This is certainly one of the more spur-of-the-moment trips that I've taken (I'm lucky to have a Scott with such a spirit for spontaneity!). We'd driven up to Johannesburg for Mitch and Nina's wedding and decided that we'd drive back to Cape Town via Botswana and Namibia. We've been loosely day-dreaming about doing an epic road trip through some southern African countries for a while, and now was a good time to have done this because up till now Scott's been busting his chops till between 2 and 3am working on an amazing site called Cargoh and it launched the day before we set off.
Crossing the border at Pioneer Gate into Lobatse was fascinating. We had no idea what to expect and had braced ourselves for a very "African" experience. What we actually experienced was a pretty laid-back, surprisingly efficient and extremely friendly set of border guards. The facilities were small-town rural but clean and quite cute. This is a photo that Scott took on his cellphone of the hand-painted Immigration sign up at the office.
This trip is a milestone trip for me because I have never been to any of the countries surrounding (or surrounded by) South Africa. The surprising part about it is that from Johannesburg it is quicker to drive to Botswana than to Durban where our family would take coastal holidays every year. In fact, hardly any Johannesburgers that I know (and I know a few) have done this drive.
More than anything we're just dipping our toes into the water here to learn about what there is in Botswana (there's a lot as it turns out) and where we like to be, and I'm certain that we'll be returning in the not-too-distant future with a more appropriate and less conspicuous vehicle.
A mini list of things I have learnt about Botswana in 5 days
- The people are hands-down the friendliest people of any country that Scott and I have ever been to. I mean like seriously, uncomfortably friendly. When we first got here, I thought that the young girl who bounded up to me and asked to have her photo taken when she saw me taking a picture of The Braai Place was trying to rob and/or con me. She wasn't. She was just that friendly.
- They use British-style wall plugs. Crap. We have had to purchase yet another adaptor plug.
- This country is serious about its crackdown on the HIV/Aids epidemic. Every single hotel that we've stayed at has come with condoms in the draws next to the bed. The primary school in the village that we visited in Gweta had a billboard right as you enter talking about HIV/AIDS.