The first thing I notice about Botswana is that it’s very dry. Winter has begun, which means the average temperature during the day is about 24ºC, so I’m loving the weather. 2 Million people live in this country, which gives you an idea that even the capital city, Gaborone, feels like a big town. People are very friendly and peaceful.
I stayed here for almost a week with couch surfers Taboka, David and their friend Nartey. Really nice guys I soon became friends with. Nutty showed me around the city while he explained the politics and culture of Botswana. In the streets you can see people are preparing for the 50th anniversary of Independence from the British, a peaceful negotiation that lead to democracy in the country. The main industry nowadays is diamonds, which is getting the country growing very fast, and you can see that in the streets of Gaborone. Botswana people are given land and loans by the government to promote entrepreneurship.
I left on Saturday to Mahalapye, where I stayed with another great Couch Surfer, Glow. Travelling in Botswana means spending many hours in buses, so I tried to break my route shorter. Mahalapye is a small town, not much going on, but it was very interesting getting to know how the people live here and try some of the delicious Botswana food. On Sunday I accompanied Glow to church, where people sing and even dance half the time. It’s more pleasant to see than the mass in South America or Europe.
I stayed two days in Mahalapye and then I took a bus to Maun.
There is not much to see in Maun itself, other than the river, but it’s the biggest city close to the Okavango Delta, an inland delta formed where the Okavango river hits the dessert forming a huge marsh area. I stayed with a lovely family here, the eldest son showed me around and they even let me drive their 4×4. There is a water shortage because of the lack of rain so we used buckets of water to shower.
This place is something else, hard to describe with words. Unfortunately the activities are very expensive, they are even quoted in US dollars. Anyway, I took a mokoro trip. Mokoro is a type of canoe that is flat in the bottom in order to get through the shallow waters of the marsh and maneuvered with a pole. They were traditionally made of wood but now they are made of fiber-glass. We spent all day in the delta, at times we stopped in an island and walked around to see the wildlife.
Nata Bird Sanctuary.
I left Maun on Thursday 23rd early morning. I made one stop in Nata Bird Sanctuary before going to Kesane, the last place I visited in Botswana. I didn’t manage to see many birds, but I saw some zebras and wildebeests. After walking for over 3 hours, I was back on the road. I hitchhiked to the nearest gas station in Nata, and there I got a ride to Kesane.
On the road to Kesane I saw some elephants. I stayed there with relatives of the family I stayed with in Maun, very kind people. The nice couple that picked me up in Nata actually knew them. This was very common, as I travel in Botswana many people knew people I met in other towns. It’s a small country.
Kesane lays in the boundary of Chobe National Park and Chobe River. I rented a bicycle to check out the city. Wild animals walk by the town some times, warthogs and baboons are all around.
Two combis take me to the border pass with Zimbabwe. My next destination, Victoria Falls.