It’s time to check out of the Cresta Sprayview and set off on the bus to Botswana. We have a large white bus large enough for 60 people, so there is plenty of room for the 16 of us. Baggage is stored inside in the back, as the baggage compartments under the bus are a target for thieves. It’s a short distance to the Zimbabwe / Botswana border where procedures are pretty much as we have become accustomed to. Disinterested officials behind a teller windows stamp our passports and put more stamps on other pieces of paper. I wonder if anyone really cares, and what happens to the notes, papers ans scans. Where will they be a year from now? 5 years? 10 years? Still collecting dust on some shelve in a government warehouse?
Outside the office we need to step into a shallow tray with a dirty liquid in it. Apparently this is to disinfect our shoes and prevent the spread of cattle diseases. If we are carrying any other shoes in our baggage, we need to “clean” these as well. After the procedure we’re allowed to board the bus again and continue on our way. After a while we arrive at our overnight hotel for today: the Thebe River Safari in Kasane. The room looks cozy and there appears to be free Wifi. Well the Wifi connects but the internet is spotty at best and very slow. It looks like I will not be uploading my blog tonight. In the afternoon we go on a boat trip on the Chobe river to spot some wildlife.
The boat takes us along the banks of the river where al kinds of animals come to drink. We see a lot of Elephant, Hippo, Impala, Baboon, Warthog, Kudu, Crocodile and many, many varieties of birds.
By the end of the boat trip we’re all scanning the banks for animals we have not yet seen. Tomorrow we will do a land bases wildlife trip, and see more. For tonight we have dinner in the form of a buffet after which we turn in for the night. We sleep like babies under the mosquito netting that keeps the bugs away.
An early rise the following so we can catch the wildlife, and especially predators, when they are most active. In the dark we climb into the high open vehicles and set out to the Chobe National Park. At the entrance it’s a bustle of vehicles all needing to submit paperwork to get in. Even though we were one of the first to arrive, we are bypassed by other vehicles that arrived later. It’s the same everywhere in the world; all people are equal but some people are more equal than others. After a while we can continue on the narrow trail through the park and we soon have our first close encounter with elephants. They look eerie in the twilight of the rising sun; I have not been this close to an African elephants without some barrier between them and me since I was in Tanzania. As the sun rises we see more of the animals we saw yesterday, and also a giraffe or two, but none of the predators we were hoping for. But then suddenly a gathering of vehicles and at the side of the road lies a lion motionless on it’s side. She almost looks dead if not for an occasional twitch of her paw. She has obviously had an extremely large breakfast and is now taking a nap to recover. She is not bothered by all the attention of the tourists, so we can all take plenty of pictures. Further down the road we see another lion; this one is lying in the tall grass and we can only see her protruding head.
All in all a good day of wildlife viewing. We return to our hotel to pack and drive on to Nata where we will be staying at the Elephants Sands, a kind of tent lodge. This time there is no Wifi at all, so again no opportunity to update the blog. Perhaps back home they are beginning to think we’ve been eaten by lions. In the old days if you went on a trip like this people back home would not hear from you for months, but nowadays it’s expected that you check in regularly. The world is not that well connected everywhere yet, but we’re getting there.
Facilities here are very basic, electricity is dependent on a generator so no charging of phones and cameras in the room. There is one central charging point at the bar and it’s a struggle to find room for our equipment. I take a shower after we arrive and have the choice between scalding hot or cold water. Mixing hot and cold proves fruitless, so I have a cold shower before we go on a wildlife drive here. The drive is a little disappointing compared to yesterday: both watering holes they take us to are dried up and so aside from some impala and warthog there is not much to be seen.
Back at the hotel there is more bad news: the road to our next destination has been wiped out by a flood and is impassible. So we need to make a detour which will take us an extra 8 hours. That means a very early morning departure..
Next Okavango Delta