The vehicle is accelerating. The evening breeze is just beginning to blow, and it is absolutely necessary to reach the camp area before dusk. Looking at the lookout, the quasi-desert landscape scrolls to infinity, when all of a sudden the momentum fades. We could have taken the powder of absconded, but the occasion of a great spectacle would have escaped us. Choice of silence made, the engine of our 4×4 goes out. He came face to face with a pack of young Lions ambushing a group of dogs (a species of wild dog), time slowed down. The goal of the herd of fawns was to seize the game, then hunted by the Painted Wolves (editor’s note, common name of the dogs).
Such a scene comes, not from the imagination of a novelist, but from a stay in the deep end of the Kalahari desert. The word “boredom” disappears from our lexicon, and takes place the adventure! Here there is no road. Or let’s say there’s an infinity. The path taken immediately becomes the route. But the rules are strict. Any vehicle that enters Chobe National Park, located near the city of Kasane in Botswana, is controlled, and tents can only be mounted in authorized camp areas. But to smell the air, these places make us dream of another life. A nomad or a adventurer.
Meet the Big Five
The 4×4 accesses the heart of the desert. A region named Savouti. The sand is hot and thin. Here it makes sense to deflate the tires a little to flatten them. A more efficient way to ride on an almost fluid ground. Speed finally carries us. 40 km/h, 60km/h… The dunes make us bounce on our seats with a rhythmic spirit through the African décor. On the sides, the fauna and flora of this continent unfold, like the negative of a documentary signed National Geographic. Despite the drought, an incredible diversity of animals is present in the field of vision. It is common to call the most impressive “Big five”: The Lion, the elephant, the Buffalo, the Panther and the rhinoceros.
Don’t be reckless!
In a world where the savage reigns, we must not make false steps. Feel free to ask your travel office for an Aboriginal guide that will help you discover the secrets of the Savannah. And he’ll teach you the dangers. Don’t be surprised if the hyenas steal your water at night. Or if you see in the distance, coming out of the tent, the eyes of a leopard that dangle the moonlight. But if the security measures are taken, there is nothing to be afraid of. The fawns do not attack its large animals that are the 4×4. It is therefore strongly discouraged to go down, at the risk of being on the menu of felines.
The little tricks for a successful trip
The choice of the time of year is crucial. Avoid the wet season (November to March) that swarm mosquitoes and other scorpions. In addition, the dry season pushes wildlife to the water points. Just park at the edge of the Zambezi with a good pair of binoculars.
The visa is only required after 90 days. On the other hand, the certificate (translated into English) of the yellow fever vaccine is obligatory. Several immunizations, against hepatitis A or typhoid fever, are recommended. There is no direct flight to Botswana. Plan for about fifteen hours of flight, with a stopover in South Africa.
Back to Musha
In the local dialect, musha means ‘ home ‘ or ‘ home ‘. It is also the name of the agglomeration of bungalows which is located close to the Victoria falls, the highest on the planet. In our first steps in Africa, this area is very exotic. But after prowled in the wilderness, despite the polyphonic songs of the traditional dancers, these wooden huts that set up in the tropics give us the illusion of being back home. Back to Musha. Back to civilization.
-Olivier Partos for Planet Ride
Would you like to go to Botswana soon? Here’s what Planet Ride offers:
Le delta de l’Okavango
Les chutes Victoria
L’immensité des lacs asséchés du Magkadigadi