Entries from 'Africa'

Khubu island

 

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// 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 the area, and seriously, why ?? Well, to keep people in the very few campgrounds, which charge a mere 50usd per person per night 😀 So I guess we all agree, we’ll go for sneaky bushcamping.

A short drive in the bush, a toll gate to pay ?! and we hit the salt pan. This is the closest you can get from the salar de Uyuni in Bolivia, with a few, important differences.
In Bolivia, you should drive in the central part, and never get close to any edge. Here, it’s the opposite. And I didn’t know that.
So I drove to the central part to make the classic perspective pictures with mister Fox, but when I wanted to enjoy my 100kph ride over the salt pan, I ended up breaking the salt crust, and the van just sank into mud ! Shit !
I went into 4wd, low gear, but still not able to drive my way out of this mud !!!!
Alright, no panic, I can still walk back to Eiji and Chizu for help at this point, it just takes a very gentle push on the throttle, and some adjustments to the steering to get out, gain speed, and finally get back to the edge ! pfffiou ! Sounds easy, but it took me a fair amount of time.
Another difference is the climate. 40c during the day, 20% humidity, which goes to 8c, 80% humidity at night…. the switch happening around sunrise and sunset, in just a few hours. In Uyuni, it gets below -20c at night !
Vegetation is also very different with giant baobabs on Khubu !

Last difference : the salar in Bolivia is free of charge, and if you avoid the tours, you can get for free on any island, and camp wherever you want (just put triangles around the vehicles to signal your position at night).
We were lucky to camp here for one night, apparently, it is forbidden (we didn’t see any sign…..), so they get people in the only campground on the island, which is very expensive and completely crowded. So next day, we’ve been politely kicked out.
No choice but to drive out of the salt pan, one hour before sunset, to find a lovely spot in the bush, just north of the island. And this time, it’s too far for anyone to find us 🙂 At least, we managed to enjoy one night on the salt lake, one of the most magical place of Botswana !

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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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Swaziland

  // 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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Bokong pass

  // Nikon D7200 | -29.06433 : 28.40553 | alt. 3100m Back to the national park, I took a guide to hike in the area (yeah, no map, and barely no sign on the trail system). Fact is, you don’t need a guide to hike in Lesotho, it’s very easy to navigate and to find your…

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