Sand, potholes and donkeys cont…….

Day 23 – 26/08/2017 Nata, Botswana – Stevenson Game Reserve Botswana 

On rising the next day we found out that the deal here only included breakfast for one. As I wasn’t hungry and was happy for a rusk and a cup of tea, David went off to have breakfast in the dining room alone.

We left Nata at 8am travelling via Francistown heading in a westerly direction for the Stevenson Game Reserve situated on the border of Botswana and South Africa.


One of the little villages we passed on the way

The first half of the journey we dodged really bad potholes and saw a few  warthogs, impala, yellow billed Hornbills and variety of other small birds. We passed small villages, the occasional cyclist and the ever present remains of a few ‘dead’ cars in complete contrast to the surrounding bush.


Another ‘dead car’

We arrived in the area at about 3pm and once again ‘Lady Jane’ decided to take us on the scenic route through one of the small rural villages. Travelling on a dirt track weaving in between the village huts we realised that this couldn’t be the right road. We eventually stopped to ask an elderly man walking past us if he knew the reserve or at least where the Tuli Block was. Luckily for us not only was he friendly, he was also familiar with the Sherwood area and Tuli block. So with the information given we were able to re-route back to the main road, turning left and now moving in the correct direction towards the Muldersdrift border. Just before the border post we turned right heading into the Tuli block. This road lead us to a private locked gate with no one in sight so we knew that this wasn’t correct. Once again there was no visible signage anywhere. We turned around and headed back towards the main road. Turning right we spotted a service station near the border. We thought there might be someone there who could direct us. I climbed out the car and went to see if I could find someone. A very enthusiastic young man said he knew exactly where the reserve was and was very keen to climb in the car with me until he realised that I was travelling with a man!

On his direction we turned around and headed back in the direction we had just come from and just a short distance ahead we spotted the Stevenson Game Reserve sign which was only visible from the this direction and that is the reason we didn’t see it.


The sign board we couldn’t see coming from the other direction

The reserve was another 13 klms down a gravel road in a northerly direction. When we arrived at the gate the security guard radioed the main desk to check whether they were expecting us despite the fact that we assured him we were indeed booked in. Shortly after signing in and passing through the gates into the reserve, stood a small bush buck and shortly thereafter a lone wildebeest had just crossed the road and was heading into the bush. A little further on stood a lone kudu frozen in the dry grass curiously looking back at us.


Majestic male greater kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros)


African ground squirrels (genus Xerus)

As we stopped to admire this majestic animal a little squirrel scuttled across the road and bounded up a tree trunk. An impala wandered across the road in the distance. Nearing the main reception area a grey heron stood like a statue in a small pond. The reserve looked promising and we eagerly headed towards the reception area.


Grey heron (Ardea cinerea)


Stevenson Game Reserve reception area

On arrival in the parking area we were welcomed by Zoe, Brutus their big ‘sookie’ dog and little friend. After signing in,  Zoe asked us to follow her in her vehicle to our accommodation. A fair distance away from the reception building we came upon a lovely rondavel bush style camp. It was quite rustic but very functional and clean with a pleasant private outdoor lapa (an open structure covered with a dry grass thatched roof, used for outdoor meals) set up with table, chairs, small kitchen,  pantry, fridge, gas cooker etc.


Zoe with Brutus and little friend

After unpacking we decided to go exploring. With a very basic map in hand we ventured off to find the weir stretched across the Limpopo river, which borders Botswana and South Africa. As we climbed out the car we could hear some Egyptian geese squawking in the distance and could see they were nesting under the canopy of some large trees on a nearby small island. The whole scene was so picturesque and peaceful except for the birds chattering away.


The weir across the Limpopo River

As we sat on the river bank to take in the scene we heard a commotion in the distance. It sounded like male voices which seemed to be getting closer and closer. Just then a pontoon type vessel appeared around the corner carrying a group of rowdy men wearing camouflage uniforms. They came from the South African side and appeared to be enjoying their booze cruise. We exchanged some friendly banter in Afrikaans and suddenly I was a ‘Tannie’ (Afrikaans for aunty) again. They guided their large pontoon towards us and as they neared the bank they kindly offered us two cans of ice-cold King’s Castle brandy and cola!


