Loïc: Welcome to Botswana! We take a ferry.
We do not change money in the street before crossing the border as we are big boys and we learn from our experience. But this time we have to pay the carbon tax on the top of the visa (50 US$). This tax is only to be paid in "Pula", the local currency. Of course there is no bank or currency exchange office at the border and we do not have "Pula". So we cannot enter Botswana! Fortunately an English man in a 4X4 helps us out this time.
Here we are in Kasana, at Chobe's doors, not a very big park but famous for being much richer than those in Kenya or Tanzania.
The first impression of Botswana is that everything is slow. Cars crawl along, campsites' receptionists seem to be on holiday as much as tourists... So we get into their stride by setting in a campsite on Chobe river. We have to sign up for a 4X4 trip despite our endless discussion with nice park's guardians. This is the condition for entering the park which is supposed to be too dangerous with our bikes because of lions...
In the first kilometers we are not scared by wild animals but by the very sandy track which makes it hardly passable by bike.
So this time we're delighted not to be riding and we are amazed to see elephants along the river at sunup.
The sun rises in the savannah...
... and we see again the monkeys which had greeted us on Uganda's road sides.
Antelopes of all kinds...
Our 4X4 passes another one, drivers discuss a little and we immediately dash forward on a long trail to discover in a recess...
... a family of lions!
We're lucky as it's not always easy to find lions in a few hours drive...
Wild pigs ignore us...
... but introduce us to their friends the giraffes.
You have beautiful eyes, do you know that?
We even see
Happy of this ride we get on a boat in the late afternoon to see what's going on in the water.
There are always hippopotamus close the campsites.
But also crocodiles!
and other reptiles...
We enjoy the view until sunset.
We take the road after this day in the reserve... and we meet our friends again!
I clearly prefer to see animals this way, by surprise on the side of the road instead of in a reserve even if they are free there. I prefer to meet animals by chance and not with a so-called garantee to see the "big six" in a reserve. It would not have really mattered if we had not seen buffalos or lions. And it's not because antelopes are numerous and easy to flush out that we should not be amazed by rare felines which actually look like big cats in the end.
This time we ride in North Kalahari, a large desert plain. We can drive on lakes which are dried in this season.
I really wanted to camp rough on one of the dried lake's island but the 90km are too much sandy. 2h to ride 16 km. It's not looking good!
And the temperature starts rising a lot...
We take a picture which is impossible to take in Europe: the sun is in the North!
I finally prefer to turn back and we get back to Planet Baobab, a restful campsite.
The starry night is magical:
I look unsuccessfully for the "Large and Small Magellanic Clouds" that Mihail asked for.
But when I get up later in the night the clusters jump out at me (I hope you can see them on the picture)
We take the road and find a landscape of desolation: they often burn bushes on the sides of the road to avoid the tarmac from being obstructed by vegetation. And it's cheaper than mowing. But it took alarming proportions and everything burnt as far as our eye can see. The wood is still smoking and we pass by an antelope looking lost and dazed in the middle of the ashes fields...
Let's take the road again. Other adventures are ahead of us (and of you!)