Day 357 - 358 Botswana : Francistown - Kasane

Day 357 Botswana

Trip Distance 531km (330m) Total Distance 2248km(1397m)
Road Condition 100% tar    
Time to travel 7 hrs    
Cost of diesel P6.040 (£0.544)    
Stopover
Botswana
Kubu Camping S17 47.683 E25 13.801 BP156 (£14.72) - Sandy sites, horrible ablutions, worse management.  Don't bother.

We woke up with the sun, packed up (we had done most of it the previous night so we were fairly quick) and set off on the road by 7am.  It had rained most of the night and I was worried about the state of the 7km of dirt road into the camp but my worries were unfounded as we sailed over it.  Mau and Pete had left a couple of minutes earlier than us as they needed to fill up with diesel and we were pushing to catch up to them when, horror of horrors, we went through a speed trap.  Now I have to explain, this is not the usual African speed trap where they point a radar gun at the car and up pops a your speed.  This is used effectively throughout Africa to catch unsuspecting (tourist) non-speeding motorist following a speeding vehicle.  They (the tourists) proceed to get pulled over for speeding - "here's what you were travelling," showing you the previous car's speed in the hope that you'll just pay a "fine" i.e. bribe.  So no, it's not a radar gun like that, this is a radar gun of note.  Not only does it record your speed but it takes a video of your car and registration to prove it was you.  Irrefutable evidence and a righteous bust as we had been going 74km in a 60km zone.  Damn and blast. 

But Trevor discovered that even though the radar guns are upgraded, the cops aren't.  After a bit of a discussion, BP50 changed hands and the fine miraculously disappeared. Phew, better than the BP560 we would have had to pay.

Excitement over, we made our way to a gas depot that we had passed on the way in (S21 10.093 E27 29.644), got the manager to fill our empty gas bottle and set off on our merry way again driving carefully though the speed trap!

At Nata we stopped in at a Nando's-styled chicken takeaway for some decent chicken shwarmas (pitas) setting off again to stop once a bit further on as the pitas were really messy to eat and driving and eating was not doing justice to the pit.

We were happily driving along on a boring straight road that disappeared off into the distance when suddenly we were faced with a massive bull elephant on the side of the road.  Stopping to take some pictures seemed to upset him a little as he trumpeted, flapped his ears and ran TOWARDS us!! a_P1000073 But at the last minute he changed his mind and turned behind Peter and Maureen's Land Cruiser (he must have been a Land Rover fan and didn't want to damage our car!!), rushed across the main road and vanished into the bushes on the other side.  Excitement over for the second time that day, we set off again on the l-o-n-g and very UNwinding road heading for Kasane. 

On arrival into the town, it was deserted and it looked like most of the shops had closed at 2pm.  Luckily Spar was still open so we could provision up for a few days stay at Kubu on the outskirts of Chobe National Park.  Our hopes were high for this camp as we had had such great spots at all the previous campsites so far.  We were disappointed.  On arrival we paid for 2 days as we had decided to do a boat safari into the park which meant that we hadn't spent any time comparing the campsites even though we arrived early-ish in the afternoon - never again!  The campsites were dry and dusty and tucked well away from the lodge chalets, the ablutions were dingey and old with no lights and LOADS of very large flat spiders (yeugh! would have preferred it the other way round with loads of lighting and NO spiders) and the pool a mucky, raw concrete pond.  Stay away, folks! 

Despite the disappointment at the site, we set up, booked our safari for the following afternoon and pottered around for the rest of the afternoon and night.

The next day's weather was gorgeous as we spent time dipping in the "pond", tidying the vehicles and catching up on some over-due laundry whilst we waited for our excursion.  We arrived at the lodge reception a little early for our transport and waited, and waited, and waited.  Finally some lodge guests arrived and we were told we'd be off as soon as they came back out. So we waited, and waited, and waited.  Eventually it was too much for me, we had paid a large sum of money for the trip out and here we were waiting for lodge guests who were eating into our 3 hour safari (now only 2.5hrs), so I went and complained (quite loudly) to be told that they were in the bath and would be with us shortly!  A few more cross words and the staff went to fetch the guests and finally we were on our way.  So rude!!! But the management attitude towards campers (just campers, NOT high paying lodge guests) has obviously rubbed off onto the staff. 

We eventually got to the boat and made our way out and the safari made up for all the other disappointment.  It was fabulous and our guide Moses was amazing. 

VIDEO COMING SOON

We finally made it back to Kubu at around 7pm and, having booked for supper, got ourselves to the dining room and made our choices from a set menu of 3 simple courses.  The food was pleasant but we had made the mistake of not checking the price first.  US$40 EACH, yes EACH later and feeling stung, we decided that the food although pleasant was nowhere NEAR being worth even half of that cost.  Lesson learnt in fact at Kubu several lessons learnt.

Back at camp, we got most of our kit packed away ready for an early start the next day.