Late afternoon booze cruise

We happily accepted and a couple of minutes later they set off  in the opposite direction with much jollification. David cracked open the cans and happily sipped away as we sat relaxing on the bank enjoying the sounds of nature as peace was restored. Suddenly out of the blue another vehicle arrived with a group of four people. We spent some time chatting with them. One of the couples were locals from Botswana and the others were visitors from the Czech Republic. After they left we walked along the river bank. We spotted a pied kingfisher, fishing from the nearby reeds. diving into the water with great accuracy and speed.


Peaceful scene across the Limpopo River

After taking a few photos we got back into the car and continued exploring to see if we could find any more game before sunset. We spotted a shy little duiker well camouflaged under the trees near the river bank. As we followed the river we found a small side road leading to a couple of designated camping spots right on the water’s edge. There didn’t seem to be any campers there at the time.


 Grey go-away-bird (Corythaixoides concolor)

We then drove to the other side of the reserve looking for one of the other water holes indicated on our little map to see if we could find any of the resident eland. Sadly we didn’t find any. However there was a lot of activity around the waterhole with the resident ducks and go-away-birds (Grey lourie). By now the sun started setting quickly. Feeling rather exhausted, we made our way back to the camp to see what we could muster up for dinner, with our now diminished food supplies. As we pulled up to our rondavel we startled a warthog who had been happily grazing in the camping area. He made a mad dash to get out through the perimeter fence. The poor animal squealed as he struggled furiously to free himself after getting caught in the wires. Luckily he was able to break free in moments and did not require any assistance.


Burchell’s glossy-starling (Lamprotornis australis)

Around the camp hopped many glossy starlings and spur fowl all furiously foraging in the scrub. To our surprise the outdoor dining area had been beautifully laid out with candle light, serviettes, plates etc in our absence. After rummaging through our cooler box we discovered a tin of baked beans and a can of peas! So while David heated the peas and beans I made toast to accompany our gourmet meal! I was so hungry that I savoured every mouthful! It was the best baked beans on toast ever. After the last of our shared can of Grapetiser we finished off with a lovely cup of hot tea.


Late afternoon sunset

Once again it was a quick shower, bed and I fell swiftly into a deep sleep serenaded by the sounds of the creatures of the African night.

Posted in Adventure, Animal, Artist, Australian Artist, birds, Botswana, Conservation, Landscape, Passion, Stop wildlife crime, Travel, Wildlife | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Selling and buying art online

This gallery contains 12 photos.

  ‘Window to the soul’ acrylic on canvas Selling art online has never been easier with so many galleries to choose from. Some of these online galleries require a subscription fee and others don’t. Each gallery take a commission which … Continue reading

| Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Selling art online

2 - Elephant

‘Don’t mess with me’ – oil on canvas on board

Would you buy art online? It seems many do. I would love to get your thoughts on this subject.

It appears that there are more artists around than ever before, or is it just my imagination? Or is it because we are just more exposed on social media?

I want to try a little experiment to see if having a blog, facebook, instagram, pinterest, linkedin etc all work or is it only about the time you spend on the computer, phone etc inputting data and photos?

Touch of 2

‘Touch of Tanamu’ – pastel on colourfix paper

I am not a tech expert and would like nothing more than to spend all my time in my studio painting! However I seem to be spending more time than ever before on my computer! Don’t get me wrong I love that the world has become a much smaller place and that we are able to connect with people from all over the world at a click of a button!

Are other artists interested in meeting other artists online? I know that the competition is fierce out there but is it really necessary? Art is so subjective and I feel that every painting has its audience. It’s just a matter of finding it!

So here is the challenge this week for me! I  am inviting you to visit my online page:

If you are willing please choose your favourite paintings by clicking on the heart icon and follow me if you so wish. You will be asked to register but this is more about making sure that you are real!

In this way firstly I will see which of my paintings connect most with a wider audience. Secondly I will see if this experiment actually works!

Kimberley Moonshine

‘Kimberley moonshine’ – acrylic on canvas

I look forward to seeing your reaction! Please join me and feel free to comment and leave feedback! Here we go, off on a magical media tour!

Posted in Acrylic, Animal, Art sales, Artist, Australian Artist, Fineart, Painting, Passion, Portraiture, Texture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sand, potholes and donkeys cont……..

