Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Botswana Cycle Trip - Day 13 - 17

Johan and Howard's Botswana Cycle Trip - Day 13 to 17

Day 13
Over the last 5 days we have had a little exposure to the diverse Caprivi culinary habits, which has varied from hacking a slab rump from a cow carcass hung under an umbrella thorn, to dining on good old fashioned Namibian 'gekookte kos'!

On day 13 we left the Zambezi River for the town of Katima Mulilo and settled in for breakfast at the Boabab Bistro - clearly a watering hole for the local Katima 'tannies' that flow in and out for 'intelligence' swopping purposes over endless cups of coffee ...

We decided to take a 185km loop road (over 3 nights) that dips south and west through the 'teaspoon' of the Caprivi and passes Mamili and Mudumu National Parks. 116km of this is dirt - a mix of solid old Namibian dirt roads (now breaking up), and then sections under 'repair' by the Chinese, that seem to have taken to the African way of sitting on the road side (under those big paddy field hats), watching a grader pushing mounds of soil around. Distance for the day was 60km.

Day 14
Day 14 we woke to frozen water bottles (so, yes that cold front did reach us). It was Johan's birthday so hence our effort to up our game when it came to the dinner menu ... While our water bottles were solidifying at 4am, 5km down the road a 9 year old cow met a bitter end. By the time we arrived at the spot, limbs and rib cages were hanging neatly off an Acacia tortilis. It made perfect sense to splash out and buy a fat piece of rump for Johan's birthday dinner. So N$10 and a dirty choppies packet later, we pedalled off a little heavier laden. We left the road and after missioning 4km through thick sand, under the direction of a medulla from Selonga Village, and powered partly by two x 1 pikanin powered engines, we reached the edge of the Linyanti Swamps.

Sadly the rump steak that was suppose to be the highlight of our day, bounced between teeth much like a cheque from the Zimbabwean Reserve Bank ... After some determined chewing, it finally bounced off the braai grid and into the bush for the hyeans!

Day 15
Day 15 started with a 4km grind & push through the thick sand (w/o our pikanin powered engines) back to the main road. Keeping our conservation values high we naturally carted the last 2 days rubbish with us, with the intention of disposing it at the next village. We pedalled alongside a 12 year old boy by the name of Colin, who was lifting his younger brother on the cross bar. After rattling along the dirt road for about 10km we reached the turn off to Sangwali Village, where Colin assured us of many luxuries. 5km and 1 elephant later we arrived at the village and made for the cool shady steps of a Spaza shop. After a cold coke and a 'vet koek' we asked the lady if she could dispose of our well travelled rubbish. She very kindly said that she would ... 2 min later, while sitting on the said shady steps, our Choppies rubbish packet came whirring through the air to land in a puff of dust 10m away! Funny, but sad ...

We pedalled onto the Mudumu National Park and took a very well beaten elephant path south off the road to look for a campsite. This ele path was so heavily utilized, we were able to cycle on the layer of trodden dung despite the soft sand. We set up camp about 1km off the road and respectable distance off all obvious game paths. What followed was one of the more elephant induced nights of insomnia, both us us have experienced! They started coming past our tent around 8pm but because of our voices and the cooking fire, kept a breathable distance ... But after we turned in, herd after herd practically blundered through our site trumpeting and vocalizing as they crashed through the Mopane sometimes meters away ...

Needless to say, neither of us were even slightly scared.

Day 16
Day 16 we pushed the last 55km of dirt to join the Caprivi highway for a cold Russian sausage, some deep fried chicken & chips. We then rolled down the Kwando River, took 10 min boat ride complete with our bikes and some overseas tourists, downstream to Mabalaza Island Lodge for 2 nights of hot water, cold beer, good Namibian food and of course a spot of fishing.

Day 17
Day 17 as it stands now has been populated with 2 pike, 1 bream, half a dozen beers, some bike & equipment maintenance and a cramp in both my thumbs, because I have just typed these last 5 days on a Blackberry! Cheers!

No comments: