Botswana 29 September: Pandamatenga - Katima Mulilo

Golden sunsets and more on the Zambezi

With approximately 1000km that the team needs to travel between our Gaborone, Botswana and Katima Mulilo, Namibia, our team stops for a night at Panda Rest Camp in Pandamatenga, Botswana. We were all thrilled to have another night of camping under the stars, which gave the team a real feeling of Botswana's charm. The evening was warm and comfortable enough for some of us to sleep in our tents without our tent's canopy. And in the morning we welcomed in a beautiful start to the day.

What felt almost in spitting distance to us was the sound of monkeys waiting in the trees, ready to pounce on any food that we happen to turn our back on. Having camped on several occassions now, we count ourselves in the "seasoned travelers" troupe when it comes to monkeys (having had our milk and cookies stolen before). We can proudly say that today, they didn't get even a crumb of a sandwich from us!

Our drive to Namibia today could well have been called a safari-drive, that was how many exciting sitings we encountered! These elephants were taking shelter from the hot midday sun.

What seemed at times like a stark and very dry landscape, at times was interspersed with tall trees with healthy foliage.

And as we travelled further along the main road towards Namibia, we were treated to sitings of many a wild African animal, although we're not sure if we'd consider giraffe wild. This mommy giraffe and her calf seemed to stand patiently and observe us with curious intent, just as we were admiring them.

Coming from Australia, Stacey said she'd never seen elephants in the wild before. And this was a real welcome siting for her and also for Florbela (from Portugal) and Pedja (from Serbia).

And after this drive, it seemed to her that there are as many elephants in Botswana as there are kangaroos in Australia!

Florbela is not about to miss this photo opportunity. Even if she can't get a proper view, her camera can!

Zebra alert.

These Southern Ground Hornbill didn't even turn a feather when we drove past.

Roan antelope!

Aah a family of baboons! ...and so affectionate in their nature.

But we think this elephant calf was just the loveliest!

As our team neared the border with Namibia we took a moment to stretch our legs and run to this beautiful baobab tree, that seemed to provide sanctuary to so many birds' nests. We counted more than 10.

These two baobab trees were in close proximity to each other. Perhaps they like having company too!

With all the wildlife about we were sure not to venture too far from the road, or our support cars.

It's so hot we are all happy to take some shelter under this baobab tree for a wee while. To put things into perspective, Pedja is approximately 1.8m tall and we'd say she must be at least 4 times taller than he is!

Here we are at the Ngoma Bridge border post in Botswana on the southern side of the Chobe River. The opposing Namibia border post is on the northern side of the Chobe River, more than 1 km away. We made friends with Siwawa who is from the Anti-poaching unit in Botswana. He takes a moment to hold the Peace Torch and make a wish for peace.

Siwawa tells us that poaching occurs on a daily basis and he has to always be on the alert. What you do is such a needed job to prevent further poaching of these beautiful animals in Botswana.

We've not seen a hollowed out baobab tree before and Abhijatri gives it a keen inspection.

We bid farewell to Botswana as our team runs across the border and into Namibia.

It was a hot, but short run to the Namibia border post.

...which we all enjoyed.

We think running to the border post provided some amusement and entertainment for the officials, but fortunately for us, they let us in anyway.

It was a hot dry 40 degrees!

We have come to love camping and all that it encompasses. So many special experiences of nature that one wouldn't have otherwise. We camp another night and this time in the Caprivi Mutoya Lodge and Campsite, which is located on the banks of the great Zambezi River. We were very happy to arrive in daylight for a change and this gave us the opportunity to test out the campsite's canoes and gear.

Time to test our skills on the water...

By the way team, there are crocodiles and hippos in the river!

...which meant we meant we all stayed close and kept our eye's peeled.

Did someone say bandit on the river?

...and more than one?

On our way back to shore we heard the distinctive call of hippo that sounded all too close to us. We did manage to take a moment to enjoy the setting sun though, all the while (not so) secretly very relieved when no hippo surfaced to say, "hello!"

This night was a treat for us as we had grass on which to pitch our tents.

And still some daylight left as well.

No words can describe the exact feeling of seeing the sun set over the Zambezi River with the sounds of hippo churning and birds calling, so we will let these beautiful photos do the sunset justice.

What a perfect way to end the day and a most precious welcome to Namibia.