Day 231… Friday 10th November
6 hour 15 drive to Bains Baobabs today covering 259 miles. Got told off by a grumpy police officer for not stopping at the stop sign a few metres back. Her colleague who was not wearing uniform was standing against the stop sign looking disinterested whereas she was sitting at the checkpoint gate which was the obvious place for vehicles to stop. Stopped in the next town for cash, fuel and food supplies. The currency in Botswana is Pula. Card payments were accepted in the shops and at the fuel pumps. Drove into Nxai Pan National Park. The park and camp fee at the entrance gate was expensive but we had pre-booked. Botswana is one of the most expensive African countries for tourists. Plenty of giraffe, elephants and zebra to be seen. Driving over the Kudiakam Pan was great fun. The rain 3 days earlier had made it mildly muddy but still ok to drive as long as we kept to the edge. A beautiful flat landscape with white sand interspersed by water. Our private campsite was next to an ancient Baobab tree and views across the pan were incredible. We may have been the only people in the entire national park for the evening. Toasted marshmallows around a bonfire. An insect free night.
It had been on my list for sometime to visit the pans of Botswana and Nxai was the first… and wow, what a beautiful place. The drive up to the pans are filled with elephants, zebras, and an abundance of antelope. The pans themselves were amazing to drive on. Sticking to the edges where possible, the surface is covered by a dry, light grey mud, but just underneath lies a dark, claggy mud which is very easy to get stuck in. Thankfully we had no problems and managed to enjoy a peaceful evening next to a giant baobab tree with no other noise around us, no cicadas, and a brilliant starry sky above us.