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We caught a ferry across the Zambezi to Botswana, a rickety pontoon with two outboards lashed to the sides. There was just enough space for a couple of cars and a lorry, but a Sunday, so no queue. We had to disinfect all our shoes and drive through a water bath before being let out onto Botswana. Once in, we drove the short distance to Kasane and stayed with all the South African holiday makers at Chobe Safari Lodge. These South Africans all seem to go on holiday in massive groups, all with big cars and trailers or off road caravans. They are generally friendly but just take over, completely. We unfortunately arrived to check in at the same time as a group and had to wait for ages. The campsite was very pleasant, if busy, and the views over the River to Namibia at Sunset were brilliant. Next day we went on a money mission, (ATM wasn’t working), and then to the supermarket. We wandered around amazed, everything was there, just as in the last few countries but this time it was sensibly priced. We could afford things again. Probably not as good for us as fresh stuff but, somehow, comforting.


After Kasane we went down to Nata and bought Nelly a seed catcher. We had trouble convincing the shop keeper where we had come from and had to provide our own tape measure and scissors to get the net but we got it and fitted it across the radiator grill.

Photo 2359 Nell's radiator grill
Next day we went down to Sua Pan. One of the vast Makgadikgadi salt pan, the largest complex in the world apparently. The track down to Kubu Island was reasonably obvious and not too dusty, and hardly any grass to worry about. The Island is on the western edge of the pan and to the east all you can see is a strip of blue (sky) then a strip of white (salt). It really felt like it should be sea you could see so far.


(Photo 2353)

After a very starry and cold night we moved up to the Baobabs. Baines’ and Chapman’s, they are absolutely massive trees. We had another night on the pans before going to Maun.

(Photo 2389 Chris in the Baobab tree)

Maun is the safari capital of Botswana and home to quite a few 101s. Most of them live at Audi Camp and most arrived from the UK with winches attached. These winches now live under the bench in the garage, well, two of them don’t any more. We also met quite a lot of other travellers who had also driven from the UK. Whilst we were in Maun we went to a 4x4 day, where we saw some buggies and other cars playing in the sand

Photo 2475 Mr Baobab
Photo 2422

After a few days in Maun we left to go to the Drotsky’s Caverns and the Aha Hills. We went along with Graham and Connie who have driven from the UK via the west coast of Africa. The caverns were quite interesting, we could get really close to the bats, but they weren’t nearly as smelly as the ones at Mount Elgon. Some of the stalactites were hollow and we could nearly play tunes on them. You need a good torch, no electric lights here or guides, a little bit of string shows you the way inside and through out the other side.
Mount Aha wouldn’t be called a mountain in any other country. It is a rounded rise amongst some other rises that are only just discernable as hills from the flatness around. Botswana is generally very, very, flat. As we left the hills for Sepupa we stopped and heard a psssss noise from the front driver’s side tyre. A puncture, so we put on the spare wheel. On the tarmac to Sepupa, just as the sun was setting, we heard a big bang. Not a gentle sound but a terminal sort of noise. The passenger side back tyre had exploded. Not just punctured but a hole you could fit your head into, as Chris put it. The second spare tyre was fitted. The new mudflap had been ripped off, but we found it in the verge, and the lighting wired ripped out, so we taped the live wires up out of the way. We pottered on to the Swamp stop hoping it wouldn’t get too dark, too fast. Knew there was a good reason for all the reflective tape we’ve accumulated on the back of Nelly. The next day was spent fixing 5 punctures and the lights, changing tyres over and feeling sorry for ourselves.


Photo 2462

(Photo 2367)

To boost our moral we headed to the Tsodillo Hills. There, we saw some San Bushman paintings which were quite impressive but not as much as the rock. We scrambled to the top of the Female hill and once we had established that there was a way down we got the climbing gear out. We selected a line and went up to the top in three pitches. We named the route Mr Baobab and if anyone wants to repeat it then email us and we can send you the route description. Whilst we were climbing another South African convoy passed, 12 cars, and they all got out and photographed and videoed us climbing.


The next day we crossed the border into Namibia.

A very pleasant two weeks in Botswana, despite the tyre.

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