Botswana - Are there elephants everywhere?

From Zambia to the Botswana border post it was only a 60km sensational pleasant taxi trip over a concrete road in perfect condition. Such easy border crossings in Africa - a dream.

I entered a taxi in Livingstone in Zambia and the shared taxi for 100 Kwancha drove directly to the immigration office. (In this post, I wrote about the area where to find the taxi). Although it's necessary to pay an extra 100 kwacha as tax to cross the newly finished bridge (2021). The bridge provides a big time-saving comfort compared to the times before the bridge when it was necessary to take the ferry for crossing the river.

My plan was to visit Kasane, going on a small boat cruise safari on the Chobe River. After that, I will fly to Gaborone. 

Border crossing to Botswana

The entry to Botswana was easy. Beside the bridge, they also have new modern immigration offices. All good with air conditioning inside, which is also not common for a land border immigration office in Africa. (But where do they have the money from?)

No visa is required, only stamps in the passport. 

From the border post at Kazungula, it's necessary to take a taxi to Kasane, which costs 10 Dollars.

Kasane is just 10 km from the border and in the Chobe National park, which is one of the most famous and biggest parks for crazy wildlife watching. 

Wild animals, especially elephants are all over!

There are no fences that keep the wild animals in the park. 

The only protection people have here are their houses and some of them built fences around their houses. Although most people stopped maintaining the fences as the elephants continue to trample them all the time and so it's a waste of money to repair them.

Kasane is like a small town but has modern supermarkets, exchange offices and hotels in a small area of the main road. The howl town is in the Chope Nationalpark and everywhere there is a possibility to meet wild animals. Had an accommodation with a good view on the bushes.

At day everything quiet though, no big animals, only a few warthogs. But in the night, the real action begins and strictly NOBODY should walk around. 

I couldn't believe it at first, but it was true (and more on that later).

Chobe river cruise safari: It's worth it

In the afternoon I went on a boat cruise safari on the Chobe river. It starts at 3pm and ends at 6pm, costs 30 USD.

The entrance is directly behind the supermarket, which is also right at the Chobe river where the saltwater crocodiles are bathing.

When the boat breaks down on such a river... the captain leaves?

Only ten minutes after the cruise started the engine broke down and the captain couldn't fix it. But that so-called "Captain" left us on the unsecured boat on the Chobe and went to get a new boat. 

I don't know much about boat driving but I know that the captain usually is the last one who leaves the boat when there is a problem. 

Seems like this doesn't comply with the boat-driving rules in Botswana. So there we were floating without Captain, on a small boat on the Chobe River with crocodiles, elephants, hippos and water buffalos. I'm not complaining, it surely is exciting but when thinking about Hippos or Elephants, such a situation easily could become dangerous, especially as they were already in eyesight.

A few hundred meters of further floating and half an hour later, the captain started to appear again on the horizon with a new boat. 

The real safari could start now. We saw lots of elephants.

Some crocodiles

Elephant herds. 

And not far from these herds are photographer herds. First time I see a specially crafted safari boat for photograph purposes.

Water buffalos

Some hippos, crocs and birds.

More elephants.

And around three hours later, the sunset. Very nice.

When it's getting dark here, it's dangerous (wild animals everywhere)

The whole cruise finished at 6.30pm and it became dark. Remember what I wrote about the situation when it's getting dark in Kasane? DANGER.

And it was true, no one walked on the streets anymore as soon as it gets dark.

At 11 pm, back to the hotel and my hotel was not at the river or in a green zone, but somewhere in the middle of a residential area in Kasane.

I was standing on the balcony when I heard crackling in the bushes. 

From then on I regularly see herds of elephants moving around the houses and walking on the streets where during the day people walk and cars pass. From far away but all over dog barking can be heard.

I realized that it is real, wild animals strolling all over the residential areas and it was highly dangerous to move around outside without a cab. They told me there are also hyenas sometimes lions coming to town.


The next morning everywhere around the house were elephant tracks visible. 

Although the elephants were gone by sunrise, warthogs are still running around the streets, but they are not dangerous, just like normal dogs, people told me. Residents walk normally to work but everyone walking at this time of day has a constant glimpse to the left and right behind the bushes. 

Yes, I don't want to walk on these paths when it's dark.

Day 2 - Flying to the Capital Gaborone

Today I will fly to the capital Gaborone. From the center to the airport it's a taxi drive of just under 10 minutes. Very nice new airport. There definitely seems to be money lying around in Botswana. At the airport were about 90 percent of the tourists older Americans (like 70 upwards), fully equipped with safari clothes and walking sticks and safari hats from colonial times.

Departure for Gaborone was in the morning and I arrived after lunch.

Gaborone city is so clean

Outside of the cities quickly starts the desert. But the city is widespread and at least there are no elephants coming inside this city. 

I spent two days in Gaborone. There are not many things to see but still, at least it was not completely boring here.

I walked around a bit, to the central station with all the taxis and busses. These kind of places are always interesting to watch. 

Interestingly they have pool tables all over the city and it remains an unanswered question for me how come playing billard is such a famous thing here in Botswana?

The biggest market in Gaborone is called "Main Mall". It's a long side street with restaurants around and local stand to buy things. 

Gaborone museum was closed, they renovated it but they welcomingly let me have look at the art gallery as I made it all the way here.

There is a park with the statue of the three former bosses in Botswana

Day 5 - Conclusion and departure from this huge country

I only spent a few days in the country and only saw a small area of Chobe National Park, one of the best parks in the world for safaris. 

Based on the fact that it is easy to travel here and that there is huge potential to see cool animals, I guess I will definitely come back to Botswana another day, especially for a more extended safari.

As mentioned, Gaborone has not so much to see for tourists. There is a wildlife park outside the city but I've been told it's not worth it. Also, there is a dam further outside the city, which looks like a lake and they have a restaurant. although it's only open after 5pm. Didn't want to stress and rush to such a place and waited until the departure of my flight back home.

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