June 2020
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Day June 28, 2020

birth

Forwarded to me

nothobranchius capriviensis 2

Better finish off this post since I notice the pictures were uploaded months ago.

After crossing into Namibia, pre-lockdown, and a long drive, I race here for a quick look before a big exploration the next day.

Here’s my destination, dead centre on the track below, south of the town of Katima Mulilo, on the Zambezi river, across from Angola. It’s not a great town

I found this location from an article online. Helpfully the coordinates were included

And here’s a picture of N capreviensis, also found online. There are about 70 Nothobranchius species, from Sudan to DRC but mostly Tanzania. This is a recent find, and the most southerly. I’m pretty excited to find a male and photograph it

It was long after returning to Maun I found this large piece on the fish

AKA

Tomorrow I’ll walk from the road to see if the information we have is correct

The Google Earth of the location looks like this, with the coordinates being on that flat pan center right

The next day, walking through the area, I meet this family

Their farm

And I recruit the kid (embarrassingly, I’ve forgotten his name) to show me any ponds he knows in the area, like this one

Me, soaking wet. It’s raining on and off

Here’s the pond at the coordinates. But there’s a problem: the visibility in the water is nearly zero due to the rains. We spend an hour or so netting randomly but catch nothing

I got attacked by leaches. Here’s my ankle. Because of the anti-coagulant in the bite I bleed for about 10 minutes

We spend the rest of the day exploring other ponds equally unsuccessfully.

So the 3300K drive over a couple of weeks, with this as the main event, hasn’t produced a fish. But any road trip is a good road trip. And I may have a new friend and fish hunting companion (with much greater skills than my own) when the borders reopen.

Next we head off to Divundu to check the water volume headed to the Delta. Divundu is extreme top left in this picture, with the Delta panhandle below the white line (the Botswana border)

Tourism has gone to zero as word of the coronavirus spreads, but we find this great lodge on the river

My room

When I was here, late February, there was no water in Maun and hadn’t been since the previous April. So I asked around and found that the water here in Divundu, headed for the Delta from the Angolan highlands, was the highest it had been in over 10 years. So great news.

I hired a guide to take me to Popa Falls, just upstream

We parked on a small sand island

Coming back, little swifts were flying under the catamaran hull

One parked on the hull

Weaver nests over the water’s edge

The next day, February 21, we crossed back into Botswana at Mohembo. 

The coronavirus screening nurse

And this now ubiquitous temperature thingy

At that time, we had no idea what was ahead of us here in Southern Africa. And I certainly didn’t know this would be the last border crossing I’d make in a while.

OK, got that story finished. A few more to go.