Day 287, Wednesday 17 October 2012 – Chobe, Botswana
It was a night of very little sleep, around midnight there was a very loud chorus of braying donkeys and barking and howling dogs, it didn’t go on for long but it was enough to break up a good doze. This was followed by rain around 2:30, again, not a big shower, but enough to have to get out of bed and close the shutters on the tent.
We were up at 5:40 for a 6:00 breakfast, pack and on the road for 7:00, it was a big drive day today with 600km to our next destination – the Chobe Wildlife Park. 600km may not sound like a massive amount but when the roads are as busy with wildlife as these ones here you really do need to be alert all the way and driving fast is out of the question.
Before we set off we were warned by driver Will to stay seated as much as possible as this road was particularly bad for animals, both domestic and wild and this proved to be the case quite early as wehad to stop for a small mixed herd of wildebeest and zebra crossing the road.
We had a coffee stop at Nata, where it took fifteen minutes to present us with hot water and a jar of Nescafe, not sure of they had to go buy the water or the coffee, but it was all nicely served in little china jugs, one for each person.
We stopped for lunch at a road side rest area, I loved the warning sign.
The road through here is being almost completely rebuilt by the Botswanan government and there was a lot of road works, but the road is superb, one of the best on the trip so far, it is shame that you just cannot drive fast on it, we saw a dead donkey on the road side and soon after a truck was stopped on top of another donkey, not a nice sight! We came very close to creaming this ostrich, it was only a metre or so away from a messy end.
When we were having coffee at Nata Will had said we would see elephants on the road side and he was not wrong, only a few kilometres from the town of Kasene, just outside Chobe he had to suddenly slow down as four elephants meandered out on to the road side just before we passed. Very cool, not something you see everyday in New Zealand, sadly I didnt get a picture, wrong side of the truck!
We stopped in Kasane to shop for snacks and drinks – and for those that were hungry – KFC, the first I have seen in Africa.
We had quite a long break here so Stuart and I went for a walk off the main highway and found the phone shop – a shop with a phone that people pay to make calls from.
An most importantly the local bar, where a bottle of Windhoek lager was under half the price it was a kilometre away inside the campground. There was a couple of people in there but most were just hanging around outside, not sure what they were waiting for – leftovers ?
The campsite at Chobe is on the edge of the national park and the Chobe River – the Chobe is one of the main rivers flowing into the Zambesi River, we have an electric hippo fence outside the tents. It is very close to the borders with Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The campsite is really crowded and as usual very dusty, there are a lot of vervet monkeys and mongoose running around the grassed area near the lodges and the swimming pool/bar area.
We had a typically relaxed dinner and drinks afterwards and then an early night.