Day two was another long day on the truck with us covering just under 600km. The ride was so bumpy that my fit bit managed to rack up 50,000+ steps while I sat on my butt all day. The first part of the journey was uneventful and rather mundane and saw us making our first bush pee stop. Dave our driver is incredible and an absolute solider, he just keeps on trucking and doesn’t make any stops asides a stop around 1pm for lunch he just keeps on driving (excluding scheduled stops). . If anyone happens to need the bathroom we push a buzzer on the truck and he tries to find the best spot on the side of the road for us to pee. Our first bush stop wasn’t a very concealed spot , we literally were peeing on the side of the road, well the others were, I got pee shy and didn’t want to push too hard just in case something else accidentally came out.
The second part of the journey was incredible, it was almost like being on a game drive with us spotting plenty of animals on the side of the road. The first being a giraffe it was amazing to watch, I think giraffes are so elegant to watch, they almost remind me of super models the way they strut and stop and turn back to see if you are watching is comparable to strutting on a runway. I particularly enjoy watching giraffes run, even though they can run up to 50 kilometres an hour it’s like they are running in slow motion.
This particular giraffe decided to play a game of hide and seek with us, and it was just as amusing as a toddler attempting to play the game. The giraffe not particularly well hidden behind a tree, with his head sticking out while staring at us thought otherwise.
The rest of our journey was spent spotting animals before arriving at Thebe Camp in Kasane. The evening was consumed setting up camp, having cold showers and completing our camp chores.
5.45am the next day we set of on our first game drive, with spirits high despite of the early start we headed to Chobe National Park, which hosts the largest population of African Elephants (around 50,000) anywhere in Southern Africa, ironically we didn’t see a single elephant the entire game drive.
Enthusiasm quickly died as we all nearly froze to death on the open air trucks, with the cold air blowing in our faces we drove for over an hour before spotting a single animal. It was around then I realised how naive I had been embarking on this trip, my visions of animal herds just running around killing their prey and just generally being easy to spot was clearly a misguided dream.
Throughout the drive we did manage to spot some animals which included vultures, impalas, giraffes, warthogs, baboons, hippos, a jackle and her pup and a ton of birds including a bustard, whose name cracks me up and reminds me of my days in London where the term bustard meant you were completely drunk.
Robert our guide returned us to camp and we headed into the tiny town of Kasane. Kasane appeared to be very similar to many of the small towns we had seen on our truck journey which is surprisingly western. Vee explained that Botswana had never been a very desirable country due to the lack of minerals and the country’s landscape and environment, after Botswana had declared independence they discovered diamonds and coal this transforming the economy and turned Botswana into a middle income nation.
Kasane had a few essential shops and restaurants where we were able to stock up on the essential groceries and alcohol!
The afternoon river safari that we nicknamed the booze cruise was far more successful, with several chilly bins filled to the brim our group claimed the upper level of the boat and had an amazing afternoon drinking, getting to know our fellow campers and spotting some incredible wildlife!
Watching a herd of elephants in the marshy part of the river, pulling out weeds and thrashing them around to get the dirt off the roots was the highlight of my day! The Elephants didn’t seem the less bit phased by the boats filled of spectators watching them and carried on about their business like no one was there.
Amongst the other sightings of crocs sunning on the banks, a huge iguana forging for food and some huge hippos basking in the mud my other favourite sighting was elephants crossing the river. I felt a little bit sorry for the elephants with all the boats anticipating the impending crossing, they were overcrowding the elephants and they seemed a little intimidated. The boats didn’t intimidate one of the younger elephants after he gingerly tested the water he became the brave line leader of as the elephants slowly crossed the river to join the rest of the herd in the marshy lands.
As the sunset behind us in beautiful reds and oranges, we headed back to shore and camp to get on with the rest of our mundane chores..