Day 22 – 25/08/2017 Kasane to Nata Botswana

The next morning we took the opportunity to go on a morning game drive to the Chobi National Park. We had an early 4am rise to be ready for our drive with Gomez who was going to collect us at 5:45am. We had a quick breakfast packed our gear and with three other passengers found a spot on the safari vehicle. We entered through the Gavundu gate for a 3 hour drive which luckily for us turned into 4 hours. We spotted a large variety of birds and animals.


Chobe National Park


Lions basking in the morning sunlight


Mums and bubs


Pair of fish eagles


Teenage elephant


Gomez showing as a skull

When we stopped for a ‘pee’ stop and a coffee there was a troop of baboons surrounding the ablution block. Gomez shooed them away from the building so that we were free to enter. He warned us on our return to keep an eye on the vervet monkeys who had by now gathered around the vehicle in anticipation of possible invasion and theft.


Baboon on the move

On our way back to the safari vehicle one of the male passengers on our tour took great pleasure in telling us he had filmed the monkeys breaking into the vehicle by opening the back glass sliding doors, gaining access to the picnic box and stealing our morning tea biscuits! We all gathered round to watch his video and witness the perpetrator in action! We were all looking forward to our morning snack!


Vervet monkey enjoying our biscuits

While we were enjoying our mug of tea/coffee I spotted one of the monkeys jumping onto the vehicle to see if there was anything else he could steal. I tried to ‘shoo’ him away and in a flash he jumped from one side of the vehicle straight towards me in a very threatening manner bearing his teeth at me. I beat a hasty retreat. I soon discovered that male monkeys do not take kindly to being challenged by a female of any species! He did not back off until Gomez intervened. By now we were surrounded by a family of monkeys who gathered in the nearby trees and around the vehicle enjoying our biscuits and anticipating their next break and enter!


The cheeky vervet monkey that challenged me


Gomez keeping an eye on the vehicle as the thief sat on the roof 

Time was now ticking on and we needed to head back to the gate. We had a very rushed and bumpy ride back and as we hit a huge ditch we all went flying including David’s ‘Big Bertha’ camera which crashed onto the floor with a thump . When he managed to retrieve it he discovered that the lens filter was chipped. Luckily it wasn’t the lense. “Not happy Jan!”

We arrived back at Elephant Trail at 10 am and were packed, checked out and on the road by 11am after refuelling and buying a few nibbles for the road.

On the way to Nata after about two hours driving we stopped for lunch under the shade of a lovely tree and enjoyed Russian sausages, lettuce, tomato sauce and an iced tea purchased in Kasane.  We resumed our journey  passing large millet fields. When David spotted a large harvester in progress we had to stop to take a few photos. We were also stunned to see ground hornbills feeding on the side of the road. We were so lucky to spot them and of course had to stop for a few quick photos before they flew off.


Harvesting the millet


Ground hornbill

We arrived at Northlake Lodge in Nata, a very small town at about 2:30 pm. The Lodge is situated right next to the service station.  As we arrived at our destination fairly early in the day, while checking in, we enquired what there was to see in the immediate area. The receptionist told us about the Nata Bird Sanctuary in the Makgadikgadi Pan about 20 kilometers south of  Nata township. After quickly unpacking our gear we headed off not wanting to waste a minute of the day. This particular stretch of road between Nata and the bird sanctuary was possibly the worst that we had encountered so far. The potholes were horrendous. In fact most of the tar was gone and just pitted road rubble left. The vehicle travelling in front of was  swerving drastically to miss the ever-increasing potholes. I thought I was going to fall apart.

When we finally reached the reserve it was such a relief to get off the ‘surfaced’ road onto just ‘normal’ corrugations. At the gate and small reception building we paid $20 AUD for the entry permit. While in reception we met Stephen, a guide who was taking a female American tourist to the same place we were heading for which was the lookout viewing platform. The platform was pointed out to us on a very basic map supplied to us. Stephen and his guest left  shortly before us and we followed.

Our first sighting was two lovely ostriches strutting over a barren pan. Very striking, against the stark terrain as walked off  into the distance fluffing their feathers. While we were taking photos, Stephen approached us moving in the opposite direction. It appeared he was lost and couldn’t find the platform and stopped to ask us for directions! We told him to follow us and said that if he ever needed help with guiding he should just call us. He wasn’t amused!


