We crossed into Botswana and headed for Kasane in the North east of Botswana. We did not plan to spend much time in Botswana as we had visited Botswana before on our Cape to Cairo trip but we did want to enter Zimbabwe through the Kazungula border. The journey would take us 3 days to reach the border post.
We drove into Marang Campsite situated in Francistown (great campsite) and went in to register for camping. When we returned to the cruiser we heard this horrible yet familiar hissing sound and we knew we now had our 6th puncture since our arrival in Africa 24 days ago. We had done only about 2000km so we were averaging a puncture every 500km; this has to be a record for any overlander. On our Cape Town to Cairo journey of 8 months, 32,000km we had 3 punctures we are now making up for all the punctures we did not get in East Africa. Ah well, this is Africa and sh.t happens!
We love to travel through Botswana. The people are friendly, the local customs interesting and the camping delightful.
It is 37 years since we first visited Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, and we could not wait to witness this truly amazing world natural wonder once again. After lots of paperwork for visas and permits to bring in a vehicle and getting the appropriate insurances we were at last back in Zimbabwe. It did not disappoint it was just magnificent as ever. I had the perfect day, the thunderous roar of the falls, a mist that swallows one up, birds chattering, monkeys playing in the trees, baboons strolling down the path with us and warthogs wandering in between and a view that awes one.
In the evening we were treated to some singers and they even sang my favourite African song, they were thrilled when I bought their CD and so was I.This was truly a heavenly day.
We visited the Victoria Falls Hotel, one of the remaining vestiges of the colonial Rhodesia. When you step inside it’s like stepping back in time 40 years or so.
The view from the back porch was magnificent. The falls are known as “Mosi-oa-Tunya” by Zimbabweans which means “The smoke that Thunders”.
We enjoyed tea and scones, while warthogs enjoyed the green grass on the perfectly kept lawn.
An interesting mileage marker on the hotel grounds.
The sign at the reception re payment was evidence of the currency problems Zimbabweans were experiencing, making their daily lives challenging.
We were driving along when I spotted several elephants just off the roadside. So we stopped and were greeted by several men who were with the elephants. We jumped out the car and walked up to the elephants.
The elephants were part of a herd of elephants that are trained to take tourists for a ride into game parks. Elephants are my favourite animals I cannot get enough of them. To be able to be as close as to touch them was wonderful. had never touched an African elephant and to be able to stroke the elephant was fantastic. I actually got to feed one elephant who searched my hand for food with its trunk and then like a huge vacuum the food was sucked up. My hand covered with the moisture from the trunk had the smell of a warm puppy; an elephant even smell wonderful. We were enjoying being amongst these truly amazing animals when Richard the owner arrived. We introduced ourselves and he invited us to come the following morning to watch them being trained. The following morning we were met by Richard and headed to watch the elephants being trained. They were fantastic, following word commands they gently made their way around. I spotted one elephant who seemed to have a mind of her own. “Her name is Janet” Richard informed us, “she is very clever but a stubborn rascal,” Tom burst out laughing and said, “That sounds like my wife.” I finally got to meet my namesake in Africa.
After watching the elephants and trainers go through their training regimen it was time to leave.
Visiting Zimbabwe was wonderful. The people are friendly and waiting fro their lives to improve. We wish them well. They have endured much. We stopped under a magnificent baobab before crossing back into Botswana to continue our journey north.