22nd Apr 2013 - 23rd Apr 2013 - Namibia & Botswana
Ghanzi and Maun
So, our final morning in Namibia and we were treated to a full English breakfast. Leaving Windhoek, we were headed for the border with Botswana. Having stopped for a bush toilet along the road, we almost left one member of the group behind as he’d gone wandering off and we hadn’t realised he wasn’t back. Luckily for him, we only made it about 200m down the road before the mistake was realised and we turned round and went to pick him up as he was desperately sprinting down the road after us. We carried on westwards arriving at the border just in time to have lunch. This was eaten on the Namibian side and then we crossed over into Botswana, a country of well less than 2m people, though with a size of 582,000 sq km it is not quite as large as Namibia. Top three industries in Botswana are diamonds, beef and tourism although the Government does limit the number of people allowed to enter into the National Parks. Botswana is possibly one of the only countries in this part of the world to fully understand the issue that is HIV/AIDS. In fact, not only does the Government offer free retroviral treatment for its citizens, but it was the first country anywhere in the world to do so back in 2002. It’s a policy that a lot of the rest of Africa would do well to embrace.
Our first night in Botswana was spent at a Bushmans’ Camp where, after dinner, we were treated to some traditional dancing by the local tribesmen. That night was definitely the coldest one we had experienced so far, although I think many others suffered more than me! The next morning, we crossed the Kalahari Desert heading to Maun – the gateway to the Okavango Delta. We weren’t leaving until the next day, but we arrived at the campsite just outside Maun by lunchtime so we spent a couple of hours in town buying supplies but most of the rest of the day in the campsite bar. Here we met members of another tour group who had just come back from a trip to the Delta so they told us what to expect and also introduced us to some rather interesting shots, a mixture of amarula and crème de menthe that is delicious when prepared correctly but has a tendency to curdle as I found out the hard way!