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Kasungula ferry no more

Stage 63 (44): Livingstone to Kasane

It’s a short day and straightforward; follow the road west, up river from Livingstone then swing south and cross over the Zambezi on the new bridge at Kasungula. We do get some lovely views of the Zambezi valley along the way this morning, but otherwise it’s a fairly quiet road with a reasonable shoulder.

The new Kasungula bridge was only completed in 2020 and replaces the archaic (but much more fun) barge ferry that’s served this crossing for decades. Something I didn’t know or had long forgotten; in the middle of the channel below is the World’s only quadripoint where the corners of 4 countries coincide (Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe).

Across the bridge is the Botswana foot and mouth disease control; we have to wheel our bicycles through the dip, and squelch the soles of our shoes on the wet mat. They’re very strict about this!

Then it’s only a short distance on to the new Botswana-Zambia immigration & customs building; another modern, one-stop shop where we get our exit stamp from Zambia and just as quickly the entry stamp into Botswana. Both painless.

First order of the day after entry into Botswana is to find an ATM followed by purchasing a new SIM card. The former is simple enough, and for once my debit card works on the first machine I try; the latter calls for for a ride right into central Kasane to locate the Orange mobility shop. After that, I backtrack a few kilometres to Thebe River Safari camp, where we’ll overnight.

Good grassy campsites, a swimming pool, bar and even WiFi; we really are living large. It’s still only just past 1:00 pm, so plenty of time to get the tent up, a quick dip in the pool to cool off, and then some tea and soup and relax a bit. A rain squall to watch and experience.

We head off just before 3:00 pm for a boat /game viewing cruise on the Chobe River. Another rain squall, this one significant; fortunately our boat has an awning but of course I’m wearing insufficient clothing and no rain jacket. One of these years I might learn, but possibly not.

The scenery on the river is as special as always, but overall, rather disappointing in terms of animal viewing. A couple of young male elephants feeding and playing a little in the water is the highlight. A couple of cape buffalo … impala and kudu at a distance, a couple of hippos, but only the snouts and eyes visible in the water and at a bit of distance. A fair number of birds, including fish eagle, jacana, guinea fowl of course, lots of swifts and martins. Wart hogs as we got back to town. I think there’s been so much rain of late, that there’s not such a need for the animals to come down to the river find water; very likely lots of water holes inland, in the bush.

By the time we get back to camp, it’s pitch dark (and I can’t find my headlamp, which is a nuisance). Grilled fish (bream?) for dinner; delicious but tricky to eat what with so little light to see the bones. But on the other hand, no light so the others can’t see me eating with my hands and licking my fingers.

Raining off and on as I drift off to sleep; I think the rain continues intermittently most of the night.

I hear some hyaena calling.

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