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Travel: Beasties In Botswana


Words & Images Trygve Roberts

There was enough dust on the dashboard to keep a five-year old busy for hours drawing stick figures. (Luckily, we didn’t have a five-year-old or stick figures.)

However, after 3000 fairly boring kilometres from Cape Town – via Calvinia, Kenhardt, Keimoes, Upington, Kathu (where a passing bakkie hurled a fairsized stone into our windscreen), Tsabong, Khakea, Kang, and Ghanzi – we finally reached Maun at midday on the third day.

All of this was travelling through the most featureless flat-terrain country I have yet seen. There is good reason for this: it’s to prepare you for some wildly exciting, adrenaline-charged camping once you reach Northern Botswana.

We were first-time visitors to Botswana, and, despite some serious internet research, were woefully over-catered in some departments and equally unprepared in others. We had checked the weather prognoses for Botswana as 24C/2C max/ min for July, so we’d packed loads of warm clothes, of which about 90% went unused. What we were short of was shorts and T-shirts!

The grandeur and splendour of the African bush has been adequately described by hundreds of erudite travellers before me, so in this little story I will relate the funnier side of life in the Botswana bush and how inadequate a city slicker is in that environment – regardless of the frequency of visits or the amount of money spent at the outdoor and adventure shops.


By a miracle of modern technology and an ageing Garmin 276C, we arrived at the Kaziikini campsite on time, and spot on target. The ablutions there are ‘rustic’ − this being the marketing word for old, decrepit and not functioning properly. The facility is not in good shape; there are broken toilets and no hot water – indeed, a variety of plumbing problems.

However, we set up at a camp called ‘Bufallo’ (we did look for ‘Girrafe’, and expected ‘Wathog’) near a small waterhole, and set up our camping kitchen. This included a sturdy structure of steel
and canvas, wherein we stowed all our snack-style food and cans of beer. (Bad mistake! In Botswana you do not just close, but lock, all your food inside your vehicle.)

We also noted that the birdlife at the Buffalo campsite at Kaziikini was amazing; we never quite had a repeat of that anywhere else.