Strutting ostriches

We drove quite a long way and suddenly there it was, a sea of water. I expected dry salt pans instead so this was a total surprise. It looked like a flat ocean as far as they eye could see. Positively stunning!


 Nata Bird Sanctuary, Makadigadi Pans, central Botswana

We drove a little further and came upon the viewing platform where we planned to settle down for a quiet afternoon of bird watching. Wrong! The next moment two bus loads of tourists arrived and the place was crawling with humanity. Luckily for us they didn’t stay too long and we relished in the sheer peace and tranquility that settled in to every pore of our bodies. Unfortunately there weren’t many birds at all. A lone pelican, a flamingo fly by and a few smaller water birds in the distance. The day came to an end but not without a spectacular African sunset. First stunning pinks filled the sky subtly changing into bold orange then morphing into subtle mauve and finally settling into subdued blues. A perfect end to a long but joyous day.


The setting sun over the salt pan


Stunning sunset


Last light at the platform

After the sun set and the night air settled in a silence fell over the landscape. The darkness fell like a blanket over the area and we couldn’t see a thing. The mosquitoes arrived soon after so we climbed into the car and nibbled on what leftovers we had by torch-light. Having run our supplies down gearing up for the next leg of our journey we didn’t have much choice,  a few crackers and whatever we could find to put on them. Eventually the stars began to twinkle like diamonds. Soon after we headed back to Nata hoping to get back to the gate in time. On the way back we spotted a beautiful little owl in the middle of the road and a couple of rabbits. The journey back to Nata was uneventful other than dodging potholes in the dark which was quite a challenge. David drove and I was the spotter!

Back in Nata and safely in the room I had a quick shower first and then it was David’s turn. Unfortunately the shower head fell off landing on his head! The shower then proceeded to continually drip all night! Nothing worse than a dripping tap however with our mosquito nets spread over our beds and snuggly tucked up, sleep finally took over!

Posted in Activist, Adventure, Animal, Artist, Australian Artist, Botswana, Conservation, Passion, Stop wildlife crime, Travel, Wildlife, Wildlife Artist | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sand, donkeys and potholes cont…….

Day 21 – 24/08/2017 Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

It was an early rise at 5:30am. After breakfast we were heading off to the Victoria Falls. We will cross into Zimbabwe at the Kasangula border post. We were warned that we needed to be there early so as to avoid the crowds as this is a particularly busy border crossing.

Just after breakfast we headed to the meeting point to await the driver who was to take us on a tour to the Victoria Falls. Or that’s what we thought? We opted to use the guest house tour service so as to get through the border as quickly as possible. As it turns out we needn’t have bothered as they did not assist us at the border and it was not a tour but a courier service.

There seemed to be some sort of hiccup as the driver was late. The owner came to talk to us and was in a state of panic. He informed us that they had run out of water and many of their guests were very angry and disgruntled and were threatening him with non payment.

Apparently for seven years this side of town has never had any water. On finding this out we enquired as to where their water actually came from. The owned replied ‘Oh we just go and collect it in a big drum from the river’. Luckily we had our own supply of drinking water. I was really pleased I hadn’t ingested any of the unpurified river water although I did however have a bath the previous night. I wondered why the water was so brown. Hopefully there wasn’t anything too sinister lurking in there. Apparently this Guest House only got electricity installed 2 years ago. This really puts things into perspective. Coming to Africa is always so challenging and humbling and makes me realize how lucky I am to live in a first world country. Most of these things we just take for granted.

Our driver Simon delivered us at the border by 7am and there was already quite a queue. Luckily at this time of day it wasn’t too bad.  There were so many trucks lined up to go through the border but these were channelled through a different route.

It took us about 30mins to get through without a hitch. When we were finished Simon walked us to the exit point where he introduced us to his brother Tadedza who was to be our driver on the Zimbabwe side.

We drove about 70 klms into Zimbabwe to the falls. Tadedza wanted to first show us where he lives so he made a small detour. The next stop, on my request was the large baobab tree situated close to town. Here David purchased his first three soapstone items from the vendors on the side of the road. They all vied eagerly for his attention hoping to make a sale. While David was busy doing some heavy negotiating I took some quick photos of the magnificent baobab tree.


