After two wonderful rest days at Elephant Sands, it was time to get back on the Qhubeka Buffalo Bicycles. We had two days of 75km ahead of us to get to Panda Rest Camp and from there we had a big push of 105km to Kasane.
In the first few kilometres of leaving Elephant Sands we were all very excited to see some elephants whilst riding – thankfully they were quite far off the road so we all felt safe enough to stop and admire them. The roads were fairly quiet all day which made the riding so much more enjoyable. After 75km we all decided it was time to find a suitable place to setup our rest camp. After a few attempts to find a suitable spot driving around in the Jeep, Bobby and Gareth finally found a dirt road just off the road that took us to a great bush camping spot. We setup camp and enjoyed some time relaxing once again in the middle of nowhere.
The next day we had another 75km ride to our next camping spot called Panda Rest Camp. Along the way we were riding along a very straight road that went on for kilometres with bushveld on either side of us so we decided to have a break and Warrick got his DJI Phantom 4 Drone out to take a few videos and photos.
It was a very hot and windy ride to Panda rest camp but as it was only a shortish ride we got to camp just after lunchtime. We all freshened up and relaxed for the rest of the day. We also found out that the restaurant at the place did good Pizza’s so we decided to not braai and rather have a team pizza dinner instead.
Whilst at Panda rest camp there was a Chobe School camp taking place. The school kids and teachers were very excited about what we were doing and so when we left the next morning they created a tunnel and sang as we left which was a very special send off for all of us.
A few 100 meters after leaving Panda Rest Camp, Warrick noticed that Gareth’s back wheel wasn’t true. So it was a bit of an anti-climax after an awesome send off as Derrick and Gareth had to cycle back to camp to put on a new back tyre which was all in the Jeep as Bobby and Bryan were still breaking down camp. They managed to put on a new back tyre and we were back on the road again and rewarded with a sighting of three Elands crossing the road in front of us. We actually had a very successful day in terms of sightings seen on our ride which also included lots of elephants, some Zebras crossing the road as well as a pair of Ground Hornbills next to the road.
About 20km into our ride from Panda to Kasane, Gareth’s back tyre that he had fixed earlier went flat. It turned out that the new tyre rim did not have rim tape which caused the tube to puncture. To fix the problem we used some insulation tape as we did not have any rim tape which seems to have sorted out the problem. With the two mechanical stops we ended up riding most of the day in the midday heat which clocked in at just over 37 degrees at one point so everyone was taking strain on the ride and we were having to fill up our water bottles frequently but the day was made when we all saw the Zambezi river as we entered into Kasane.
Bryan managed to arrange for us to camp at Thebe River Safaris where we are staying for one rest day before heading into Zambia. As there is no view deck at Thebe we decided to head over to Chobe Safari Lodge for sun-downer drinks which was just magical. We are planning to take a boat cruise this evening on the Zambezi river which we are all really looking forward to.
It has been an awesome two weeks in Botswana with many memories we will keep forever and tomorrow we will be heading into our second African country of this trip, Zambia.