Exploring Mopipi

Every year Karowe Diamond Mine, where Sue works, holds a Wellness Day at one of the villages in our Boteti District.This year the chosen village was Mopipi.

Mopipi is a small village about 80 km from Letlhakane in the direction of Maun. It is a place we have often passed on our way to Central Kalahari, Khumaga, the Boteti River and so on. But we hadn’t really explored this little village.

100_4537The view we know Mopipi by is that of its dam (picture to the right). Yes this is a dam.

It used to be fed by the Boteti River, but for 28 years odd the rivers waters haven’t made it this far. There was even a sailing club here at one stage.

The wellness day was well attended and included aerobics, different health talks, traditional dancing, football, netball and running races. Somebody even conned me into running 100 m. Of cause I had to let Sue’s boss beat me.

100_4555It is an amazing thing that the mine does for the community health as people can also have cholesterol, HIV and other tests done for free.

A donkey cart used to pack-up chairs and tables

A donkey cart used to pack-up chairs and tables

After most of the events Sue and I decided that while we were in Mopipi we should go and explore the village.

One thing we do see from the main road when passing through Mopipi is a tourism sign indicating a “Taxman’s Tree”. We had on a few occasions tried to find the tree, but with no luck. So we asked a local resident, who had no clue either.

The village is much bigger than one imagines seeing it from the main road. We went all the way through and out onto the pans outside the village and soon had the powder like dust covering our car.

We headed back and drove through the village which is very quaint and incredibly clean. Apparently it has won the cleanest village for the last 3 /4 years. Something else was that there were no TV dishes, even looking through all my photo’s I can’t see one.

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It was early afternoon when we headed home and I was in adventure mode, so shortly after town we turned off the main road pointed the car in the general direction of home and followed whatever track that went in that direction.

When we moved to Botswana we were told that you only travel if there are two vehicles and you had told somebody exactly where you were going – oh well.

100_4598The start was pretty open with some lovely big trees, but this changed and soon we were in thick bush, with over grown tracks. We just had to go with what we had, but the “road” we were on was going north when we were meant to be going east.

It was 3 o’clock, so we still had 3 hours of light, but we didn’t have a clue where we were or where we would come out and how long that would take us.

A bit a head of us was a building and we were concerned that it was somebodies house and we would have to turn around and go all the way back. Then I noticed that right at the house was a vet fence. So we hoped that this was a gate post and we could get through. At the worst we could always follow the fence back to the main road.

It was a gate and the young man, manning it, could not believe to see us “whities” on this route and asked us hundred’s of questions. Where had we come from, where were we going, why this route and so on. His response to all our answers was “great”.

100_4600From the gate we could of gone along the fence back to the tar – but what the hell we were still in adventure mode.

We had moved out of thick bush and onto grasslands which was very beautiful.

Dotted every now and again were salt pans and before long we were on the pans themselves, which were just magnificent.

It was the same set of pans that we had been a number of times. So we felt much more confident 100_4599even though we hadn’t been in this section and didn’t have a clue where we would come out.

We travelled through the pans for about half an hour, past a broken down car, before we recognized exactly where we were – at the exact area that we normally come in and leave from.

It had been a lovely day and one of the reasons why we love Botswana so much.

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About PeteMorrie

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4 Responses to Exploring Mopipi

  1. I love your pics and story – apart from what looks like a TAR road around Mopipi and a phone booth, nothing seems to have changed over the past 21 years- especially that black cotton dust!We lived in Orapa for 15 years from 1979 and enjoyed many bush adventures whilst there – miss it hugely! When not camping and exploring the pans around Orapa, or further afield in Moremi, Savuti or Chobe, we spent many fun weekends at Mopipi and used to sail one of my father’s old Fireball yachts (ex Bulawayo) – until the water dried up. Mopipi was always a clean and very friendly village. A visit to Mopipi – or indeed a trip through the village en route to Makgadikadi, the Boteti or further, never went without popping in to the Blue Bar – is this “institution” still going?! We also had an adventure drive back to Orapa one Sunday, through the pans and got lost – about 4 vehicles, with babies and toddlers – such fun. We stopped at one point whilst a Mum gave her baby a quick feed and were all lounging around in the bush, when out of absolutely nowhere came a safari/game drive vehicle with a bunch of tourists on the back (I kid you not!) – and the question we lot were asked, in a rather plummy “David Livingstone” accent (with the men being rather full of beer at that point and the women having taken over the driving and being, as you were, totally clueless as to where we were), was “are you an organised party?” – we were all dumbstruck, although I think a few of our party fell about laughing hysterically – and I can’t recall what the answer was – or indeed if anyone thought of asking where the heck they came from! Thanks for the memories and I would love to receive more!
    Regards
    Rhona Page

    • PeteMorrie says:

      Hi Rhona Thanks for your kind words and I enjoyed your story. I think Bots is just designed for things like that.

      Feel free to follow my blog. On the right hand side of the page you will see “Follow this blog” enter your e-mail address and you will get notification everytime i write something.

      Regards
      Pete

  2. Sue says:

    A “Wellness day” – should be adopted by more companies & countries. GREAT idea.Well done to the village on their tidiness. I can see why you guys love Botswana.

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