Around the World in 90 Days

don't be jealous…

Tag Archives: Botswana

Kgalewood Here We Come!

For our last full day in Botswana we wanted to go out with a bang and see all of the Kgalewood sites (mostly pertaining to the Ladies No. 1 Detective Agency).  So first was a climb up Kgale Hill.

Even though it felt bright and early to us (7am), we were amongst the late stragglers up Kgale Hill.  Many were coming down as we were going up.  Part of the hike is a road which you can see above, and part are steep high steps.  It is at the base of this “hill” that Mma Ramotswe has her agency.

This is the view about 3/4 of the way up.  The guy in the far right corner was doing sprints up and down this smooth steep part.

Here is Heather making the final ascent.  Note the desperate messages painted on the rock.

Tompal always wondered how far it was to Bejing, as he needed to get the third foot on his right side removed for extra cheap.  He figured he could pay the surgery by selling the foot on the black market.

When we first arrived at the top we were enveloped by a cloud. It was the oddest feeling of wet and mist and excitement.  It lifted a bit (not much) and apparently still wanted to be in the picture like the camera whore it is.

Internet at the Koonses was still not working.  So we all brought our laptops to the Juicy Lucy for breakfast.  Not much talking, mostly eating and typing at our table.  Everyone love my farmers tan??

Heather and Don then drove us to the Ladies’ No. 1 Opera House.  Previously they had bought season tickets and said the ambiance was awesome.  All sorts of shows perform here (not just opera).  Unfortunately today it was closed.

Then they took us to the actual set of the HBO/BBC series.  I sure wish it wasn’t fenced in…it could be a major attraction.  We decided to walk around the perimeter to see what we could see.  Then what did we see?  A HOLE!  Yep a person sized hole.  It was if they were inviting us in…

It seems they also invited nature in, but it wasn’t as polite as we were.  It seems that nature is slowly reclaiming its land.

Okay so we don’t look our best ever…but we did just climb Kgale Hill.

You may think this sign is silly…but wait until our next blog entitled Signs of Africa.

As you can see the set was not built to last.  It is begining to look a bit derilict.  I wonder what Mma Ramotswe would say, or rather I wonder what her daddy would say.  It is amazing how sets look so solid on the oustide but are really a combination of concrete, paper mache, and paint.

Our lovely hosts!

We just had to sneak another cow picture in.  Later in the day Heather walked us down to a craft shop near her house.  It was awesome.  On the way though we passed a cow crying–no joke.  It looked adolescent and lost.  It just kept crying looking for its herd. I think he got reunited shortly thereafter.

 

Note the awesome iron baboon!

This is one of the women working in the pottery shop.  We bought a lovely bowl and vase.  The designs were amazing.  I think Heather and Don should have something commissioned when they come back to the States in August.

Our time in Botswana has come to a close.  I end with these pictures of monkeys from Heather and Don’s porch.  They kept warning us about monkeys….but they did not grace us with their presence until the last day.  They look so cute…who would know they are diabolical?

Advertisements

Safari Shenanagans

So on our last evening at Tuli Lodge our safari was lackluster.  The animals were hiding and we just didn’t see anything good, so Abraham extended our safari drive a bit.  That’s when things got crazy.  We saw the usual zebra, wildebeest, ostrich, etc.  Then we started seeing the good stuff.  We saw hyenas stalking, jackals, and even a genet (a “cat” that climbs to the top of trees and catches birds when they land).  CRAZY eh?

We were treated to a family of bat eared foxes.  The cubs were playing, rough-housing one might say. Eventually the parents became suspicious of us and called us in.

Afterwards we were driving and ran into the back end (thats what was facing us) of a herd of elephants!  They moved over and we were watching this mom and her adolescent child and baby.  Suddenly she turned her back to us and grunted, the baby and adolescent fell behind, then she whipped around, flared her ears, stepped forward and said “GO AWAY.”

We saw a porcupine, which I have never seen in the wild.

Then as we drove into Tuli, we saw a hyena, very close to the lodges, marking his terrritory (lets just say No. 2).

We left Tuli the next day…we didn’t see the jaguar or any large cats for that matter.  BUT we did achieve one thing.  Tompaul did get a NICE front picture of a warthog.  That my friends is a achievement not easily achieved.

Oh and the babies too!

And they stayed…and played.

Safari

We finally managed to leave the Molema lodge around 13:00.  Unfortunately, thanks to a washed-out road, we had to take the long way around, so it took 90 minutes to go a 25 min ride.  Luckily we arrived just in time for afternoon tea and our evening game drive.  While we have gone on safari before, this was our first game “tour.”

Our lovely rooms above, which we quickly checked in and got ready for tea.  Our tea consisted of delicious cookies, chocolate cake and a veg quiche.  Our drive for the stay was Abraham.

Going safari in the “wet” season (as we saw) has its challenges.  For one it could be muddy, it could rain so much you can’t leave, and the bush is so lush and green it can be hard to see animals.  But when there is a carpet of delicate yellow flowers it takes your breath away.

There were more wild giraffes and closer than I have ever seen in my life.

I always wonder if giraffes and brontosours walked the same way.  Or should I say lumbered?

