Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Botswana, From Livingstone, Zambia


Based on the previous night activities, the alarm at 6:30am comes rather quickly. However, my disappointment is rapidly replaced with excitement as within 45 minutes I will be picked up for a day trip to Chobe National Park in Botswana.

My plan to take a nap as we are driving to Botswana never materializes as I feel I cannot afford to miss the scenery along the 65 kilometer route. It goes by too fast to capture anywhere other than in my half awake internal SD card.

Daily Zambian life along the roadside is passing by at a speed of at least 120km per hour! Playing children pause to give us curious looks or smiling waves that makes my sleep denial worthwhile.

For a brief moment, I glimpse a set of brown horned heads above some tree tops, Zambian giraffes! The road to the border seems to be a freshly paved one and it passes through a rather flat countryside.

I am told that at one time the roads in Zambia were so bad and filled with potholes that it was joked that if if you drove straight in Zambia you were drunk.

Approaching the border the road is lined on one side with about two miles of semi tractor trailers. To cross into Botswana we will be taking a fast boat across the river, however these semi tractor trailers must use a ferry.

Depending on the customs procedures and the time of the year this is a process that can take about two weeks. The area is in serious need of a bridge which is planned in the next few years at a cost of approximately US$230 million.

Clearing border customs in Zambia and Botswana is a simple process. Depending on your time in country or the amount of entries you will be making there is about a US$30 visa free for some nationals. For others like Bahamians, it's free!

A short distances from the customs building we board a ten passenger boat for our river crossing into Botswana. As we make our crossing, we are at a point where we can see the river borders of the four surrounding countries of Zambia, Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

Arriving in Botswana we are meet by our tour representative then proceed to clear Botswana Customs before been driven to the launching point for our Chobe National Park visit.

At the office we pay for our tour, US$140 then relax with a light snack and refreshments. I am excited!

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