Chobe National Park to Francistown

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July 28th 2017
Published: August 3rd 2017
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We crossed the border from Zambia at Kazungula, which was fairly straightforward but required a short ferry across the Zambezi. A bridge is in the process of being built but the projected finish date seemed a tad optimistic. We found a cab on the other side- 10 minutes to Kasane, where we based ourselves for visiting Chobe National Park.

The town itself isn't terribly interesting, other than the warthogs roaming the streets, nibbling on ample trash.

Be sure to exchange all Kwacha (Zambian money) at the border, since there is nowhere in Kasane to do it. We tried the banks and bureaus, but eventually I had to just ask around to find someone who knew a Zambian and exchanged with her at a terrible rate.

We stayed at Plateau Guest House (pronounce it plat-oo or no one will know what you're talking about), which is a 20 minute walk from town, where there are several other cheaper options to staying at the expensive lodges along the river. $75 at Plateau seemed a bit pricey regardless.

As we started walking toward town for dinner around dusk, the receptionist at the guest house rushed out to stop us, warning that it's unsafe due to elephants and lions roaming around after dark. They called us a taxi.

We went on a game drive early in the morning with Dream Safaris, a discount safari company (only $25 pp). The park isn't nearly as populated as the ones in East Africa, but we still saw hippos, buff, giraffes, impala, zebra, baboons, and colorful birds species. The guide was qualified and the vehicle was fine, so there's no reason not to go with this cheaper option.

Sunset Cruise
The 3-hour Chobe River cruise is a better option to leaving at 6AM on a game drive. There were at least 50 boats - from small, streamlined motorboats seating 10, to double-decker pontoons seating 100 - heading toward Sedudu Island, near the border with Namibia, but the crowd didn't make the experience any less enjoyable. Water buffalo, elephants, antelope, and giraffes stroll to the river for a final drink before dusk, and the scene is like a staged tableau or a zoo. The boats pull into the grassy edge of the island so that you're as close as 5 meters from the animals.

Kasane to Francistown
The next morning we took a
Warhogs of KasaneWarhogs of KasaneWarhogs of Kasane

We took the minibus in the foreground to Nata. Most schoolbuses I reserve fit 38. They packed 38 in that minibus- not comfortable.
minibus from Kasane to Nata (great road - very flat and fast), where we overnighted at Nata Lodge, on the edge of Nata Bird Sanctuary (we skipped the nearby salt flats but found out later there are meerkats nearby), but we should have continued all the way to Francistown instead, especially since we had to wait 2 hours at the Shell station in Nata before getting squeezed into a minivan, only with the help of a self-proclaimed attendant who forced our bag ahead of others and procured two seats for the three hour journey to Francistown.

Additional photos below
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They're building a bridge between Zambia and Botswana, but in the meantime packing onto a barge carrying a tractor trailer where this guy pours gasoline in the engine while moving across the river suffices.

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