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Botswana

Botswana

Curious what backpackers do in Botswana? Discover travel destinations all over the world of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

Most traveled places in Botswana:

  • Day46

    From Popa Falls we drove to Kasane in Botswana (easy border crossing) after another nearly full day of driving. There had been a minor fuel leak in one of the tanks that was getting worse (our mileage went from ~10km/liter to ~6.5) so we had to make a stop at a repair shop when we arrived in town. The shop that our rental operator had told us to go to appeared to be an empty warehouse. After a few calls back and forth, we drove around back to discover quite a busy place. They diagnosed that we had a crack in the fuel tank and were able to make a temporary fix (bonding it with some sort of compound) until we can get it welded in once we get to Lusaka, Zambia – a much larger town where we’ll be making other repairs/maintenance.
    Given repairs weren’t complete until dark, we opted to stay in a real bed in a local guesthouse. Very comfortable place located in a residential area of Kasane. Had a good sleep before our visit to Chobe for the next 10 days.
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  • Day7

    We had a fascinating morning, one of the best of the trip so far. Up at 5.00, we were loaded up on 2 safari jeeps (along with 6 other visitors) and we headed off on the 1.5 hour trip southwards towards the salt pans. The countryside gradually became drier and drier and eventually there were no trees. And then suddenly we were upon a meerkat colony (a group of 17, with several burrows). What a busy group to observe! As they warmed up in the sun they became used to our presence and then they went off foraging with us following slowly afterwards.
    We had breakfast close by before moving to the Ntetwe Pan, part of the huge Makgadikgadi Salt Pan complex. A vast expanse of salt right out to the horizon. No water in sight. One felt quite insignificant on such a vast landscape.
    It was another 1.5 hour journey back to Planet Baobab where we took our tents down, had lunch and a last minute dip before heading westwards and Maun: an uneventful 3 hour trip. Supermarket shopping in preparation for our Okavango adventure followed and we headed for our nearby Sitatunga Camp where we put our tents up for the night.
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  • Day14

    Our last day in Botswana has finally arrived, much to our dismay, and we all packed before breakfast and then gathered in the restaurant. Leaving our bags behind to be taken to the airport later, we set off with Sei in his minibus for our last visit to Sedie School.
    We were greeted by the Sedie students and even a small group of Mathiba Primary students, all carrying trees ready for transplanting. Once everybody had arrived we walked to the nearby Sedie Community ‘tgotla’ (meeting place) where we were welcomed the local chairwoman whose speech was translated for us by a translator. Speeches from others including Mrs Senatla Moleele (Sedie Principal), Mr Parker and others followed (and plenty of group photos) before we moved to a nearby plot of land where a tree was planted. Unfortunately we had run out of time to plant any more and after several farewells we headed for our final organized event of our trip.
    Upstairs in a shop owned by the presenter, we watched a film about the life and times of the renowned wildlife cinematographer (and IMAX filmmaker), Dr Tim Liversedge. It was the story of an amazing life and there were some fantastic animal shots. Tim Liversedge had been a school friend of Peter Craig and it was a real experience to share his, and his wife June, life story. A great way to end our animal safari in Botswana!
    After that it was last minute shopping in the shops close to Maun airport before the slow process of checking a group though the airline and customs. A good flight on an Airlink plane and 1.5 hours later and we landed at O.R. Tambo International Airport (Joburg). Had to kill 5 hours so ate, drank, talked, debriefed and walked.

    Looking forward to seeing all parents at Sydney DOMESTIC on Saturday night meeting the Virgin Australia VA564 flight from Perth

    .

    We have had a great time but I think we are all ready to come home!
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  • Day17

    Cold night, but able to get a good sleep. We were looking forward to an easy day, but woke up to find the tire, which we had just fixed the other day, was completely flat!! Found a big piece of wire stuck in tire so was a different issue than before. John was able to remove the wire and temporarily seal the leak. Used the compressor to fill to a drivable pressure and drove to nearest town to get it fixed. The temporary patch was too good and we could not find the leak. Put one of our spare tires on and will keep a close eye on the pressure. The last thing we want is to have to change a tire in the middle of the Kalahari desert heat with wildlife wandering around. We will let you know.Read more

  • Day13

    The Sedie students, their Headmistress and another staff member, had all stayed in tents for the night and we gathered together as a group at breakfast. From there we moved into Maun in two vehicles and the first activity of the day to catch-up with our primary students of yesterday at Mathiba. More activities followed, with Oxley College 'teaching' smaller groups and a lot of fun occurred and it was sad in the end - and somewhat poignant as the kids sang a farewell to us - to leave for the secondary school later in the morning.

    After a wait at Sedie School, the group departed for a visit to a local farm, some 18 kms from Maun. Crops included maize and water melons, with cattle and sheep in evidence.

