TG Newsletter: BOTSWANANAS
(13 – 17 April 2017)
Travelling in Botswana could be compared to being stranded on a deserted island. You could travel for days without seeing other living souls. You could get lost. You could even get eaten by wild animals. Some days you’d wonder if you will ever see your family again. AND the cell phone reception is kak...
Today we traveled over the soil of a country we call Africa, the South.
We hoisted our sails for this expedition to find a treasure on Kubu Island. The sun had yet to wake and we still had rough waters ahead.
Storms were already brewing on the horizon.
Near the location known as Vaalwater, our boat capsized. We had to swim through waves of sand, gulping down mouths full of grains. Seeing land on the horizon, we kept bobbing till we reached safety.
We found a spring with clean ‘water’ and washed our throats.
There were remnants left behind by previous adventurers that came past this remote location.
Food was a plenty and we slaughtered a wild beast for lunch.
A previous explorer called Martin built a drift over the croc invested Limpopo river – thanx sjah!
Darkness descended and we had to find shelter soon.
It started raining and the cold gusts nipped through our jackets.
In the darkness we hacked paths through the bush, over potholes, dodging cows and donkeys that were only visible when they blinked.
Happiness was a warm bed at Camp Itumela that night. Goodnight Diary!
Day two of this excursion started WET. Fat rain drops covered the red soil of Botswana leaving deep mud puddles and water filled trenches. Today was going to be a hard day…
We swam through never-ending torrential rains, soaking right down to our binnegoed.
We met a lone wanderer of this vast landscape. He offered us a magic brew of herbs and spices. He called it Mazawa Tea... It made us very happy!
After loads of laughter, stories shared and sipping on cups of the reddish liquid, he pointed us in the right direction. North – GO FORTH!
Riding over flatness and navigating via the only star visible during the day, the sun. But we needed to confirm if we were still on the right course.
We found a mountain range (…in Botswana a rock this size is classified as a mountain!)
Chikita scaled it!
“Nobody climbs mountains for scientific reasons. Science is used to raise money for the expeditions, but you really climb for the hell of it.”
“I think I see… I see… THE END OF THE EARTH!!! Ghlets go!”
We had a point on the horizon that we had to reach before the end of day. Fortune lay there.
We kept cruising on calm waters when all of a sudden a frightening mythical beast leapt out in front of us. He demanded our attention, grabbed us by the noses, looked us in the eyes and growled...
“Fear is the true beast. Tame that beast and it will guide you on your adventure.”
It was just too much wisdom to handle in one take… we sat down, cracked open a beer, stared into the great unknown and let it all sink in.
We met a member of the travelling people, a man we would encounter a few more time on this journey. He knew these waters well, so we followed him as he escorted us to shelter for the night.
We got there first… Explorers are inherently competitive!
The camp was called Elephant sands www.elephantsands.com
That evening we shared stories of wilderness, of ferocious animals and of great treasures. The tribal chief shared his secret stash of the juice he called Jack Daniels. We were ever grateful to this imposing man.
But we were told that the seaway to the island was impassable. All the roads were flooded, and even if bravery kept us going – stupidity would catch up. Tomorrow we’ll make a plan… Sleep tight Dairy!
We woke as the sun pointed us in the right direction. We knew that where we were going to tread today, there may be no roads. But explorers don’t need roads; all they need is the smell of the unknown.
Waking up in this immense silence is deafening.
We scraped together all our meager belongings, packed up and left. So long, and thanks for all the fish.
We passed by the co-ordinates of a kingdom called Nata.
The further we went offshore, the graver the situation became. We were sinking… I’m sure they’ve renamed the town of Gweta to Atlantis!
Where there is a sea, there are pirates.
They came in blustering with a rollicking song, swaggering boisterously. Their faces weather beaten, wearing silver hats, ready to pillage.
These pirates loaded our bikes onto their low-bed trucks and swept us into the deep blue.
There were a few kays where roads were non-existent. The water was at least a meter deep, maybe even deeper, and crawling with oil sucking beings. Our bikes were loaded side by side with no ropes or tie-downs. The truck floor was slippery with grease and the only thing keeping these bikes from rolling off the back or tumbling over the sides during out turmoil ride… was us! I don’t know if you are aware, but we aren’t the most muscular brigands you ever may have laid your eyes on.
Knuckles turning white, sweat dropping from foreheads, and nervous giggles escaping from our bellies… a romantic cruise indeed.
To err might be human, but to arr is pirate!
After we disembarked we found a pig-of-the-earth guarding the entrance to Planet Baobab. But Chikita pinned him down while I snuck past behind him.
We made it to the planet alive, scraped and bruised by an ant eating pig.
Drink up me hearties – the sails are awaiting!
We were told to refill & replenish at Gweta, but there were no fuel station or bank…
At Ace Quality we held the treasure bearer ransom for his loot. He allowed us to use his card machine to draw money, and then invited us to stay over for the night. We declined, the island was waiting!
When you shoot yourself with TWO guns, it’s much quicker but a lot louder!
We then came across the tree of knowledge of good...
Neither our good nor our evil sides wanted to give up on this quest.
We kept going until we found a vein of sand not covered by water. It crawled over the savannah, tangling and detangling, forking, converging, twisting and weaving.
We followed the angel of butter as it flitted just out of reach.
The groundswell got higher…
…until the breakers broke us.
