Our missionary daughter Elizabeth got married to Mubita on 23 November 2019. Then, in December 2019 they moved to a small village, called Sinjembela in Zambia. This village in in the Sioma Ngwezi National Park and literally on the border with Angola.
Out trip, starting in Johannesburg will take us to Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, back into Namibia and then back to Botswana before entering South Africa again and returning home.
On the map, the "bit" into Zambia is missing because its not really a road, But you head into Zambia near that "dot" between Katima and Popa falls, just near Kongola Namibia.
You can see the village "sitting" on the border with Angola.
|Just to give you a perspective of where it is - You travel up from Kongola to a very small border post and then on a twee spoor (thin dandy track) for 100+Km's which takes about 4 hours.|
Out trip started on Friday 20 December at 12h30 (noon) and we headed for Big Fig Inn, just 2km's from the Martins Drift border into Botswana. Due to our late departure from Johannesburg I had decided to book 2 chalets at Big Fig. Its a total of 427Km;s from home to Big Fig and we made good time. We also managed a stop in Vaalwater at the Seringa Cafe. I had a cream soda float, which was more like a cream soda sink ! but it was still good.
|The Cream Soda Float in Vaalwater|
|There was nowhere to cook in the self catering chalet. |
So I reversed the trailer up to the door and we used the trailer kitchen. Perfect !
The next morning, Saturday 21 December was to be a long hall, driving the entire length of Botswana. (which was perhaps not a good idea)
|Queue at the South African side of the border into Botswana.|
Trucks block the entire left hand lane for about 2 Km's so we had to squeeze down, all this with the traffic also coming out of Botswana
But first we had to deal with the South African and Botswana border officials. Luckily everything progressed well and quickly and we were soon on the road, tackling the 759Km's to Senyati Safari Camp just outside of Kasane, Botswana. We had a good trip. We also stopped at the Food Lovers Market in Palapye,which was very good, and purchased some supplies for the next few evenings (because you cannot bring anything into Botswana from South Africa).
Here I had booked a camp site at Senyati, and each site has private ablutions.
However, we arrived in the dark, and left again early the next morning, in order to tackle the two remaining border posts (one of which I know would be a nightmare).
But we sent Elizabeth and Mubita down to the viewing deck to see the elephants. Having stayed there previously, we did not go down to see them.
The following morning, Sunday, we left early and filled up in Kasane (as its cheaper than Namibia). Having progressed through the Chobe corridor and through the border posts into Namibia, we made good time into Katima. We had two objectives in Katima - 1st being to process the paperwork for the vehicles at the Zambian border and 2nd to stock up on groceries for Elizabeth and Mubita for a month. (you see, where they are staying there are no shops at all, the nearest being 200Km;s away in Katima)/
1 st it was to the border post/ We did not want to exit Namibia here (as there is a small border post just near Kongola but they don't process car papers). So, we parked the two cars and trailers at the entrance to the Namibian border. Left Sue (my wife) in the vehicles and we started walking. We just put our heads down and did not look left or right,and walked directly through the exit gate and out into no mans land between Namibia and Zambia. Then we walked into the Zambian border post. No one even asked where we were going, if we had passports or anything. The first thing that we did was to change money, as you cannot purchase Zambian currency in South Africa or Namibia. That done, we then entered the building. Well, of cause they have changed things sine we were last there. Anyway, to cut a long story short, you have to have vehicle police clearance for the vehicles and trailers. This we had. But the Interpol fellow wanted to inspect the vehicles. After some explaining that the vehicles were not there, but still in Namibia and the reason for that, the fellow finally stamped the forms (guess he did not want to walk to Namibia and back in the December heat) and we progressed onto the next counter. After 3 hours, we were done (something that could easily have taken 30 minutes if they were orgnaised).
We walked back to Namibia (again with no one bothering us) and found a almost dehydrated Sue at the vehicles).
Pick n Pay now have a very nice supermarket in Katima and we stocked up there before heading to our overnight accommodation.
I had wanted to book a camp site near Kongola as this was to be our exit route into Zambia the following day.
