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Jun '10

Day 243-246: Thursday to Sunday, 27-30 May 2010

Posted by steve@buddyandme.co.za

Categories: Buddy and Me

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My updated itinerary for Namibia and Botswana, to the end of the tour.

The PROPOSAL TO THE PRESIDENT for your perusal.

To watch Buddy and Me in real time click here, select South Africa under “Global Fleet Logins:” in the left hand panel, enter cellphone number 0822549129 and password Buddy.

To make a donation to or information on any of the organisations involved in assisting victims of child rape and abuse, please click on one of the following links:

Beares
Lubners
Bobbi Bear Foundation (KwaZulu-Natal)
The Teddy Bear Clinic (Gauteng)
The TygerBear Foundation (Western Cape)
GRIP (Mpumalanga)
StepThru (Gauteng)

Thursday the 27th May was spent catching up on the usual chores of washing and trying to sort out computer problems. As everyone who knows me, knows, I am a complete computer idiot, and that is why I have Gail back in Jo’burg sorting out my e-mailed blog’s so she can post them on my website and help me with any other computer problems I encounter.

So when I first plugged in my mouse, which is now referred to by me as a “RAT” because after plugging it in nothing happened, and I discovered that the cable leading into the “RAT” was broken, and Mandy, the co-owner of ‘Touch of Africa’ with her husband Franz, kindly gave me a spare mouse she had, I plugged in my camera to down load the pictures to my lap-top and nothing happened, again! I then went into a flat spin, but after a while of stomping around and sitting with my head in my hands, spluttering things like “Oh sh-zx/xxt what has happened now” Mandy came to my rescue once again and after plugging my camera into her lap-top discovered that the lead/cable from my camera to my lap-top was also broken, ’somewhere’, what next?

She then came up with yet another solution and put my camera’s memory card into her camera and connected that to my lap-top and down loaded the pictures to my lap-top, Walla! Problem solved. So Mandy thank you for your genius-ness, (if there is such a word) without your help I would have been sunk. So if you ever find yourself travelling between Francis Town and Kaserne and in the Pandamatenga district there is a really lovely lodge you can stay over in and it’s called ‘Touch of Africa’ and Mandy and Franz will make you feel right at home. Contact details are, Website: www.touchofafrica.tv e-mail: touchofafrica@botsnet.bw Telephone: (00267)71656340.

Another problem I was experiencing was the fact that due to the fact that there was no petrol available in Kaserne; and this I was told was because of yet another strike in South Africa, so the people here in Botswana are not too happy with South Africa. Buddy’s fuel gauge, the only one that works at this point, showed that he was on about a half tank and I hoped to be able to fill up in Pandematenga, but when I arrived in Pandamatenga I was told “Sorry we have no petrol”, and so when I left Pandamatenga, destination Nata 200 kilometres away, I must admit I was just a little nervous. But I am carrying a jerry can with 18 litres of petrol which gives me about 180 kilometres driving, and fortunately to date I have not needed to use it, but I had that sinking feeling that today I would need it.

About thirty kilometres after passing through Pandamatenga I passed two guys sitting/lying resting on the side of the road with two bicycles lying close by. I of course cannot pass by individuals on the road that appear to be crazier than me and from the look of the pannion bags attached to the sides of the bicycles they were obviously nut cases undertaking a monstrous cycle tour of some kind. On stopping and making a U turn I discoverer that they were two ‘pommies’ from the UK, in fact London, Duncan Hills and Dickon Broadhurst who were cycling from Cairo to Cape Town and in fact are on their way to South Africa to watch the 2010 World Cup Soccer. You can check them out on their website: www.cycletotheworldcup.co.uk and can contact them via e-mail: hills.duncan@gmail.com.

<i>Meet the two intrepid nut case cyclists from London – Duncan standing on Buddy and Dickon cool and collected</i>

Meet the two intrepid nut case cyclists from London – Duncan standing on Buddy and Dickon cool and collected

During our chat they told me that they were intending to camp over at ‘Elephant Sands Lodge’ which according to their ‘book’ and GPS, is situated about 60 kilometres before Nata. I was intending to camp over at the Nata lodge, but on second thought decided to change to ‘Elephant Sands’ and boy was I happy I did.

