Dressing the community

With some people leaving Letlhakane and returning back to South Africa I urged them to leave clothes they didn’t want with me so that I could give them to our community at The Plot.

They did and we were very pleased to replace old torn clothing of some people with some still good items.

However, every day we pass a home, where there are 4 kids that are dressed in total rags. Their father now had nice clothing now, so Sue and I went off to a clothing store here in Letlhakane and bought them each a top and shorts.

There was also a thought going through our minds that instead of spending the money on clothes, food was actually much more vital to these people. So back to the shops we went and got some basic food supplies for them as well. We also threw in a few toys for the kids.

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Weather update

October this year was the coolest October we have had since I started recording temperatures here.

On top of this we had 38.5 mm of rain, which is way over our average 4.5 mm for October.

To see all the details got to: https://ourbots.wordpress.com/letlhakane-weather/

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In search of water

When we heard that Lake Xau was full we just had to go and see it for ourselves.

Lake Xau is filled, not every year, by the Boteti river, which is an overflow from the Okavango Delta. Rain waters, from the Angolan highlands take months to reach the Okavango and it is only at this time of the year does the water reach the Boteti River. See my post So Where does the Boteti River go

It was amazing how many vegetation types we went through, some showing signs of new spring growth and others still looking dead.

Leaving the tar road at Mokobaxana we headed through an area where you couldn’t believe anything could survive, but then, when we got closer to Lake Xau we went through a zone where spring had arrived in full force.

There is nothing more beautiful than the  Mopane tree’s new leaves, with colours of various shades of oranges and reds, almost making the bush look as if it was on fire. Wild flowers were also blossoming, it was just so beautiful.

I was excited about seeing the water. We rounded the last corner and there was Lake Xau – DRY – totally dry. We couldn’t believe it – we were told it was full – there was no water at all.

We travelled round the the dry lake and headed on the road, through endless grasslands, to the small village of Xhumo.

It is at this village where we joined up with the main tar road from Maun to Orapa. It is also very close to where the road crosses the Boteti River.

The river was reasonably full at this point, so the water was on its way to Lake Xau.

Heading back towards Mopipi we found a track and headed off road to see if we could find water and to our delight we soon found a flowing Boteti River, which was also full at that point.

We took out our chairs and cool box and enjoyed a few lemonades on the water’s edge. Plenty of horses, cows and donkeys were drinking and the birdlife was rich. Sue was even brave enough to swim, I just put my feet in the water.

It was stunning to see the river flowing and next weekend we will venture back into the area to see how it progressing towards Lake Xau.

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An Introduction to Botswana 3

We had already had a good morning in Chobe National Park, having seen 4 of the big 5 and we still had the evening river cruise to do.

These boat trips have always been a highlight of any of our trips to Kasane, so I felt that my sisters had to experience this as well.

We soon came across some buffalo and hippo sleeping with a few waders using them for support.

One thing we love to see on the cruises is elephants crossing the river and we didn’t have to wait long for that to happen.

From the elephant we could see game drive vehicles stopped on the bank of the river looking at something, we searched the area and there lay a leopard.

A bit later it got up and walked down to the river where it joined another one. Being roughly in the same place as we had seen leopards that morning – it probably was the same ones.

We had other great sightings before the sunset, bringing an end to the cruise and basically our whirlwind trip of Botswana.

Sue and I were treated to some great game viewing as we left Kasane heading home the following day.

More Pictures at: https://ourbots.wordpress.com/archive-photo/intro-to-botswana/

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An Introduction to Botswana 2

Even though it is 250 km from Elephant Sands to Kasane, it mostly through wildlife areas and you have plenty of opportunity to see game as you head up north.

We saw plenty of elephants and baboons; plus the threatened roan antelope and zebra. The highlight for Sue and I was to see the Chobe River. Water means so much for people who live in a desert.

We booked into The Old House (no camping on this trip). It is a very quaint hotel right on the banks of the river. In the past we have always made a point of having a lunch at it’s nice restaurant.

It was then off to the shops to get stocks. As it was Independence Day here in Botswana the bottle stores were closed, so this trip had become: no camping, Botswana in 3 days and with a very limited stock of lemonades.

We then headed to Chobe National Park, which, as normal, did not disappoint.

Heading along the river we saw plenty of elephants, kudu, sable antelope and buffalo.

One herd of elephants were having a mud bath, much to the delight of some of the youngsters.

It was the following morning’s game drive that turned out to be very special. We had just got down to the Chobe River in the park when we saw a few game drive vehicles stopped ahead. Trying to see what they were looking at, I was called forward by a ranger, who said I must pass him and look up tothe left as there were leopards.

A mother leopard was walking across a hillside with an oldish cub not too far back. Something caught my eye, another leopard was crossing the road just in front of the game drive vehicle I was behind. It was a second cub.

The mother lay down in a bush and the first cub was looking back, obviously, for its sibling. As the other cub approached, the first one crouched and took off, both cubs jumped in the air and collided in doing so. They played a bit before joining their mother.

Game viewing had once again been good and we were heading home when all of a sudden there was a loud trumpeting by an elephant.

I was watching what the elephant was going to do – something had annoyed it and I was hoping it wasn’t us – it was also far too close for comfort. Sue suddenly shouted look and there right in front of us was a lioness crossing the road.

I then realised what had upset the elephant. It is so nice not being the one being charged.

A second lioness then crossed. The two linked up and found a thick bush which they disappeared under. Maybe hiding from the elephant, or probably just finding a shady place to sleep.

Well 4 of the Big 5 in a mornings game drive was incredible, but the trip was not yet over. There was still the evening boat cruise to come…

Part 3

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A Quick Introduction to Botswana

This was not a trip that we are customary to – no camping and rushing around the country.

With my two sisters, Bridgette and Helen, popping into Botswana, I wanted to give them a feel for what we have experienced. Unfortunately they didn’t have much time available and they are not campers.

So the plan was 2 nights in Letlhakane, so I could take them to Lekhubu Island on the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans. Then 1 night (yes only 1 night) at Elephant Sands and 2 nights (yes only 2 nights) in Kasane/Chobe National Park. Plus no camping.

What made things worse is that owing to Sydney’s air control not working, Bridgette was re-allocated to a different flight, which meant she missed her connecting flight from South Africa to Botswana. So she was stuck in Johannesburg for 2 nights.

Sisters, Bridgette and Helen at Elephant Sands

So the trip really only started with Elephant Sands.

We arrived reasonably early  and were disappointed that there were no elephants already drinking there.

As the waterhole here is the only fresh water for miles and miles – the rest being very salty – there is generally a constant flow of elephants throughout the day and night during the dry season.

Roughly mid afternoon the elephants started to come and we were treated to plenty of elephants of all shapes and sizes.

The day finished with a stunning sunset.

It was up early the following day to rush up to Kasane – the gateway to the Chobe National Park.

Amazing sightings in Chobe National Park to follow in part 2

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Weather Updated

Temperatures have finally got over the 40C mark and we are daily getting into the low 40’s.

We have also had our first rain of this season, we got 2.5mm here in Letlhakane and 0.5mm at The Plot.

I have updated our weather page, for those of you interested see:  https://ourbots.wordpress.com/letlhakane-weather/

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