive vehicle. There were many beautiful dusty crimson carmine bee-eaters flying around. We also saw white and green bee-eaters as well as fish eagles and a bateleur. On our way out after sundowners, Bishard saw a Leopard, so we screeched to a halt and managed to get a good look at it although no good pics as the light was fading. We then returned to camp.

Dinner consisted of a wonderful cheese soufflé, main fillet of beef and local bream – a Botswana surf n turf with pasta or mash and veg. Pudding was a lovely sticky date pudding.

Chobe Game Lodge

One of the Chefs at Chobe Game Lodge preparing spuds

Chipo our guide met us at the airport. We saw a huge herd of 60 plus Sable going to Chobe Game Lodge – these are quite rare so I was really excited. Chobe Game Lodge is a 46 room hotel which is famous as the site where Elizabeth Taylor married Richard Burton for the second time. It has lush tropical gardens. It is surrounded by an electric fence and it is safe to walk around. The hotel does feel retro and 60s. It was one of the hottest days on our trip and I think we were all grateful to see air-conditioning in the rooms – this ended up being a bit of a theme, although we acclimatised somewhat to the heat.

They laid on a huge buffet lunch with a wide selection of salads, hot main meals, roasts and desserts. After lunch we rolled ourselves around the hotel for our site inspection. The hotel has a weights room with a treadmill that is air-conditioned and a treatment room where they do spa treatments. The hotel has a range of rooms, including doubles, twins and lovely private suites with bright lounge areas, and a patio area with its own plunge pool. The pool area is lovely and has a tropical feel with palms and bananas. Warthogs are the resident lawnmowers and you can approach quite close. There is also an aged tame bushbuck that you can stroke. We then had high tea, followed by another boat ride up the Chobe which was almost identical to the one we went on at Savannah. Our Guide Chipo tried hard to try and find new fact to tell us when she discovered that we had heard most of it before on the previous boat ride. Once again Elephant dominated the floodplain.

A range of traditional dishes at Chobe Game Lodge

That night they had a Boma evening with a wide range of braaied items traditional dishes and live entertainment with the marimba band. I tried Botswana’s national dish Seswa which was very tasty. It was someone’s birthday, so the staff sang several traditional songs and presented him with a cake a la  Spur style – but more authentic. I liked this lodge but to me it was more of a hotel and did not give me that safari feel.

Xaxanaka

Barbaras delicious Chiffon Cake with pineapple and cream

We drove to Xaxanaka Camp crossing a deep fjord where the water almost went over the bonnet. We arrived early and rested in the main reception area till the rooms had been made up. This camp has a reception portico that has a curio shop and the manager’s office. You then cross an open area to the main reception rooms which are right on one of the main channels of the Delta. All the reception rooms are strung out along the water. They are all open and shaded by huge Sausage and marula trees. They have a lovely boma area right out over the water and an open bar. The lounge had lush African furnishings and the entire main area is lit by paraffin lamps at night creating a romantic atmosphere.

Ubiquitous Impala are actually very photogenic - Photo Leigh Kemp

The relief managers Barbara and Bruce were very welcoming and engaging hosts. They had a great rapport with their staff and the camp functioned really well. The homemade lemonade, and especially the rusks and biscuits were delicious. There are a couple of groups of bushbuck that wander the camp and one mother and her fawn seemed to be living under the platform of our tented suite. The suites are built on raised wooden decks. They are canvass and have a view over the channel. The openness allows them to be breezy. They have a bathroom at the back with a shower.

My first sighting of Lechwe

Lunch was a sumptuous affair with tasty Okavango Bream, Lasagne and a range of delicious salads. We had some time to relax and explore camp -which has many large trees, including Baobabs. After this we had a delicious high tea. We had a Chiffon Cake with whipped cream and canned pineapple as well as pizza and a range of iced teas.

We then went on a boat ride. This area of the Delta is characterised by pampas grass and reminded me of marshes in Europe rather than the papyrus fringed channels that I was expecting. We came across an elephant ear deep in the delta eating water plants and reeds. We had sundowners before heading back to camp. Approaching from the water, the whole camp was lit up with paraffin lamps and looked romantic and inviting, creating a calm and peaceful oasis. There was a storm brewing and a cool breeze had sprung up. The birdlife in camp was great too – I even saw Hoopoe and on the game drive in the morning we saw an Arnots Chat.

Dinner was lovely with a chilled tomato soup that was very refreshing. The main meal was served as a buffet with succulent tender lamb roast with roast potatoes and veggies. Pudding was a rich chocolate tart.

In the morning Bruce took us on a game drive. His tracking skills are superb, every print he saw he could identify at once. We came across a fairly big pride of Lions. We were after the wild dogs, but all we saw were their tracks. He drove us right into the middle of a herd of buffalo that numbered in their hundreds which was awesome.

A Male Lion we saw - this one was in the Khwai area

We returned to a decadent brunch with eggs to order, bacon and sausages, pizza, cottage pie, salads and cheese boards. We then headed to the airport where we caught two four seaters operated by safari air to Xugana. Then a short boat ride through the papyrus channels that feels like what I imagined the Delta to be like. The channel suddenly opened out into a wide open lagoon, and the camp was located on the other side.

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About michoenglish87

A wannabe foodie who loves trying new recipes and trying new ingredients. I hope to inspire people to try new things in the kitchen.
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