Day 301 (5/2/09)
And it was time to hit the road again, we said our goodbyes to Vicky who was finishing the trip and to the excitement of Livingstone. With a relatively smooth border crossing we stamped out of Zambia and caught a five minute ferry through 'No-mans land' to Botswana. Botswana enforces a very strict foot and mouth prevention program which involves walking through specially soaked pads and Franko driving the truck through a significantly larger Tyre wash. We arrived in the small town of Kasane and to 'Thebe Camp' back in the routine we set up camp and headed to the pool until interrupted by a late afternoon shower.
Later that afternoon headed off on a afternoon cruise through Chobe National Park sighting some elephants in the distance, a couple crocs, a herd of Sternbok and a very pissed off hippo. Which our driver kept antagonising until he mock charged us a couple times before getting bored with us.
We enjoyed some hot and picturesque showers built around a giant tree and a quiet evening, all but the hippo's who's grunting sounded closer and closer as the night drew on but fortunately failing to be sited.
Another long DRIVE DAY, through multiple foot and mouth stations and past a huge twelve elephants.
We arrived in Maun and to our camp at 'Sitatonga' late afternoon.
Our group was significantly down sized as the majority headed off for a Makoro (traditional canoe) trip in the Okovango Delta National Park instead opting for a couple days to relax. Enjoying the brilliant sunshine by the pool, some time to blog and a fantastic BBQ of steak and sausages (the first time in a while) and a couple beers!
We stood by the gate at 6am eagerly awaiting our prearranged taxi to take us to the airport for our early morning flight over the Okovango Delta. With time ticking and no way to contact the company we decided to hitch a ride into town. The first guy that pulled up was a very kind local with a shotgun unassumingly placed in the passenger seat listening to some preaching on the radio. With no time to be picky Jez, Carly, Owen and Matt jumped in and the kind man drove us all the way to the airport despite the fact his house was barely a km
from where he picked us up. We tipped him and thanked him profusely, fortunately they are able to delay the flight until the others got into town nearly fifteen minutes later with one of the taxi's who arrived late and demanded they cover the cost of both the taxi's!
We set off in our light 7 seater aircraft and instantly overwhelmed by the view, overlooking lions, elephants, hippos, empalla's and lots of giraffe. Both Jez and Carly were soon feeling green requiring all our concentration not to be sick leaving no energy for taking photo's. Nonetheless we loved the experience but definitely would take a couple kwells for next time.
We walked back into town grabbed some steak and eggs for a massive BBQ brunch and spent the remainder of the day chilling by the pool and looking over photos from the past three months.
After a sleep in, the rest of the group returned from their Makoro trip and we headed into town to shop for essentials for upcoming days on the road, Jez did a cook group shop and then we both got sidetracked at the internet cafe in shock of the bush fires raging
Australia at the time.
Back at camp Carly's group was on duty for a much needed truck clean and Jez cooking up a HOT HOT HOT yellow chicken curry.
Early start for our short DRIVE to Tsodilo Hill's four large mounds rock formations arising unexpectedly in otherwise very flat and dry desert plans. According to the bushman the hills are named the Male, Female, and the smallest Baby and the North Hill or what some say the girlfriend or first wife prowling the in the background. The word Tsodilo is derived from the Hambukushu word 'sorile' which means sheer.The hills are also known as the Mountains of Gods as the local bushman believe its the resting place for the spirits of the deceased and that their gods live in grottos within the Female Hill, from where they rule the world.
After lunch we set off on a guided tour of the hills with local guide Oli to see some of the 3500 rock paintings from Kung and local bushman tribes having survived an impressive 3000years (however some are believed to date back 20,000years!!!), past ancient cave game board, sharpening stone, previous camps sites and the now dry
spring, amidst some spectacular views looking out into the desert.
We returned back to camp to set up our tent setting off on another walk to find the prime viewing point for sunset. After a good forty minute walk we still hadn't found THE spot so settled with a relatively clear plain. We wandered back just on dark, frightened by local dog who too arrived just in time for dinner.
We laid out under the stars watching the satellites and full moon, before toasting some marshmallows by the campfire before bed! YUM!
Up rose with the sun knowing this was going to be our last shower for a couple days and made me recognise my growing tolerance to cold water. Clean at least for the moment we boarded the truck for our DRIVE DAY into Namibia.
Barely out of the camp we stopped briefly to apply some first aid to Matt who had courageously rescued Emma's towel from the Acacia tree which had ripped it from within the truck only to be savagely attacked leaving his face bloody and shirt in shreds.
We arrived at the border in one the quickest border crossings to date and were
back on the road with a stop for lunch by the river.
We arrived at the Baobao tree after what seemed like an eternity. Then we climbed and photographed the giant tree from every angle intrigued by the history of Baoboa trees which traditionally have a multitude of uses from post office, meeting venue to having medicinal properties.
A pre-dinner red, some delicious baked potatoes and it was time for some scary stories by the camp fire.
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