What is Botswana without a Baobab tree sit under and to discuss life?  This one is about 1200 years old.

Giraffes were everywhere.

Our treat for our first game drive was a mother hyena nursing her pups before she headed out for the night.  We were close, and then we got closer.

One pup ran and hid in the cave. The second was a little more brave, or curious.

Heather and Don right before sundowners.  How many giraffes can you spot?

Dinner was divine.  It was a tasty butter bean soup in mini poiki pot and a veg curry with salad and veg.  The next night was a butternut squash lasagna, mint peas, salad, and bread.

Tiny steenbuck.  Heather calls this the “Disney deer.”

Jackals.  They don’t look as fierce as they are known to be.

Baby learning the ways of the elephant world.  Can’t you see the wisdom being passed?

Giraffes also pass wisdom over.  This message is being passed through the eyes.

Bat-eared fox.  I didn’t even know they existed.  Everyone knows how I feel about bats…but these are adorable.

Rock Hyrax.  Supposedly related to the Elephant.  Can you see it?

Our elusive warthog friends.  They were bathing in a mud hole…then I thought about how people try to catch greased pigs.  What about greased up wart hogs?

Abraham measuring the water level from the previous night’s rain…it was 62cm.

The boys having sundowners. Tompaul wishes his clothes actually matched.

Don, Heather, Abraham, Lisa and Tompaul after our last safari.

Stay tuned for night safari–that’s when it gets CRAAAAZY.

It’s Botswana, Baby!

Ever since I read the Ladies No. 1 Detective Agency I have wanted to go to Botswana, the people in the book were just interesting in a way I had never seen.  Tompaul has wanted to go to Botswana ever since he saw a feature about it on the Today show.  As soon as Heather and Don Koons said they were moving there we knew it was a stop on our round the world trip!

After Heather bravely picks us up from the air port (she was super sick that morning including ER visit) we settle into their lovely bush home.  It is gorgeous.  There are a few bugs and reports of monkeys in their yard (which we thought was a lie).

In true Koons hospitality form she takes us to the best Indian Resturant in Gabs (she was still a bit queasy).

This was by far one of the BEST meals we had in a long time.  Actually it is the best Indian food we have had for many a moon.  Note the Naan, people.  NOTE IT!  It was soft yet crispy! It was like I died and went to Nirvana.

Then it was off to bed.  We were going to hit the road bright and early, once Don got off his 24h shift.  Our plan was to go to the Molema Bush camp for two days and then to the Tuli safari lodge.  This is located close to Zimbawe, so it is like 7 hours.  We all agreed to listen to Spud and that helped to speed the drive. The South African accent made the audiobook. We enjoyed the word “dodgy” especially. During this time we were able to get a good view of Botswana countyside.

It is rainy season so everything is super lush and green. The umbrellas everyone carries around are mostly for the sun, however.

Here is a traditional house and a non-traditional house side by side.

There are rest stops along the highway.  We stopped in true Botswana fashion, under a tree.  There we had a discussion about key things and had a delicious lunch.  The only thing was missing was a cup of tea.

As we resumed our journey the weather looked a bit cloudy and then it seemed someone had an accident.  There might have been a third car but only two were on the road.  Don sys the car accidents are truely wretched and deadly here.

The rain was amazingly beautiful.  Little did we know what was to come.  Montana is big sky country, but it has NOTHING on Botswana.  I have never ever seen sky as we saw in Botswana.  The clouds seemed to go on for an eternity, the color was so blue, the clouds so white!

After our prescribed 7 hours of driving we reached the Molema Bush Camp for the first leg of our safari.  We were staying in the chalets for about 40 US dollars a night.  We were roughing it, no electricity, the staff did our dishes and lit our cooking fires and gas lanterns.  Rough, I say.

Our chalets were just overlooking the river.  We were asked not to walk with 15m of the rivers edge cause they didn’t want us attacked by crocs or hippos. After our Kenyan adventure, we had no trouble following that advice.

Here is the inside of of our chalet.  Very cozy.

While in Molema we did our own self drives.  We saw tons of buck and birds.  Nothing too exotic.  Part of the reason was that we came in the rainy season so the bush was grown up and foliage obscured things.  But that also meant there were BABIES everywhere.  We also had frequent warthog sightings.

Warthogs are fun animals in the wild.  They run in a funny way with their tail standing straight up.  They do NOT pose for pictures and are extremely skittish, running away soon as they are spotted.  Our goal was to get ONE nice warthog picture.

Steenbuck.  They are always seen near their mate, and look like babies but are not.

A beautiful vista. Note the sky.

Warthog mommy and baby running away, again….

What is a proper safari without the dung beetle?

We stopped for sundowners and on the way back we saw this beautiful sight. The owl was watching for prey.

 

On our last morning we planned to drive up to the hide, but it was blocked because of the heavy rains.  About 2am we heard deafening rain, for 2 hours.  It rained 61mm overnight.  No hide for us. That also meant no exit for us.  We were blocked in and could not make it to Tuli.  We spent the morning hanging out in one of the cabins, watching Ladies No. 1 Detective Agency (the series).  It rained some more.

This is British Chris and Botswana Chris telling us we were blocked in, but maybe we could get out by 3.  What would we do?