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On the road again

Heading east to the Okavanga Delta with a stop at Rundu

sunny 29 °C
View Trip of the Half Century on IronladyTravels's travel map.

We spent two days after Etosha basically driving with a stop in the town of Rundu at a river side camp in Botswana.
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Lunch both days was a “packed” lunch from our accommodations which meant really non-exciting food. It was boring to eat so I shall not bore you with a description. We became experts at standing on a dusty shoulder eating and using primitive bathroom facilities (or simply using the min-bus as a “privacy screen”). We had an early morning the first day as we had hoped to see the giraffe kill at the water hole (the previous evening, the lions were stalking the giraffes and the ground was rocky which gave the lions the edge). However, if the lions were successful, the action occurred at a discreet distance from the road. The waterhole (aka scene of the crime) was empty and there were no antelope like creatures around which apparently is a sign that the lions were still in the vicinity. But because of the early morning start, many people on the bus spent most of their time examining the insides of their eyelids. I listened to podcasts (and dozed). I’m feeling like my synapses were fired as I listened to podcasts about Teddy Roosevelt (the anit-trust efforts and his rebellion against the party apparatchiks had a very familiar feeling), the Green Howards role in the Dday invasion, how the british royal family behaved in WW1.

Rundu is a town about equi-distant between Victoria Falls and Etosha. It is a “major” urban area with a university and lots of shops etc. It is also very fast growing - the population doubled in the last few years. So there are a lot of shanty towns - tin shacks or maybe cinder blocks. The shops are all very modern and very clean. The pay per use toilets (the equivalent of maybe 25 cents canadian) are very clean. We kept our eyes open for a sweat shirt for Ben but nothing in the shops was aimed at a tourist market. We saw another “Canadian Store” which apparently is a chain in Africa. They sell nothing with a canada logo or motif on it so I’m not clear what about it is canadian.

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We stopped briefly at two different “shopping areas” - where we stocked up on bus essentials (paper towels, wet wipes, apples, cookies, juice boxes). Paul also hunted down throat lozenges as the dry air is irritating his nose and throat. (and here I thought that people with breathing trouble were sent to places like Ariozna for the dry air). Some of my Aussie fellow travelers bought shoes. The big task for the two older aussie men on the trip was fixing the bus microphone. They tried electrical tape but then realized that a wire had separated so they hunted down someone with a soldering iron. The one man also dismantled two seats for which the recline function wasn’t working well and fixed them. The two men are brothers-in-law and they remind me of my dad and Uncle Arlan in terms of dynamics and the need to demonstrate current relevancy.

Sign at one gas station
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Our overnight location just outside Rundu was lovely and I wish we would have reached it even earlier in the afternoon. It was on the banks of the river Kavango which serves as a border for Angola and Namibia. The main building was a gracious brick structure with wooden casement windows that opened on to lovely gardens. There were multiple people gardening which gave it the air of a english country home. There was a multi-level patio at the back, bar area with a foosball table and a pool table (and the resident llama wandered about), a pergola, a “natural” pool area that relied on sand and plants to filter (it was clear and cool and of course I was in it), a tether ball, minigolf, trampoline, climbing structure, free range chickens and turkey and african love birds and two rescue dogs (one a skittish mongrol and the other a very friendly jack russel). The rooms were large, the showers actually had a door but the lighting was flattering for older women (ie. too dim to see one’s wrinkles). But bonus there was free wifi and so I took the opportunity to upload posts to the blog.
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The hydro flickered off and on between about 8 and 9. It was off one time long enough that they fired up the generator. Most people kept on eating or doing whatever they were doing. I kept cursing the clunkiness of the blog.

The food - meh. The best I can say was that it arrived promptly and we ate at 6pm (the previous nights we didn’t sit down until 7 and it was often 8:30 before we got any food). There is a certain monotony to the food at the places we are staying - a hunk of protein, a starch and boiled veg. We thought we were living it up when spaghetti bolognese was on the menu. I would enjoy if they had at least one dish that was cooked semi-local style.

As we drove from Rundu to the Botswana border, our guide took advantage of the newly fixed microphone to tell us about the customs of the people through whose lands we were travelling. There are herds of goats and cattle that roam along side the road and they are as nervy as the zebras in Etosha in terms of assuming they have the right of way when crossing the road.

My word of the day is “shebeen”. They are small drinking establishments (although that is too grand a word - as they are small sheds) that “make a lot of money”. We saw more shebeens than any other business or building. From a language perspective, I am a bit curious how the word shebeen got to Namibia and Botswana (both of which have Afrikaans and German histories) as shebeen is an irish term for an unlicensed pub. I guess the two people from the tower of Babel took divergent paths (Ken Ham’s theories are just too easy to mock).

Exiting Namibia and entering Botswana required two different sets of immigration offices and different paperwork. And it is literally paperwork - our information was painstakingly hand written out into large ledger size books. Fortunately, I was prepared with the paperwork for the boys (thanks to my sister Cathy) so things went quite smoothly. Entering Botswana, they simply needed to see the father.

While I had chosen the town of Rundu as a stopping place (when I was doing my own trip planning), I had picked a different lodge and I had assumed we would fit in activities (eg stopping at the site of a large meteorite) during the day. Not to whine but the ratio of driving to activities is skewed in the wrong direction.

Revelation of the day - Ben declared that he is excited not giddy

Posted by IronladyTravels 19:59 Archived in Namibia

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