Botswana 17. - 22.11.2008
Posted at 04:11, 15 November 2008 in Southern Africa
17.11.08 Gobabis - Maun (Botswana)
After the border crossings, the roads changed to kamikaze driving. Cattle, donkeys and horses all over the place, running off into the street without warnings. A real challenge for our driver, but he managed very well. Also, Botswana is very careful about the Foot-and-Mouth desease, so we regularly had to stop, get outside and walk through some kind of antiseptic stuff to clean the shoes. Which is always a funny experience, as the oh so busy African guards are just hanging around and couldn't care less :-)
Arriving in Maun then changed the mentality we had seen up to now. Here now this is really african style living. Very busy streets, buildings and shacks in not so good shape anymore, and now more coloured and black people than white. Which for me is a little stressy, as they always want to touch my blonde hair.... But in the group we are safe, so we all went to change money and do the big shopping for the next 2 days camping in the Okavango Delta. Water, water, water, beer beer beer - and sunscreen :-)
The hotel then a very nice surprise, swimming pool and a nice little bar. We all chilled out first, then packed our daybags for the next days to come.
18. - 20.11.08 Okavango Delta (southeast part at end of Boro River)
From the hotel we left early in the morning by 4WD over sandy bumpy ways from Maun to the village of the Polers. Polers being the people that push the Mokoro boots, the wooden barkboats where you actually lie in. It was so relaxing to sit back and slowly make a way through the high grassy water.
And guess what: all of a sudden you would here a loud "pfffscht" and Hello Hyppo!!!
Our camping spot was on a little island surrounded by the waters of the Okavango Delta. We spent the days walking to spot wildlife (yes guys, again 5am!!!). But it was soooooo worthwile. We got very close to Zebras, Gnus, Baboons (Paviane) and Antilopes, and there was a huge heard of 20 Girafes passing us, whilst another group of Elephants crossed their way. Our guide (a little crazy I admit) then took us around the bush against the wind, and WOW...! we met up with the Elefants like 10m before us. Now THAT was scary, as the Elefant in front did the ear-waving and lifted his trunk to warn us... Well, we RAN...!!! But hey, what an experience.
So after that swimming in the Delta with the Hyppos somewhere in the farer end was just a relaxing little adventure ;-)
We enjoyed the days out there, sitting in the camp, relaxing, chatting, playing games with the polers, eating good food the guide carefully prepared - and sleeeeeeping. The weather here was always cloudy and lots of thunder in the background. Luckily however we did not get any rain (yet)... And the sunset - oh my - just beautiful!
On the 20.11. then we had to break-down camp. In Maun at the hotel we took a very nice and long shower, repacked everything and then went to lunch to "Nando's", South Africans answer to McDonalds. Afterwards we made our way to north to Gweta, another of these 3-house villages in the nowwhere :-) Our lodge again a funny place (Planet Baobab), clay huts spread out in a huge park-looking area full of really huge and old Baobab Trees. We took pictures in front of the tree, but you can hardly see us, these trees are extremely big!
Another time at the bar, the pool - another hours without electricity (we have gotten used to that by now... this is Africa). But we had time to do some laundry and dry it in the rain... ehm not!!! Well - over night the hotel then had power and offered to dry our stuff in their dryer...
Funny story here... the area of that lodge is so big, and their pathways so confusing... after dinner we got lost and did not find our room for 1 freeking hour!!! Now imagine lots of little creepy night-active animals, only a little flashlight, rain and humidity.... not very funny when you are tired...
21.11.08 Gweta - Kasane
After finally having found the hut we slept like dead bodies... all of us, so that we all got up to late and the guide was not to happy as we then were late for leaving. Oh well...
A long travel day through interesting roads, full of holes - and I meen big holes. So again a stressful day for our driver. In Nata a quick stop to get food which we as usual ate on the bus to gain time. Driving through the Makgadikgadi Pan National Park offered a huge flat area of land (size of Switzerland), and the road just as straight as it can be. But more interesting all the animals on the street, from Storchs to Marabus to Vultures (Aasgeier) next to a dead Zebra up to a real Elefant just walking along the street!!!
It then started to rain VERY HARD! So the Chobe activities unfortunately got cancelled, as the Zambesi River is to dangerous in this rain-storms. But going shopping in a muddy, flooded little African village is quite a fun challenge too - really hope I will ever get my feet clean again, as every time you had to cross the street you sank into muddy stinky water up to your ankles... lekker!
So the rest of the afternoon then we spent enjoying the lodge (again cute huts) this time directly on the Zambesi River, where a little Hyppo amused us. Some beers, good food - and that is just a good way of living ;-)
22.11.08 Kasane - Livingstone (Zambia)
Directly after Kasane we had to get in line for the border crossing to Zambia. Now the guide warned us, that the Kazungula Ferry-crossing could take a while, but we were very fortunate and got to cross the river immediately. An adventurous trip I have to say...