Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
Trip Start Oct 19, 2005
33Trip End Ongoing
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Time to move on...I leave Botswana for good tomorrow morning at 6 am to meet up with Meg in Tanzania on Friday. Its been an amazing experience, I've had some wonderful times, brilliant laughs, met some fantastic people and learnt loads about life, myself and the world and had fun teaching Americans English/ well Britishims like Wanker, Bugger and Bollocks!
Notes and Corrections
Apologies to Geoff in the last blog for misspelling his name continually!!
Most over-used phrases
"I'm easy but not cheap!"
"Now, Now or Just now!"
"Just because I'm white, don't think I'm stupid!"
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
A last minute decision, I decide to join 6 others (all Americans and all some how medical, whether still a student or fully fledged MD) on a camping trip to the untouched and unspoilt Kalahari desert
The next morning we set off and after much haggling with the authorities (we should have set off at 6 am and not 9 am...we should have started the trail somewhere else....etc!) we drive in convey up to the last serviced camping site Nossob. Suddenly we lose the second vehicle, turning round we find the owner/ driver and passenger scratching their heads, bonnet open and steam rising from the engine - yup it over heated. We limp into Nossob and group discussion incurs, the options are:
1. 7 of us pile into a land cruiser, with all food, camping equipment, water, gas etc for the 3 day trip.
2. 1 or 2 people stay behind
On finding out that we had somehow (no names will be mentioned!) left the tent poles behind at the first camp, we thought what else could go wrong so lets f*** it and piled everything minus a tent and everyone into one car and laughing and being laughed at, headed to the Wilderness trail
It was an amazing journey, we got stuck once in thick, smelly, sticky mud and all got covered as we pushed the land cruiser one way and then the next in several attempts to get it free... all the while getting mud splattered by the wheels spinning! Mud wrestling was not part of the activities on offer, but smelly and caked in grey mud we climbed back in the car and set off in the darkening evening to the first camp site.
We saw masses of Gemsbok, Hartebeasts, springbok, wilderbeasts, gnus, secretary birds, kori bustards, eagles, ostriches, jackals and a few lions and eland, but no cheetahs or leopards, awesome sunrises and sunsets, but most of the time we were driving too fast to game view trying to get around the trail before dark.
I had a brilliant time - learning to rally drive and almost taking off once and crashing a couple of times.. not sure how the others felt about my skills as the next Colin McRae - but I'm now thinking of training for the next Dakar rally race!!!!
We made it back to Gabs in one piece, and I've never been so glad of a shower
Botswana is haunting, mesmerising, frustrating, amazing, beautiful, breath-takingly awesome... the people are friendly, open, warm and inviting, the sights spectacular and the colours vivid, luminous and stunning. However, I'm not sure where my future lies, but I now know its not Botswana...not enough rich men as potential marriage material (Highest offer is only 20 cows for my lobola (sorry M and D!)). On a serious note, I had romantic notions that Botswana was my spiritual home, but on spending time here as an adult, I have come to realise it is not, it will always be a special place for me and I intend to visit again and often, but it is not where I wish to spend the rest of my life or any substantial period of time.
The trouble with Botswana
It would be naive of me to think I could explain all the contradictions about Botswana and its culture, but I will attempt here to simplify some of my observations:
Botswana is on the brink of westernisation, its a rich country without the people having to work, there is not really a concept of industry. Over 50% of the work force is employed by the government, generating no wealth and that does not include those indirectly employed by government in the service industry. It sits on the world's most valuable diamond fields of which the government gets 75% of the proceeds and (credit to them) have tried to distribute this amongst the people