Phase 3 – Botswana: Safari
Having finally arrived at the kazangula border between Zambia and Botswana we headed to the office to have passports and visas ‘checked’…
After such a time that we had composed ourselves and realised how easy it was to move from one country to another in Africa we boarded the pontoon for the barely five minute journey, we glimpsed what we had come here to see, I must admit I was first to see them, almost too scared to let the others know, in case of looking like an idiot.. Even after all this time. Yet it was what I believed it to be, we were not even on Botswana and we had already seen elephants.
Our arrival in Botswana was nothing short of chaotic.. Trying to have passports checked and stamped, sterilising of boots for foot and mouth disease. Quickly climbing into a safari truck, seeing more elephants. There really was no time to rest on this trip.
Setting up was quick and heading to the pool, a chat with some other (posh) outlook groups. A rather fancy meal, a shower with hair washing (this happened about 4 times in total in the whole trip, the hair washing that was). And bed was not far behind, I must however admit, it was a late night, maybe 9pm. Yeah. We adopted OAP sleeping patterns on that trip.
So having gotten some sleep in our 4th country, we had a 5am start for our first safari. A game drive so a quick intro from our main man jack, we headed off and to our shock, considering there was no sides to the truck… at 6am it was bloody freezing!
Once at the gates to the Chobe national park, we were all ready for it, getting wound up for what we were about to see. We first saw impala… We continued to see these for the rest of our African lives. As we headed into the park being thrown about and jolted all over the place, as it was a sand road. We first came across some crane that looked very mystical with the sunrise behind them. As the sun got higher and we regained feeling in our face we were exposed to all of the natural wonders, the hippos and the monkeys, the kudu, several hyenas were to be heard and seen. A drive along the sand continued as we came to a stop to admire the elephants on right, a glace to our right showed giraffes (unlucky for Anna, this was the side she was on). As we marvelled at the wondrous creatures all in their natural habitat, it was like a story or watching a documentary, but we were in it, just sitting in our truck, looking out.
After being typical tourists with the oohs and ahhs, we returned to the campsite, and just chilled around the pool.
Around 2pm we got all our stuff together and headed off in the truck again, except this time towards the river, where after climbing along some rather dodgy looking docks, we finally boarded the boat and headed out.
We were what could only be described as astounded at the sheer amount of elephants and water buffalo that surrounded the area of the boat. As we continued further and the sun began to set we saw only more mystical beasts. Giraffe’ bending down to get water was entertainment to say the least, as well as rounding a corner and coming across some rather angry hippos, set in a dual. Which seemed as though it would go on for hours. The smashing noises when the collided was bone-trembling. All of us holding on to the railing trying to get the best angle without falling in.
After an unfinished fight we continued round and shared what our last meals and drinks would be with a whole lot of other ‘lasts’ was only complimented with the most amazing sun set I’ve ever experienced.
Another cold trip back to the camp where there was some form of an attempt at trangia baked potatoes and another night’s sleep was to be had.
The final day in Botswana had a nothing but expected hectic start when we were taken on a morning game drive again. Much to Dave’s disapproval and a slight argument with the tour guide we set of into the park gates again. We then saw much of the same, but not that we were complaining as we had all come prepared this time, having gotten into our sleeping bags and had some random old people take a photo of us, we carried on and just as we were about to give up hope on seeing anything we hadn’t seen the previous day, a truck came hurtling towards us. An exchange of unknown words and the quickest three-point-turn I have ever seen on sand. And trying to get up a hill in much too high a gear. We finally joined the circle and much to our amazement we saw one approach from the left and then another and finally a male from the right. All we could do was try not to hit our mouths off the ground. None of us really knew what to do with ourselves. The majestic lion was only 30m away from us.
After all the fuss was over we returned to the camp and had a wee dip in the pool, as the last night of Botswana set in.
After getting packed up in the morning we headed towards our taxis and managed to get everyone to and through the border, after meeting a very lovely Swiss man who had spent 6 weeks cycling round Madagascar. We said good bye to Botswana and headed back to dear old Zambia. As we crossed the border we tried and failed to book a bus, so taxis deemed appropriate. However I must add it was a tight squeeze when me, Rory, a rather large African woman oh and her TWO children in the back… that was umm tight. It was also rather surprising when she started breastfeeding the baby….
Unfortunately one of the taxis seemed to acquire a sort of problem therefore meaning we needed to tow it, Dave was not best pleased when this happened while still travelling at 70mph. eventually making it to a petrol station for a fill up we made it back to Livingstone in pretty much one piece.
As the final days descended we took a trip to Victoria Falls, and the Livingstone museum to live out our last African days. Our final night’s meal was at Café Zambezi which was a three-course meal with two alcoholic beverages that equated to around £15 each. One more thing to love about our dear old Africa.
Our final day set in and thankfully we had had a real bed for the night so there was no need to take tents down, we had a BBQ cooked breakfast because thanks to good old African countries we had no electricity. So once we had all our things gathered and headed to the airport, once again in a rather African-esque bus. My baggage coming in at a good 15.1kg we waved them good bye only to be seen again in Scotland. As we headed through we had a while to wait, so reminisce of the past three weeks and what would be waiting for us on return we soon boarded the plan and we were on our way.
A six-hour stopover in Jo’burg was nothing short of boring. And a final blow to the already upset gut came when we had our flight from London to Aberdeen cancelled.
We somehow made it back to Scottish soil and some tears were shed and we got decent food and headed straight for bed.
And so the trip was over.
Two years in the making and it was all done and dusted, a fragment of memory, with the many stories to be relayed over and over, never tired of telling them again.
I would like to take this moment to thank all of my group who made the trip as wonderful as it was, Jenni, Charlotte, Dave we wouldn’t have managed without you (the black bag of doom, we would have though).
So here lies my African tale to be humbled over for the rest of eternity.expedition
Zambia/Botswanawhat to expect