Why did the cow cross the road?
I made it to southern Botswana! And I do have a new Batswana number; Facebook msg me for it – it only texts and calls though, for some reason I can’t get data on it. Oh well.
So the trip has not totally gone according to plan, but that is part of the joy of travelling! We started out bussing from Cape Town to Joburg, and our bus ended up breaking down six hours out of Cape Town. So we sat around in the middle of nowhere for two and a half hours while waiting for the new bus to arrive. Which wouldn’t have been so bad if I had been told that the Intercape bus line is secretly a tool for Christian conversion. Their entire entertainment system consisted of sermons and Christian films, in which I learned that divorce is never the answer, and that women should not be lesbians. It was highly informative.
We finally got to Joburg the next day at 4:30pm or so and picked up our 4×4, only to learn the border to Botswana closed at 10pm. So we ended up staying in Pretoria for the night and driving to Gaborone the following day. We took it pretty easy since we were all exhausted from finding the Lord, and were getting up early the next morning to drive to the Kalahari.
And, I can now say I have seen the sunset in the Kalahari, and had a hyena walk through my campsite, but getting there was not without struggles. We were totally misinformed about the length of time it takes to get to the Transfrontier Park, and the condition of the roads… which lead to us getting stuck in the desert for two hours.
We did eventually make it into the park, and after talking to the rangers, learned that the campsites we had planned on staying at were essentially impossible to reach from the Botswana side. Lesson learned – if going to the Transfrontier Park, go to the South Africa side. It was still absolutely amazing to see the sunset and experience the amount of mosquitos there actually are in the desert (a shockingly high amount).
Since our original plans didn’t pan out, we decided to head back to Gabs for a couple of days to explore the capitol city. I managed to successfully drive us out of the Kalahari – which I am so proud of, since I haven’t driven stick in about three years. Tree planting really has prepared me for so much in life.
We happened to stumble upon the High Court of Botswana, so I obviously made everyone get out to see the building and pose.
Across from the court house, there is a famous Batswana monument as well – The Three Kings – commemorating the three fathers of independence in Botswana. It was actually a really interesting monument – the current president of Botswana is the grandson of one of the founding fathers (and they have his photo everywhere, including the backpackers we’re staying at) – and I learned some fun facts!
For example, diamonds were discovered in Botswana the year after they achieved independence, and pula, which appears on the crest and money of Botswana means ‘rain.’ I also learned what the colours of the flag represent – blue for the sky, white for the people, black for the people, white for peace, and blue for water. Botswana is really proud of its peaceful history, which is understandable given the history of many African nations.
Gaborone itself is actually quite a small capitol city – only about 250, 000 people. So there hasn’t been much to do in the city, but it has been nice to relax, and we were able to do a fairly relaxed game drive this morning. Tomorrow, Emily, Julia, and I are heading north to see the pans in Gweta, and Hannah and Caroline will be leaving for Cape Town in a few days.
I will do my best to keep updating as I go! For now, I leave you with…
Peace and love.