    Returning to school for lunch, we ate the packed lunch that had been provided by Sitatunga Camp. After lunch we practised for the 'concert' and also tackled some problems set in an Ethics task set by Mr Parker.

    By 3.30 enough of a crowd of Sedie staff and parents had gathered for a presentation to take place. Both groups of students sang songs - the entire Oxley party sang 'Waltzing Matilda' - and the Oxley students introduced theatre sports to Botswana, with James Rapp producing an outstanding skit. After a rendition of 'We are the world' by all those involved in the exchange the 'concert' ended with a thoughtful 'thank you' speech by Tom Lloyd and a prayer.

    Back to Sitatunga Camp by early evening where we moved into cabins for our final night. Much talk at dinner with tiredness catching up with everyone.
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  • Day18

    We do not want to sound repetitive, but another longer than expected drive from Khama to our first camp in the Kalahari. Partly our fault since we didn't follow an important rule when driving in most parts of Africa; fill up at every gas station! If you have only driven 10 miles since filling up and you see an open gas station, with gas, top up! Going into the Kalahari you have to be prepared for any situation since there are no services in the park and on a busy day you may only see one or two other travelers. So let's describe some of what we drive with. Our 4x4 has a 110 liter long range fuel tank. We also carry 40 extra liters in 2 cans on the roof. There's no water here so we have 40 liters of water in 2 cans, another 40 liters in an internal tank inside the 4x4 and a few 5 liter bottles. 2 spare tires, repair equipment for flats, hi-lift jack and a compressor to inflate repaired tires. Sand tracks if we get stuck in deep sand and a winch on front of the 4x4 so we can pull ourselves out if really stuck. A lot of stuff to carry, not including food and camping stuff, and hopefully we do not have to use this self-rescue equipment.
    Back to why it was a longer than planned drive. We had planned to do our last fuel 'top-up' in the last town before turning towards the entrance to the Kalahari. This is not a one-horse town, but a 2 donkey one fuel pump town with a windowless, brick structure called 'Her Majesty's Internet Cafe' called Rakops. We pulled up to the pump and a woman from the shade of her hut gave us the international sign - arms crossed in an X above her head, no gas and don't know when we'll get more. Our only option was to drive back 50 kilometers the way we had come to Mopipi where they hopefully had gas. Our calculations suggested an added hour driving but an extra 100kms worth of gas. We had also been pulled over on the way to Rakops for speeding, but managed to talk our way out of the fine. Going back to Mopipi, however, meant we had to go by the speed trap 2 more times - much more carefully.
    Once we were full of fuel (thankfully), we returned to Rakops and turned off the main road towards the Kalahari park entrance. Once you leave the main road in Botswana, everything is sand-or mud in the rainy season. Since they had an exceptionally wet, wet season, the roads were really impacted and have now turned to either bone rattling corrugation that goes for miles, interspersed with deep holes or deep, soft sand or a combination of all of these. With 50kms to the park gate and another 50kms to our first campsite it was great to finally get in, set up camp and go straight to bed.
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  • Day10

    Today we were up again at 6.00, grabbed a quick drink and we all went for a short walk, after being poled to a new, but nearby, island. Again, we saw an interesting cross-section of wildlife. Back to camp to pack up our tents and eat our last meal in the Okavango. By mid-morning we were on our way through the reeds, all 9 mokoros, returning on the 1.5 hour pole back to Boro base.
    We were met there by the ancient truck that had brought us, and after loading up and saying farewell to our poling friends, we were on our way back through Maun and out to our base at Sitatunga for a shower and lunch. Tents with our own ensuites (!!) and electricity.
    It was the end of the trip for our ATC tour staff who had brought us all the way from Zimbabwe. It was extremely sad to say farewell to Dumi and Gift who had looked after us so well for 10 days.
    Our Sedie hosts were waiting for us (10 students and 3 staff) but we definitely needed to scrub up after no showers for 3 days (but it was worth it).
    After lunch all 26 of us piled on to 2 vehicles and set off for our horse-riding safari, hosted by Rides on the Wildside's Dany Hancock. We were mixed up and split into 4 groups for a ride, a grooming session and initiative activities. The ride was fun because we were in a private game reserve and saw giraffe, oryx, eland and zebra. Finishing in the dark, we said farewell to our new Sedie friends and headed back to Sitatunga for a late dinner and bed immediately afterwards. It had been another day of great memories.
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  • Day12

    Today was our introduction to primary education as we visited Mathiba Memorial Primary School, a feeder school to nearby Sedie School. We were welcomed by 60 little kids all excited about the arrival of the 'Australians'. After introductions, we broke up into groups of about 12 Mathiba kids to two Oxley students who taught them new skills of speaking in English, colouring in, theatre games, etc.

