We came back to Selinda yesterday. It was a three day drive. I thought you might like some pictures taken through the windscreen as we went along. Some of the blurs are beetle juice, and others are chips from flying stones.
Part of the long road we travelled runs to the south and west of the great Makgadikgadi Pans and east of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. Round about a town called Rakops the scenery is flatter than a pancake. A bright white moonscape of open salt pans, spikey grasslands, and stunted acacia bushes. Dustdevils travel the open plains freely - coasting about on the horizon and sometimes boiling up in your immediate view and spinning across the mirage laden tar.
People live here. Traditional style villages of mud and thatch dwellings provide scant shelter from such an elemental zone. Donkeys, hobbled in two's and three's still taste the wind and try to run in their tragi-comic shuffle.
Cattle are rounded up on horseback - cowboy country. Road hazards are mainly livestock - cattle, donkeys, horses, goats. There are no fences and in such a giant landscape, they seem intent for some reason on snoozing on the tar.
This road takes us to Maun - safari capital of Botswana and the jumping off point to the Okavango Delta. A sprawling dusty town built around supplying the tourism industry. We caught up with some pals, and bought supplies then set off through the Moremi Game Reserve heading west to get north.
Things got interesting after we crossed the bridge at Kwai. Contractors are building a new calcrete road, there are detours for construction, and detours for new floodwaters and pretty soon you only have the shadows on the sand to tell you which direction you are heading in. We found ourselves on a track going west, threading through mopane forests and flooded grasslands. Driving through water then sand for miles and miles. We needed to go north, but kept heading further west until sometime mid afternoon we came to a junction. You could say we were lost, in that we didnt know for sure where we were.
So we chose the track that went north, assuming it would eventually connect with a route we knew that would take us to camp. We were lucky the track stayed true north but it rolled and rolled through scrub mopane forest with hardly a break in the scenery for two hours. We tried to keep the courage of our convictions along the way, but couldnt help but wonder. Thoughts wandered to Dr Livingstone, and later Selous, trekking through this endless mopane at a much slower pace, desparate to find water.
The shadows grew longer. I had the sun on my left shoulder and K had the moon on his right. Just as we were beginning to despair we arrived at the crossroads on the TFC (tsetse fly control) road and over the way the last leg of the journey to Selinda.
Floodplains opened up around us and lions were calling as evening fell. Peace descended and all the rattle and clatter of travel and towns eased out of our shoulders. It felt so good.
Oh and for those who were following my previous posts about the Selinda Spillway and water pushing in from the Okavango River after 30 years of dryness. Well the two channels met whilst we were gone. Apparently after constant checking and monitoring, the last few meters went so fast that everyone missed it! there was a celebration gathering to mark the occasion anyhow as new water is Big News in a desert country!