It is winter in the Southern Hemisphere. And my wife went to visit her sister in Ireland, on Turkish Airlines… missing the attack at Istanbul with just 6 days…
On the way to the airport 9 days ago my phone started buzzing. My friend knows how I was not looking forward to this 3 week period without my wife. His first suggestion was that we should go visit Katse Dam in Lesotho on our motorbikes. But Lesotho in winter is really, really cold! After dropping off my wife at the OR Tambo Airport, I went and stayed over at his place in Kempton Park. And then, over a bottle of good red wine, the idea was developed a bit further on. If Lesotho is that cold, how about a trip through Botswana instead? You see- I have a virgin passport, that were badly in need of a stamp to pop it’s cherry.
So we decided, and sent word through our Whatsapp group of friends. And soon enough the owners of 6 bikes decided it sounds like fun, why not? Three of them will also bring their wives along. On Thursday evening, the 30th of June, three of us stayed over at one of our friends’ guest house. If you ever need a good place to stay over in Lichtenburg, South Africa, Sundown Guesthouse is your destination… The owner really wanted to come with us, but then found that his passport has expired… but we had such a good evening together in Lichtenburgh.
The next morning another two friends joined us, and four bikes departed, going over the border with a painless experience (not that usual in Southern Africa!) We waited in Lobatse for the other two bikes, completing our group. We then went onwards to the capital, Gaborone.
And here our friends booked a delightful Backpackers Lodge called Mokolodi. This is a very good place to stay over when visiting Gaborone, just a few kilometers outside the city in a very quiet and peaceful neighborhood.
We pitched our tents, and then went exploring the capital. One thing that always amazes me about Botswana is the way this country is developing and growing. The new business district is something to behold- such vibrant and imaginative new buildings going up. Botswana means business.
We returned, and pitched our tents.
Preparing for a cold night in the African winter. But as we Africans do… the cold did not bother us at all. We braai’ed. Barbequed. And enjoying a night together around the camp fire, under the African starry sky. And as always it went along with good story telling, and some liquid beverages consumed…
It was a cold night in a tent, as I was laying alone in the dark… but African Winters tend to be cold… The next morning my friend caught me exiting my very small tent…
On Saturday we rode from Gaborone up on the main highway of Botswana, up to Mahalapye. This part of Botswana is really flat, and not with such marvelous wildlife as you get up beyond Nata. Here you ride just to ride, and be with friends. We were very well pleased with the petrol price in Botswana- refined in South Africa but not nearly so much taxed as in our country. We had a good rest stop in the Wimpy at Mahalapye, and then turned east towards the Martins Drift border post. Here we were again reminded how grumpy and unfriendly South African border staff can be. We have much to learn from the way Botswana operates…
We headed to the very, very small town of Marken, where we stayed over at the local pastor’s farm. We pitched our tents under a beautiful old tree (Marula?)
And then we had another lovely evening under the stars, around the camp fire… man, winter is bad in South Africa…🙂
This camping was very basic, but with hot showers provided by a “Donkey”- a fire heated geyser. There was no mobile phone reception, just us under the starry sky, underneath the Southern Cross. And around the camp fire we told stories, shared some experiences, addressed some whiskey, and shared some more of life’s wisdom.
It is for such experiences of the shared passion of motorbikes, friendship, nature, our faith, and the camp fire burning under a starry sky, that we live. And yes, my friends made the 3 long weeks without my wife much more bearable!
PS. So Sorry I rode so slowly through Botswana- I really just know of some people having received huge speed fines in very remote places, and I can’t do the time, so I did not do the crime…🙂