Greetings from Botswana,
As usual, we left Livingstone, the town neighboring Victoria Falls, bright and early on April 15th. We had exactly 30 days and three more countries ahead of us. On the first day, of this five day stretch, we crossed into Botswana, our eighth country. It was an easy 80 km (50 miles) on the bike and a short ferry ride at the confluence of the Zambezi and Chobe Rivers.
I was excited to finally reach Botswana, as photos and stories of the wildlife were a real inspiration in my decision to take this cycling challenge. The first day of riding was not a disappointment, as people saw elephants, giraffes, hippos, baboons and impalas, (a type of antelope) during their time in the saddle. That night we stayed in Kasane, a safari town. We did our compulsory jaunt into town to get new SIM cards, for our phones and try a local hamburger; (note the food and accommodations have improved dramatically since Nairobi). An oddity, about this small African village is that warthogs were roaming the streets like wild dogs.
A river cruise, down the Chobe, that afternoon was one of the highlights of the entire trip. We visually feasted on all types of wildlife, as we slumbered along the lazy, picturesque river. The scenery was Africa at it’s best and the sunset spectacular.
That night after dinner, Tallis the tour leader, gave us a tutorial on, “what to do and not to do, when you encounter wild life.” This fire-side chat was to prep everyone for the next few days. It was a scary proposition, since we would be riding in the midst of Africa’s most feared predators and were naked in terms of having anywhere to hide. He assured us that most big cats do not consider humans as prey and really do not want any interaction with them. However, elephant encounters were going to be frequent and could be very dangerous. The number one pointer was to give them space….. lots of space. It was their domain and we were just visitors. That killed my idea of a perfect “selfie” with an elephant in the not too distant background and my smiling mug in the foreground.
So the next three days were a little intimidating, as we cruised along the Elephant Highway for 495 km (307 miles). Sightings were frequent and close encounters were had by many, as these huge beasts crossed both in front and behind us. A number of them, strolled along side this African thoroughfare, oblivious to our existence and much to our liking.
On the second night of this stretch, we were camping in a “bush camp.” Real wilderness camping. The early arrivals, (the faster riders), actually had an elephant meander into camp mid-afternoon, which caused them to scurry into one of the trucks for safety. Also, that night around 9:30 pm., when most of us were sleeping, a small herd shuffled through camp. A number of my compatriots witnessed the activity, but I can honestly say I never stirred a muscle and slept while the night-owls trembled in their tents.
We had one easier day of 135 km (84 miles) into Maun for a rest day. Now there’s five riding days until we reach Windhoek, Namibia, where we’ll meet up with my good friends Troy and Gil Gillenwater. I’m really looking forward to this reunion, as both these guys have kept in touch and sent very supportive and inspirational emails. To be honest, I never thought this day would come. We’ve come a long way baby!
Good to hear you are doing well Hobe, enjoy your blogs & pics, what an experience. Continue to be safe & watch out for the elephants.🚴🐘
Thanks Jode. Hey to Derb. Who’s going to win the cup?
Playoffs are under way, Sharks are looking good, so are the Blues, 3 to 1 up on the Hawks. Caps are looking awesome in the east. Caps & Blues in the finals. Continue to be safe.
More great pictures Hobe! You actually went out for burgers….your food is improving. Glad you are looking forward to your reunion with Gil & Troy…another great experience & memory for you. Stay safe! XO
Thanks Kate. I really appreciate the support
Glad you had a great and safe ride Hobe, we should consider having wildlife at DM, would be cool to see an elephant on parkway
Not a bad idea Paulie. DM could use a herd of elephants.
So exciting and it sounds like you are back on the healthy side…great news. Be careful and take lots of pix–once you are OFF your bike!
I am playing tennis with your Mary today and golf with her tomorrow. Loads of fun and time to hear all about your adventure of a lifetime!!
Keep on keeping in–safely!!
Thanks Judi. Have fun
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Hobie – It has been exciting to read about your travels. I’m so impressed Keep up the good work and stay safe. I’ll be will worried about you till your home safe.I’m having my 11th surgery on my left knee on April 27th. I’ve have had a bad knee replacement experience due to infection. This started in October 2014. Right now I have a steel rod in my leg.(since December2015) Although it has been a long journey, I’m praying for a good result this next surgery. Keep writing your notes, keeping all of us entertained. Your the best Mike. Your old buddy Joe
Thanks Joe. Sorry to hear about your knee. Good luck and get well.
We continue to be fascinated by your experiences and we are really pleased your comfort level has improved. Looking forward to more Big Game photos.
Take care of yourself,
The photos continue to amaze me as well as this life changing experience which I’m so grateful you share with all of us.
Thanks Stubs. I’ll be sad when it ends