This is the day we go from Namibia into Botswana, and borders are always a source of ‘stuff’. They usually are busy, hectic, unfamiliar, unclear and if you add the factor Africa into the mix, they also are dirty, crowded and very strict.
The process is quite simple: go out of Namibia by filling in a form and getting your passport stamped, move through the border gate into no mans land, go to the next office on Botswana side and get even more stamps. Also get you car papers checked, pay for the car, go to the border gate, get more car papers checked and stamped, and you are in Botswana.
We arrived soon after in Chobe National Park, and the Chobe Safari Lodge, which by the way is far too large for us. This is mass tourism, and this is also what we don’t like. But, we’re going to play along here, and enjoy it nevertheless. We’ll be here for three nights, and both days will be action packed! 🙂
This is our fourteenth day in Namibia, and we are thus halfway our vacation. Today is our day off, and the only full day we have here at the Kwando River. We spent it by waking up late, having a nice relaxed breakfast, taking pictures of the resident rodents and small birds, getting our tan on in the sun next to the swimming pool and in hammocks, and going on the PM Safari tour into Mudumu National Park.
This is also one of the places where almost all wildlife had vanished, but is now slowly returning. On the tour we have spotted loads of Common Impala (Etosha has Black-faced Impala), some Kudu, a nice pack of Roan Deer and even some Elephants! All animals are returning now, but it’ll take a while for everything to be back to what is was.
We have a border to cross tomorrow, and this is our last sunset in Namibia. The other side of the river already is Botswana, and that is where we’ll be heading. And I finally got my hands on the elusive Weizen beer from Namibia: Camelthorn! This has been kindly provided by our new found friends Tim & Rosalinde, who happen to have the exact same itinerary from now on. The only difference is that they travel with a large 4×4 with a tent on the roof, where we have our humble Duster to navigate the roads.
The Caprivi Strip is a weird thing, and has a very strange and colonial history. Right now, it is a small strip of land of what used to be Botswana, which is now Namibia and which borders on Angola. This strip is thus sandwiched between Angola in the North and Botswana in the South, and does not resemble any other landscape in Namibia. It even lives on Botswana time, which is an hour ahead of the east of the country.
Where Namibia is dry, arid and mostly empty except for the large number of Euphorbia plants, the Caprivi Strip is brimming with both flora and fauna, mostly because it is bordered by two large rivers. Due to the quite recent civil war in Angola spilling over into this part of the country, the wildlife had been all but eradicated by poachers due to unlawfulness and the insane prices that are being paid for ivory and other products on the world market. Slowly but surely, the animals are returning, and can be spotted in quite a few places already.
Our day consisted of yet another long drive from Rundu to Kongola which is about 450kms, and is proving to be butt-clenching for us as our trusty Duster only has a 40 litre tank for the diesel. That lasts us about 550kms, but we do not dare to empty the tank any further than the second to last mark in the gage. And the final kilometers are always a little tense so to speak. 😉 Luckily, there is a gas station every 200km or so, which means the next one is always around the corner. Sort of.
As we arrived early today, (the road is tarred!) we have found time to embark on the evening boat ride on the Kwando river. We found lots of birds (bee-eaters and Kingfishers mostly), crocodiles and some hippos. As the river is very narrow and our boat not very big, the guide put the pedal to the metal and raced past them, as they are very aggressive around here and even charge the boat!
We are staying 2 nights in Camp Kwando, and will not have to move for a day. Nice!