After a relaxing and rugged evening, we woke up rested and ready for the day. The eccentric backpacker we were staying at had a glorious deck that we used to drink coffee on. The deck was large and simple but had view that looked out over the Okavango River on to the country of Angola. I was waiting for a pod of hippos to pop up and complete the picture.
I have mentioned this a few different places, but this morning on the deck in Shamvura has got to be one of my most peaceful memories.
Whenever I am stressed, I go to a few places in my mind- and this is one of them.
Though not glamorous or made-up, this is one of my favorite pictures of Maxwell and I. Both of us look healthy, happy, and content. Truthfully, isn’t that all what we strive for?
Along with the goat on the bed the previous day, there was chickens on chairs and guinea fowl wandering about…
Searching for Elephants
We left the backpacker and tensions were high in regards to elephants. Our road trip was more than half over and we had already been to Etosha which was the main place that we intended on seeing animals. Maxwell did not want to let me down because it was the animal I was most looking forward to seeing.
While driving through the entirety of the Caprivi Strip, we started seeing ‘Elephant Crossing’ signs which reminded me of the ‘Deer Crossing’ signs we were familiar with in Michigan.
As my morale is beginning to dip to it’s lowest, Maxwell slows the car to a stop. As he quietly says, “Don’t freak out”, I immediately start freaking out.
Through the trees, we saw them <3
My heart was high and the tears flowed (the baby put me over the edge)
I was relieved and Maxwell was even more relieved. If I didn’t see anymore elephants, it would have been fine. Little did I know what was coming…
Through this drive, our goal was to get to Kasane, Botswana, which meant we had to cross borders from Namibia to Botswana. This is always a gamble on how long it will actually take. There was a long line for both border crossings and what was supposed to take an hour, took three hours.
Arriving in Botswana
Once we got into Botswana, we drove through Chobe National Park which is known for it’s elephants. We saw SO many elephants and it was glorious. We got up close and personal with this one, who was standing right by the road. My eyes were the size of dinner plates and my heart followed after the Grinch and grew three times it’s size.
We did not have a backpacker booked for our night in Kasane, Botswana. So it was a lot of driving around and looking for ‘Vacancy’ signs before stumbling on to one for a reasonable price. This backpacker was next to a river and our campsite was right on the river. We looked out and saw a pod of hippos- another animal checked off our list!
There were no fire pits at this campsite- only electrical lanterns provided. We learned from a friendly family in the campsite next to us that this was due to the hippos. Apparently, hippos hate fire and will charge at it to stomp it out. The last thing I wanted was to be crushed by an angry/scared hippo in the middle of the night, so we abided by the rules.
There was an electric fence (which we later found out was turned off) between our campsite and the hippos so that provided some (nonexistent) protection.
A friendly coincidence
This night was interesting because of the people we met at this backpacker. The friendly South African family previously mentioned, let us move our tent on to their large campsite because ours was completely waterlogged and essentially a puddle. This family also allowed a group of five others to move their 3 tents there. To prove what a small world it is, these five individuals were from Michigan. Not only from Michigan, but from the Grand Rapids/Lansing/Kalamazoo area. In fact, one woman had been through the Master of Social Work program I was currently in!
We spent all night socializing with our new found friends and learned that we can find connections anywhere we go.
*There is a good story about us being on anti-malaria pills this trip that will soon be it’s own post 🙂