Why don’t these trips ever go smoothly.
The day before we are ready to leave – our car and trailer was packed and ready to head out. Our friend Pam is on a bus from Gaborone and will be arriving late. Gavin and Jean are driving from Kimberley some 9 hours away and will only arrive in Letlhakane at around midnight. Tswinkie informs us he has to work the next day, but will slip away early and his wife Dinah will only be arriving sometime the following day.
I guess it will only be us leaving at 06h00, but this wasn’t a problem as we decided to spend the first night in Maun and we could all group there. But the worst was still to come.
We woke early to have a cup of coffee and to do the final packing. Pam, who was traveling with us was on time – things were going well and we got away only 5 minutes late. Not a bad start.
The first part of the trip always fascinates me. The first part is through mopane thickets, then this changes into open “grasslands” (more like desert at this time of the year) near Mopipi. Just outside Mopipi in this dry and desolate land you suddenly come across water and lots of it. The Boteti River is in flood and not only has it reached Mopipi, but it is flooding the area.
On route to Maun you cross the Boteti on two occasions, once just before Rakops and the next at Motopi. At both places the river was in flood and we have never seen it so full.It was so amazing to see.
With a full heavy car and trailer, going was slow, but we weren’t in a rush and the rest of our party were still a long way behind us. Just after 10 we arrived in a flooded Maun.
The campsite that we had booked was also underwater, so we had to take another one, right on the swollen river’s edge.
See more photo’s of the Boteti River and Maun at https://ourbots.wordpress.com/latest-photos/moremi/en-route/
After setting up camp, a quick lunch and shopping for fresh produce (only to find the shops in Maun do not have anything more than our shops in Letlhakane), we relaxed and did some birding whilst we telephonically followed the progress of the rest of our party.
Gavin and Jean had left Letlhakane at 11h00 and Tswinkie couldn’t manage to sneak away from work, but would leave at 17h00, meaning he had to drive in the dark, which is never a great idea in Botswana.
Gavin and Jean arrived just in time for dinner – we were just short of Tswinkie and Dinah now. As he was going to be very late he asked me to book him a room, so they didn’t have to worry about putting up a tent. But he didn’t know how late he would actually be.
Just short of Rakops the bearings on his new trailer seized. He managed to keep the car under control and get it off the road. The trailer wheels were literary in flames.
This wasn’t going to ruin his trip and decided as they were looking forward to this for so long, he would pack as much as he could from his trailer into his car and keep going. Unfortunately there was no room for his roof top tent.
As a consolation he did see an elephant and a leopard before reaching Maun in the early hours of the morning.
We were all together at last (some with a bit less equipment than they would have liked) and ready for the next stage of our adventure………