First Stop Kasane border post then Chobe for 2 nights.
On the drive to Kasane in Botswana we saw HUGE elephant emerge form the bush and then a honey badger. Nearly caused a big accident as the badger ran out into the road and Willy slammed on brakes, Ian behind did the same but had to go onto the rough on the side of the road to stop in time. When we had stopped we looked back for the Gaults and were amazed to see them and inches away on our left with away shock on their faces. – very close!
We arrived at our lodgings just outside Kasane at about 5ish. Alarm bells began to ring when we saw the hand written sign indicating that this desk was actually reception and the group of aimless, disaffected women behind it were the receptionists. Our attempts to tell them we were here to check in were met with copious jabs at the computer, much head shaking and Botswana speak amongst themselves. They eventually produced some keys and took us up to our rooms . (This supposedly being a Chobe river lodge, I was surprised to see no evidence of a river but was prepared to accept that it was somewhere in the immediate vicinity.) Anyway – back to the trip to our rooms. That pathway led past a swimming pool (a smallish in one) in which a large (in number and large in size ) black family was making very merry on some lilo’s. Bikinis all round, and really some very large bums to be seen. The poolside bar was belting out some deep African rhythms, some worn old pool chairs scattered around completed the picture. It was really very unappealing.
The rooms were permanent tents set in amongst the trees with considerable noise from the A33 main road below us. We all took up our spots only to have Andy and Sarah come down and say they had been taken to their room and shown around. Two unmade beds, some very browny stuff smeared all over the floor, and the whole place reeking of urine!! Welcome to New Years eve!
Some grumbling had them offered another room in a block adjacent to the ablution block of the neighbouring campsite. By this time we were seriously unimpressed but a quick round of neighbouring hotels ( all of whom were riverside lodges (ON THE RIVER ) told us that there were absolutely no vacancies. Yet another room was found for Sarah and Andrew and we decided in for penny in for a pound and joined the braai for New Years Eve – as you will see we were significantly out numbered but made very welcome by all the locals. Ian, Richard and Andrew particularly so.
I’m sure they were very impressed by their moves! We have some hilarious videos that are probably too big for these files. Good deal of alcohol brightened our spirits somewhat, some tucked into the impala stew with pap happily, others just concentrated on a liquid dinner that night.
New Years eve ended with all the Youngers jumping into the pool in the rain. I’m sorry to say I was asleep by then as when the rain started in earnest I departed to my little gloomy dark tent!. Once I had stuffed all the scorpion holes, snake entry points, mozzie gaps – I went to sleep.
The rain I mentioned that was on the 31st . It is now the 4th and the rain has not let up for a minute!!
Torrential downpours on a continuous basis.
We bravely got up at 6.00am on New Years day and went into Chobe. It was very wet , we were all tired and cranky, all except drivers slept. Some hippos still out of the water otherwise not much of note so we went home and took up our positions in out dark little tents. After a day spent listening to the rain fall we had a good dinner out at a local hotel, watched a huge crocodile swimming down the river, ate our way through a hippo load of veg’s and went to bed happy that we were moving on tomorrow.
Willy and Ian – feeling somewhat deprived of Chobe decided we would drive through Chobe and Savuti to Maun on the dirt roads instead of the longer tar road . They say that bad decisions make good stories. This was very nearly a bad story too.
The pictures don’t do it justice – but after about 100+ km of thick sand – not too troublesome other than being slow, we started to hit A LOT of water.
Where is the road?
We took a few pictures in the beginning but as things got more dire we were way too tense. The water was over the bonnet in many many parts we estimate 60km of over the bonnet stuff, and consistently above the wheel arches. The Gaults had their ankles in muddy water. 211km @ 20km per hour in what was not a road but a river. The water was actually flowing. There were no other cars on the road, (we had only passed two all day) and had no choice but to keep on ploughing through. The car was in low ratio with the diff lock on almost constantly. There were parts where we really did not believe we would get through. Willy at one point thought we would not get through and would sleep in the park in the car (the car barely seated 6 let alone slept 6 ). The worry was that the water level was rising constantly and he was worried we would be overcome by it by the morning. Also the elephants in Chobe are the biggest I have ever seen and none to friendly either. I have to say we definitely would not have made it without such a competent car and driver.
In the middle of one deep part we hit a massive bump and all hit our heads and the car smacked down on its springs breaking some we were certain. Willy thought the bonnet had flown up the angle was so acute, Andrew thought the roof had caved in , I thought we had lost the roof box
We had consulted Garmin and Tom Tom neither of which showed accommodation or human habitation of any kind for 60 km , that was three hours driving at 20km per hour and we didn’t know the state of the road to that accommodation, all the while the torrential rain continued so it was getting worse by the minute. In the very last deep crossing Ian stalled, the bonnet was under water and we really thought it was all over but he managed to start the car again as they had a snorkel. Very close.
We have since heard that Botswana recived more than a whole wet seasons rain in the four days form the 31st to the 3rd. More of rain and cars later.
When we arrived very late at our accommodation in Maun –Willy opened the Glenfiddich bottle and gulped one very long swig from it – we were seriously shaken.
13 pretty tough hours .
The lovely B&B owners went to the hotel next door and bought ten pizzas for our dinner and we sat in the breakfast room very happy to be safely indoors. We fell on the food having not even had breakfast and started to slow our wobbly legs. Good nights sleep.