Botswana started off with a few hiccups but soon we were back to our exploratory ways visiting Shakawe. Here we found an old American teacher named Steve with a school named Bana Ba Metsi which takes in troubled youth and incorporates them into a family system assisting to reacclimatize into a community after often turbulent pasts. We spent the night, got a marimba show making a memorable impact on us as I am sure we did on the youth we engaged with.
Headmaster Steve took us out on his boat for a spot of fishing (note Tom’s face at his first tiger fish) and game viewing.
From here, we made residence in Maun and embarked upon another adventure into the Okavango Delta on a double-decker aluminium barge of excellence. The Okavango Delta is the 3rd biggest inland delta in Africa after the Sudd on the Nile and the Inner Niger Delta in Mali, it is also one of The Seven Natural Wonders of Africa as well as a world heritage site.
Please note the two hammocks hanging below and the army ponchos making our roof on top. This 5-star hotel and an extensive trip into the heart of the delta cost us the construction of a braai (thanks Mike) and the petrol we used.
We had amazing views and incredible fishing! With the monster below being caught on a handline at night.
The braai came in handy for cooking some of the fish we caught. Some fish were sacrificed for action-packed entertainment from the local fish eagles.
After our expedition into the panhandle of the delta, we went back to Maun to plan our next trip to the Makgadikgadi Pans. We used our close friend Danny Thomsons awesome post-apocalyptic looking Hilux for this wilderness exploration. These pans are one of the largest pans in the world and are remnants of the formerly enormous Lake Makgadikgadi which was larger than Switzerland but dried up several thousand years ago.
The Pans are a whole lot of nothing! Beautiful and humbling in its isolating and desolate persona. The stars, sunrises and sunsets are breathtaking on the incredibly flat expanses. If you undertake this mission please remember that the pans are colossal moisture retainers and the centres are remote and if you get stuck you are unlikely to get out or be found. Stay on recently travelled tracks within view of the grasslands.
Packing the bakkie full of firewood and water we penetrated the depths of the flatlands.
Our time on the pans were some of the most memorable on the trip even though the trip was not undertaken on the bikes. Once we arrived back in Maun we packed our stuff for the bike ride to Kasane.
On the road we managed to find a Puffadder that had been hit by a car (headshot), yet even though its injuries were beyond repair it was still slithering across the road. Realizing the extent of the injuries we decided to
utilize this opportunity to expand our diet to roadkill. Mmmm delicious.
We found a cell phone tower about 50 km North of Nata, where we decided to bed down for the night. We were able to climb the tower and watch a sunset in a landscape completely devoid of hills.
The following day we arrived in Kasane, a small town in the northeastern corner of Botswana. The town is a wildlife haven with warthog using the main entrances to upper-class hotels and elephant still migrating through the town, with their own set-aside paths. I managed to slip down one of these elephant paths and throw my line in at a nature reserve in town and behold first cast and a respectable tigerfish smashed my lure and gave me a great fight in a very wild and scenic setting.
We made camp on the Chobe river 3 km outside town and settled for the night, where we watched the full moon rise over the large river.
Our camp was simple consisting of a sleeping bag next to our bikes, the morning revealed signs to our complete ignorance to the area we were dealing with, about 25 meters from camp we discovered fresh Lion tracks. They had come to drink at an inlet to the river located just above our camp.
It looked to be a large male lion and a smaller female. This taught us a lesson about camp formation and the fact that we are hitting more remote areas where foolish humans may still be part of the food chain.
The country is safe, welcoming and the majority of the country has been set aside for game conservation, this makes it a wildlife hotspot! Botswana is a special place with friendly people and some incredible places that need to be explored in southern Africa.
& The Nitty Gritty Nomads.