Botswana (Tsodillo Hills)

Trip Start Apr 24, 2012
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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Leaving Namibia, we were both sad and glad.  Sad that we were saying good-bye and glad that we had the opportunity to visit this “Land of contrasts”. 
The border crossing was easy and without hassle or delay.  Almost a bit of an anti-climax in a way.  At first, little seemed to have changed entering Botswana.  The vegetation is the same and for the first couple of kilometers we might as well still be in Namibia.  Then one starts to notice the differences.  The villages are no longer visible from the road. They are tucked way into the bush and only the props on sticks on the roadside indicate that there is a village back there.   The roads are tar but narrow and in poor condition.  At times the pot holes are so bad that it can not be avoided. (not as bad as the road to Standerton, those can swallow a car).  Being used to off roads and dirt roads – this almost felt boring! Long open road with only livestock to dodge.
We stopped at Shakawe to get some meat as we were told that (1) you can not take read meat into Botswana (2) Botswana’s meat is very tasty and cheap.  Both reasons are valid.  We bought a fillet for R48 and T-bone stakes for R14 a piece.  Choppies is the equivalent of Spar in SA. They have just about all a supermarket should have.  Water was also an item that would become more and more important on the shopping list. 
We drew money from the teller so to have Pula in hand as they did not accept SA rand’s as payment in Botswana. Our first stop over would be Tsodilo Hills, a World Heritage Site.  Little did we realise at the time that for the most part Botswana is flat and that explains the importance of these hills.
Be warned, the road to Tsodilo is bad and will take you the best part of an hour to do 30 km.  We arrived to an empty campsite (except for one other camper).  Camping was for free but the guided tour of the hills was 100 Pula.  Bargain! Just one small detail, there is no water and thus no facilities on site. 
Having set up camp we went on the guided tour.  James would guide us to the rock art and give us the background to Tsodilo Hills.  (read history on photos) They believed these hills to be gods.  In the time when rocks were still soft and animals could talk.  The hills consisted of a family. Mom and dad with 2 children.  After the wife divorced the husband she moved away with the children.  Later one of the children would move back and live with its dad.
The very interesting thing about Tsodilo is that the mountain top has many dams or reservoirs.  The water would collect in caves and ooze water through the rock over a long period of time.  This explains the wonderful pastel colours on the rocks.  In this very dry climate the water of Tsodilo is still considered “holy” water and people from far and wide come to drink from it and or do rituals of sorts. (pity there is no water for the ablutions, holy or otherwise LOL)
James also pointed out that some of the trees that grow around the hills only normally grow in  deltas, like the Jackal berry for example, indicating that this area once was under water.
We returned to camp, had a lovely hot “home made” shower and started a huge fire.  Carlos got hold of two big logs.  He did not plan on being cold around the fire tonight.  Good thing he did too.  It was bitterly cold away from the fire.  We had fun with the “fireworks” of the logs and could go to bed hot rather than cold.
Early next morning we had a change of heart.  Instead of going to Central Kalahari directly, we would first go to Maun to fill up with water and to make sure we could get a booking in Central Kalahari.
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