a) a dragonfly
b) the first step in catching up on blogs?
Just 3 micro-posts, something ahead of real reports soon.
the most amazing road, between Mopipi and the A3 to Maum. To the left is the great Kalahari plain north of the pans. To the right the beginning of the greenery south of the delta. Storm ahead, like everyday somewhere over or around the Okavango in rainy season
In rainy season (now) the clouds appear out of nowhere fast. The dark cloud bottoms get close to the ground and above the sky roils. The storm lasts between 30 minutes and 4 or 5 hours. When the localized cloud above you bursts it is the heaviest I’ve ever seen, worse than the worst of Indonesian monsoon.
Here I’m running into whiteout. You can see how quickly heavy turns into very heavy and you have to stop the car
Edit: Car? Yes, not bike. It’s a one day 950K drive to Gaborone, where I’m working on something, which is twice too far for me, on my windshieldless enduro.
far to the north, on the Boro river channel, the largest of the delta tributaries. You can follow it to Angola for a few months a year. Right now the rainy season hasn’t reached the point the delta floods. Currently there is much more land than water, and a couple of months from now there’ll be much more water than land. Here we are, a few hours north of the village of Boro. Three fish eagles ahead
The village of Boro is classic yet vanishing Botswana. If you want to see what that looks like, click below
Story to follow.
We’re in Gaborone (Gabs), the capital city. It’s at the southern edge of Botswana (Bots), almost on the S.A. border. We’re doing business, maybe, of all strange things to happen.
Since we last posted, a lot has happened. We’ll do the posts next weekend. Here’s a nice video of cows crossing the Thamalakane River. As a storm comes in they head for home
I’ve been going very slow or not moving for months and there’s an excellent reason for that to do with a couple of friendships.
Removed some stickers from the panniers. I keep trying to remove them all but I freeze at these last ones. The top left red one was given to me by the leader of a scooter club in Indonesia, so it has high gift value. The white motomavericks sticker is CJ and John’s. They’re from Vancouver and are the among the world’s boldest distance duos and good friends. Ms S and I got the CARP (Club Atletico River Plate) sticker after watching River beat Quilmes in Buenos Aires, so it’s sacred. The “OM” sticker was from China. Andrew and Jamil found it when I was off doing something else, so high gift value. The Bolivian sticker was from the ride group I met in Peru who gifted me my first ride coca, and I told them I would ride their sticker around the world for them, a weird commitment but we were pretty high at the time.
The CDN sticker is required by law in Africa.
Two species. This
and this. I want to get this post out before lunch so haven’t identified them yet
Back to the bike, my Tractionators are leaking air. The front more than the rear, about 2 pounds a week. I was so surprised by this originally I thought my pencil gauge was faulty. So I went out and bought another, this electronic one. Looks bogus, but it has a CE stamp, so it must be reasonably accurate. It’s light, less than my metal pencil gauge
And here’s my micro Aerostitch compressor to reinflate. It’s 6.5 years old and as good as new. It hasn’t done a lot of work in Africa so far. But (sometimes super old people like me are slow to change) I would get one with a pressure gauge next time, if I could find one nearly as light and small. Probably doesn’t exist
Big post next.
There’s a bridge that crosses just south of our little stretch of river, with a tall termite mound (just so you know where they live, further to our termite mating post a week ago or so). Sorry about the confusing tree background
And eager to move. Watch this one!
That was the 2nd movie take. My friend ruined the first one
But back to the river:
This is the middle section of our little river stretch. It really is like out of a dream
If you look carefully you’ll see a small water monitor swimming through the lilies here
Here’s a bigger one, maybe 3′, on land. About 60% of the size of the monitors in Bangkok’s canals, the same size as the beauty at Galvan’s Gorge, Australia, and less than half the size of the Komodos on Rinca Island, Indonesia
It has a unique chick rearing habit: the male does all the work, and she’s polygamous so can have multiple families going at once. More detail on this here
Ugly looking catfish on the right. A good fisherman catches about one fish every 10 minutes. The ones on the left show up ion menus as ‘bream’ which the Euro tourists understand as something meaningful apparently
These prehistoric birds are very hard to get close to. They’re African Openbills and are about 3′ tall. They eat snails primarily. They’re fat and happy. Anytime they want a snail they go to the water’s edge and immediately pull one out
I’ve saved half of the cooler birds for another post.