On arriving at the lodge I was met by the Manager, Jaco van Wyk who on hearing my sad story about my dwinderling budget etc offered me camping facilities in the lovely lodge. Soon after setting up camp I wandered over to the bar to indulge in a cold frosty and within minutes a herd of elephants appeared at the watering hole which is a matter of metres away from where we were standing.

<i>My campsite at ‘Elephant Sands’</i>

My campsite at ‘Elephant Sands’

<i>What an incredible sight, wild elephants only a matter of metres from where we were standing</i>

What an incredible sight, wild elephants only a matter of metres from where we were standing

<i>They even come right up to the camp and drink the swimming pool water</i>

They even come right up to the camp and drink the swimming pool water

Of course Saturday (29th May) was spent watching the ‘Super 14’ rugby final between the Bulls and the Stormers and so to all my Bulls supporter friends and family, in particular, Michaela – my grand-daughter, son in-law Zak, Gaston at the Gem Bar in Lambton Germiston, and of course Karen Venske who has just recently moved back to SA from Malawi with my good buddy Edwin her husband, well done guys, the Bulls definitely deserved it, they were undoubtedly the best team in the Super 14 this season, but enjoy your victory while it lasts, the Sharks are going to kick butt next year.

Other functions which took up my time on Saturday was obviously the never ending chore of washing, transferring the 18 litres of petrol from the jerry can to Buddy’s tank which was almost bone dry, and with the help of a fellow guest, Daryl who provided me with red insulation tape, manufactured a red T and (80) sign to keep the cops off my back.

<i>Hopefully this will keep the cops at bay until I can get my hands on the proper thing</i>

Hopefully this will keep the cops at bay until I can get my hands on the proper thing

<i>The ‘guys’ toasting the Bulls supporters on their victory – from left: Duncan, Jaco (Manager of the Elephant Sands Lodge) Dickon and yours-truly, by the way the toast was executed with Jagermeisters</i>

The ‘guys’ toasting the Bulls supporters on their victory – from left: Duncan, Jaco (Manager of the Elephant Sands Lodge) Dickon and yours-truly, by the way the toast was executed with Jagermeisters

There were a lot of foreign guests at the lodge and I got to discuss the project and the child rape situation with a number of them. Just to mention a few of the amazing people I met during my two night stay at ‘Elephant Sands’ included, Jacques and Hillary, unfortunately for the life of me I cannot remember their surname and did not write it down, Noel and Rika who are also travelling through Africa: www.nomad-adventure.com ; Andon Van der Merwe (and by the way that is how his name is spelt) who is travelling from Pretoria to Egypt on his motor cycle: www.2wherever.com : andonvdm@yahoo.com and of course the guy who fly’s guests around the area Bruce, the man in his amazing flying machine, and of course the two crazy pommies on their bicycles, Duncan and Dickon. These are just to mention a few.

<i>Duncan, Dickon and yours-truly enjoying the elephants after a really hard game of rugby, in which the Bulls won</i>

Duncan, Dickon and yours-truly enjoying the elephants after a really hard game of rugby, in which the Bulls won

One of the other important facts that occurred on Saturday was that, while sitting studying my lap-top while doing my blog, I happened to notice a small ‘hole’ type thing in the front of the computer which looked the size of the memory card from my camera and wondered if it was not possibly a place where I could put my camera memory card in to down load my pictures in-leu of the fact that my cable was broken. I asked Jacques if he thought this would work, after all I wasn’t going to create bigger problems for myself by forcing the memory card in somewhere where it wasn’t supposed to go, and he confirmed that it was. So walla, my picture downloading problem was solved. Damn I’m getting good at this computer storey; I’m even starting to scare myself.

It rained right through the night which obviously brought the temperature plummeting and so it was a pretty cool night, but not as cold as I have been hearing it is in Jo’burg, but I’ll be nearing the freezer chest soon, so I will enjoy the warm weather while it lasts.

Sunday morning, (this morning the 30th May 2010) fortunately the rain had stopped at around 5am and gave the tent a chance to dry out, and so I was up, packed, showered and saying farewell to all my newly acquired intrepid traveller friends and thanking Jaco for his kind hospitality and asking him to pass on my thanks and good wishes to the owner of the ‘Elephant Sands Lodge’ Ben Moller who unfortunately was not around, and heading out of the lodge at 10:30am, destination Francis Town 240 kilometres south.

