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Botswana’s Natural Contrasts

Botswana’s Natural Contrasts

Botswana's Natural Contrasts

From huge deserts to beautiful riverbanks and magnificent baobabs

Vind hier de Nederlandse versies van de blogs: Klik hier.

Kellie

We have arrived in Zambia! This took us about 2,5 hours and some (expected) struggles at the border, but I’ll come to that in the next blog. But first let me tell you what we did after we left Sander at Tuli Block. The morning of our departure we said our goodbyes to this amazing area by a wild goose hunt, or rather chasing the many tracks the wild dogs had left behind, trying to make some sense of it! We didn’t, but it was a good morning hike. After, we left for Palapye. Here we had decided to stock up, buy a proper torch and fill up our gas tank. As anything in Africa, this didn’t go as easily as you might think. We drove from one place to another, all telling us they didn’t have the right equipment to fill up the gas tank. Then, and by now we’re at that point saying ‘lucky for us’, we found one who had! In the end, we decided to stay in Palapye instead of driving to the next town, which we originally planned. This was nice, because we stayed at Camp Itumela, a place where Anouk and I had stayed three years before and where we had a lot of fun.

Our camping spot in the middle of the wilderness with no one near us for at least 30 km's.

Central Kalahari

The next day we went off to Central Kalahari, a long drive, but we arrived at the entrance town (read: tiny village) before sundown. That night we slept at a camp near the entrance (with near, I mean a two-hour drive on a so-called “main off-road”). We woke up two hours later because a huge storm hit us and we felt like we would be lifted off and taken to the land of Oz! We got out and packed our tent in the pouring rain at a speed you can’t imagine! But of course, as soon as we were done and warming ourselves in the car… yeah you guessed it right, the storm had blown over… Ah well, back to bed for a few hours, and the next morning an early wake for our trip to the Central Kalahari. The result of the storm was written all over the road, it was very muddy and thus a perfect moment to try our 4WD (without getting stuck). Down in the Central Kalahari this was even worse. Here we found out that putting the gear in 4WD, didn’t mean it goes straight in 4WD. Found that out the hard way, after we got stuck! But by backing up and hitting the gas full-on, we went through anyway. Without 4WD, because that turned on after we went through!

An open plain at sunset, the perfect hunting zone for a lonely bat-eared fox.

Unfortunately, we were in the Central Kalahari at the wrong time of year, which means most of the animals had migrated to areas with water. We saw a Bat-eared Fox in daylight, which was pretty amazing because it’s a night mammal. But the rest of our stay was mainly getting to know our car. Plus, at night we loved being on our own in the wilderness, where we could enjoy the beautiful night sky and the sounds of night animals around us.

Elephant in the Makgadikgadi National Park with in the background zebra's drinking.

Makgadikgadi National Park

Our next stop took us right through Makgadikgadi National Park. We drove to the other side of the park on a very sandy trail right along the river. It was beautiful! At one point, we stopped and saw a lioness, with in the background elephants and zebra’s heading to the river for an afternoon drink. And we heard, more than saw the hippos at the hippo pool.

Many many years ago we would have been standing under water. Now it is a beautiful stretched Salt Pan.

Nxai Pans – aka the Elephant photoshoot!

That night we stayed at Planet Baobab, a very good place for overlanding. It was surrounded by several huge, impressive baobabs. The next morning, we visited the Nxai Pans, an hour drive from where we were staying. As usual we woke up around 5.30 am so we could get there in time before the sun became too hot for the animals (and us) to move. It started as a rather disappointing day, the roads were crappy (which can be expected, but it still sucks), and surrounded by bush. We arrived at the pan and it was pretty, but seemed deserted. Even at the waterhole we only saw a few springbokkies... Was that why we rushed so much that morning?! We decided to drive some more, with in the back of our mind that fuel was running short. But this detour was supposed to be only 2 km’s according to the map. After the first sign, we couldn’t find more so we trusted the little map. But apparently this map wasn’t very accurate! And we drove about 16 km before we came back to our starting point. By that time, it was getting really hot, we had scratched the car because the road we had to take was very small, and we were worried our fuel couldn’t get us all the way back to the camp. We were definitely ready to go back and call it a day. But before we did we stopped one last time at the waterhole. And thank God we did! First, we saw a small herd of zebra and wildebeest approaching for a drink, so we waited. Then, in the simmering distance, we saw two elephants coming! Believe it or not, but it only became better after that! First the two elephants were joined by two Secretary birds of which one fell down in the water, really funny! And after the first few elephants, a whole herd approached! And they were so excited to get to the water, first running and then splashing around getting themselves all muddy. Fourteen elephants and a mudpool, it was the best photoshoot I’ve seen. We stayed there during the heat of the day and then went to see the Baines Baobab.