So I chose bush camp by Kwando, which according to the instructions and google maps and the Garmin, was about 25Km;s from Kongola. After travelling the 25Km's we arrive at Camp Kwando, only to be told that we are at the wrong place and this Camp Kwando only offers chalets. Their bush camp (run by the same people) is all the way back to Kongola and then 2km's left on the main road. I was not happy. We just wasted 50Km's and all that time as well. Anyway, we arrived at the real camp Kwando and were very surprised indeed. The camp was on the river, private luxury ablutions and a huge lapa, braai and sink. The sites were huge as well.
|The open air private ablutions|
|Huge site, |
with more than enough room for two vehicles
|View from the site, across the Kwando river|
|The private ablutions. Shower on the left and toilet on the right.|
Hot water supplied by a donkey
|The boma area.|
|View from the site entrance.|
Each site is also enclosed by a reed fence
There is also a swimming pool as well as a bar area.
The next morning we packed up slowly and after sitting by the pool for a while, we made our way to the Namibian and Zambian border, about 20Km;s from Kongola.
shopping centre (don't expect much, just a small shop and a fuel station.)
We had tar up to the Namibian border, which comprises a fellow (just one) sitting in a tent at the end of the tar road. He stamped our passports and sent us on our way, no issues. The tar ends here, and then its a nice dirt road for about 300 meters to the Zambian border. This comprises an very old building. You can smell the bats which live in the roof, before you get into the building. There were three officials inside the building, but the immigration fellow had gone into Kongold to purchase a cold drink and bread.So we had to wait.
|This is the border, a tree branch as the gate.|
|The border goes directly into the Sioma-Ngwezi National Park|
Anyway, after a short time the fellow came back and stomped our passports. But, because its a National Park, you also have to pay the park entrance fees. This is what the 2nd fellow in the building was for, The 3rd fellow was a police officer. Once paid, we were on our way, after we had met the couple who run the base where Elizabeth and Mubita are stationed. (they had been in Katima to pick up a septic tank (for Elizabeth and Mubita's house) as well as a concrete mixer.
However, given some recent rains, the sand was relatively hard.
Some parts are a bit overgrown and narrow
It took about 2 and a half hours to travel the 75Km's to the base. But we soon arrived, amid much excitement of seeing their home for the first time.
area in the camping space. Lovely area and a sink as well.
|This was our campsite at the base. Really nice. Lovely grass and loads of shade.|
This was just near the boma.
|Looking up from the road into the base, and our camp at the top under the trees|
|Just one of the sand roads !Add caption|
|A Path from the boma down to Elizabeth and Mubita's house.dd caption|
|The camp shower. We always had lovely hot water and plenty of pressure.|
|The camp toilets. His and hers !! They are proper flush toilets|
|We were with Elizabeth and Mubita for Christmas and we enjoyed a lovely Christmas dinner, cooked in Elizabeth's gas oven !|
|The river just before the resort.|
|Entrance to the Popa Falls Resort.|
|There were not many campers. So we basically had a "private" ablution|
|The site was close to our "private" ablutions !!|
|The "falls" are more like rapids,. But still very nice and relaxing|
|Entrance to Island Safari Lodge.|
WE first stopped for some groceries in Maun. It was absolutely hectic and we battled to get a parking for the car and trailer. But Sue managed to get all the items that we required.
|The pool might look green (from far) but it was actually nice and clean. We had some refreshing swims.|
It was quiet hot during our stay there,
|Last time we stayed here, we caught a boat from here into the delta. Now, there is hardly any water in the river.|
|Leaving Maun, Island Safari Lodge for Khama Rhino Sanctuary|
|The road into our site.|
You need to have a 4x4 to enjoy all the roads ans sights at Khama.
|Our site at Khama.|
|One of the Pans in the park.|
After a very nice and relaxing 2 nights at Khama rhino sanctuary it was time to head home. Our last night would be spent at a hotel Lephalale The exit our of Botswana at Martins Drift was easy and quick (as always).
We soon arrived at the Palm Park Hotel. We have stayed here numerous times since 2008 and have never been disappointing, This time was no different. We were allocated a room where we could park the trailer outside and plug into the electrics. A bonus was the air conditioning in the room (early January was hot). We had a relaxing afternoon. Dinner was had at the Cappuccino's restaurant at the hotel and was great. The reservation also includes a full buffet breakfast in the restaurant.
We left the hotel soon after breakfast and arrived home at about mid-day.
|The trip details.|