Another day, another 8 hours of driving time! Yikes!
Glad this bus is relatively comfortable otherwise this would be a really crappy way to start the trip :p the majority of the long trips happen in the first few days, which is good, but it is a lot of driving. We got up at 5:30am today and had breakfast before decamping and packing everything up. The tent was really good, and my sleep was actually very decent. I picked up a travel pillow before leaving Canada and it turns out that though small it is pretty comfortable. The temperature overnight was amazing – really perfect, and looking up at the stars overnight was mesmerizing.
So incredibly clear, I was quite happy to just walk outside our little camp area and gaze up forever.
Anyway, this morning we hopped on the bus towards Maun which is where we’re spending the night. It was a pretty good ride – we stopped after about 2 hours and me and another guy went up to our driver and commented on how well maintained the roads are, not really expecting it to be. He laughed and said just wait for the next bit. Sure enough, not 15 minutes later we’re swerving left right and centre to try to avoid these gigantic pot holes all around the road.
Still, I’m impressed overall with the roads and general infrastructure here. Botswana is home to some very large diamond mines so they’re able to support themselves well, and apparently the country is well managed, though there is still a strong disparity between the haves and have nots.
We only had the one official rest break and then the next one was a “bushy bushy”, which is African for you’re getting off the bus and taking a piss on the side of the road. This is something to simply start to get used to :p the next two days will be worse!
Around 1:30pm we wound up in Maun, stopping for lunch at a Nando’s before doing a bit of currency exchange to Pula and getting 10l of water for the next couple of days, as well as any snacks we wanted to keep ourselves up and running between meals. Maun is the “big city” of Botswana, but it’s really just a street with a few shops, gas station, etc.
10 mins from there, after we loaded up all the food, water, etc we drove down to our rest stop for the night – the Sedia Riverside Hotel. There’s a campsite here which is where we’ll be spending the night. Nice spot, there’s a hotel you can upgrade to if you feel like it, a pool (full of sand and moss, but very refreshing after an 8 hour drive!), bar, food, etc. so it’s a nice little reprieve from camping (not that we’ve been doing it that long yet). We’ll be back here to the same spot after our two nights in the Okavango Delta which will be much appreciated I’m sure. I may choose to do the upgrade then, since I think I may need a solid bed for a night 😉
So yeah, a bunch of us jumped in the pool immediately and just hung around charging the electronics and all that good stuff. The rest of the day is our own – just hanging out. We’ve got to repack our bags for tomorrow as we can only take small bags to the Delta with just a couple of things, so I’ve still got to do that tonight.
We had another group dinner cooked by our guides – a traditional African chicken dish with rice. It was very good, then a bunch of us gathered around the bar and had a few beers before bed. Very cool group of people, mixed ages and origins makes for a lot of interesting discussion and comparisons between our various countries.
Tomorrow morning we’re up at 6, off by 7:30. Absolutely zero communication for the next two days – we’ll be digging a hole for the bathroom! It sounds like it’ll be an incredible part of the trip so I’m really looking forward to it, but also struggling a bit to make sure I pack everything I need, and only everything I need. Also really hoping all my batteries hold out for those two days and I can get all the pictures I want!!!
Anyway I’m getting eaten alive, and it’s time for bed, so this is me signing off for two days. Ciao!