Everything happens for a reason.
Last night, we tried to book accommodation in Kasane, as well as a safari for Chobe National Park, but none of the booking pages seemed to work. The connectivity here in Botswana isn’t great, so we shrugged it off, decided it wasn’t meant to be, and to just wing it.
The bartender at Old Bridges Backpackers scribbled down directions from Maun to Kasane with local transportation, so we went with that. The reception organized a taxi pick-up for 6am that got us to the bus station in Maun for 40 pula. As directed, we took the 7am bus leaving to Francistown for 60 Pula and asked the driver to drop us off in Nata. The bus stopped an Engen in Nata at about 11am. From here, you simply walk across the street to a Shell gas station to wait for a Kombi (local bus), which will take you to Kasane.
After about 2 hours of waiting, a Kombi arrived, but witht only 3 seats available so we had to wait for the next one. At this point, we were hoping to catch a ride with a stranger at the gas station, but no one was heading in our direction. Then 5 minutes before our bus arrived, a 4×4 pulled into the station and asked where we were going. Turns out these guys are a chef and safari guide who are heading to Kasane after a 7 day tour. We got chatting and ended up scoring a ride to Kasane and booking a Chobe National Park game drive for tomorrow! Patience is a virtue and this was worth the wait!
We hopped in the vehicle in hopes that this wasn’t a hoax and made our way to Kasane. This was the beginning of an unexpected adventure! Thabo, the owner of Khetwailet, spotted wild animals the entire way, making stops to teach us about wildlife, gave us books to read, maps to look at, and taught us even more about Botswana than we could have imagined. It was essentially a free game drive, but better! We saw elephants, giraffes, zebras, and even the carcass of a dead elephant! We are really lucking out with the locals that we meet. At the same time, most people here seem pretty genuine and happy to lend a helping hand!
At some point of the journey, they asked us where we were staying. We had tried to book a made-up tent at Thebe River Camping, but the booking didn’t so through so we were going to just show up and sort it out. Accommodation in Kasane isn’t very budget friendly, especially for backpacker, so when Thabo suggested a guest lodge just outside of town that didn’t involve camping (we weren’t very prepared), we jumped on it! If you are ever looking for accommodation in Kasane, consider staying at Nkanga Guest Lodge. It’s clean, simple, comfy, and can save you a few bucks!
Overall, everything turned out better than we could have ever expected. Can’t wait to see what tomorrow will bring!