Sunday afternoon we checked into Eselbe Camp, just outside Nata in Botswana. This property on the Nata River belonged to Rupert’s mother for years and since she passed away twenty years ago, he dreamed to turn it into a small-scale campsite with a few chalets. Last year this finally became a reality and in exchange for some maintenance work you can even stay for free, but for us it was just a stopover between Francistown and Kasane. We could’ve driven that distance in a day, but especially the dogs think the heat is quite unpleasant on the way.
Eselbe Camp has a great vibe and set up in the white (sticky…) river sand and upon arrival we were told that a new neighbour moved in a few days earlier. It was a huge hippo and apparently it was still safe to swim, as long as you knew exactly where he was. Well, no, thanks.
The next day we drove to Kasane, in northern Botswana. On the way it started feeling more and more like the ‘’real’’ Africa without fencing around game parks, which means you always need to be aware of wildlife. Next to the main road we saw plenty steenbuck and also warthogs, impalas, kudus, giraffes, ostriches and even buffaloes and elephants. But Hessel stopped the fastest for a family group of Southern Ground-Hornbills, which we really wanted to add to our bird list! This endangered bird has a complex social structure in small families and they raise their offspring together. Now they were just looking for lunch though.
Finally in Kasane we found a great camping spot at Chobe Safari Lodge, where the bakkie with rooftop tent fitted comfortably under a big tree in the shade. From this beautiful place we could see the famous Chobe River and even Namibia on the other side. Because of all the warthogs, bushbuck and baboons we unfortunately couldn’t leave the dogs behind, so we didn’t go on any (boat) safaris. But we’ll definitely come back to this special area!