Leaving Victoria Falls it was about a 2-hour drive to Kasane, Botswana where we boarded a small boat for our journey to Impalila Island, Namibia. We checked out of Zimbabwe, in and out of Botswana and then into Namibia, our passports getting a workout before finally reaching our lodge on Impalila Island.
The island is one of the gems of the Caprivi Strip, a slender eastern arm of Namibia extending to Zambia and Botswana and where the Chobe and Zambezi Rivers come together before plunging over Victoria Falls. It is here that four nations come together, the corners of Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia meet.
It was a short boat ride across to Namibia where we walked to the immigration/customs house to get our passports stamped and then continued by boat for another 25 minutes to our river lodge that sits the shore of the Chobe River.
Lee, a consultant working for the owner welcomed us and after lunch together beneath the limbs of a 700-year old baobab tree we settled into our lovely little cabins. For many years fishing has been the major attraction on Impalila Island but now lodges are beginning to attract tourists who want to experience the simple quiet beauty of the island, a very different experience from the bush. Our cabin sits right on the Chobe River and the sound of the rapids and the occasional grunts of hippos filtered in and out of our dreams each night.
Mornings were comfortably cool and a good time to walk to nearby villages finally getting a chance to really stretch our legs after so much sitting. The island people have small farms and rely mainly on fishing to feed their families.
We stopped to watch a family in the process of building a house for their 17-year-old brother. They use termite mounds, mix them with water, make rounds and stack the rounds between wooden frames. This will harden like concrete. We passed by the next day and the house was done.
During the heat of the day we relaxed at the lodge coming together at teatime before returning to the river in to discover the serenity of Impalila.
The interconnected waterways and channels reveal the personality of the river as it varies from rapids to limpid lily ponds; Impalila’s environs offer a bounty for nature lovers. We would end each day on the river waiting for the dazzling sunsets, enjoying a glass of wine, beer, gin and tonic, your choice . . . I quickly became enamored of the “sundowners”.
Impalila Island Lodge