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Sandro & Elske, 19 April 2013
Botswana Botswana , Maun °

The real Africa experience

After our long long train trip it was finally time for some action! The next day we visited the Victoria falls, one of the seven world wonders located on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe where the Zambezi river drops down 108 meters. The falls were amazing! It stretches over a distance of more then a kilometer and you have different views of the falls while you walk the whole length. In April the water is really high and therefore there was a lot of spray and you could really feel the power of the water. See the pictures!

The next day we crossed the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia by walking over the big iron bridge you will see on some pictures too. As we only wanted to visit the Victoria falls in Zambia and wanted to make the $50.- we had paid for the visa worth it we decided to book a tour package: a half day canoe safari , a game drive and sunset cruise for tomorrow.

We drove approximately half an hour by car upstream to our starting point. After the guides pumped up our canoes it was time for a little \'safety talk\' where he explained that we had to stick close together, were not allowed to stick out any arms or legs in the water due to the many crocodiles and in case of a hippo attack we had to paddle for our lives! Thank god all of us survived Wink . At beginning we had quite some rapids and and afterwards we could just float down the stream. Unfortunately we didn\'t see that many animals as there is still enough water on the land so they don\'t need to come to the river yet to drink but we did see two elephant families and some hippos on the way.

Afterwards it was time for our first game drive and we would meet our vehicle on the way. We were already scared that it would be full with people and that we would get the worst seats but it turned out that we were the only ones and had a private game drive! Our guide said that if we wanted we could see the white rhino (which isn\'t white but is called like this for some reason) but then we needed to ask the ranger if he wanted to accompany us as there are only 9 rhinos left in Zambia and they are protected by armed rangers against hunters. So with this ranger we went to the other side of the park were we could see two rhinos sleeping under a three and they are huge! Afterwards we went to the other side of the park where we could see zebras, giraffes, impalas, buffaloes and some more we don\'t remember the names of. We also saw big crocodiles lying at the river bank of the Zambezi were we were canoeing just a few hours earlier..

In the evening we did the sunset cruise, a boat ride with free drinks and food Smile was really nice. We saw some more hippos and crocodiles while we enjoyed a beautiful sunset. When we got back in the hostel there was no electricity so the whole hostel was lit by candles so we had some beers till the electricity came back so we could finally shower and sleep.

The next day we visited the Zambian side of the falls together with a Finnish and a Dutch girl from the hostel. At the Zimbabwean side we didn\'t really needed a poncho but after 5 minutes at the Zambian side we went back to the entrance to rent one as it was too wet there! People without were literally soaked. On this side you are much closer to the falls and don\'t have the overview like in Zimbabwe but there are some really cool spots. We crossed a bridge which brought us very close to the falls and were standing in a wall of water. We walked to the right side of the falls where we could see the Zambezi just before the falls till where the water drops down and we walked down for 15 minutes to see the \'boiling pot\', the place all the way down where the water arrives before it streams further. Here we were again surrounded by baboons, monkeys which are sometimes more then a meter tall and which were jus walking past us.

After our experiences with the African public transport system we decided to travel a day earlier to Kasane, Botswana so we had the whole day in case we would be delayed again. But somehow everything went super fast! We found a shared taxi to the border with enough people already so we could leave, the ferry to bring us to the other side of the river was waiting for us and on the other side we could jump into a cab right away. It\'s quite expensive to take a private taxi so for longer distances you can go to a spot to meet people going your direction and share the costs. So we shared our taxi with a guy, a women with 2 small children on her lap and 2 chicken! In Kasane we stayed in the beautiful lodge where Jackie & Thomas (the son of friends of the Baumann family) were having their wedding on Saturday and where Sandro would be groomsman instead of his brother which wasn\'t able to come. On Friday they invited us on a boat safari where we saw plenty of elephants, buffaloes and hippos in and out of the water and afterwards Sandro\'s parents also arrived after a bit of delay (Africa..... Wink)

In the evening they organized a traditional African dinner which was for us Europeans an amazing experience. Even though we didn\'t like the self-brewed beer and the biltong too much, there were traditional African dancers, there were pots of food in a circle in the middle and a big buffet. The whole family of the groom were wearing the local cloths and the bride and groom had to sit in the middle while the dancers were dancing around them and her aunt was doing a speech. Very cool!

The next day was the wedding ceremony which was very beautiful, next to the Chobe river and really traditional. Afterwards we had drinks, dinner and a party! Sandro had to sit with the bridesmaids and groomsmen and the bride and groom at a table and I sat with the other groomsmen girlfriends and some people from Botswana. My table was definitely the funniest! Maybe also because of the local liquor \'Amarula\' the people from Botswana insisted that we tried Razz and because of their local dance which the locals thought us Europeans too Smile

The next days we went with the European part on a game drive (we saw a leopard!) and had a last dinner together. Actually our plan was to catch the 06.00 hrs bus the next morning but when the dad of the bride heard that we needed to go his direction he offered us to take us with him. With our later departure we were also able to join for another drink before we went to the room to finish packing our backpacks.

