After Maun we visit Lake Ngami again. Some of us takes a boat trip while I takes a stroll through the village instead. Our next stop, or part of the adventure depending on how you would like to view it is the Kalahari. I always thought it was some kind of desert with a lot of sand and stone. Well, I was right about the sand, but there were bushes and trees everywhere. It looked more like the savannah than anything else.
Going through the Kalahari took some time. Even though we only was supposed to travel like 250 kilometers it took us a couple of days. Somewhere along the road after the tar roads had ended we stopped to fix a puncture (which turned out to be 4 in the same tire) we met a funny man who we invited for lunch. He told us about his cattle and that he had been in the army and that he disliked the Chinese for some reason we didn’t get. We also saw some animals but not as many as we’ve seen before. I guess more animals would see us than we see them. It’s easy for them to hide in the high grass.
In the outskirts of the Kalahari we enter the Mabuasehube Kalahari Transfrontier Park. We see mostly gazelles/antiloops and oryxes and then some lion tracks but we never get to see the lions this time. Unlucky for us. But it was still a very pleasant trip trough the park. Another bush camp lost in the memories, another story to tell another day. The morning after we continue towards the South African border. Suddenly the lead car shouts over the radio: Lions crossing the road!!!
We get off the road and start looking for the lions but they are long since gone. We only had that glimpse of the lions when they crossed the road. That was the first time we saw lions outside a national park by the way.
Then we starting to get closer to the civilization again. Some donkeys, some cows, a carriage dragged by two donkeys, some people, a car, some more cars, houses, a village, a small town and then the border to South Africa.
Gallery updated with pictures from Botswana!
Right after the border crossing we entered Chobe National Park. From all the national parks I’ve visited so far during this trip Chobe was the most packed one. With animals that is. Hundreds of elephants, giraffes, buffalos, gazelles, antiloops, zebras and so on. And they were everywhere! We spent well many hours in the park before sundown. Just before sundown we sneaked out of the park and bush camped not far away from the entrance. When we woke up in the morning we found big cat prints close to our camp. I wonder if an lion might have been passing by?
After breakfast, back into Chobe National Park again to finish the adventure. After driving many hours on sand roads, getting occasionally getting stuck in the sand, bumping around and seeing many animals we reached the southern border of Chobe and searched for a place to bush camp. After a while we found a place that looked good. During the late dinner in the darkness we heard noises around the camp. Using our torches we got a glimpse of what we thought was a hyena. Quickly doing the dishes and putting everything we don’t need away we got ready. We aligned our chairs in a circle, back to back, armed with our torches waiting in the dark.
And there, suddenly we heard a noise again. Someone pointed his/her torch towards the noise and there it was. The hyena trying to sneak around in our camp. It was an amazing sight! That night I could not sleep, I just lay there hoping to be able to get a glimpse of the animal again. I heard a lot of noises but I saw no hyena. Sooner or later I fell asleep after all.
Now we are on our way to Maun again. Maun was a nice place and for the new comers it’s going to be a good time with the Okawango Delta and all that. We stay at the same time as before. We even park the cars in the same spots. The biggest difference is that it’s so dry now. The sun has more or less burned away the grass, the trees and bushes are getting dryer and dryer. You could say that this part of Botswana has turned into different shades of brown.
While some of us go exploring the Okawango Delta I spend most of my time around Sedia Hotel or in Maun. One of the days we decide to have a BBQ party which turned out really nice even though we almost had to fight over the ”braai”. We also met a German (or if they were from the Netherlands, I don’t remember) couple that was doing a similar trip through Africa but on motorbikes instead. It was nice to exchange some experiences.
Next stop was Victoria Falls, again! We stayed at Shoestrings Backpackers, again! We took a look at the Victoria Falls, again! We even walked across the bridge into Zambia and had a meal on the Zambian side. If you just want to walk onto the bridge you can get a ”bridge pass” at the border control, but if you want to enter Zambia make sure you have a double entry VISA to Zimbabwe, else you will have to buy a new VISA when you re-enter Zimbabwe again. A VISA to Zambia costs $25, a VISA to Zimbabwe costs $35 if I remember correctly.
The falls looked as amazing as I remembered them. And wet. Very wet. Since we spent some time here I managed to convince most of the gang to join me on another white water rafting tour. And of course I wanted the same guide as I had 2 months ago. Titanic! So we walked into Shearwater Adventures office and booked a rafting trip. And we were lucky! The rafting had been closed for almost 2 months due to the high water levels. The Monday we had booked on was the first day they would do it!
