Tsodilo Hills, Botswana

We had the choice of 2 routes to the Tsodilo Hills.  The shorter in terms of distance was along a sandy track whereas the other route was on tar and gravel and although 40km longer would be quicker.  Kev, of course, chose the sandy track!  To start with it was fine with wide verges and firm sand and we were able to travel at 30 – 40km/hour.  After 20km or so we came to a small village and after that the track became very narrow and with some sections of deep sand.  We’d let the tyres down at the start of the sand but had to let them down again and use low ratio to get through the deep sand.  We also had to put the seed net on as there was long grass along the centre of the track. We suspect that this track will eventually disappear as the bush takes over. 

As we got nearer we could see the Hills - quite a sight after days of flat countryside through the Kalahari and we could understand why they are of great spiritual significance to the bushmen. The nearer hill is called Male Hill and the lower but much larger hill in the distance is Female Hill.

We eventually made it to the entrance gate and then went on to the museum (S18 45.471 E21 44.214) where we booked in (no charge for entry or camping), organised a guide to take us around some of the rock art painting the next morning, had a look around the museum (especially the part in an air-conditioned room – so lovely and cool!), then went to our campsite which was spacious and just had a water tap.

 

We were very glad that we'd got a guide to take us around the Rhino Trail as we certainly have missed several of the paintings on our own.

We were amazed at the quality of the rock art and how well it had kept considering most of it was done 2000 – 3000 years ago.  Also surprised at the variety of animals that had been drawn, rhino, elephant, zebra, eland, buffalo, rabbit, scorpion, gemsbok, impala, fish and, most surprising of all, a whale! as well as others of people and geometric designs.  It took us nearly 2 hours to do the trail and we saw dozens of paintings.

 

When re-inflating the tyres we noticed that the front nearside tyre had a leaky valve. In the next town, Shakawe, after stocking up with corned beef and tuna (as they had no fresh meat and the frozen chicken came in big 2kg bags), bacon, bread and vegetables. we asked about getting the valve replaced and eventually found  the ‘Brigade School’ which turned out to be the Okavango Development Training Group which had workshops and training facilities for teaching a range of skills to the locals.  One of them was a garage where we told that they could replace the valve but that we would need to supply it!  So we drove back into town, bought a valve from the car parts shop and went back to the workshop where they replaced the valve for us.  Cost us P40 plus we gave one of the guys a P10 tip but well worth it to get it fixed so quickly.

While driving through Botswana we would often see objects at the side of the road to show where tracks to individual houses or small villages were located, as it was often hard to see the tracks.

Mostly we would see painted tyres or an old plastic chair hanging in a tree. This was definitely the most imaginative 'sign' that we saw!!

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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