Botswana, Namibia and Victoria Falls. 2008 - Kalahari, Botswana

We spent a couple of days driving through South Africa and crossed the border into Botswana soon after Mafikeng, where we stopped to have a look around the museum. We hadn't taken any meat or dairy products with us as we'd be told they could be confiscated at the border so our first task was to get supplies which we did in Lobaste. We then took the Trans-Kalahari Highway, heading West. Driving along the Highway was very easy as it was so straight but did need some care and attention as there would often be goats, cattle, sheep, donkeys and horses grazing on the verge - we saw far more animals than traffic!!

We stopped at Kang for the night and then drove into the Kaa Concession of the Kalahari, a recently opened area where camping is now allowed near some of the villages. Having unsuccessfully tried to locate the village head man at the first village we carried on to the Masetleng Pan (S23 42.344 E20 53.905) where, according to the guide book, we could camp.

As it was getting towards the end of the dry season there was no water at all in the pan but we camped at a viewpoint overlooking the pan where we managed to find a bit if shade. We spent a couple of nights here and didn't see any people or any vehicles while we were there.

We did see some ostriches and impala nearby - they can apparently manage to get water from plants.

We had a great time here, enjoying the solitude.

After we left this camp we drove to another village, Ukwi, where we were greeted by some of the locals and were able to pay for using the site.

The roads in the Kaa Concession were either gravel or sand. Some of the sandy tracks were easy to drive along but others had quite deep sand however as we'd let the tyres down on the truck we got through OK.

Kev was driving on a gravel road which had a convex surface so high in the centre of the road but with sandy stretches on the lower edges.  Usually he drives in the centre of the road but at one point got too close to the edge, hit some sand and the truck started weaving across the road.  On 3 or 4 occasions we were on 2 wheels but Kev managed to keep it upright and eventually stopped.  We were both feeling that we’d been lucky to get away with staying upright however that feeling was short lived as we then heard a ‘hissing’ sound from the back wheel and got out to see that the nearside back tyre had separated from the rim and was letting the air out so we had to change that wheel.

We carried on to Thakadu Bush Camp (S21 44.356 E21 40.710) www.thakadubushcamp.com just outside Ghanzi.   At the camp we had a beer and then went to set up camp.  As Kev was backing the truck into the campsite I noticed that the other back tyre was very low on air – Oh NO!!! – we didn’t have another spare tyre!  Decided that the rim on this tyre must also have been damaged but had been letting the air out slowly. 

Kev went to see the owner of the lodge to ask about a lift into town and was fortunate as he said we could go in with one of his guys the next morning so we managed to get both tyres repaired and it only cost us Pula 25 (£2).

We had 3 nights at Thakadu and enjoyed our stay there - a nice quiet campsite with excellent facilities - a good bar and restaurant with a view over a waterhole, hot showers, a pool and welcoming hosts in Chris and Jeanette.

One evening we watched local Bushman dancing nearby. It was fascinating. For the most part the women sat in the centre singing and clapping while the men danced around them but occasionally one or two of the women would join in.

Sunset at Masetleng Pan.

Kalahari, Botswana
Okavango, Botswana
Tsodilo Hills, Botswana
Kavango River, Caprivi, Namibia
Kwando River, Caprivi, Namibia
Zambezi River, Caprivi, Namibia
Chobe National Park, Botswana
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Tuli Block, Botswana
Diary.

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