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Pamela MacNaughtan

Goodbye Zimbabwe, Hello Botswana!

I’ve been avoiding looking at the trip notes for my trip from Kenya to Cape Town so that every day is a surprise. Actually, I’m so forgetful these days that I would probably forget what I had read within minutes anyway.

Our truck pulled up to the Zimbabwe border mid-afternoon. Exiting the country was business as usual, however entering Botswana was a little more tricky. Once everyone in our group had cleared immigration, George instructed us to go on to the truck, grab all of our shoes and come back outside. It would take a little while for the truck to clear customs in both countries, we were going to walk across the border.

Due to problems with hoof and mouth disease, Botswana is very strict when it comes to cleanliness and required us to disinfect all of our shoes. As we left the Zimbabwe side, there was a small disinfection area in the middle of the road. Basically, it was a large wad of black material soaked in disinfectant, which we had to walk over, as well as press our spares shoes on, before continuing to immigration. I have to say, this was definitely the first time for me.

The Botswana Immigration is absolutely fabulous. The agents were very friendly, asked questions about Canada and even spoke Swiss-German to Manu. The only drawback of this particular Botswana border was that the truck had to be closely inspected, as well as our bags -insert groans and grumbles here.

When the truck had cleared customs each of us had to go aboard, take our backpack out of our locker and present it to a customs agent at the gate. The guys got to go into a room with one of the male agents. The girls had to stay outside while one female agent searched our bag and 2 male agents watched. This was not an arrangement that I was overly fond off, especially since I’d be taking my unmentionables out of my bag.

I was third in line and watched in dismay as the female agent made both Lisa and Bernie empty their entire backpack. My pack was full and the thought of having to empty everything in front of the whole group and then re-pack it, made me groan. Needless to say, the female agent was not too happy about the amount of stuff I had in my backpack and as soon as she was done with mine, she told everyone else in line that she didn’t need to check any more bags. I guess this is where being at the end of the line would have been a good thing.

Once everyone was back on the truck we were off to our camp for the night in Chobe. I always get so excited when we go to a National Park and I must say, some of the campsites we stay in are right behind some fabulous resorts which allow us to use their facilities. It’s a huge plus when said resort has a nice big pool and wifi, which the resort in Chobe had.

I must say, I don’t think it’ll take much for me to fall for Botswana.

Thinking of traveling to Africa?

Traveling in Africa, solo, can be a scary thought -especially for solo female travelers. I’m not saying it can’t be done, it can. What I am saying is that there is nothing wrong with joining a group tour.

For 45 days I traveled from Kenya (Nairobi) to Cape Town with Intrepid Travel. This was my very first group travel experience. At first I wasn’t sure what I had gotten myself into, but as time progressed, I began to relax and fall in love with this type of travel. In fact, I would definitely travel with Intrepid again. 

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