Today promised to be an almost perfect day. We only had to cycle some 80km overall, on good roads and with pleasant temperatures—piece of cake!
After crossing the border into Botswana, we all arrived at camp before noon and had plenty of time to get cash, a local SIM as well as food in Kasane. Looking for riders?—You’d find them at KFC!
In the afternoon, a cruise on the Chobe River promised to be one of the big highlights of our tour. The Chobe River is top-rated amongst the world’s best river safaris for wildlife viewing, and the cruise was included in our tour as part of the 15th anniversary specials.
Dark clouds were drawing in as we started the cruise.
Fifteen minutes into the boat ride, before we had the chance to see any wildlife, some Kudu antelopes aside, it started to rain.
Only few people braved the rain and remained in the uncovered part of the boat. Everyone else sought shelter underneath the roof. The rain turned into a full-on storm. Combined with the wind of the drive, the rain turned sideways and hit us even underneath the roof. The boat driver kept steering head-on into the storm.
Initially, it was only the people towards the outside of the boat getting wet. But eventually, the wind and rain got so strong that everyone got soaking wet, no matter where on the boat they were trying to hide (people seeking shelter inside the tiny toilet excluded).
Only by the time several people had gotten hypothermic, the boat driver eventually turned around, accepting the reality that we wouldn’t see any wildlife in that torment, or, even if, that no one was any longer interested in anything other than keeping warm.
The drive from the river bank back to camp in an open vehicle made sure that even those who had managed to keep warm on the boat would eventually start to freeze. When we came back to our camp, slippery mud was waiting for us. Some tents had to be relocated. It would rain heavily throughout dinner. What a mess!
Luckily, by now we all (excluding the new sectional riders) have had sufficient bad weather experience that rain and mud no longer influence our mood. It was just another bad weather day.
Stage 63: Victoria Falls – Kasane (Botswana), 81km
Road & traffic condition:
A little bit of everything—from sunshine to rain, from hot the freezing cold.
- Crossing the border into Botswana which was relatively easy and straightforward. Crossing the border involved taking a short ferry ride across the Zambezi river, which is unique by itself—the only ferry ride worldwide from which one has a 360° view of four countries: Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia.
- Nightmarish Chobe River cruise—see above.
I had brought my rain jacket and managed to stay relatively warm throughout our river cruise.