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The Diary
Botswana 2

We return to Botswana after about 24 hours

We fly through customs.
Our feet and tyres are once again “disinfected” and we pay for new road tax, which costs 40 Pula (?), whereas in Namibia it costs 70.

Makgadikgadi Pan – 2 Aug 2008

There are many entrances to this enormous saltpan.
One is from the Nata Sanctuary, a paradise for many birds.
As well as the many pelicans, there are a great number of pink flamingos.
It is usually flooded though.
Now, there is a lot of water where the flamingos are and the pan looks like a big lake.
There aren’t many flying birds but the panorama is full of character.

We try to get close to the lookout point but…
We encounter the problem that many off-roaders fear when they attempt to drive across the salty pan.
We become stuck, not only are we on our own, but to make matters worse, the sunset is approaching rapidly.
The surface appears to be crusty dry mud, but underneath the 15cm crust, lies sand and water. The weight of a person is easily supported but the K7 has broken the crust and is now resting on her belly, fishing with her wheels in the sandy waters.
With any other car it would have been easy but on our own, without stones or wood to place under the wheels, our exit was, let’s say, a little problematic.
We were helped by the hard pieces of acacia, hard pieces of firewood that we had strapped to our roof.
After “only” two hours, we were free and speeding off into the dusky twilight.

The Pan

We are in the pan
Planted in the pan
Frying in the pan
We are dig, dig digging
Underneath we are touching
With time we are fighting
On hopes we’re clutching
In the mud we’re paddling
And more water we’re finding
Stuck here excavating
On the edge of the pan

Khama Park Rhino Sanctuary – 3 Aug 2008

A sanctuary for rhinos, the rare white rhino and the black.
In Botswana, this animal, on its way to extinction, is protected. There are 32 of them left.
Unfortunately, we only come across one, which stays rooted to the same spot for hours.

But, with a lovely horn!

Our Impressions

Botswana gives you the impression that it is the last real piece of what remains of wild Africa.
The Africa we all imagine.
The Africa of ancient times.
The Africa where nature and its animals are the protagonists.

As you travel around, you come across wild animals such as elephants and giraffes; antelopes and warthogs are all over the place. Hyenas roam in and out of the campsites and without notice, lions and leopards can show up, a wonderfully wild and unique place.
Overall, the main roads are in good condition. All other tracks are a bit of a risk and very difficult. Of course, the seasons make a great difference.
The people here are calm, kind and courteous; they are curious without being to intrusive. There are no police roadblocks and in the more populated centres, fuel is readily available.
Life here is slightly more expensive than in Namibia or South Africa. In the tourist areas, the government has decided to welcome its few tourists with an emphasis on the economical benefits, lodges and hotels are unbelievably expensive although beautiful and luxurious. Thankfully, the campsites are a little bit more accessible.

Signposts, beer and curiosities