    We rotated through the morning and finished a midday at which time we walked around to Sedie School where we joined the Sedie School students for lunch.

    After lunch we visited the nearby HIV/AIDS clinic for a talk given by the nurse who explained how the Botswanan Government had introduced programmes to prevent the spread of AIDS and educate the local people.

    From the clinic we bused into the town centre and wandered around for a while (generally in and out of fast food joints!) before we returned to our campsite at Sitatunga late in the afternoon.

    Once we all returned to the camp, plus 10 Sedie students who came to spend the night with us, we were lucky to be the audience for a talk given Mike Fitt of Wilderness Safaris about the reintroduction of rhinos into the Okavango, and the progress that the program was making. It was fascinating for both Australian and Botswanan students and appreciated by all. It was very generous of Mike to give up his time to talk to us.

    After dinner the rest of the evening was taken up with practising for tomorrow's 'concert', whether it is song, dance or theatre sports. We were joined by Senatla, the Headmistress of Sedie School, as well as one of their staff. A busy day for all!!
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  • Day33

    Had another long drive to the top of the park - even though we opted for the "wet route".
    Driving only ~70 km took almost 5 hours. Granted, we got lost (i.e. were chicken to cross the big water without other vehicles around) and did stop to look at various animals, but still...
    Didn't see a ton of wildlife here, until our final morning. We had the best wildlife experience of our lives (sorry Casey & Marisa --- even beats the whale sharks!).
    While starting to get up and break camp, we heard some crashing and John saw a wild dog running on his way back from the abolution blocks. Insanely -- a pack of 7 wild dogs chased and caught the impala just a few yards from our campsite. We then spent an hour or so running around (Christy in pajamas) following the dogs as they moved around the area devouring the kill. Luckily our neighbors from 3rd bridge - Alistair, Denise, Henri & Wendy - were also with us watching the amazing sight. We were on foot and at one stage one of the dogs growled, and another barked at us to warn us not to get too close. Amazing morning. Best yet....
    The picture with Christy is with some of the park staff who were very excited when they arrived at work to find out there had been wild dogs in camp - and a kill. They were curious to know all the details, including where the kill happened and the behavior of the dogs. Believe it or not, even though a little gross, the guy standing next to Christy is holding part of the remains of the impala (a hip bone, we think). We know discussing a 'kill' may be a little unsettling for some, but the excitement comes purely from being this close to nature in it's rawest form, not from witnessing an animal lose its' life. The experience - the sounds, smells, who we were with, the different vantage points - will be something we will remember for the rest of our lives. Huge gratitude for the honor of being able to observe nature this closely.
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  • Day6

    Concerns about travel today were heightened by the huge pools of water alongside the road. Eventually, the water was over the highway - half a metre deep - but carefully driven by our reliable driver, Dumi, we made it through a kilometre of water following another vehicle to reach higher ground; and eventually Planet Baobab, a true oasis in the middle of the Kalahari. The pool was soon occupied by the entire Oxley group after we had pitched our tents. For lunch, we went to the nearby 'Cattle Post' where we ate a traditional local meal, including mpani worms, sadza, spinach, beans, etc.
    Later in the afternoon we went for a drive around the village of Gweta and were shown the important parts of the community (primary school, hospital, library). Camp fire dinner cooked by Gift was spoiled by a passing thunderstorm so we retreated to shelter to finish it off. And later to the lounge for cards and talk before bed.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Republic of Botswana, Botswana, Bɔtswana, ቦትስዋና, Botsuana, Botsƿana, بتسوانا, Botsvana, Батсвана, Ботсвана, Bɔtisiwana, বোত্‍সওয়ানা, བོཙ་ཝ་ན།, Bocvana, Botswana nutome, Μποτσουάνα, Bocvano, بوتسوانا, Botswaana, Botsouana, An Bhotsuáin, બોત્સ્વાના, Baswana, בוטסוואנה, बोत्सवाना, Բոտսվանա, ボツワナ共和国, ბოტსვანა, បុតស្វាណា, ಬೋಟ್ಸ್‌ವಾನಾ, 보츠와나, بۆتسوانا, Botiswana, ບອັດສະວານາ, Mbotswana, Botsvāna, Botsoana, Боцвана, ബോട്സ്വാന, बोट्सवाना, ဘော့စ်ဝါနာ, Botwana, बोट्स्वाना, ବୋଟସ୍ବାନ୍, බොස්ට්වානා, Botuswaana, Bocuana, போட்ஸ்வானா, బోట్స్వానా, บอตสวานา, Potisiuana, بوتسۋانا, Bốt-xoa-na (Botswana), Zvanän, Orílẹ́ède Bọ̀tìsúwánà, 博茨瓦纳, i-Botswana

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