Bush camping



// Nikon D7200 | -19.74897 : 26.07107 | alt. 961m

Just a few hundreds kilometers to drive today, but it gets really hot during the day, 38c with 20% humidity, which goes to 8c with 80% humidity at night.
Our next stop is Elephant sands, a campground north of Nata, with a man made waterhole between chalets to attract elephants. It actually works, and you can enjoy a cold beer while watching elephants having a drink as well…. sounds good, but this place really feels artificial, and bit too crowded for us.
Night time was a different experience.
Eiji and I went to the bar to get some beers in the dark, and we heard a very deep rumble just behind us….. we turned around very slowly…. don’t move…. his vision is based on movement…. We could not see anything in the dark, but a massive elephant was just next to us !

Grocery stop, refuel, and we are back on the road…..which is closed due to the flooding. In fact, the whole northern part of Botswana was below water one month ago, and you had to load your car on a flatbed truck to get to the other side !
We ended up driving on a long gravel road parallel to the highway….. pretty poor engineering when you think about it :p

We then stopped at the Nxai salt pan, which is a national park. Shocking.
Admission fees is per person + a fee per vehicle. There is only 5 sites to camp in the area, and they charge 50usd per person, and the price was stated in usd, never a good sign. That made it so expensive with 3 persons and 2 vehicles that we just drove out and went into the bush for the night. So glad we went to Khubu island, which exactly the same thing, free of charge.

As usual, since the nights are cold and wildlife is dangerous, we set up a fire. The only trees available have massive spikes on them, sometimes 10cm long and really hard, and it’s a painful job to chop all the wood, but at last, we made it.
We have a few hours before moonrise to enjoy the great milky way on top of us. I don’t even remember the last time I saw it touching both sides of the horizon :O Magical !

But then a local shepherd came by, and sat around the fire for a chat. It could have been nice, but the guy was rude, and just looking for alcohol (big problem here in Botswana). That guy was already drunk as fuck, and it took way too much time to politely get rid of him…
Erf…. at least the rest of the night was quiet.

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Khubu island

  // Nikon D7200 |-20.88986 : 25.83075 | alt. 900m Thanks god, the east side of the great salt pan in Botswana is not a national park, yet. No gate, no expensive fee, but still a few rules to respect, which we’ll try to bypass as much as possible. It is forbidden to bush camp in…

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Khama rhino sanctuary

  // Nikon D7200 |-21.87159 : 26.45137 | alt. 1078m Our first proper stop in Botswana is the Khama rhino sanctuary, which is the place where they keep rhinos safe. Because of poachers, there is only a few of them left (around 50 in this very small park), and it will probably be our last chance…

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Botswana, here we go !

  // Nikon D7200 | 26.12566 : -24.62047 | alt. 1013m Prior to crossing into Botswana, I’ve got some important shopping to do. You never know what “technology” is available in the next country, and I believe there is more chance to find good quality stuff in South Africa. I need new spanners (despite being from…

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Unexpected meeting in Kruger

  // Nikon D7200 | -24.55288 : 31.1064 | alt. 565m This morning, I decided to go a second time inside Kruger national park, after all, I have the pass, so I don’t have to pay the expensive fee to get in every time ! I didn’t see much that day, but what was completely…

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Kruger national park

  // Nikon D7200 | -25.03485 : 31.22078 | alt. 468m A few more hours hiking into Mlilwane reserve, and it was time to go north, quickly leaving Swaziland after only 2 days. Time is running out very quickly, and I have to see if I can get my visa extension……. well, nope 🙁 Cannot believe…

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  // Nikon D7200 |-26.49745 : 31.18498 | alt. 693m Crossing the border is straight forward, nothing to do on the South African side, but this time, the customs officer put down the end date of my visa 6th july….. that’s coming soon, should be enough to cover everything before Botswana. I’m still hoping to…

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Champagne castle peak

  // Nikon D7200 |-28.99874 : 29.44653 | alt. 1187m The park ranger office only opens from 8am to 4pm, a pretty short window to get any information, which makes me start the trail at 9am. They gave me the map, but even on this one, there is no trail going to Champagne castle ! They…

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Rhino peak

  // Nikon D7200 |-29.7457 : 29.20678 | alt. 1855m Back into South Africa for some serious hiking ! Probably the most beautiful mountain range in the area, the Drakensberg are these steep mountains (nearly vertical cliffs !) between South Africa and the high plateau of Lesotho. The whole place is a national park, with hundreds…

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Sani pass

  // Nikon D7200 | -29.58216 : 29.28429 | alt. 2875 m Driving on the roof of Africa as they call it. Such a good name since this is the highest place in southern Africa. A few very high passes on the way (one above 3300m !) which I had to climb in second gear, while…

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magbo system