Friday, November 23, 2012

Nkwasi Lodge, Rundu

Why were booked to stay at the next place, Nkwasi Lodge is beyond me.  I'm guessing it proved cheap given all the building work going on.  The rooms really reflected the general chaos of the Lodge (which is a perpetual building site apparently) with beds moved to sit under mosquito nets, their location dictated by the unbroken lengths of string.  You could see they used to try and have the beds together but when the original string broke they moved the net and the bed.  Of course!

Frankly the place was shoddy.  The coffee and cake was good, the dinner was passable, the staff worked hard but the management and organisation was a shambles.

 A particular illustration of just how bad this place was and indeed how poorly prepared the tour was overall, was the booking of a bird trip on the river.  The boat selected had an engine that could only propel the boat at about 1 mile an hour against the current.  In addition it was tremendously noisy and could only be started by a rope tied around it.  They do have a bird guide but he was busy so we got another chap who was hopeless.  We went past some reed-beds with at least three new species in, he insisting we'd see more birds further along.

We did indeed see Black-crowned Night-Heron, stopped briefly before fleeing in terror of the approaching banging engine:

Next we approached a village bathing area, and we had to ask the driver to turn us back to the other side (Angola as it happens) but it was clearly all too much.  At one point he saw a Pied Kingfisher and pointed at it saying 'kingfiss' and that summed up his expertise.  It was a complete farce.  We asked he take us back and we got off the boat.  

That in fact summed up our experience of Nkwasi Lodge.  Avoid it.

We had a wander around the grounds as I'd seen some birds behind the huts.  We got a great view of a Kurrichane Thrush:

Levaillant's Cuckoo:

And Red-headed Weaver:

The sunset, even with more fires in the distance, was spectacular:

So an uneasy night's sleep in an overly hot and poorly secured hut was next.



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