The following morning we said goodbye to everyone and departed to Nata with the dad of Jackie and her mam. Most of Botswana is actually one big game park, with Kasane as a little touristic village in the north and some bigger cities in the south-east. On our way we even saw elephants standing right next to the road. And then all of a sudden there was a huge Kudu running out of the bush towards the road and within 2 seconds, the dad tried to break and steer to the side but it happened too fast and the kudu crashed right in front of the car, slammed into the front window, rolled over the roof and landed on the other side of the road while also the car came to stop. Fortunately and thanks to the solid car with thanks god finally working seat belts in the back (very uncommon here) we were all fine but the poor Kudu didn\'t survive the accident. The dad is already living here for many years and said that this never happened to him before. After we took some breath we stepped out of the car which didn\'t look good and the dad decided we would drive some kilometers further to a police post where we explained what happened so they could help us and check on the kudu. As there was nothing what Sandro and I could do and we were only 80 km from Nata, the dad arranged us a lift to Nata so we ended up with a super nice Zimbabwean couple which was very exited that we had visited Zimbabwe too and told us all about the countries and the places we plan to visit and dropped us of right in the front of our lodge.

We visited Nata because we wanted to visit another place in Botswana and de lodge there offered a tour to the \'pans\'. We didn\'t know what the pans were and they didn\'t turn out to be that exiting. They are like salt pans where we saw many birds like pelicans, flamingos and ostriches and watched the sunset. And while Sandro was chatting in the back with the two Dutch girls I was stuck in the front with the elderly German couple! Also we had our first chance to use our tent as the lodge also offered a camping ground which was much cheaper then the chalets. When we arrived we asked the camping security if there were any animals we should know about and he told us that there are no animals. The second day we walked through the camping site to the pool when a guy told us: check out the snake there! And yes, there was a cobra right in the bush next to the bathroom. In the evening we told the security that there are animals and he said: ah yes, but only snakes. Did u see also the big one one the other side? We replied: no, that must be another one then. So, we went to sleep at night knowing \"yes we are in Africa and not in Dietlikon anymore\".

After Nata we traveled to Maun where we did a Mokoro trip. A Mokoro is a kind of canoe with a poler standing on the back. Our poler was called Paul and with Poler Paul we went to explore the Okovango Delta, a huge delta covering 18.000 square kilometers. So while Poler Paul poled us through the Delta we were enjoying the sun and the view. The delta is beautiful and really peaceful. After a few hours we made a break on an island and Poler Paul told us we would take a little walk, so we thought we would go for half an hour or so and our opened bottle of water would be enough! Till after 1.5 hours our bottles were empty, we were exhausted due to the heat and we still had a good half an hour to go! But we saw a huge group of zebras which were also excited to see us humans and were following us for a bit. Afterwards we shared our lunch with Poler Paul. Sandro wanted to learn how to pole which didn\'t turn out to be as easy as it looked like but he did a good job Smile when we came back at the starting point Poler Paul showed us his little village with small African houses, no electricity and where the water comes out of the river and then we got picked up by our speedboat and enjoyed the ride back with a bottle of beer!

Today we arrived in Windhoek, Namibia after a 9 hour transfer from Maun. Our stay in Botswana was really nice! Chobe national park is amazing as well as the delta. After our short ride through Windhoek Sandro already spotted a restaurant called \'Cordon Bleu\' and is already claiming that he loves Windhoek and never wants to leave.. So if I manage to get him out of here to explore the rest of the world or if he moved into the Cordon Bleu Restaurant you will read on our next blog.. To be continued!


Sandro & Elske

By now we went & spent:
Km by plane: 11\'062
Km by bus: 886 + 330 = 1216
Km by train: 451
Km by car: 0 + 312 + 807 = 1119
Total: 13\'918.50 km

Hrs on the plane: 13
Hrs on the bus: 17 + 3.5 = 20.5
Hrs on the train: 24
Hrs by car: 0 + 4 + 9 = 13
Total: 70.5 hrs

Countries visited: 4

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19 April 2013


20 April 2013

Ha Elske en Sandro. het klinkt allemaal spannend en fantastisch. Maar wel goed dat wij niet van tevoren weten wat jullie plannen zijn en dat jullie ons pas later, als jullie het overleefd hebben, op de hoogte stellen. Dan valt er wel mee te leven. Straks kunnen jullie wel een bureau opzetten als vakantiecoaches. Misschien vast iets om over na te denken.
Mooie reizen samenstellen voor mensen die er geen tijd voor hebben.
Geniet maar weer verder misschien is het once in a lifetime.
veel liefs Bart en Louise

Luki & Marco

21 April 2013

It looks like a dream...have fun and enjoy your adventure!


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