Day 95, stage 72, 172km
Start, Thebe Rover Lodge, Kasane, Botswana
Finish, Bush Camp
Before we headed west into Namibia we had to head southeast towards Nata. This was because we had to go around a big game reserve without adequate roads through it. From Kasane to Nata is about 320 miles. I think there is one other town between these two. So not a lot to see – except this is part of the elephant highway so we expected to see some wildlife. Taking this route also meant that we would be heading into a head wind for the whole distance to Nata. So a long day into a headwind. Great. And then added to this was about 150 km of road works in the middle of this – in fact, our camp tonight was in the bush next to the road works camp. The only thing that kept us going was the expectation that this headwind would turn into a tail wind when we turned west. But we had to get to Nata first.
It was simply a gut slog, a 10 litres of fluid day, a double dose or ORS and heavily salted soup day. We did see a few elephants at the beginning. Big deal. Vast empty spaces of nothing. There were long stretches of industrialised monoculture farms – I clocked one a 9 kilometres long. I don’t know how deep they were, but probably as deep as they were long. At any rate there were no trees in sight and therefore nothing to break the relentless wind that we cycled into. It was tough. It was boring. We had to do it again tomorrow.
The road works camp was interesting. It was in the middle of nowhere – the middle of the stretch of road works actually, but still the middle of nowhere. There was the formal part of the camp with trailers used as offices, heavy equipment everywhere and people doing things that looked like work. This was all fenced in. Beyond the fences and next to it was a more informal camp – the camp followers as it were. Here we found a little shop where we were able to buy a cold drink. There was a place where for a few Pula you could have a shower. There were a number of camping caravans parked inside compounds surrounded by mosquito netting where people had set up transient households – road works gypsies. They paid little attention to us but gave us free access to everything. A strange nomadic existence. Three or four years here and then off to another camp and another road construction project. I think you need a really good relationship with big machines to be able to live this kind of life. I am not sure if this is healthy or not.