Dumela from Botswana

Posted: October 16, 2010 in Africa
Tags: , ,

Our travel story picks up from Pretoria, South Africa (well some people might be special), where we had spent 3 days faffing with Visas for Zambia (2 days and $70) and Mozambique (4hrs and $100 – oucheroo). We stayed at a cool backpackers called 1322 on Arcadia Street and chilled with some low key tourism – walk the town, hop on and off the local chiappas minibuses, visit the Voortrekker Monument with our Dutch friends Jerome & Stephanie.

On Saturday 9th we rocked up the bus station and booked ourselves on the 1pm bus to Gaborone, Botswana. The trip was longdotcom – 7hrs to go little over 300km, all around the houses and a few run down petrol stations.

The bus stopped for 20mins in central Jo’berg and Muneeza got talking to a young girl (if you’re reading Jen, yep you count as young to us middle agers!) who just happened to live in Gabs. Jen has just finished college in Pretoria and was on her way home. She gave us the lo-down on Botswana and did a better job than any tourist office could. It was lucky for us that we met her because the only other people we’d met who had been to Botswana weren’t feeling the Batswanan love. In fact, the Dutch girls from the hostel pretty much wrote the place off as offering little. However, we’ve both been to enough countries to know that you only need take advice from locals and often travellers have the blinkers on.

Luckily for us Jen was incredibly friendly, knowledgeable about Botswana and simply loves her country. So much so that so gave us advice on where to go and then phoned her Mum to ask if she could invite us over for lunch on Sunday. We got off the bus mid evening with an invite to lunch the next day and the instructions to get a taxi to the KFC in Gabs West and then call them. It sounded like a drug drop-off but we decided to rock with local custom.

Our bacpackers was 10km outside Gabs, a place called Mokolodi Backpackers, just on the outside of the Mokolodi Game Reserve. We had a very cool Rondevel room, the traditional style round hut that many African tribes us as it keeps cool in the heat and stays warm in the cold. Whilst the room was cool to look at it wasn’t to sleep in.

The next morning we waited by the main road to catch the bus into town and save money by avoiding taxis. The bus stop was a red bin in the middle of the sand which inspired much confidence. We lucked in and after 15mins waiting in the baking sun, a dude from our backpackers offered us a lift. We made our way to the KFC as planned and were picked up by Jen and her Mum.

We spent a lovely afternoon chatting with Jen and her family. They made us lunch and then we sat outside by their very large pool. Jen’s younger sister made full use of the pool and her uncle and cousin were also introduced. We’ve not met a more welcoming  family, they were awesome. Her Dad regaled us with stories from the bush (not that sort of bush, grow up!) and gave us a lot of inside info on getting around Botswana. It was a pleasure to spend time with them and when we got up to leave, her Dad offered us a lift home. He even swung past the bus station to check what time our bus to Maun left the next day. How helpful is that! We got back to Mokolodi and reflected on a very pleasant day and how lucky we had been to meet Jen on that bus. So if you are reading family Madison, a massive thank you for your hospitality and fine conversation and if you’re ever in the UK, just shout and we’ll return the kindness.

That evening we heard the ‘squitos so put up the nets for the first time. I awoke in that strange semi-sleep, semi-awake fuzz in the middle of the night, thinking I had to get up and get ready for the bus. I pulled down my ‘squito net only then to come too and realise it was midnight. By the time i’d figured it out and re-erected the net, a few of the little buggers had swept in and lay waiting. I awoke with fresh bites, Muneeza was clean as a whistle.

We awoke, my bitten to death, at 5am to make our way to the bus station for the 6am bus to Maun and 10 hours of endurance on the boil bus in the searing heat of Botswana. Next stop the Okavango Delta and untamed wilderness.

Take care and keep reading

james & muneeza x


  1. Jennifer and the Madisons says:

    Dumela Rra e Mma!!
    It sounds like you really enjoyed Botswana from your last 2 post! We’ve been keeping an eye on your blog hoping to see a post about how beautiful botswana is but this is even better.
    I love the “drug drop off”comment, looking back on it i realise it was very dodgy but it was a good risk i think! Me and my friend, Maxine, are going to take the extact same trip that you guys took, and seeing from your post from the Okovango, it will be worthwile.
    The young lady is very pleased that the middle agers enjoyed our beautiful country and that enough puts a smile on our faces and a laugh on our lips. I hope you take away good enough memorys to lure you back someday do we can show you more of our little treasure chest. Maybe for your honeymoon (hint hint, wink wink, nugde nugde)

    Keep well, and from the Madisons; enjoy the rest of Africa and your travels, stay safe, good luck and keep us posted. From my mum- the flowers that you gave us are still alive and well and the chocolates are long eaten.
    With love, The Madisons
    Come again soon!!

    • Elizabeth Madison (Jenn's Sister) says:

      Haha, yes. It seems you had a good time, it’s still boiling here! Almost dies of heat and last night we had rain! Finally! Well I hope you continue your African Dream, stay safe 🙂

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