The big baobab


As we headed off I carefully wrapped David’s statues into my soft camera pouch to protect them. Tadedza placed the wrapped statues into the glove compartment for safe keeping. Tadedza dropped us off at the falls entrance and told us we were now on our own and we would need to walk wherever we needed to go. He arranged to meet us at 2:30pm at the main entrance to the Victoria Falls Hotel after which we would need to make our way back to the border. 


Entrance to the Victoria Falls

We spent about 2 hours walking the breadth of the falls and back again to the entrance. Such an awesome sight. It was a beautiful clear day with not much spray so the conditions were good for taking photos. Although I have seen the falls before it always takes my breath away. A spectacular sight. This particular day there were a lot of tourists and viewing was crowded. I couldn’t even take a photo of the David Livingstone statue as it was perpetually surrounded by people. I decided to take a photo of a Vervet monkey sitting on the sign instead.


A curious Vervet monkey

It was now getting hot and I was really happy that I had brought an umbrella.


The mighty Victoria Falls


Heading towards  the bridge and Batoka Gorge


Victoria Falls bridge

After the Falls we took a short walk to the Lookout Cafe which sits above the Batoka Gorge. Unfortunately on the dirt pathway walk there was a young vendor who latched onto me. Following alongside me he relentlessly badgered and harrased me to by his rather large soapstone carving. No way could I fit this in my limited luggage and I was not there to purchase anything. I did feel really sorry for him but eventually had to be really blunt with him to stop him from following me.

The splendid view from the Lookout Cafe must surely be one of the best overlooking the Batoka Gorge. Down below you can see the rafts bobbing up and down as they venture out to the rapids. You can also see the adventurers rushing past suspended high above the gorge strapped into the flying fox slide.


Entrance to the Lookout CafeDSCN4844

Batoka Gorge looking towards the Victoria Falls bridge

As it was hot we opted for a lovely cold slushy which went down a treat! Now feeling somewhat refreshed we walked on another pathway up to the iconic Victoria Falls Hotel for lunch.

We sat on the veranda overlooking the beautifully manicured garden which rolled down to another viewing point towards the falls. By now I had built up quite an appetite and looked forward to lunch. While waiting we were entertained by some banded mongoose who scuttled across the fresh green lawn to sip droplets of water from a garden tap. They attracted many admirers who gathered round to take photos.


Thirsty banded mongoose


Breathtaking view from the Victoria Falls Hotel

After a lovely light lunch we went for a little stroll around the hotel gardens. After which we strolled into the lavish interior rooms of the hotel before heading off to the Larry Norton Art Gallery. I met Larry a few years before when I hosted an African Art Safari to raise funds for rhino conservation. Part of my tour was a visit to his home and studio but unfortunately he was not at the gallery this day. The gallery curator proudly showed us his beautiful work!


Spotted this beautiful water lily in one of the ponds 


The plush colonial interior of the Victoria Falls Hotel


As it was nearly time to be collected we headed to the entrance to await Tadedza’s arrival. Another driver came to collect us as Tadedza was held up at the airport. He was very well informed and chatty. On the way to the border we saw lots of lovely trees with yellow flowers glistening in the afternoon light of the setting sun. We got through the border pretty quickly. The young driver phoned Simon to let him know we were back.

On the way back to our accommodation just on the other side of the border we saw some elephants, baboons, egrets and impala, the first animals for the day other than a lone bush buck and some vervet monkeys at the falls. It had been a long day and we both welcomed an early evening.


 A superb end to another wonderful day in Africa

Posted in Activist, Adventure, Animal, Artist, Australian Artist, Botswana, Conservation, Landscape, Passion, Stop wildlife crime, Victoria Falls, Wildlife, Wildlife Artist, Zimbabwe | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sand, potholes and donkeys cont ……

Day 19 – 22/08/2017 Gobabis, Namibia to Maun, Botswana

With a long drive and border crossing ahead of us we made another early start. East of Windhoek there were trees, shrubs and evidence of blossoms starting on the trees. But east of Gobabis there was no sign of any greenery.

Leaving Gobabis“Open road and a full tank of petrol”

We took a wrong turn and started heading south towards Keitsas. We must have travelled about 10kms along a dirt road when we suddenly remembered being told it was a sealed road all the way to the border!

