Dust & Dishevelment – Part I

En-route to the Botswana border

We join the truck at 6pm on 3rd August at the Vic Falls Municipal Rest Camp with a mixture of excitement. and trepidation. There’s no going back. What seemed like a romanticized ideal 5 months ago in London is about to get very real. They’ll be 11 of us on the leg from Vic Falls to Cape Town. 5 Brits, 2 Americans, 1 Spaniard, 1 Swede, 1 Brazilian and a Dutchman. 7 are travelling solo. Brownie and are the senior members of the party – no surprises there. Everyone is friendly, welcoming and easy to talk to. Our guide is Prosper from Zimbabwe and driver is Gary from Woking.

We sign our lives away, pay our kitty contribution and listen to our first daily briefing over dinner. We’re leaving at 7.30am tomorrow headed for the Chobe National Park in Botswana, home to around 120,000 elephants. The early start is in an attempt to not get stuck in a long queue at immigration going over the border.

We’re assigned a 2 man tent that appears to have seriously shrunk in the wash!! Anyone who has camped with us previously knows that we refuse to sleep in anything smaller than a 5 man. Our North Face duffles take up most of the space and not being the slimmest of chicks resign ourselves to an extremely cosy night. Fortunately, a liberal amount of Zambezi at Shoestrings Backpackers bar ensures that when our heads hit the pillow and take a glancing blow from our duffles we’re out cold for the night.

Struggle out of bed at 6.30am and leave on time at 7.30. A quick scan of the passports and we’re through immigration at the Zimbabwe border. At Botswana immigration we’ve beaten the queue and we’re all stamped in around 10 mins. We have to walk through a foot and mouth bath and take any other shoes through with us! The truck takes around 30 mins to clear immigration and a family of warthogs entertain us whilst we wait. It’s 32 degrees and dusty.

We cross the border and drive to a supermarket in Kasane to stock up on essentials. We move on to our campsite, Kwalape Safari Lodge, where we’ll stay for one night. We swiftly put our tents up and 7 of us head out for a game drive at Chobe National Park.

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