25086 and 25087 Chobe Safari Drive – Maun to Kasane

Sat 2 April 2016 to Sun 3 April 2016

KG with the bike in the Land Cruiser

KG with the bike in the Land Cruiser

The larger than life character KG (Kgaga) appeared with his Toyota Land Cruiser to take me and my bike to the camping place near Savuti. We had an instant rapport especially since he is a carnivore and I a vegetarian but both Leo’s 🙂

Strange to be sat in a vehicle all day and Moves scored the lowest step count ever for me 1,302 🙁 although bad old Fitbit made it 9,149 due to the vehicle bouncing around so much.

It was a splendid drive once in the National Park to see dazzles (not herds) of Zebras was excellent and several  journey’s of Giraffes. We came to the campsite as KG was errecting the splendid safari tent  I suddenly thought why not sleep in the tent I’ve been lugging around for 7 weeks. Talk about bad decisions it became literally a sauna! sweat poured of me for the first hour or two and condensation was dripping everywhere 🙁

OK guys I'm full please stop staring at me!

OK guys I’m full please stop staring at me!

Once camp was up KG said we were now going on a 3 hour safari around the park, a big surprise for me, my own personal safari with a leading guide 🙂 see the photographs for what we saw, humungous elephant with a stunning ending, a lazy full, lion who yawned in front of us like some house cat 🙂 I learnt from KG that if you are camping and hear a lion or other animal nearby do not open the zip! To a lion a tent is an inanimate object not worth attacking whereas a worried face certainly is. 🙂

I then cooked my pasta and sauce over the fire whilst KG had his steak and beef sausages (no pork here). and so to my sauna 🙁

At 5.30a, after a night listening to lions shouting at each other,  we were up again for another 3 hour safari with not that much wildlife to begin with although it was interesting to see other homo sapiens and guessing how much they had paid for the night according to their dress and photo equipment 🙂 KG saw the leopard tracks but alas no leopards. However, we did meet another couple of lions who just couldn’t be bothered to chase the nearby wildebeest and chose to do a bit of brotherly love instead.

An angry Honey Badger

An angry Honey Badger

Amazing tours and then we were off down the worst sand tracks, where we had a confrontation with a Honey Badger snarling and screaming at me, way more frightening than lions or elephants 🙁 thank goodness we were in the car, although the window was open. KG said it was because the car had become between him and his mate 🙁

At Muchenje I felt bad bombing down the tarmac road in the car 🙁 we finally made it to my previously booked b&b The Old House in Kasane on the banks of The Chobe.

Lots of pics here and here 

We did a total of 480km! (300 miles) and poor KG had to drive all the way back! although I guess it’s probably 2oo miles without the game drives.

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25084 to 25085 – Resting & Planning in Maun

Thurs 31 March and Friday 1st April

Maun bottom left, Kasane top right, Nata bottom right

Maun bottom left, Kasane top right, Nata bottom right

Sarah & Scott had cycled the route I intended doing, down The Elephant Road from Kasingula to Nata then across to Maun. A distance of about 382 miles on tarmac, they however had camped & carried food. In my youth I would have just done it but age is beginning to take its toll and so I started to look at alternatives 🙁

They had also mentioned Mack Air, So I popped around to their office in Maun, they said  a fixed wing flight from Maun to Kasane would be $275 but were very unsure as if a bike would fit into their small prop planes 🙁

Next stop was Helicopter Horizons but they wanted $665 for a 45 minute jaunt to the delta and back. Although it would drop to ‘only’ $228 each for three people 🙂 However the very kind lady, Maryke, said she would put the word out about my dilemma and see if anyone would drive me & bike through the 230 or so miles through the Chobe National Park to Kasane.

