sleeping with the elephants

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Day 66: Kasane, Botswana-Nata, Botswana (12 November 2009)

We awoke this morning to the sounds of nature and that included the monkeys and baboons that were running around our campsite trying to get their hands on any food possible. We had some breakfast (muesli, yogurt, tea and those yummy rusks again) and broke down camp and then had a shower at the nearby ablution box. The truck is really cool. There are so many compartments on the outside it isn’t funny. One big one on the back right side for all of our luggage and then the big one on the back left side is for a refrigerator/freezer and compartments for a food and storage pantry. Then the smaller ones on the left and right sides are for tables, chairs, tents and all of the crockery and cookware. It’s really neat how much it can carry.

Anyway, after all of that we hopped in the truck and drove our way to the Elephant Sands campsite in Nata (where our other tour had those flat tyres). This is a well-known campsite that is on a reserve without any fences and has elephants and other animals that drink from their pool and walk right through the campsites. Really cool in theory but waking up to find lions or elephants outside and being stuck in that tent would just not be the best I would think, right? We set up camp near two ablution blocks; one fully outdoors (showers, toilet, sinks and all) and the other just toilets but fully covered. We managed to set up camp just before the rain came and then we went to the bar and restaurant for some lunch and to wait out the rain. We got some toasted sandwiches and chips and hung out watching as the kudu and the elephants made their way just a few meters from us for a bit as the loudest cracks of thunder we’d ever heard launched overhead!

We waited for the thunder to stop surging through our bodies and for the rain to dissipate before we raced back to camp to throw on some warmer clothing for the next bit of the journey. We changed and hopped in a land rover that took us on a fifteen minute drive on roads and then into a proper game reserve and drove for kilometers and kilometers and kilometers onto land that there was completely no road including gliding over the trees and branches and other natural matter. We even got out of the jeep to go looking for a giraffe and when we saw it we went closer and found over ten giraffe scurrying away; it was amazing! And it was funny as all of the other drives we’ve been on there were strict rules not to get out of the vehicle and here we were being told to hop out, crouch down, walk slowly and search the land for the game…awesome! We got back in the jeep and drove for over three hours to a few waterholes and saw many elephants, a few antelope and before we were done there was a herd of buffalo blocking our path and waiting to greet us (or eat us)!

We finished our game drive and got back to Elephant Sands and hung at the bar where Meet Dave was playing on the large telly and then we had a beautiful buffet dinner cooked by the chef named Lazarus who actually came across the border with us the other morning. We enjoyed dinner and dessert and then headed to bed as tomorrow is a twelve hour drive day to Polokwane, a stop on our long journey to Kruger!

Tomorrow: Back to the beginning…South Africa; home of the Springboks and rusks!

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