Friday 28-06-2013: Travel to Kasane (and elephants!)

Woke up at 5:50 since Alice and I wanted to make sure we got a good breakfast before our grand adventure today. Breakfast was scrambled eggs, so I ended up making an egg and toast sandwich. Then, we all made PB and J sandwiches (since we were leaving MaP at 9, so we wouldn’t be having lunch here). I was even able to snag an empty bread bag and we filled it with our newly-made sandwiches (something I learned from Mother Dearest!)

Then we had some free time to chill in the staffroom. I ended up double-checking some flight info and writing some last-minute emails. After a quick morning snack, we were off to the airport!

I keep forgetting that Sir Seretse Khama International Airport is not like Logan International Airport. I was nervous getting to the airport “only” 80 minutes before our plane took off, but we literally could have gotten there 15 minutes beforehand and been fine. No, we still would have been early because the plane left about 40 minutes late. (As one girl told me, only semi-jokingly, if the plane leaves at 11, you should probably leave MaP at 11).

Let me just say first and foremost I am so glad we flew and didn’t take a bus to Kasane. A two hour flight is so much better than a 12-hour drive! When we touched down at Kasane Airport, we saw two Safari mobiles from the Kwalape Safari Lodge – one for our luggage and one for us!
Travelling to the lodge was actually fun because it was (somewhat) like being in a convertible! It was warmer in Kasane than in Gabs, so between the sunshine and open air, it really felt like summer!

We then took some time to get settled into our safari tents. The tent was exactly what we needed, and best of all, it was on top of a block of cement (meaning no bugs, yay!) It was a pretty sturdy tent with two beds, a coffee table, a lamp and a fan inside. It was a minute walk to some shared ablution facilities (i.e. toilets and bathrooms) and, best of all, there was really hot water for all our showers!

After that, since it was so warm out, I went for a swim! The water was freezing, but it felt so so good to be in the water. I think that has been the toughest part of being in Bots this summer – the lack of water, and therefore summery water activities, is something I’ve always taken for granted as an integral part of my summer.

Anyway, after my refreshing swim, I showered and then we were off to check out an old war memorial. Seymour, our driver, told us many interesting factual tidbits on the ride there. When we got to the war memorial, to be honest, it was quite underwhelming (and surrounded by a locked fence!) However, it was cool to see the Quett Masire (the former president who we met a few weeks ago) unveiled the monument back in 1997.

After the war memorial, we were travelling down a dirt road to get back to the main road, and all of a sudden, Daniel bursts out screaming “elephants!” Sure enough, there were elephants a little further down another dirt road/path.

Seymour pulled the vehicle over, and we turned down said dirt road and found a lovely little lodge/campsite. And there, literally 20 feet away, across a tiny river/water source, were a herd of elephants, drinking and playing in the water! It was awesome to be so close to these majestic creatures. We watched them for a good twenty minutes, as one herd left and got replaced by another (including a mother and her adorable baby!) You can see pictures of our day here: https://picasaweb.google.com/104071111771440864502/20130628WarMemorialAndElephantsByTheLodge#

Then, since we were told dinner would be at 7, and it was only 6, Seymour took us to see some nearby hot springs. In addition, we got to watch the sun set. The sun was huge and lit up the sky in an array of orange, pink and red.

After that, we headed home, and waited for dinner. And waited. And waited some more. Whilst waiting, we played some “contact” and sat around a nice fire.

Finally, around 8:15, the food was ready! And it was well worth the wait. There was pap and potato wedges and delicious chicken and steak. The steak had been barbequed in a wonderful combination of spices, and reminded me of something my Aunt Barbara and Uncle Bill often cook around Christmas time. To top it all off, there was also dessert! Yummy (though somewhat dry) marble cake and custard (although I had my dessert sans custard).

We were then told that there would be a special performance after dinner. Out came about two dozen singers/dancers, wearing very little clothing, but lots of accessories (accessories that they would use as part of their show!) They were incredible and sang and danced to a variety of different songs. One of my favorites involved the tapping of their shins, which were wrapped in material kind of like bubble wrap that made a cool noise when their hand came into contact with it.

TGT: 1) delicious dinner and dessert at the lodge 2) seeing the elephants so close to us! 3) the dancing/singing performance after dinner

Until next time,
~JK

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