Maryke came up trumps and after some to and froing on the phone I eventually made contact with Naga Safaris and the delightful Lesley who immediately came up with a price  and said they could do it on Saturday. They would provide the Land Cruiser, driver and camping stuff. (The roads are so bad it is virtually impossible to do it in a day) all I would need is the food!  Lesley said she would pick me up the next morning and do the shopping with me and the driver would then pick me up Sat morning 🙂

Whilst in her office I also booked a b&b in Kasane for two nights and the Backpackers in Victoria Falls town for 4 nights  with a flight to Jo’burg on Saturday 9th April and then two nights in a hotel in Jo’burg. So all booked up 🙂

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25083 -Biking from Sehithwa to Maun in Botswana

Wed 30 March 2016

After not a very good sleep I woke to find no promised breakfast, a total absence of vehicles or any sign of life in the courtyard. So at 7.45 I departed from Monlek Lodge with not very warm feelings towards it’s owner, especially since my 15 Pula change never appeared after paying last night 🙁

The local shop was pretty devoid of edibles so I made do with a bottle of milkshake and a couple of my chocolate bars. A chappie in a pick up gestured to his mouth as I was leaving the village but I couldn’t be bothered returning. Cycling was hard especially with the quite strong headwind and that my legs hadn’t recovered from yesterday’s mega ride.

Scott with Sarah - riding fixies from Paris to Cape Town

Scott with Sarah – riding fixies from Paris to Cape Town

A pleasant relief was bumping into Scott & Sarah who are biking from Paris to Cape Town. They, obviously, were enjoying the tailwind! I was totally gobsmacked that both of them were riding fixed wheel!!!! Carrying all their camping kit and days of rations, especially since they had come through the very mountainous Ethiopia. Incredible, they do, unsurprisingly, take week long breaks throughout their journey. Their website is at no fixed destination a pun on riding fixies 🙂 They said during their stay in Maun they had met several other long distance bikers.

I pedalled on….

Is their house called Tyred bucket

Is their house called Tyred bucket

Lots of signs of budding entrepreneurs with their roadside tables selling cold drinks etc from their ice boxes. Just love to see this sort of thing wondering which of them will become the next Tesco or Walmart! Also the ingenious way of marking where the footpath is to their house with a collection of old objects on a stick!

Eventually I made it to Senthanga Lodge having biked past it and overshot by 4  miles and having to retrace my steps 🙁 First time it’s ever happened to must remember to never use Apple/Google maps they are way to unreliable. OSM is so much better 🙂

Strava says I did 67.6mi &110ft of climbing at an average speed of only 9.7mph – time for a rest!

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Day 25082 Ghanzi to Sehithwa

Ridden 29 Mar 2016

After yesterdays rest day were the checkout supervisor at Choppies kindly sorted out my Orange SIM card for me, although I felt a bit bad about giving Orange 400 Pula so I could buy 2 gigs of data. The retail shop wages are 4.32 an hour so it’s nearly the equivalent of 100 hours work!

At 8.15 I was part of the queue at Barclays to try and get my card back, the place opened at 8.30 but not much action happened – I went to every till/information window where I was promised the card back in an hour or two! Eventually I located the manager and shamed him into opening up the ATM quicker. So at 8.54 I eventually was on my way.

Today was either going to be very short, camping at El Fari after only 70km or going the whole way to a guest house at 200+Km  I was making good progress so opted for the latter.

Donkey derby

Donkey derby

I made good time even having a race with a donkey at one point. However, I had left to late so by the time I arrived in Sehithwa it was pitch black with no street lighting. the 24hr Shell garage didn’t have much idea except pointing back to the few houses I past. Eventually at a junction a shop had lights on, to my surprise when I asked them about the lodge they said the owner was right behind me 🙂

Getting late

Getting late

So of we went me frantically pedalling to keep up with his truck!  Monlek Lodge was OK but some confusion over a meal eventually a young lad bought over a tray of stuff which certainly helped to fill the empty space created by 121 miles of biking. A bit of a modern record distance for me 🙂

Strava says I did 121.1mi Distance in 9:21:35 Moving Time 140ft of climbing. Although it omits the 900 feet or so of descent.

The pics are here

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