<i>Farewell to Jaco van Wyk, at the entrance to ‘Elephant Sands Lodge’</i>

Farewell to Jaco van Wyk, at the entrance to ‘Elephant Sands Lodge’

<i>All the hooligans trying to emulate the Bulls scrum I think, from the left: Dickon, Jaco, Andon, Bruce in the rear, Hillary and Jacques, Una the bar lady is right at the back</i>

All the hooligans trying to emulate the Bulls scrum I think, from the left: Dickon, Jaco, Andon, Bruce in the rear, Hillary and Jacques, Una the bar lady is right at the back

<i>And of course I cannot end without showing you this one!</i>

And of course I cannot end without showing you this one!

So if you are ever travelling through the region between Nata and Kaserne, and in fact are 60 kilometres north of nata and need somewhere really neat to stay over, or in fact if you want to get away for a few days and visit a place where the elephants rule and you can get to see them really close up, contact Jaco at ‘Elephant Sands’ on: Email bookings@elephantsandsbotswana.com and check out their website on: www.elephantsandsbotswana.com you won’t be sorry. ( GPS co-ordinates are: S19°44.943′ E26°04.280′)

It was a very cold drive through to Nata and onwards to Francis Town and the sky remained very cloudy for the entire journey and it took ‘Buddy and Me’ five and a half hours to drive the 240 kilometres. The road from Kaserne to Nata is a really bad one with some real nasty pot holes and sections that have been patched so many times the road is almost one big patch.

Also what makes this section extremely dangerous is the fact that the long and dense grass which borders on the edge of the road, there is not even a half a metre of shoulder, makes one feel like you are driving through a tunnel, and when animals, and there are plenty of them in the form of elephants, Kudu and numerous other species, step out of the grass into the road, the driver does not stand a chance of avoiding hitting them, especially if you are travelling at the speed the trucks and other motorists travel at.

About 50 kilometres out of Francis Town I came across another group of three cyclists and of course I had to stop and find out who they were and where they were travelling from and to where. It turned out that they are Mariusz, Ryszaed and Maciej and are also cycling from Cairo to Cape Town. So the African roads are really busy with cyclists riding from Cairo to Cape Town.


Meet yet another bunch of crazy guys cycling from Cairo to Cape Town. Check them out on their website: www.welocypedy.pl and www.roweremprezezafryke.blox.pl : e-mail: czopel@wp.pl

While driving to Francis Town, I received a call from that character of note Yame Kgarie, and if you read my blog for the 18th and 19th of August 2009, hell that feels like years ago, you will see that when we had last met at the Beares conference in Dundee and him and I had shared a room, I had had quite an experience with him, read it and see what I’m talking about, and the purpose of his call was to inform me that he had made arrangements for my accommodation in Francis Town. So Yame, thank you, and I forgive you for locking me out of my room in Dundee and having to smash the window to get access to my bed for the night. Oh by the way, Yame has also been promoted from Regional Manager for Beares for the Botswana South Region, to Regional Director for the Botswana Region, so well done Yame, you totally deserve it and I know you will make Beares rock in Botswana.

So with that I will bid you all good night, I am looking forward to getting to meet some interesting people in Francis Town tomorrow and getting some up dated information on what is happening with the child rape situation in Botswana. Apart from the discussions I have been having with people along my route, I have not been able to learn much more and the information has been pretty repetitive, so hopefully tomorrow I can learn something new, or at least learn that Botswana is at least still on the right track as it was when last I visited the country for years ago.

Before I sign off I want to make a desperate appeal to everyone reading my blog’s. Please people, the four organisations linked to my website, namely: The Teddy Bear Clinic, Bobby Bear, TygerBear and GRIP, desperately need help, as in bucks to provide the much needed and necessary support to child rape victims, so Pleeeeez support them by clicking on their link and making a donation to one of them or preferably all of them. Your support and help will be gratefully appreciated by them and the kids who will benefit from your support.

So cheers for now, stay well, stay safe and of course keep all children safe.

Caring regards from
‘Buddy and Me’ (Steve Heath)
steve@buddyandme.co.za

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