Category Archives: Africa

25089 Biking Kasane to Victoria Falls

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

I left The Old House jut before 8am after the owner rescued the girl from faffing about on her ancient Windows PC trying to sort the bill out.

Notice wind direction :-(
Notice wind direction 🙁

The day started with a brisk headwind as you can see from the flags image and a climb of cause. Reaching the main road I came across a huge queue of trucks waiting to get into Zambia. I turned of and went down the remarkably quiet road to the Zimbabwean border post, passing large troops of monkeys at the roadside.

At the border there was a queue of 3 trucks 🙂 so I just biked straight to the office. I must say I love these border crossings on a bike! No queues ultra friendly guys and all very civilised I handed over my $55 and in return my passport page was filled with a bright sticker (I later learnt that for $10 more you can get a visa that admits you twice).

So on I cycled I was surprised to see several trucks carrying loads of refined copper cathodes obviously from Zambia. Another interesting thing was no trucks were carrying containers. Lots of elephant dung on the road which I wasn’t expecting. I didn’t see any but an oncoming car stopped to warn me of a herd crossing the road 1km away so they are close. The only animal I saw apart from a dead snake was a poor tortoise in the road, I chivvied him up to get to the verge before a truck got him!

Finally I made it to the Shoestrings Lodge/Backpackers must say it was quite a bit worse than I expected with an uncomfortable bed and need of maintenance 🙁 Plus  decidely expensive since Zimbabwe lost its currency to hyper inflation in 2008 (Ten Trillion notes are sold by the pesky touts in the street) they now use the US dollar.

about the best under the conditions
about the best under the conditions

I discovered it was $30 for entry to the falls but you could get a glimpse from the railway/road bridge so I walked there followed by a group of touts offering banknotes/carvings/bowls etc Maybe the train at $120 for a 3km ride and dinner would have been better 🙂

The Strava shows I rode 53.3mi with 1,152 feet of climbing.

My pics of the day are here

 

25088 Chobe River Excursion

Today was a rest day in Kasang catching up on my posts and getting my images online whilst my Botswana SIM card still works.

A Yawn or get out of my way?
A Yawn or get out of my way?

The Old House b&b has a frontage onto The Chobe River just before it merges with The Zambezi. They offer a 3 hour river trip heading along the Chobe National Park. Obviously I took it.

To my amazement it was just me and the driver/guide Albert , certainly not in KG’s class for either driving or guiding skills but we got by..

First animals were a huge troop of monkeys swinging in the trees, rapidly followed by bathing elephants, families of hippos, water ox, crocodiles and a huge herd of antelopes prancing around like ballerinas. Plus numerous birds.

All very interesting although somewhat marred by the poor light diue to rain clouds forming so that I couldn’t get a fast exposure time. Plus the zoom lens has now decided it won’t autofocus on maximum zoom any more.

The scariest thing is to see just how huge hippos are and how cavernous they can make their mouths..

Tomorrow I’m on my bike again to do the 80km or so to Victoria Falls passing through the Kazungula Border the only point on the planet where 4 countries meet 🙂

Todays fuxzzy pictures are here

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.

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 🙂