October 2, 2005

Botswana FlagNamibia FlagThis morning we were allowed to sleep in because the truck was still not repaired. We got up leisurely at 8 am, dressed, and had breakfast. Leon was working on the truck, but it appeared that the problem was in the gearbox, which could not be opened.

Actually the truck is stuck in second gear, not third. This was a good thing because the truck could get started from a stopped position. But it was a bad thing because the truck’s top speed would be 25 km per hour.

The plan was to drive towards Maun in second gear, and another truck would meet us part way there. We would then transfer our day packs and sleeping bags onto it in preparation for flying in to the Okavango Delta the following day. In the meantime we had a bit of time to look around, so we went to the viewing platform to find the hippopotamus. Sure enough, there it was, basically in the same spot as last night. Unfortunately it was still too far away to get a good photograph of. We also checked out more of the creative bathrooms, such as “View with a Loo” and showers called “Today” and “Tomorrow”, the former being a lush shower stall with lovely vegetation and the latter being an urbanized wasteland.

By 10 am the truck was almost put back together, so we packed up and were soon ready to go. Since the truck could not be put into reverse gear, we pushed the truck backwards onto the road. Then the camp’s large 4×4 truck towed our truck along the sandy 4-km track to the main road. Then we started crawling south.

About noon we crossed the border into Botswana, and continued on with the “Botswana Slow Motion Tour”. Botswana is quite different from Namibia; for one thing, everyone has donkeys. We almost never saw donkeys in Namibia but in Botswana they were everywhere. Finally, after hours of driving at 25 km per hour, we met Jeremy from the Drifters camp in Maun in our replacement vehicle. By this time it was 4 pm and we still had almost 400 km to go.

The new truck had only 13 seats instead of 16, so it was a tight squeeze. And it didn’t have hard sides, it had roll-down plastic windows, so it was a bit breezy. And it was a 4×4, so its top speed was only 80 km per hour. But it was still better than what we had. For some reason there was a mood of hilarity in the bus. People were laughing and telling jokes and clowning around. This lasted for quite a while, until the sun set and we carried on quietly.

We finally arrived at the Drifters camp in Maun about 9:30 pm, and dinner (chicken stew and rice) was ready for us. Leon explained what would be happening tomorrow, on our flight into the Delta, and we quickly put up the tents. Except for Christian, who planned to sleep outside in his mosquito net, which he hadn’t used yet. The mosquito net absolutely reeked of DEET. It was nearly midnight when we finally got to bed, and it took a while to get to sleep as the security guards were chattering and Christian was snoring.

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