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Apr 29 2013

Palapye

From Molema, we headed towards our next destination of Khama Rhino Sanctuary.  Not over extending ourselves, and needing a stop for provisions and pula, we headed for Palapye, about 60km from Khama Rhino Santuary.

On the way we crossed the infamous Veterinary Control Fence – a 3,000km fence that divides Botswana into two areas – one part that is foot-and-mouth free, and the other part that isn’t.  We didn’t realise it, but we were now heading in the wrong direction, and were required to declare any products that were from hoofed animals and were unprocessed.  It was all done very pleasantly, and Viking Explorer had a little discussion with the officer to understand what was included.  As all our meat was still in its original South African packaging, and the officer was feeling rather agreeable, he agreed to let us go our merry way.

On our way to Palapye, we passed through numerous small villages along the way.  This was a sharp contrast to our time travelling in Senegal – in a most pleasant way: it was almost litter free!  Now, perhaps if we hadn’t seen Senegal, we may have defined it differently, but there seemed so little rubbish strewn in and around villages.  Also, the villages seemed more ‘developed’ – rather than a mish mash of corrugated iron shacks, most houses in this area were brick, plastered and roofed.  Another pleasant surprise.

While we haven’t found Botswanans unfriendly, we have found them to be slightly more thoughtful.  While South Africans and Senegalese both have zany senses of humour, we found that we ended up on much deeper topics  with those we struck up a conversation with.  From Lee who ran the internet café in Palapye, to the gentleman from Statistics Botswana who was staying next to us at Camp Itumela in Palapye, our conversations ran from the state of conservation in Botswana to the state of politics in South Africa!

Nonetheless, after filling fuel, checking email, stocking up on provisions, withdrawing money, we found our way to Camp Itumela.  Slightly off the main strip, and near the train shunting yard, was this charming camp that catered to everyone: there were chalets, pitched tents and camping pitches.  Also, a fully catered camping kitchen was provided, with microwaves, fridge, cooking and washing up facilities.  The final charm of the camp was the assortment of turkeys, geese and chickens that wandered around.

We also met Kevin and Seriana.  They are travelling through Botswana, Namibia and South Africa in a rented kitted our 4×4.  We enjoyed a pleasant evening together, doing what travellers do best – swapping stories and information!

The next morning we made one last stop before heading up to Khama Rhino Sanctuary – Botswana Tourism.  What a bunch of friendly people!  And given how tucked away their office is, I doubt very much they have many tourists visiting.  We asked them many questions, which they patiently answered, before loading us with magazines, maps and brochures and sending us on our way.

2 comments

  1. Margaret (gemini)

    Welcome a bit belatedly to the joys of Botswana. The description you give of the people is right ‘on the nail’ as we say here in the N.E. We also stayed ot Itumela and found it a good site for overnighting. Our experience of Khama was not good but that was back in 2004 and I know things have changed dramatically since then so enjoy.Looking forward to your reports of CKGR and the long road leading there. The road to Rakops was one big pothole in a sand storm the first time we travelled it but it is now all tar as so many of the roads have become.

    One thing please be careful of village speed limits while you are travelling. They are policed and on the spot fines given.

    Look after yourselves and enjoy,
    Margaret & Mike

    1. African GirlChild

      Thanks Margaret! Hope you enjoy all the updates we’ve posted. All have been positive experiences! Yes, the roads have improved too. As always, we are watching our speed ;) rgds, African GirlChild

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