Friday, July 06, 2012

Idleness is over, back in the saddle

I got up really, really early at about 05:30 to take photo's of some of the baobabs we walked past either yesterday or the day before by the light of the setting moon.  The light sky is the breaking of dawn in the east.

After all the idleness of the last few days we decided to do just a little bit of driving and headed out north to explore a little bit.  While we were driving north rob spotted a dead tree which looked like it was destined for our fireplace and yes, I was aware of the irony of watching the English scavenge for wood yesterday and here we were doing the same thing albeit very far from the campsite.  Probably from the same area that the firewood that one can purchase in the campsite comes from.

The one branch looked particularly good so rob and I hooked our axes over it and pulled.  Unfortunately for me, I'm a lot shorter than rob and I ended up standing almost directly under the branch which was NOT a good place to have been standing.  When the branch broke with a loud crack it hit me right on the crown of my head and wasn't so far from knocking me unconscious.  Silly when one thinks back on it but that's hindsight for one.

We continued to drive north with the precious branch on the roof, crossed the veterinary fence and then turned east and drove out onto the pan which looks so innocuous but must be done with a fair amount of caution.

We stopped on the pan and had some fun digging holes in the pan just to see what was there.  What we found didn't fill us with a whole lot of comfort with the cars standing just metres away.  Although the pans look parched and dry as a bone, that is just a crust and less than 5cm below the crust, it is moist and by 10cm below it is decidedly wet to the touch and very soapy in texture.  I can easily imaging just how little traction a rubber tyre would have if one sank through the top 5cm.  So long as one doesn't break through the crust I think everything is fine but if one breaks through I think a whole lot of pain can follow.  I have heard of cars sinking through the crust and just keeping on sinking down into the mud to be lost forever.  In the photograph below the blade of the spade is in the mud up to the hilt and it really didn't require any effort at all to drive it in.  I think the moral of the story is, don't go there.

Once we were off the eastern pan we travelled west along the veterinary fence which, I think, goes right across the whole of botswana.  We travelled over some more pans which were a bit churned up and I could see the fine talc like dust billowing behind the car so I had to get Caron to drive up and down the pan while I tried to take a photograph of it.  She wasn't enthralled at the idea but did it anyway.

While I was busy shooting this, a small herd of horses came galloping over the pan being driven by herds boys which was quite a sight although the photo's don't really do it justice.

Arriving back at the campsite we could see the heat haze as we approached it and we ended our last full day at Kubu Island with sundowners and snacks on the rocks in front of the big baobab and watched the sun sink below the horizon.  It was quite magical.

Since it was our last night, Rob and the children slept outside under the stars.  Unlike most wilderness places in africa it is quite safe to do it here because there really aren't any animals around due to the complete absence of surface water.

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