In Botswana

Well as I write this I’m sat next to a Rondavel, next to the Chobe River in Botswana. It’s sunset and the warm glow of the red sun is slipping down below the horizon. Very relaxing, which is good because that is exactly what I have come here to do. In fact, even this trip has proved at times a little adventurous. It all started with the car overheating repeatedly on the way to Lusaka. I’ve broken down a few times in Africa, but never with my family and kids in the car. However, after a while we managed to limp the car into Lusaka, but it was very late by that time. It proved to be a simple problem, mainly caused by me trying to fix a radiator leak – the thermostat had stuck closed meaning that the engine never cooled down. Anyway, a stop at Rammy’s garage in the morning to have the cooling system taken apart and serviced has sorted that out. So off to Livingstone it was. By the time we were approaching there it was very late at night and we had 70km of what we could title one of the worst patches of road in Zambia. So after 2 hours of bouncing around, we made it into the Mosi O Tunya Rd, and Livingstone itself. After that drive, I simply couldn’t be bothered doing anything the next day, so our trip to Botswana would wait. Over the border the next day and into the dusty reaches of what eventually becomes the Kalahari Desert. Phew! It is hot down here. Once we sorted out the considerable problem of accomodation, we set about planning our voyage through the Chobe National Park, which incidentally contains one of the largest concentrations of game in Southern Africa. Problem is, it’s sandy roads with deep sand, off road driving at its best in some parts. And flippin tiring – and fun! 🙂 So yesterday our destination was Savute Camp, some 170 km (that’s further from manchester -> birmingham off road!) to the South West. The game in the morning was brilliant, more herds of Zebra, Buffaloes and the like that I had ever seen, and in vast herds stretched out on the flood plains of the Chobe River. By the afternoon I was getting the hang of driving off road again…. Then the temperature hit 42 degrees in the baking sun. Now call me a pathetic Englishman but I can’t be bothered driving on holiday in 42 degrees, never ming when I’m in the middle of nowhere in the bush. So we turned around nd went to a nearer camp. Our camp was down by the river surrounded by Elephants, Baboons and Warthogs. Quite a surreal moment came when a warthog startled us and ran in to our camp, stopping as if not expecting to find us there. We all backed off, only for me to realise I’d left Jacob a lot closer than I would have liked. Fortunately, the Warthog ran off. I didn’t get much sleep as frankly there were too many animals around our camp. Shrieks and roars don;t do much for sleep. Apparently, Jude and Mark (in other tents) thought my snoring was a lion or something big for an hour and a half….. ’nuff said. This morning found me in a terrible mood… I hate breaking camp, never mind when I’ve had no sleep. Anyway we contrived to get ourselves lost on the salt flats near the river for bout an hour as well – always good…. We even managed to get ourselves stuck in deep sand for a while. That led me later to being a little over zealous with the accelerator, and literally causing the vehicle to take off on a particularly deep part of sand. Mark was in the back and I just remember him flying about…. hmmmm So I find myself sat here, admiring the view having had a crazy last 6 days. Only in Africa.,,, Must steel myself to get back into the fray next week. But that is the subject of my next post.

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