So I watched a bunch of “important” Botswana cultural videos with a friend. I thought you’d think this one was interesting. It’s about a girl who wants a white boy to take her away, haha. Note the corny Canada picture at 3:25. Matebele by Charma Gal
But no matter, “very Botswana” says my friend, of the couple of dozen we watched this week.
Change of topic:
(You know how in Australia they shorten words like sunglasses to sunnies. And BBQ to barbie. In Botswana it’s even easier. Botswana is Bots, the capital Gaberone is Gabs, etc)
In both Namibia and Bots meat is the thing (cooked well done by the indigenous, never bloody). Because there’s a lot of it, like every member of the antelope family from Springbok to Oryx, plus beef and zebra, hippo and dried elephant.
Actually it was pretty good. The guts had been fried out, so you were left with this crunchy and tasty shell.
This is another local delicacy, water lily. The part you eat is the junction where the leaf stems exit the tuber. It’s mixed in with crushed beef and has a pretty nasty texture overall. Not a favourite
Some misc stuff to get me into the blogging mood:
1) we’re waiting for an envelope from Vancouver, story to follow. It’s a goody.
2) when I have to log in to this blog, the first image to the “my lucinda’ search is this, entitled “my child, my lucinda”. Creepy. But then again in the 1850’s Jane Eyre was for sure 18 and Rochester something undisclosed like 95
3) surprisingly close to the Victorian outfits above are some more Herero women we saw “downtown” a few days ago. There’s a positive feedback loop happening here with the Herero: they know the other tribes think they look cool, so they make their presence known, like walking in the road when others don’t
What does the town look like? Here’s the short central strip in downtown Maun. The taxi background tune is gospel music from South Africa
4) while watching Tottenham vs Man City last night last with the locals at an outside bar, this as usual, for an hour
So, now we’re in the mood I guess.
We go out on the river every couple of days. I’m collecting bird pics and will do a river birds blog when I get a good picture of my favourite, the African Jacana.
About 2/3rds of the way up there’s a little beach people come to to cool off. This is the only crocodile free section. We’ve seen two crocs, pics later. A 10 year old boy was killed 100′ from where I’m writing this, 14 months ago.
Btw, do you want to know how to get a crocodile to release you from its steely jaws? Here’s how, as described by Onks, one of drivers
If you didn’t hear that right, you have to bite the croc on its little toe. Below, cows and the river. If this looks like paradise, that’s because it is. Between the rain and the heat
Handlining and sleeping
Deer Park mastery at the moment, news to follow
Lots of beautiful people. The coloured boy on the right is a little unusual, I see maybe 1 coloured person per 100. More on the coloured variations in another post. There’s a strong Indian community here
Well, except for 2 things. China and South Africa.
Botswana has (relatively) sparkly finances. This goes back to the legacy of its first president, Seretse Khama, a remarkable man. Read about him here.
For example debt to GDP is 17%, 60 points better than Canada’s 77. Moody’s Bot’s credit rating is A2, Italy’s is Baa2. And the police force is the best in Africa. A piddly population of 2.3 million. A land of plenty with few to share. But they’ve just borrowed 1.9 billion from the Chinese for infrastructure. Just to the north Zambia has imploded and defaulted on their Chinese debt and may lose their national power company in lieu of repayment. Namibia to the west is losing mineral sovereignty. It’s the Africa story.
Who knows, maybe it’ll work out. Some here don’t think so. Maybe it’s paranoia.
The second thing is people here are seriously scared of the situation in South Africa, the neighbour to the south.
(why don’t I capitalize the word after 1) etc.? Because it’s ugly. Why don’t I have periods at the end of the sentence before a picture? Because then it bleeds. Why are there so many typo’s? Because I drink beer and blog.)
Our safari to Chobe was cancelled at the last minute. In fact, in the parking lot. Due to the heavy rains the track through the Savuti marsh was flooded out.
But they had a backup for us, a track into the Okavango delta to Moremi to see something we wouldn’t see up in Chobe. I took my GPS along.
Then became slow work
Past Maribou storks, one of my least favourite birds. You should see them attack a carcus, or a live animal. They’re the zombies of the bird world, way spookier than vultures, which manage to eat carcuses without looking evil
A good giraffe movie
Then something happened which not many people see, a leopard
Then moves off
So, the Okavango seen. Editorial later. What I didn’t see here I’ll see later, close to the Zambia border.
note 1: permission from Boka obtained
That’s where Jimmy McGill got his correspondence law degree. “Go land crabs” he said to Howard.
But the Tracks4Africa map shows a sand track, below
It’s a 6 hour drive, leaving in 2 hours, back in a couple of days.