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The Ngwezumba
Really Wild Africa

The old road from Serondella to Savuti traversed the Ngwezumba Valley. In 1979 I decided to take that abandoned road and see what the Ngwezumba Valley had to offer. What a trip that was. The road had not been graded for ten years and was blocked by fallen trees that had been pushed over by elephants. But I had discovered a hidden paradise in Botswana. The Ngwezumba Pans and the Ngwezumba Pools had incredible populations of wildlife in the 1970s - and I had it virtually all to myself for a few short years. Ngwezumba only works if the previous rainy season had been a very good one. Then all of the pans in this part of Botswana fill up and last right through to the end of the dry season. If the rains had been poor then the area has very little wildlife. I was lucky - when I was there in the 1970s I had it all to myself and the rains had been spectacular - so the wildlife was spectacular. To this day, Ngwezumba from 1979 to 1984 represents the finest wilderness I have ever experienced.

1/ : In 1979 the track down the Ngwezumba had degenerated into elephant paths.
An aerial image of the Ngwezumba River showing numerous elephant tracks along both sides that had virtually obliterared the original track.
2/ : I camped for a few days at a pool on the Ngwezumba River.
An image of a vehicle parked overlooking a deep pool of water in the river bed and there are buffalo drinking.
3/ : The nights felt very lonely. I was 150 km from the nearest help.
An image of  Paul Augustinus vehicle parked for the night overlooking the same pool, with campfire in the foreground boiling water for tea.
4/ : At the Ngwezumba Pools, huge herds of elephant would be coming and going at the same time.
An image of elephants filing down paths towards a pool and in the distance another herd is leaving.
5/ : Walking along the riverbank you could approach animals without them being aware!
An image of rocky pool viewed from above. An elephant and a male kudu are wandering about looking for clean water.
6/ : One could get very close to elephants drinking at the pools.
An image of elephants from up close but from above, while they are drinking.
7/ : Then I moved over to the Ngwezumba Pans area and camped at Kwekampa for a while.
An image of a vehicle parked next to a tree for shade. Just beyond is the  large 300 metre wide pan containg a large sheet of water. Elephants are drinking there.
8/ : I climbed a tree to take this photo of hundreds of elephants at midday.
An image of hundreds of elephants drinking from the pan, coming and going, taken from a high vantage point.
9/ : One evening I saw this! Two white rhino! Very special!
An image of two rhino coming down to drink at the pan, with  Paul Augustinus vehicle in the foreground. Late evening subdued light and colours.
10/ : I had to collect water from the pan and then boil it to make it drinkable.
An image of Paul Augustinus arranging a kettle on a fire he has made near his vehicle.
11/ : One night I forgot to take the kettle in. Lions came along and played with it and filled it with puncture holes. Luckily I had two kettles!
An image of a kettle resting on open ground, and looking very battered.
12/ : On other nights lions would pass by silently while they were hunting.
An image of   two lionesses creeping along over the hard firm edge of the pan in the dark.
13/ : Buffalo came to drink every day. One morning I was ready for them and climbed a tree on the other side of the pan.
An image of  a large herd of buffalo serenly coming down to drink at the pan in the early morning. Taken from a high vantage point.

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