On the second day we made early tracks for Botswana in hopes of crossing through and reaching the Victoria Falls. On my last visit to Vic Falls I went through Katima Mulilo which is a fairly easy crossing of the bridge. This time we went South into Botswana so that we could go through the Chobe game park which is world renowned for its wildlife. On the way we went through many villages on the Caprivi which always incite a variety of feelings within me. I hope to be able to speak more on this later.
We never made it across to Victoria Falls in Zambia, also Livingston. After a full days travel we arrived at the border in the town of Kasane in Botswana. What we found there was quite interesting. The border was lined with trucks which were for some reason not allowed to cross in to Zambia. My guess is some sort of strike was preventing their safe passage. So after driving about a kilometre worth of trucks parked on the roadside we reached the border and lined up for passage.
Interestingly enough, as we lined up to get stamped out of Botswana we watched as groups of tourists drove up to the border, were introduced to the front of the line, stamped and crossed into Zambia so that they could catch the sunset at the falls. Now we were lined up with the rest of the people who wanted to cross as well. Our line was held up significantly as the tourists were given priority passage. This caused a bit of a stir as you might imagine. People waiting to get back home and see their families were held up on account of the tourists wanting to make the sunset. It was very interesting to see that many were exporting goods to Zambia, including blankets, flour and food. I had always thought that the strong Botswana dollar would mean goods would be flowing the other way.
After an aggravating line up, as the crowd got antsy and started budding and pushing, we made it to the waiting area for the ferry. I was also unaware that there was no bridge here. Once we reached the ferry are we saw a large group of people waiting to board. We were immediately confronted by a few young Zambian entrepreneurs who promised priority on the ferry who would then act as “runner” on the other side. We would need permits and authentication for our vehicles and passports which would take hours unless we employed them. We negotiated with them for a while but gradually started to realize that we would not make it into Zambia this evening. The sun was setting and we had not even made it to the other side.
As we watched the ferry travel sideways across the great river (the current was moving quickly towards Victoria Falls) we made an executive decision to abort the mission to Zambia.
It was an amazing and eye opening experience as we tried to migrate into Zambia. All was not lost for the day, as we had an interesting look at crossing borders in Africa. Fortunate as we are we were able to take lodge at the Chobe Safari Lodge for the evening and have an unforgettable experience at the river Chobe.