Day 4: Mpumalanga to Palaype (Botswana)

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November 15th 2008
Published: November 20th 2008
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Up early again today, at 5.45, to pack up the tents before breakfast at 6.30. Breakfast was lovely again and I felt sad to be leaving such a beautiful place, it if was a bit buggy. Thankfully, no spiders or scorpians in/under the tent. Getting the tent down was easy, but not getting it into the bag!

We then drove to the Botswana border through Hoedspruit, Tzaneen and Polokwane, where we stopped for lunch. I bought some food and a pair of trousers/shorts. I found a copy of Russell Brand's "My Booky wook" on the bus and started to read this. Not being asleep meant that I could glance up occasionally at the countryside as it passed. I am still shocked at the rural villages, which seem very primitive to me, but the people seem busy and washing hangs to dry and some have gardens and grass even if they are unplastered grey bricks and corrugated iron.

At Polokwane we stopped for the last time in SA and I bought some fresh fruit. However, there was to be no stopping after this until the border, and about half an hour in I needed the loo! We finally arrived and I had to stamp out of SA before being allowed to pee! We queued and a surly guard snatched our passports before slinging them back to us. After a blissful toilet stop we crossed the Zambezi into Botswana. An entry stamp nooow had to be issued but the chap was much nicer and chipper. We drove another 100kn to our campsite at Palapye (over a level crossing and right next to a railway line) and it was soo hot and humid.

The campsite was a sandy reddish, earth covered ground, with a few bushes and trees and a massive cactus. Oh and covered in ants, which bite rather painfully, sinking their jaws into my ankles and feet. After putting up the tents - I'm now with Vicky - I went for a dip in the swimming pool, which was refreshing, even though it was thundering at the time. Roeland and Hilde were already there and we were joined by Ben, Laurence, Nathalie and Christa. Eventually the girls arrived just as I left.

After I went to the bar to write but got interested in the rugby and distracted by the salt left on my skin. So I went for a shower. Interestingly the shower curtain was see through! Still at least it was hot! Apparently this is one of the better campsites which makes me nervous - what will the others be like???

As it was my group's cooking duty (Elsa, Ben, Rebecca and myself) we met up with Sonja. Ben cooked the steak and foil wrapped garlic bread on the coal bbq and we chopped the salad and put olives and feta cubes out. We also had rice cooked by the lodge staff. Not too painful at all. We were sitting on a long table in the VIP (!) area which was thatched. Some big flying things arrived from time to time, but were content to bash their brains out on the lights. A gecko traversing the opposite wall ate one, with the wings sticking out of its mouth. Apparently they hold on by the wrinkles in their feet and have no eyelids (they clean their eyes with their tongues).

After dinner I went to bed as I was exhausted and saw a large moth (about 3 inches across) being killed by some ants. It was feebly fluttering upside down, but it was too far gone to save.

Didn't sleep very well but had a strange dream about the trip being Big Brother-esk and Christa got voted off. Loud party going on in the local bar and the trains, so I wore earplugs. Hot again!


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