On this road we spotted a pale chanting goshawk perched on the electric pole. There were also a few cows but not many. After stopping to take photos of a large owl also perched on top of an electrical post, we turned around and headed back to Gobabis. After locating the correct road, by 7:30am we were on the N2 heading towards the Mamuno border.

Border roadFinally found the correct road and now heading to the Mamuno border post

It was pretty much scrub all the way to the border post.

When we arrived at the Namibian border post there didn’t seem to be anyone around. A bit confused we kept driving through until we reached some parking bays. It looked like there might be some activity inside this building. The next moment a bakkie (ute) came rushing up behind us hooting vigorously. He parked his vehicle next to us. A flustered man hopped out and rushed towards us to tell us that we had driven kleen through the Namibian border without going through customs. We told him that it looked closed. He instructed us to follow him back to the Namibian side where he took us through the arrival side. The officials wanted to know why we hadn’t stopped? We told them that the building looked like it was locked up and apart from no signage there wasn’t another soul in sight! They burst out laughing and ushered us through their office to get our passports stamped on the exit side then we were ushered back through the entrance side where we were directed back to the Botswana border post. We were through in about 20 mins as there were no other cars at this time of the day. When we got to the Botswana side we told them what had happened and we all had a good chuckle.

Tuck shopBoi’s Tuck Shop spotted on our journey

We spotted some unusual art works along the way, placed at various entrances. The one below was by far the most ingenious. Clevely perched on top of an anthill, which not only provided good height it also blended well into the environment. Not quite sure how they got it to the top and how it was secured, but it looked pretty solid.

DSCN4577Local artist making use of the natural resources

DSCN4595smlI have never seen so many dead cars on the side of the road!

DSCN4574Donkeys used for local transport

Our journey so far had been pretty straight forward to Ghanzi where we encountered a veterinary disease control check point. There was a stop sign, but on seeing an official standing 10 feet away with clipboard in hand waving us forward we edged slowly towards him and stopped. There were no other cars at this time. As soon as I looked at the officials face I knew there was going to be trouble.

Although we greeted him courteously he was extremely aggressive and snarled “Didnt you see the stop sign”, to which David replied, “Yes we did but you waved us forward”. On hearing this he vehemently denied waving us forward and said  we were going to incur a $1000 fine. Interestingly not long before reaching the checkpoint we had seen a sign with a hotline number to report any corruption as Botswana had zero tolerance!

David dug his heels in, turning to me he asked if I had seen the official waving us forward, to which I replied I had. He became even more aggressive and told us that if we argued with him the fine would be $3000. To this I replied that we most definitely were not arguing with him but that it had appeared to both of us that he was waving us forward. As there was also a boom gate I am not sure why he was so angry. I think he just thought he was going to make an easy bribe.

At this point another car pulled up behind us and he reluctantly waved us on. I think he realised that he wasn’t going to win this one.

DSCN4448Donkeys grazing close to the road

Happily the 700klm trip from Gobabis to Maun was mostly uneventful other than dodging potholes, goats, horses, donkeys and more donkeys. 

When we had to stop for some cattle crossing the road this calf curiously came to the window to say hello. Such a sweet little fellow.

DSCN4621A curious calf

Sadly many of the donkeys had been tethered together in pairs. Keeping them hobbled stopped them from wandering too far off. These poor animals all looked so sad and dejected as the graze right on the edge of the road as cars whiz by. It’s amazing that we didn’t see many dead donkeys, victims of hit and runs.

Livestock transportTransporting livestock

Throughout our journey we saw the occasional ‘Willy, willy’ also known as a ‘Cock eyed bob’ otherwise known as a whirlwind! As there was not much else to see these whirl winds caused us great excitement! It was very much a case of lets see who can spot the whirlwind or dead car first!

We stopped on the side of the road for lunch under an acacia tree with pretty yellow flowers. By now it was getting quite hot but not unpleasant. Unfortunately the heat also brought the flies so it was a very quick lunch, a quick photo and back on the road.

DSCN4485Acacia tree

DSCN4495Maun, now a familiar town

Having booked into the same backpackers in Maun, now a  familiar town,  we knew exactly where to go on arrival at 4pm. We received a warm welcome from Katie and quickly unpacked all our gear.

