Dearest Sally,

I’ve walked up and down this shopping mall 3 times and just can’t find a postcard anywhere, so here’s a virtual postcard that I’ll share with everyone else who reads this blog. We’re actually in Gaborone, in Botswana and I still can’t quite believe we’re really here.

We drove across the border yesterday and spent last night, our second night of camping, at Mokolodi Nature Reserve, which is 15km south of Gaborone. Trip Advisor rates it as the #1 tourist activity in Gaborone, and we really loved staying there, although actually driving to the bush campsites was a bit tricky. 3.5km of really rough rocky track, but Mr Adventure managed it beautifully, even in a Corolla. He does love a challenge. I timed the drive back out this morning and it took 30 minutes to do the 3.5kms.

There are 8 campsites, each with their own kitchen sink with running water, toilet, shower with hot water heated by a ‘donkey’ (44 gallon drum turned on its side with space for a fire underneath). As we were driving in, we saw a group of impala and an ostrich – wow, those birds are big! We had the camping area to ourselves until late in the evening when 2 young employees drove up and introduced themselves as our ‘security’ – they stayed a bit further down the track and left early this morning. I think they were there in case of wild animal attack, but we didn’t see anything overnight, although Greg found some large hoof/paw prints this morning and there was some scat on the track, but our knowledge of African animals is pretty limited so we don’t know what we missed. We slept in the tent with the sides rolled up, so it felt like we were sleeping under the stars. It was lovely. I think I sent you a link to the Alexander McCall Smith Traditional camping area, but it was much, much further away and only seemed to have traditional hut-type accommodation, no provision for self-catering. The 3.5kms we drove was far enough, but it would have been good to see the McCall Smith area.

And now we’re in Gaborone. We drove past a mob of baboons a couple of kms from the outskirts of the city. They were just ambling across the road. I’ve been looking for the Tiny White Van, but haven’t found it yet. Maybe Mma Ramotswe is out investigating a case on the Tlokweng Road, or out at Molopolole. We’ve seen a few traditionally-built ladies, and I’ve noticed that many of the female  manequins in clothes shops are closer to a size 14 than all those skinny ones we have at home. Little kids stare at us because we’re the only white-skinned people in this shopping centre. I smile and make funny faces at them, and they smile back.  It’s obviously not touristy here – which is why I can’t find postcards.

We drove past the turn-off to Ramotswa yesterday afternoon. I’d intended to stop and get a photo of the town sign, but we didn’t go through the town, and it’s a bit dangerous stopping by the side of the road here – the locals use the edges of the road as another lane. We drove through a roundabout this morning and I realised that the lane markings are really just a suggestion – the 2 lanes had at least 3 cars abreast, and the one on the far left wanted to make a right turn AND DID … across the other 2 cars.

Heading north soon, to Francistown and eventually to the northern border with Zambia.

Much love, and thanks so much for sharing your love of the No 1 Ladies Detective Agency with me. I’m so glad we’re here.  Jxxx

And to everyone else reading this – if you know and love Alexander McCall Smith’s series, you’ll know what I’ve been talking about. It you haven’t read it yet …please do. It’s beautiful .. and it’s one of the main reasons we’re here.

Our campsite at Mokolodi Nature Reserve
Our campsite at Mokolodi Nature Reserve
The outdoor shower and "Donkey" boiler
The outdoor shower and “Donkey” boiler
Open bush shower
Open bush shower
Getting the fire going for ho water with the donkey boiler
Getting the fire going for hot water with the donkey boiler

8 thoughts on “Gaborone

  1. Thanks Jude , such a lovely letter and beautiful photos !
    The camping ground looks rustic and inviting .
    Are you happy with the sedan ,and are the roads full of potholes ?
    They should conduct ‘ Detective Agency ‘ tours in Gaborone , like The Seinfeld
    ones they have in NY !
    Love and thanks to you both . I hope you see more wild animals soon , at a distance , of course !
    Hugs Mma Sal xxoo

    1. Hi Mma Sal, the main roads are generally okay. Most drivers respect speed limits and we have seen quite a few police with radars. Trucks have their maximum allowed speed on the back of the truck – either 80km per hour or 100km per hour, depending on the size of the vehicle … and they stick to it! It gets a bit chaotic in towns and cities when you add pedestrians, traffic lights and increased traffic, but it generally flows, albeit slowly. xxx

  2. Found it Jude .’ Africa Insight No 1 Ladies Detective Agency Tours’ . Half , one day , and safaris . Interesting webpage . They have trips to Victoria Falls too . x

  3. We were watching on TV last evening about the wild life in different parts of Africa .

    The amount of poaching that goes on is appalling . Rhinoceros horns are worth more than gold. Being animal lovers we find this very upsetting. By the way do you carry a gun? xx

  4. Hi Judy, loving your blog! As you know, I am a AMS fan too so it makes your insights all the more interesting. Loved your campsite. We had a great few days camping at Deep Creek last week, but nothing like yours! Thanks for sharing. You are wonderful. Love, Anne

    1. Thanks Anne, it’s been interesting getting our camping groove back after spending so long in the tent in the US last year. It took us a couple of days to remember how we did things, the order we did them in, where we put things, what worked well and what didn’t … but I think we’ve got it now.

  5. When I saw the photo of your hire car I wondered how you were going to go accessing camp sites! I recall on our honeymoon spending 8-10 hours driving 100 kms over the rough, sandy tracks through Chobe. If you’re really interested any of the wildlife guidebooks should have foot print and scat photos to help you identify them. Enjoy!

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