Said and done, the very next day we left. The road was as bumpy and the truck was as noisy and uncomfortable as the last time. We arrived at the same place as I had done 2 months earlier, we got our ”spoons” and the soup was just down in the gorge. We climbed down and after the usual safety instructions we we’re on the way. And it turned out to be a really good adventure. The Zambezi river was really aggressive and we had to paddle like crazy!
Then it happened! A huge wave flipped the boat! Everyone ended up in the water. We spent 1/3 of the rafting distance picking up members and their paddles. When we arrived at the sand bank where we had stopped and rested the last time we were exhausted. For me, it was loads of fun, but some of the others were not as enthusiastic as I were.
After some less dramatic rafting we arrived at pick up point of the rafting and we got to climb all the way up from the gorge again. And on the top we were greeted by food and ice cold drinks. Back at the lodge I met some nice people who I chatted with for a long time. I also met a South African tour leader who taught me the rules in rugby and also made me like the game!
From Victoria Falls it was just a short drive to Botswana, but before crossing the border we entered a small national park around Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge. We weren’t to excited about the park so we left or the border station instead.
Gallery updated with pictures from Zimbabwe!
Upon entering Botswana we discovered that we had no pulas available because all ATM’s within almost 200 km range was out of order. But that was a lesser problem, first we needed to find a place to camp for the night. Going off road placed us right next to a farm and the kind farmers showed us around and told us there were plenty of lions around. One of their cows had just been attacked the other week for example. In the evening the roaster chased all the chicks into a tree so that the lions would not be able to reach them. All night we could hear farmers in the area making noise to scary the lions away and we also heard dogs barking in the distance.
The next day we continued along the road. It was a long, very straight road. I think it went on for like 600 km or so. Arriving at the !Nxia Pan was quite exciting. It’s a national park and we entered. We had some luck right after entering when we saw a small herd of elephants cross the road in front of us. Then we also had some nice sightings of zebras, various kinds of gazelles and some gnus and a buffalo or two. No lions here either. On the way out we saw 6 giraffes that lined up beautifully along the horizon. I really like giraffes, they move in a funny way and seem a bit goofy but they are really beautiful.
After the !Nxia Pan we drove the remaining 140 km to the city of Maun which is situated just south of the Okawanga Delta. We camped at a hotel located just outside of Maun. The hotel was owned by a British man and his Botswani wife. The name of the hotel is Sedia Hotel. Here we stayed for some days which gave us plenty of time to take a flying safari over the delta, explore the town and see a dance show performed by some of the staff on the hotel.
When we left Maun we found a lake called Lake Ngami which is somewhat special. On the shores of the lake there lives fishermen. They move their village after the shoreline depending on if the water is high or low. We convinced some of the fishermen to take us on a tour on the lake with their small boats. We kind of regretted this because the boats was not made to take that many passengers and the fishermen who was obviously high was not really good at driving the boats either. We managed to get back to the shore again without any accidents but to be honest the trip was not really worth the effort.
We followed the road north towards the eastern parts of the Okavango Delta and eventually we would find the roads totally flooded so we had to wade with the cars which was fun. Took us more or less a whole day to get through and reach a camp site where we intended to stay for the night. Turned out that the camp site was very expensive and they had no real service, not even a bar so we decided for a bush camp instead.
The coming day we continued towards Namibia but first we had to go on a small excursion on a river. We found a man who would take us on his boat and off we went. The river sides was filled with papyrus and in the distance we could see some large birds slowly circling. The guide picked up a water lily and made a necklace for Lena out of it and said it was a special wedding necklace used by the locals. After the boat trip it was one more bush camp and then we arrived at the Namibian border.
In the winter of 2012 I went on a expedition trip through 10 African countries during 4 months. I left Sweden on the 12th of February and arrived back home again on the 16th of June. I went with a company called 4x4expedition.se whose concept is going by car by a loosly planned route where the participants can make decisions on where to go and how long to stay. The cars are equiped with tents on the roof so that we can camp, there’s also small gas stoves and other equipment needed for camping. So the concept is also not so much hotels and resturants (which makes traveling pretty cheap since we buy most food from local stores/markets).
The trip was divided into 3 legs.
The first leg started 20th of February in Dar Es-Salaam, Tanzania and went through Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and ended in Cape Town, South Africa on the 14th of April.
The second leg started in Cape Town on the 20th of April and went through South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique and ended in Harare, Zimbabwe on the 19th of May.
The third leg started on the 20th of May and went from Harare to Victoria Falls and then to Botswana through the Kalahari back to South Africa and ended on the 10th of June in Cape Town.
I stayed a couple of extra days in Cape Town before flying home. Also, the dates mentioned here might differ a bit, I don’t remember entierly but they should be somewhat accurate. I should have done this when I got home 5 months ago, not now. Oh well. Enjoy anyway!
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