We decided to go into town to do a bit of shopping at the Spar then David dropped me back at the backpackers before going to a local car wash to remove the now caked on salty Namibian dust.

DSCN9974Botswana carwash

The car was detailed in about 40 mins flat by three enthusiastic men who took great pride in providing an excellent service. The car came back restored to its former glory ready to once again hit the open road.

We prepared a light dinner in the backpackers kitchen of cold meat, salad, beetroot, crackers, bread cheese and tomato. It was delicious.

The electrical outlets and wires going in all directions in the kitchen would never have passed Australian standards but in Africa it seems anything goes!

Early to bed for another early rise tomorrow for a long trip to Kasangula, Kasane via Nata. Fell asleep to the sounds of roosters crowing, dogs barking, trucks churning past and a cacophony of frog sounds. During the night I woke up feeling the evening chill but luckily there was an extra rug at the bottom of the bed. In no time I was snug as a bug in a rug.

Originally we planned to go through the National reserve via Savuti but after getting bogged in the sand in Moremi we decided against this as we were told that the road conditions would be pretty much the same.

Day 20  23/08/2017  Maun to Kasangula, Botswana

Woke up at 5:30am to the sound of roosters crowing and birds twittering. It was a beautiful crisp morning and I looked forward to what this day would bring. After packing the car we had a light breakfast before leaving on our 7 hour road trip to Kasangula. We were hoping to see more wildlife on this leg of the journey.

We left Maun at 7am and the journey was once again pretty uneventful. Although the roads were sealed most of the way there were still many potholes to keep us alert.

DSCN4630Luckily this gravel road wasn’t too bad. Either that or we were just getting used to them?

An unexpected detour onto a gravel road near Pandamatenga revealed a lovely surprise. Out of the blue we came upon a marshy dam filled with white flamingos. So unexpected! Of course we had to stop for a photo session. It was such a pleasant sight with quite a variety of birds in the middle of extremely dry terrain. Egrets, stilts, glossy ibis all enjoying this little oasis. In the distance cows  were grazing in a fenced paddock.

It was quite a long detour but luckily we came back to the sealed main road. It was such a relief after having our stomachs churned like a milkshaker.

DSCN4635Flamingo’s galore and so much more, a little oasis

We had to go through another veterinary disease control point where we had to drive the car through a dip for foot and mouth as well as dipping our shoes (all of them) in a tray of liquid for the same reason. No incidents with officials this time, actually this chap was very pleasant and relaxed.

Government desease control

On the next stretch we spotted giraffe, blesbok, wildebeest, vultures, fish eagle, rollers and hornbills. This day proved to be much more fruitful as far as wildlife is concerned.

DSCN4677Kudu crossing – wildlife crossing make the roads very dangerous to travel on at night

DSCN4563A dainty little blesbokDSCN4548A galloping Wildebeest who had just crossed the main road 

We passed through many small towns. As we got close to Kasangula there were more and more tucks on the road. As we neared the town there were many trucks lining both sides of the road. We later discovered that these trucks were waiting to cross the Botswana, Zambia border on the ferry. The ferry could only take two trucks at a time and only operated from 6am – 6pm. Many of these trucks are stranded for up to three weeks at a time awaiting their turn to cross over. 


I think the food outlets here must be doing a roaring trade. Some of the trucks now choose to go via Zimbabwe cross the bridge over into Zambia as an alternative, as this seems to be a much quicker alternative. At this particular point three countries meet, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

It turned out our accommodation in Kasangula was located very close to the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Once again poor ‘Lady Jane’ took us on the scenic tour and nearly got us bogged in sand again. We stopped near a small village and asked them if they knew where to find the Guest House. Luckily a woman knew where to go and gave us directions. We weren’t far from the entrance, we had just taken the right fork instead of the left.

As it turned out the gps accordinates provided were in fact incorrect. On arrival we informed them of the error.

The Guest House was very well hidden, the signs were dirty, crooked and sometimes faced the wrong way or were absent altogether which is why it was pretty hard to find. We arrived at about 4:30pm. The owner was quite aware of the state of the signboards but it didn’t seem to bother him. He just laughed and told us that he had been meaning to fix them.

