Catching fish and crocs

For New Years we packed our bags and fishing tackle and drove up the western side of the Okavango to a lodge in the panhandle. All of us ready to leave 2020 behind and start new adventures. Guma lodge was the place we were to spend a little week. Situated on the edge of a huge lagoon with a magnificent view.

We met up with some close friends we hadn’t seen in ages. Spent the days catching up and playing games. Pétanque being one of the favorites. It didn’t take long before everyone got involved and we had a little tournament going.

Being in the panhandle we were bound to do some fishing to try and catch some of the Okavango giants. Two particular fish in mind. The boys really wanted to catch a tiger and I was hoping for a bream (type bass). I was the first to get lucky and landed a beautiful “three spot” in the lagoon.

It made a lovely lunch snack and tasted devine fried in lemon butter. The boys were soon to follow. Using bait Nicolas caught some decent sized tiger fish while Robin managed to catch a few smaller versions.

Though tiger fish are fun to catch, they aren’t so much fun to eat because of their free floating ribs. So we took a picture and released them back into the river. When the boys were asked whether they wanted to go catch a croc, they couldn’t believe their ears. Once the darkness had swallowed our surroundings we took a boat and spotlights. Scanning the edge of the lagoon for reflecting spots it didn’t take long before the first croc eyes were spotted. Silently gliding towards the eyes Angus got ready to show the boys how it’s done. He grabbed the baby croc, about 40cm in length, on the neck right behind the head and pulled it out. All the kids got a chance to hold it as they were told some interesting facts about these reptiles and before it was released back into the water. Then we found another small one and Nicolas got the order of trying to catch, much to his surprise. There was no time to argue so he went up front and grabbed it by the back of the neck. His heart was pumping, but he was quite the proud little man.

After our lovely stay in Guma the school holidays came to an end. And it was finally Matilda’s turn to start big school and standard one. Following German tradition we had made a “Schultüte” with her. A big cone of paper which the family fills with all kinds of practical stuff and goodies. This she got in the morning of her first school day and opened it once home from school.

The rainy season has so far been really “good”. Good in sense of nature needing it and keeping the river flowing and constantly rising. A bit unfortunate for everyday life, as things go moldy because they can’t dry and slowing down the building progress. January saw us receiving more than 200 mm and so far we’ve received rain every single day of February. Although building has slowed down we have managed to put on the first roof. Covering it with a huge tarpaulin as soon as it starts drizzling.

The landscape is flourishing and it is green everywhere one looks. The other day we were all reminded that we live on the edge of the wilderness, when a Buffalo had found its way into town. Wildlife rangers went out tracking it along the river, to prevent any human tragedy. Unfortunately one of the rangers was attacked by the Buffalo as it ambushed them from the thicket. The injuries were so severe he did not survive the attack. We have therefore been more cautious when the kids want to go cycling in the neighborhood. Hippos have also started coming onto land to graze around our house. And one definitely does not want to surprise a hippo on land or stand between it and it’s safe haven, the river. We haven’t been into the bush for a while, but hope to go again soon. All the rain has put us off a bit. But I think we will at some stage just go for it. And we are hoping covid eases its grip on humanity so that we may receive the odd visitor to show around in this magnificent place.