Up at 5:15 and to mtg place at AT& T owner's residence by 5:30...gone! Luckily a fellow there who was going to church gave us a ride to the bus pickup spot. Bon spoke to the gal we had arrangements with the day before explaining that we were even there by 5:30. There were lots of people waiting to get on the 22 capacity bus, which already looked full. The gal claimed she left at 5:30 and we weren't there but Bon pointed out that we were and also the arrangement was for 5:45! She made room for us - bac of the bus _ but at least seats(I think she forgot about us and wouldn't admit it). All's well that ends well, we were on our way by 6:15 - several people left standing on the curb.
The Trans Kalahari highway is flat once away from Windhoek, but surprisingly green as I mentioned before. We were not really going thru the Kalahari yet, that part of the highway is where it heads S. at the junction heading towards Gaborone. Most of the "farms" raise cattle & goats that graze in the bush. In Namibia the private land holders 'own' the wildlife on their property which tends to be thousands of acres. This means zebra,springbok,even elephants & lions, etc. so you tend to see higher fences & double fence lines to keep them in! More $$ in tourism these days than livestock.
The border crossing into Botswana went smoothly and since another passenger heading towards Maun as well had advised the AT & T gal that it would be better to get off at the intersection where they head S. to get ongoing transport to Ghanzi & then Maun, we were let out on the road w/ him. Moyo(fellow who got off with us) was from Zimbabwe, a lawyer moving to Windhoek because there was more opportunity there(daahh!). He was 31 yr old and a great help showing us where to & how to catch a ride on to Ghanzi & then to the bus leaving at 2:30(time change would have left us off one hour if he hadn't been there - we thought we had an hour, instead we barely made it, ha!)
Even at that it took til 7 pm to reach Maun, where Moyo again helped us by calling his friend, a fellow Zimbabwian, Godwin a taxi driver - 72246726 phone), who took us to 3 places - Audi Camp, Crocodile Camp, both expensive and with very limited accomodations avail...finally ending up at Okavango River Lodge where a huge room w/ huge bath for all 3 of us cost only 280 pula($15 US/ea), less than half what it would have been at either of the other two!! Moyo also gave us his brothers name, Babo, in Bulawyo, Zimbabwe...011651513(email@example.com), and told us things are not as bad as news makes it out to be. Violence is mostly in remote parts and does not affect tourists, food in markets is scarce but restaurants have their own supply connections & transport is no problem. Only US dollars are used most places.
Into downtown on minibus...another sign of this countries well being is the presence of auto car wash and dog houses for sale along the road!!
Also interesting is the fact that this is the first country we've travelled where they have women conductors on the buses!
Decided on a day trip into the delta tomorrow...went to town and ran into Ken & Joanne from Green Turtle, the folks who helped Teresa whose husband, Gerhardt, died of malaria in Ghana!!!
Ken & Joanne decided to join us on our makoro(canoe) poling trip thru the Okavango delta...our guide KT was one of San people, half byaue and half basawra...other two tribes of San babuknu & basubia make up the majority of people in this area.
water lily tuber(which the San slice & cook w/ meat called chwee)
water lettuce(not the kind we sell in US for ponds)
common water reed(used for sides of huts, grows 7 meters high)
fire flame grass(used for roof thatch, very dense so waterproof)
rice grass & cattail grass(see pics)
silver bitter tea(when brown, low water = sedge/reed)
See listing for Okavango in "Parks - Birds/Animals"
Great day, water very clear(& swimable) and swamp was very quiet/peaceful!!!
Joined Ken & Joanne on 1 hour fly-over the Okavango - much drier than I expected, but all shades of green over huge expanse indicates the amount of water there.
They say the water is still rising. Spent the day w/ Ken & Joanne, they most graciously emptied the back of their overland vehicle so we could ride in the 8 + km to town & airport. Had a great chat about lives & world in general.
We pretty much agreed that Africa is heading in the wrong direction for any real and beneficial change for the vast majority of people. The causes are many/complex and the solutions are few and very little attention is on the 'real' problems (AIDs and malaria are the least of Africas problems!). Got back to Okavango River Lodge and a final game of Up and Down the River(card game we learned along the way), very close right up to the last hand when Bon pulled out a complete transformation in winning after our first contest when she was dead last!
Said our 'Good Byes' at least until we meet up again in S. Africa, or Australia, or Montana at the very latest.