Although the accommodation was very rustic it was clean and quiet. Even though it was still relatively early it had been a very long day so we decided to just chill after unpacking. We had a short rest before going to the kitchen area for an early dinner of pretty much the same as the night before, ham, lettuce, zucchini,tomato, cheese, crackers and bread.

The owner David came to ask us if we would like to go with the other guests to another Lodge for drinks and to watch animals at their waterhole. They also had a hide that we could walk down and view the animals at very close quarters to the waterhole. Although pretty tired we couldn’t resist the opportunity to observe elephants up close and personal. It was a very special evening but unfortunately there weren’t many animals that night.

By this time the fatigue was setting in and I couldn’t wait to get back, have a hot shower and into bed! Another wonderful day in Africa.

Posted in Activist, Adventure, Animal, Artist, Australian Artist, Botswana, Conservation, Landscape, Passion, Stop wildlife crime, Travel, Wildlife, Wildlife Artist | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sand, potholes and donkey’s cont……

Day 18 – 21/08/2017 Keetmanshoop to Gobabis

Another early start, a quick breakfast of rusks and a hot cup of tea, muesli with long life milk before heading off at 6:30am. Our destination today the town of Gobabis via Windhoek. Originally we were going to take the shorter route to Gobabis but Karel recommended that we stick to the sealed road instead and go via Windhoek.DSCN4154

Filling up in Keetmanshoop


“Open road and a full tank of petrol”

We travelled through Tses, Mariental, Kalkrand and Rehoboth on a good sealed road.DSCN4236

Arriving in Rehoboth


Crossing over the Tropic of Capricorn again


Mats made out of animal skins displayed on a fence


No hitchhiking allowed


Subtle changes in the landscape


One of the many car wash bays

Coming into Windhoek we realised what a big sprawling city it is. After being in mostly isolated areas for many weeks, Windhoek was very overwhelming. The hustle and bustle of city life, large office buildings towering over us, it felt very claustrophobic. Everyone doing their own thing in haste!

Windhoek is the social, economic, political, and cultural centre of the country and although there are many historical buildings around we couldn’t get out of there quick enough.

By now we were starting to get hungry and just past the airport situated about 30 kms from the city centre,  we pulled off near the railway line to have lunch. Had left overs from the night before on provita, washed down with grapetiser. On the farm running alongside the railway line grazed a herd of horses. We also saw a lone black backed jackal slink past in the distance.


Herd of horses on the farm

On the way we passed a camp that looked interesting so we turned around and popped in. The manager was happy to chat to us about the animals there. He told us he had killed 10 black mamba snakes in a year found in close proximity to the tented accommodation.The black mamba is a venomous snake and is endemic to parts of sub-saharan desert.

In the grounds surrounding the reception area roamed two Himalayan goats which seemed so out of place. After a short visit we were about to leave when David discovered a foreign set of keys in his pocket. It turned out to be the room keys from the previous accommodation in Maltahohe. While sorting out the spare tyre dalema, David had forgotten to hand them back to the receptionist who in turn forgot to remind him. We received a desperate email asking us if we still had the keys as they had no spares! We had to find the nearest post office to return them before leaving Namibia the next day.

While passing through the tiniest town called Witvlei, low and behold we spotted a post office! After a few phone calls to the camp to find out where to return the keys, they were bagged and couriered back to Mariental at a cost of $5.50 AUD.


Driving into Gobabis

We arrived in Gobabis at about 4pm and located our accommodation shortly after. Gobabis is a small neat town and it wasn’t difficult to find our way. While checking in at reception there was a parrot in a nearby cage with the most piercing high pitched screech. We wondered if this was going to be a noisy night? We were assured that the parrot would not disturb us.

The owner Coenraad was very pleasant and helpful and told David that if he ever visited again he would personally cook him a steak Gobabis style.

The receptionist told us we might be able to see some wild animals at a nearby luxury lodge called Goba. As it was still light we decided to go and have a look. It was a lovely place but we only saw one gemsbok and an ostrich.

We headed back to our accommodation had a light dinner of leftovers from the previous night, a hot shower and retired early. It had been a long day having travelled more than 550 klms!

Posted in Adventure, Australian Artist, Conservation, Landscape, Namibia, Passion, Travel, Wildlife | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment