Botswana is a relatively dry country, covered by a mixture of desert and dry bush land. On today’s ride, we were supposed to see the legendary Makgadikgadi Pan, one of the world’s largest salt flats. Instead, we saw what most people around here had never seen before—the plains flooded with water.
At one point, the water was standing so high, or the road running so low, that the entire road had disappeared underneath a newly formed lake for about 1.5km. There was no way we could cycle through that water which—at times—would have reached above our hips.
So we got transported on the truck for that 1.5km section. Luckily, all our vehicles made it through without getting stuck.
For me, that was the first—and hopefully last—time in the so-called doggy box section of our dinner truck. The doggy box is where usually only sick, injured or exhausted riders get to sit; where those four of us still working towards EFI normally never get to sit.
It’s been a fun experience to have once, for a few minutes, for a short lift. However, even without EFI, almost all of us prefer to be out on the bike rather than stuck in the doggy box. “Losing your EFI is like losing your virginity”, Tallis had said early on. I eventually beg to disagree. Being outside on a bike seems almost always preferable than stuck in the truck, to me that is.
Stage 66: Nata – Bush Camp (Botswana), 185km
Road & traffic condition:
Rough and lots of potholes in the morning, but smooth towards the second half. Almost no traffic at all.
Hot in the afternoon (above 30° C).
Shepherd’s pie and corn.
With 185km, our longest riding day so far and the second longest on the entire tour. Without any coke stop for the last 80km, we’ve had a refresh station at 152km to help us replenish our liquids and get through the day.
We didn’t expect to see any more elephants today. As luck would have it, one was crossing the road right in front of me just a few kilometers before camp. Different to yesterday, however, it moved away from the road rather quickly and allowed safe passage without much delay.