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Botswana… it’s all about the Elephants!

sunny 28 °C

After the border crossing into Botswana we got to the campsite and got the tents in place. After dinner as it was so cold we decided to start a campfire. Lee got nominated to go and collect some fire wood and returned with a tree, yes literally! The following morning we could hear hippos groaning and bathing in the river just down from the campsite, it was pretty amazing to hear them so close and knowing there was no fence separating us from them! There was a sign up in the campsite saying to beware of hippos and crocodiles. To be honest, rather than say beware, it should just say run as fast as you can, and get your backside to the top of the nearest tree you find! We were then faced with another travelling day, and we stopped off on the side of the road to make hotdogs for lunch. The locals seemed to find this pretty amusing and kept driving past waving and honking their horns, we’ve found Africa very welcoming so far. It’s a bit of a nightmare knowing how to dress though as in the mornings and overnight you need your thermals, and then during the day it is sweltering!

We arrived at our overnight camp called Elephant Sands, what a place!! The camp was situated on a watering hole where elephants come daily to drink, and our tents were literally in the elephants territory. We were told not to keep any fruit in our tents as the elephants would smell it and try to get to it, and if we needed the loo in the night, to shine our torch out of the tent and look for elephants as they would be roaming around! If we saw any, we needed to get back in the tent and keep quiet, by this point we weren’t sure if we were going to be able to sleep a wink! We then decided to head out on a game drive in search of elephants and anything else we could find, and what a drive it was. Nothing like Kruger, this time we were literally off roading and drifting through the sandy tracks, this felt like real safari! We stopped off at a watering hole and were told to keep our eyes peeled as elephants can come at any time and from any direction. We took a few photos and enjoyed some nice beers, and the cracked on with the game drive. We saw Kudu and some other animals, and some elephants grazing, and we were told to keep very quiet so they would not charge. It seemed like quite a leisurely drive, until dusk that is… it then became elephant central! They were appearing from nowhere, and at one point one was charging along and had we been just a couple of seconds earlier, we would have collided! The drive had gone from relaxed to an adrenaline fuelled frenzy in a matter of minutes! At one point we could hear rustling in the bushes, one elephant was less than 10mtrs laying down, and then we noticed these huge grey lumps ahead, they were everywhere and with their young, on every side of us. Our guide quickly turned our headlights off and shut down the engine, and we all just sat in silence, and sheer panic! We literally spent the last half an hour on the edge of our seats making our way back to our camp, and wondering what we were going to see around each corner and almost swallowing our tongues with our gasps, it was like something you would see in a film, such an incredible experience! When we got back to our campsite, there were elephants at the watering hole, we just caught the tail end of around thirty elephants that had come to the hole at one time!

The following day we continued our drive, and there were elephants happily crossing the road every so often, and we spotted Kudu and Giraffes too, it was amazing… a bit different to maybe spotting a fox at home! We could see the flat plains of Namibia which borders Botswana on our drive. That afternoon we headed out to Chobe National Park on a cruise. We spotted loads of hippos munching away in the water, lots of Kudu and an elephant taking a dip! It seemed to turn into a bit of a booze cruise and we returned back to our camp a little bit tipsy :) The following morning we had another 4:30am start and it was like a scene of ‘I’m a celebrity, get me out of here’ in the bathrooms… there we bugs all over the place, including a massive spider, uuurrrgghh :( A beetle decided to climb up my leg whilst I was taking a shower, much to my horror! Off we went to the border for another crossing, this time into Zambia. The ferry crossing itself was one not to be forgotten! Whilst we were boarding the ferry, it was a beer run frenzy, people running everywhere and loading beer from the port onto the boat. We left the port and as we approached Zambia, men in boats were frantically rowing towards the ferry. They were collecting the beer from the ferry to avoid paying tax on the alcohol! It was hilarious to watch, and apparently when police come along they just tip everything into the river, and then come back and collect it later! From what we’ve seen so far… Zambia looks like it will have more funny moments to come! :)

Posted by Cass - Lee 15:51 Archived in Botswana

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