Mud pools and miscreants – trials in Botswana

February 21, 2009

Saturday 7th– Saturday 14th February

Our last day in South Africa started in a fairly rubbish way, and progressively got worse.  Sean was still very uncomfortable & itchy, and my laptop power supply has ceased to function so we drove around in the heat for ages looking for a 5A fuse, but they don’t exist.  A thousand curses on Dell for having proprietary power supplies!  Not having a laptop could prove to be a major pain, no Garmin maps, no photo uploading from cameras, no blogging……

Finally we gave up and headed to Botswana and made the border by 5.30 and were through in record time, and spent our first night camped on the banks of the Limpopo, which is neither as great or greasy as one would have hoped.

On our way to Francistown the next day we passed little of note.  Botswana is cattle country, and in spite of the fences cows are everywhere and frequently feature as roadkill.  Botswana also has millions of wild donkeys and we drove by a recently departed one being eaten by vultures.

Once in Francistown we attended to a few domestic chores including email and realised that our tenants have decided unilaterally to not pay February’s rent. Apparently, and I quote ” this mths rent already spent on hse purchase”  I am obviously incredibly angry and staggered that anyone could be so glib, and that someone with whom I used to work can act with such cavalier disregard for both the law and common decency.  This hassle was the icing on the cake, and right at that moment and for the first time I wished the trip was over.

Remember one is British!

Remember one is British!

However, tomorrow is always another day and the fact that Sean woke up with a tick attached to his genitals served to lighten my mood considerably.  You will be relieved to note that there is no photo!  We had planned to go to the Mkgadigadi Pans, as crossed by Clarkson et al, but discovered that there has been too much rain and they are impassable, so we made do with camping at a lovely site on the edge, and watching a beautiful sunset as the full moon rose behind us. 

Sunset in the wilderness

Sunset in the wilderness

On our way to the Moremi Game Reserve in the Okovango Delta we stopped off in Maun for the night.  We headed to the nearest bar/restaurant and walked into a meeting in progress, so we sat at the bar and quietly earwigged and tried not to giggle as it turned out to be the committee meeting for the next ex-pat pageant.  Very surreal!

Onwards for some delta therapy.  I took an executive decision and overruled the SF by insisting that we just camped in the delta, and not drive around endlessly for hours.  So we booked ourselves into Third Bridge campsite for a couple of nights and set off for the Okovango. 

Like icebergs, but warmer

Like icebergs, but warmer

The drive in was beautiful and Sean declared it one of the best day’s driving he’s ever had. The infrastructure in the reserve is nothing more than sand tracks, and there has been a lot of rain lately so there were some huge pools of water to drive through, a little bit hairy at first, but Sean ploughed through them manfully and we were fine.  And when it wasn’t mud, the track often turned to very deep sand which was also a challenge but eventually we made it to the camp. 

Third Bridge Campsite

Third Bridge Campsite

The camps in Moremi are unfenced and on the first night we heard lions really close by.  I stayed up until the roars got to within 50 feet, and then retired to the Hotel du Van.  Sean went off in hot pursuit, probably shouting “Me! Me, eat me!” He didn’t succeed in being eaten, but did just catch sight of two leonine backs disappearing into the undergrowth ahead.  Later in the night I woke up dreaming about washing machines and found about 8 hippos grazing around us, and yes, they sound like sloshing washing machines when they munch!  These nights when it is just the two of us, surrounded by miles and miles of wilderness are the times when I am most absolutely happy and at peace.

The next day we spent very quietly, me reading, Sean trying to get eaten…………….

More teeth out here than you can shake a stick at

More teeth out here than you can shake a stick at

We were both looking forward to darkness but the night passed without so much as a squeak from any toothy wildlife however in the morning the car was surrounded by hyena tracks.  We then had to leave, but on the way out spotted this albino Red Lechwe – I bet he got teased at school. 

'Chalky' Lechwe

'Chalky' Lechwe

The roads had dried out a lot and the ponds had shrunk to mere puddles

Out of the park we headed North West toward the Namibian border and overnighted at Sepopa Swamp Stop.  It has a lovely setting on the river and while we were sitting looking at the view and enjoying a beer I noticed a little snake twisting along the railing, Sean got a quick look before it dropped off into the verdure beneath.  The two barmaids at this joint were very friendly, helpful and quite staggeringly idle.  The owner was clearly off site, and they managed to ignore a table of dirty glasses which were in plain sight 20 feet from the bar from the time we arrived till who knows when? They could still be there now.

Our time in Botswana has been way, way too short and I really hope we get the opportunity to come back here again for another much longer visit.  It was frustrating to have so much of the country inaccessible to us, but that’s the rainy season for you.  Hmm, I’m already thinking of an extended Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana tour when they get rid of the evil man with the little mustache.

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2 Responses to “Mud pools and miscreants – trials in Botswana”

  1. rich et famille said

    Yo Luce n Sean. all mighty surreal, reading about your adventures in Mozambique and Botswana when we are in a blizzard in Austria. have had mighty fun skiing, tobaggonning, swimming and eating cake although not necessarrily in that order. sid is a skiiing daredevil, the Hugster just cross about skiing mainly, but has had fun in ze snow. The wiesenhof, which you know of course, does not change- lots of naked germanic types, mainly confined to the sauna. boy has it snowed though. home tomorrow. what is your eta back home? did you sort out your tenants? lol rich, vic, s and h.

  2. vic said

    STOP TRYING TO GET EATEN SEAN!!!!!!!!

    Very surreal reading all this stuff when you’re sittingin a winter wonderland where the snow’s a metre deep.

    Has the tick gone yet??????????????

    Zoiks.
    xV

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