We had to call it. The island was a dream not to be fulfilled on this trip. We had gone as far as two novices Buccaneers could go.
The day was too short to turn back. We rolled the dice and it landed on WILD CAMPING!
What do you say to a pirate that just knocked out your teeth?
We scouted the surroundings and it looked deserted. We’ve already travelled for kilometres without seeing any movement. This was a forsaken stretch of earth. We salvaged what we could from the bikes and dragged it into the bushes, about 40m off the track.
First things first – FIRE!
We started small…
But the bush gave us the gift of fire wood which we graciously accepted.
Why, if the rum is gone – we drink tequila!
Surviving a deserted island - point 4: Build a shelter
Before night fell down like a Skinny in thick sand, we went hunting. We found wild-cheese-sausages and speared them down. We only hunt what we eat…
Before long we heard the drumming of an engine approaching. We scampered around hiding our belongings behind the bushes, grabbed our jackets and stood around the fire in a vain hope that we could hide the flames…
*A hint to whoever shall read this – THAT DIDN’T WORK!*
Soon the truck pulled up next to us and someone said… “Ghello? Ghellooo???”
We slowly peeped over the jackets at a truck loaded with smiling facing.
“Ghar dyou gokay???”
“And da scoeters???”
…again a nod or two.
They smiled, waved and left with a banter.
Tswana people are the best!
Sometimes another swashbuckler might give you a valuable tool like a sword. But Cap’t Allan Rowan gave me a traveller’s braai-grid. It’s only a short copper pipe, but it assembles into a neat little rooster.
If you are ravishingly hungry, start assembly immediately. It’s takes a bit of time.
Other weaponry at our disposal were two spoons, a fork and a tyre lever, a number plate used as a plate, and an old bottle of bubbly dug out of a dusty skatkis.
We fell asleep in the sand around the knettering fire.
We do not know how to value that which we enjoy, unless we are told that we should want it. See you in the morning Diary!
Deserted islands are known to be deserted… by humans – but not so much by bugs!
We woke to see a carpet of mozzies clinging to the tent walls in hope of a little suckle of blood – THEY COULD SMELL US INSIDE! As we contemplated who was going to take the first morning wiz while mini vampires claim your naked buttox, a buzz of a whole different calibre could be heard settling down on the tent. A swarm of bees decided to join our wild camp site!!!
We shielded ourselves with a cloud of Peaceful Sleep before we climbed out of our safety net to watch the sunrise.
Over the first cup of Trinco, we wondered if Noah should be considered the father of piracy.
It was time to get rowing again. We broke down camp, checked all our kit for more goggas and loaded the hull.
Grrrts… grrrts… garggle… spit!
Even Flash needs protection – and if LEATT is good enough for Flash, then it is good enough for us!!! www.leatt.com
Today we sailed on a road that wanted to devour us. At first it was only peckish. The baby potholes would jump out and nibble on our boots.
But then it got hungrier!
As it hooked its claws around our ankles we started seeing our lifes flash before our eyes. We kept on sinking deep into its belly. In a last grapple for survival, we grabbed our throttles and slashed our way up and out, gasping for air. Smugly we smiled… yet another dragon slain.
Shiver me timbers! Our treasure map showed that there was another way to the spot marked X. It was just a small dotted line overgrown with thorns and bushes.
We forced our way deeper into the bush, with thorns grabbing our sleeves trying to pull us off the bikes. Both sand and bristles got thicker, while our stamina and fuel reserve dwindled. And then we found it…
Even though there was nothing of value at point X, it was not fortune that we were seeking. It was about spending time with a wild best friend that makes anything possible. Gold is not worth time, but time is worth gold!
Nearing the end of day, we found a place to lay our heads.
6:16pm: Got one call out of my cell phone before it died. 7:25pm: That pizza is definitely free…
See you tomorrow Diary!
We came across a human chain marooned on the shore of Botswana. This chain didn’t move and grass started to grow between the toes of these souls. They might have been standing there for days, waiting for a stamp in a small book allowing them to travel?!?
The only true borders should lie between day and night, between life and death, between hope and loss.
I felt pity for these people as they stood in line, a line that stretched over KILOMETERS!
There was not much that I could offer them, but I could give them some entertainment.
THEY LOVED IT!
As far as I was riding on my back wheel, the people were laughing, dancing and giving me hand gestures to go higher.
Sometimes a smile is all you can give. Sometimes that is enough.
We might not have made it to Kubu Island, but the adventure was still extreme. My fist… bump it!
CHIKITA PRODUCTIONS PRESENT:
Skinny & Chikita rides through Botswana in search of Kubu Island. But the country is flooded & the adventure turns into an extreme treasure hunt of wild camping, sand riding and sleeping under the stars!
Thank you for your honesty! Even though I do not thank everybody personally, I see each penny dropped into our account and say a quick dankie every time.
If you're familiar with the rural concept of the honesty bar, this honesty newsletter ain't much different... I'm a completely un-paid journalist, relying instead on readers using the honour system. You read the newsletter and then leave an amount you see fit for the entertainment you've received.
If you don't find it particularly amusing, then you fork out NO dosh. I won't stop sending you the letter – it is still mahala to those that count their coins and... I love sharing my stories.
As requested by my overseas readers, you can donate to this newsletter on my PayPal account:
You can do an EFT transfer to the account below.
Blip you on the other side!