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Published: July 25th 2013
Well my friends - what an absolute slacker i am! in all seriousness, this is the first time i have been able to sit at a computer since my last update back in Zambia. Genuinely, we have only been using our phones with WiFi and to write this kind of text on my phone is a massive ball ache so i have been very naughty and not written anything. BAD KIMMY!!!!!
So i shall fill you in on our adventures through Botswana and Namibia, and then i will write another entry for South Africa. Although as we are on our way home next Tuesday i dont really have loads of time so i may have to renege on that promise - but we shall see!!! 😊
So we got ENGAGED and saw some Rhinos and Rainbows (or moonbows) in my last blog... a 10 days or so that i will never forget. And so it was onwards to Botswana! We crossed over the border using an ancient chain ferry over the Zambezi river, where some were foot passengers (like us), some were in cars and vans, and there was room left over for one articulated lorry. These huge lorries were all queuing at either side of the river, and had been for hours and hours, waiting for their turn to cross. We spent one night in a tent in Kasane at the edge of the Chobe National Park, where at night we could hear all the elephants trumpeting and crashing around - pretty cool. Then we continued on to Maun, via two bus journeys. The first was annoying because we caught it at the designated hitching spot, got all comfortable (in the very loosest of terms), and then bus did a U'y, went back the way we had come and sat for another hour and half at the frikkin boarder!!! After only picking up about 3 other passengers in that time it then went back to the 'designated hitching spot' and continued on its merry way. Had we have bloody known!!!! Luckily there was a local crazy man on the bus with us who amused us no end and made the wait that much more bearable. With long drawn out repetitions of words like "ssssseeeeerrrrrrriiiiiiioooouuusssssssssssssssssss" and "sssssshhhaaaaaaarp" and "i'll get my haaaaaaaaaat" for no apparent reason we thoroughly enjoyed his company. Not to mention how often he explained to us (complete with randomly drawn out words) that he was really the bus driver and that we need to be careful of the cardboard boxes (what?!!). I was very sad to see him go. Especially when he boarded the bus that took him directly back to Kasane again!!!! I wonder if he pays?
The second bus was also annoying, but only because the wanker woman conductor was a total racist and point blank refused to acknowledge our existence so we had to get on the bus last and then it was full and we had to stand for hours. Much to her amusement. She kept asking me if i was 'comfy'. I'm not sure she fully understood the expert sarcasm i sent her way.
So in Maun we stayed at a really funky backpackers - the kind that you envisage when thinking of cool backpackers - we hired a tent and made some nice friends in the tents around us. One guy was Swiss and called Beat! Rather a good name, and a good man. But he did not play the drums, only cycled - everywhere. he had actually met one or two people that we had met along the way so that was pretty cool. And Maun is home to the Okavango Delta - the absolute mecca of Africa as far as i am concerned and perhaps the most excited i have been about any of the amazing things we have seen and done out here. Here is where we originally planned to end the trip, but then obvs we have since been invited to South Africa, so thats why we had to get a bit of a move on! So we are just starting to get a little 'edgy' about the old budget so we plan to just do one trip here at the Delta. One decent trip and then just chill in the heat for a few days. We couldn't do much more than that because the Delta is such a massive tourist attraction that any trips or safaris of any kind are at least 3 times more expensive, so we had one shot at it. And f***ed it up royally!!!!!!!!!!! I cried. A LOT. and complained. BITTERLY. And got no money back whatsoever!!! Damn the Mokoros!!!!
So i decided that the trip i would like the best would be on a Mokoro boat. I wanted to get out onto the water and see everything close up and just generally have a romantic and panoramic time. The mokoros are traditional carved little boaty things, poled along (a la Venice) by traditionally dressed tribesmen and traditionally a silent and convenient way to snake along the Delta currents and get into the heart of all the animal action. PANORAMIC is a word tossed around liberally by the adverts, i was way excited. We took a speed boat out to the Mokoro station area (great fun, loads of birds and one large croc - still very excited) and then got put in our Mokoro (very traditional looking, very wobbly - still excited) and then was poled away by some 'youth' in jeans and a football top with his mobile welded to his ear (bit uninspiring, bit less exciting) and proceeded into 8foot reeds never to be seen again. Well, ok, we were seen again. but no bloody panoramas were!!!!!!! They failed to tell us that the greatly famed Mokoro tours were seasonal, and of course, this was not it. So we doggedly poled through a wall of dead reeds for hours and hours, seeing nothing because there had recently been a bush fire and all the animals had been scared away. Livid doesn't really cover it. We refused to tip our guide (who spoke barely three words to us all day) and got back to the tent where, i repeat, i cried! 200 bucks worth of reeds. I wish i had a good long machete handy (for the reeds, not the guide!) although we did see a hippo on the way back home - score!
So we went back to the drawing board, threw caution to the budget and organised a tiny prop plane flight over the Delta two days later!!!! Now thats the way to do it! it was awesome. i could just hear the music from Attenborough's Planet Earth in the background as we flew low over the flooded planes and sparkling pools and lush lush green grasses (no reeds) and there were literally hundreds of animals. you could see all their track marks through the grasses and see the splashes as they crossed into the water. i loved it so much, one of the best hours of my life - and it was fractionally cheaper than the damn boats!!!! Consequentially i advised every person we met from there on in NOT to book the Mokoros and ONLY to take a flight. HAHA screw you Mokoro morons - you shall rue the day!!!!
After los of sunbathing we were off again to Namibia. a vast detour on our trip, but it made much more sense to go there and down to Cape Town, rather than go south out of Botswana, into S.A via Joburg, go down to Cape Town then back up to Joburg again... phew! One snag though... no bus route. And its roughly 800 k's to get from the end of the bus line, a small town called Ghanzi, to the beginning of the Namibian bus line, in Windhoek. Hitching it is!! for 800ks -eek! Although we had done a lot of very small hitching in Bots and the people seem to be really friendly and willing to drive us even further than even they were going so we wern't too worried. When we arrived in Ghanzi, we fannied about for a bit getting some lunch and having a sit down, then we had to hitch out to the hitching spot (ironically) and get in line. Dishearteningly, the line was about 20 people strong and it was going on 4 o clock so we thought we had no chance of getting a lift before sundown - we would probably have to go back and stay the night in Ghanzi. but as we dejectedly sat down, nowhere near the queue and not even looking appealingly at the road, this snazzy BMW pulled up, beckoned to some guy who was standing near the road and insisted "we want the white people"!!!!! We were absolutely mortified!!! some of those poor woman had been in that queue all day, in the baking sun (one even had a baby) and we rock up and snag a lift in less than 5 minutes. Such bad form, but who were we to turn down a lift?!!! we jumped in and they actually took us the entire way across the border and into the city of Windhoek. Bloody marvellous!! saved us a fortune in bus fares (although we did obviously give them some money). the only downside was that we had to share the backseat with a rather large arsed black lady, who was ever so nice and friendly, but her bottom took up more than her fair share of her seat, my seat, and some of maffs too! My poor thigh had been practically absorbed by the time we arrived and the pins and needles were shear agony!!!! But they did introduce us to some excellent African Jazz - very nice.
Not a lot going on for us in Windhoek, just forward planning and waiting for our intercape bus to take us to Cape Town, but a pleasant city to kill a week in. And we purchased a tent!!! 6 months too late, but there we go. the Mokoros has robbed us of about 2weeks worth of budget so its camping all the way now until we go home. Wouldn't mind so much but its now going to get considerably colder now we rapidly approach winter. Oh the joys of travelling!!!!
love to you all xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
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