Arriving in Botswana is not like arriving in other African countries; it’s quiet. Usually, border crossings are a hive of activity with vendors selling everything from fruit, gum, water, wooden statues, clothing, all the way through the list of life’s necessities to include accommodation. Before arrival you prepare yourself to be followed and excitedly chatted to in broken English as the sales pitch of the “simultaneous many” flows into your head and overwhelms your senses. This is not the case in Botswana…think crickets.
Hitch-hiking in Africa is as normal a mode of transport as walking and this is especially true in Botswana. Specific road-side areas, miles apart, are delegated as bus stops and come with a small red-roofed shelter for the comfort of intended passengers.
The actual bus infrequency however, paints a whole other picture of public transportation. Just because the bus schedule, if one is available, says the bus will be there at 9:00 am that does not mean the bus will be there at 9:00 am, no. What this nugget of information means is that the bus will be there, at this stop, where you are standing, somewhere between 9:00 am today and 8:59 am of the following morning. Continue reading Everyone Loves Falling Water
Seventy five kilometers of red pot-holed dirt roads meandering through the African bush deliver us from the Mana Pools National Park and on to equally un-trafficked tar-seal; several hours later we make our return to the city limits of Kariba.
My plan from here is to continue my travels west to the Okavango Delta in the center of Botswana. In between this destination and where I am now stands one of the great natural wonders of the world, the adrenaline based community that sprang up in its mist, and the “Big Tree” upon which the famous explorer and first man to set eyes on the largest waterfall in world, inscribed his name in November of 1855.
My journey to Victoria Falls from Kariba I captured in my notes; written under both the sun’s glaring light and moon’s soft luminescence. Continue reading Kariba Crossing
The journey down the Zambezi was nearing its completion and our destination of Mana Pools was only a day away. The familiar taste of bittersweet often comes at this time in almost all trips; this one was no exception. How could it be that this dream of paddling down the Zambezi River was already done and dusted?
I was being premature as the river and the wild was not about to let us go without an extra satchel of parting memories. I guess we thought that a hippo attack, a canoe stranding in crocodile infested waters, a robbery by Zambian thugs in the middle of the night, and countless more pleasurable take away tales should be enough.
There was another day left and at the rate we were collecting memories, it was, in hindsight, naive to think nothing more would happen. Continue reading Island Life
Four days in a canoe on the mighty Zambezi River is an experience I will savor forever. It was one of those adventures where everything fell into place and although not all the experiences were positive, they did enhance the overall excitement and awe the river provided each of us.
The Zambezi had shown us wildlife in all its glory; playful, caring, and dangerous. It had offered us a seminar, with examples, in the appropriate amount of respect that it expects from those accessing her current.
We felt schooled not only in how to behave in an element not our own but also in how to carry those lessons back to a more familiar environment. They were lessons in basic awareness, compassion, and understanding that is so often missing in the modern world. Continue reading Zambezi Moonlight
These days people call it their “Bucket List” however this is a relatively new term and in the days before the movie the items that now make up a bucket list were simply things you wanted to accomplish; whether that involved doing or seeing the ultimate goal was to have the experience.
Today I started a journey; canoeing down the Zambezi River. I had been thinking of doing this ever since first deciding to circle the globe. I kept a journal as I traveled from place to place, country to country, in order to record everything in detail. The kind of detail only words convey. The following is an excerpt;
“Pack the canoes and off, down the river that separates Zambia from Zimbabwe. We will be traveling on both sides but camping on the river beaches only in Zimbabwe.
We canoe for five hours past crocodiles and hippos and make camp at 5:00 PM on a secluded island with absolutely no shade. It is boiling hot so we all huddle alongside the canoe to seek relief from the heat until the sun goes down in a glorious red and orange descent. Continue reading The Enticing River