Victoria Falls – Katima Mulilo, Namibia – 269km
Leave Botswana for Namibia and stop on the banks of the Zambesi.
Day 17 – Vic Falls (Zimbabwe) to Katima Mulilo (Namibia) via Botswana
Up early an for once ewe were in the lead. 90km to Zimbabwe border. There by 8am, no problems,no money changed hands and we were through to Botswana’s ‘veterinary control’. I would not want to underestimate the problems that this country faces, particularly with regard to livestock disease an fruit fly, but Europeans should not be misled by what’s-his-name – the Lady’s Detective Agency man – that Botswana is populated by a open friendly bunch of people. To a large extent it is, but the customs and border people are little more than common thieves in official uniforms. Botswana does itself considerable harm by allowing such people to be a visitors first experience of the country.
On this occasion we were met by a sign telling us that no meat could be brought into country. Fair enough, we already new this and had emptied our larder accordingly. However, the uniformed baboon told us that no fruit or veg could enter the country either. When we asked why this was not mentioned in the written notices no explanation was given. When we pointed out that the red pepper and banana he was taking had been purchased in Botswana 3 days previously (just after the last thefts!) no response was made. When we opened the fridge he saw the eggs, he decided that eggs were also on his list and could not offer any explanation as to why he had not mentioned them before. It was blindingly obvious that he had a shopping list, not to mention a menu in mind for his family’ evening meal. ‘consfications’al. Our travelling compinions suffered similar inconsistent ‘confiscations’ and on comparing notes, the shopping list theory of ‘border control’ became obvious. – either for personal consumption, or for onward sale.
These people are amongst the lucky ones in their country to have paid employment, and yet they are allowed to abuse their position by blatently thieving. I would recommend that any one crossing the the Botswana border carry at lest one item of food heavily contaminated with laxative or some such. Once the word gets out that this is string possibility, the baboons will find they have less demand for the goods they want to sell and might modify their current practices!
Enough! 60Km across Chobe National Park – lost of elephant poo – to the Namibian border. No problems,no money changed hands, except that 100km in, we had to pay some sort of tax for temporarily importing a un-green engine into the country. We knew about this, so no problem, but you should see and taste the emissions from some of the local vehicles.
Camp-site a delight on the banks of the Zambezi. Hippo’s lulled us to sleep with their calls and we woke to a glorious African river morning with hippos and crocs in sight!