Baines Baobab

Lars

The Baobabs are our favourite trees in southern Africa and there are lots of legends about their appearance, especially the fat stem and root-like branches. Here is one: There was a time, long long ago, when the first baobab started to grow next to a small lake. She grew slow, like baobabs do, and it took her many years to turn into adulthood. Eventually, though, the tree was tall enough to have a good look at some other trees. Some were very tall and slender, others had brightly coloured flowers or had large leaf’s. Then one day the baobab could see her reflection in the lake which shocked her to her root hairs: for the first time she could see her huge big fat trunk covered in bark that looked like the wrinkled hide of an old elephant. In addition, she only had small, tiny leaf’s and creamy, white flowers. So uninspired!

The baobab, of course, was upset and complained to the God of Evolution. “Why did you make me this huge and fat? Why not slender, with big and juicy fruits?” On and on the baobab went, wailing about the lack of curves until… The God of Evolution had enough of it. Determined to silence the tree forever, the Creator yanked the baobab out of the ground and replanted it upside down. From that day on the baobab could no longer see its reflection or complain and remained the most iconic of African trees, with its roots sticking into the sky.

Me positioned in front of one of the many huge and magnificent baobab trees in this area. We can't even imagine how old they are!

The elephants and baobabs had made our day and relieved we returned to Planet Baobab. The next morning, we took the road again. We were almost out of petrol though and in order to get to the next big town, Nata, we needed to find a petrol station or else we would probably not make it. There was one close to Planet Baobab, but it was without petrol. Hmm… What now? Apparently, this happens quite often as many locals stock on petrol for situations like this and sell it with a profit; I headed into the closest town and bought enough petrol to make it to Nata, and from there all the way to Kazungula where we would enter Zambia. Read more about this adventure in our next blog, click here...

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Our first stop in the true African wilderness

Our first stop in the true African wilderness

Our first stop in the true African wilderness

Koro River Camp - Tuli Block

Nederlandse versie - Klik Hier

Warming up in the sun, a little breeze and listening to the many many different bird songs around me. My view is on an almost dried up Limpopo river with some impalas grazing in the background. We woke up this morning by the sounds of baboons jumping and playing around on the roof of our tent. Yes, we are finally in the wilderness of Africa.

After the few weeks of semi-stress to get our 4x4 car bought and fixed (for more detail, see this blog), we could finally take her for a real drive. We left Gaborone early, the morning of the 51st Independence Day of Botswana. As Independence Day is a national holiday, we realized we did not have the best timing with doing our bulk shopping the day before. Especially the liquor store was filled up and we couldn’t move our ass or bump into someone! But patience is the key here in Africa, and after a few more queues, we were all set and ready to go. Our first stop, this beautiful place I am writing you from, is the Koro River Camp in Tuli Block just at the border with South Africa. This is where Sander Vissia (friend and co-car-owner) works and does his research. And it is amazing here! If you're interested, visit their website: www.the-african-experience.com.

koro river camp, by life connected, limpopo

One of the tents at Koro River Camp. A beautiful and wild location situated along the Limpopo river.

He sent us the route description when we were in the last village with reception, in other words, just in time. Here’s what we got: drive to the end of the tar road, then turn right onto the gravel road. Follow this road until a dip where you can turn left, turn left. You’ll pass by a Lookout Point and a small waterhole. And here, we are as surprised a you are when we actually spotted the Lookout Point! We did not see a small waterhole though, so we weren’t entirely sure we were on the right track. Anyway: ‘after this just take a right at every cross-section you’ll see and then you’re there’. Okay, so there was a final part to these instructions, but here he missed to mention one cross-section where we had to go left. Fortunately, this cross-section was next to the tents of Koro River Camp, so we thought we’d arrived. We got out, and as soon as we left the car, Lars was sick! Two very nice guys from the staff got us where we actually had to go, which was at Koro Island Camp some 10 minutes away. And as soon as Lars was shown the bed, him and his fever went to sleep.

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Exploring the banks of the Limpopo river.

This camp wasn’t named Island camp for nothing, to get here you cross a hanging bridge. The tents have decks that are directly to the river (beautiful!), and there is a building with a communal kitchen and dinner room. After I brought all our food and bags over to the island, the kitchen is where I made my ‘lonely’ dinner. I did not feel lonely at all, in fact, I probably would have preferred to feel a bit more lonely… Let me explain; it gets dark here around 6 pm and there was no electricity at this camp (coincidentally). So I had my dinner in an open building, on my own, in the dark, with a very noisy wind that confused all my senses, and possible wild animals around me. That makes you’re fantasy run wild! And that while I know the chance of something happening is close to zero compared to being in town!

The next day we had a slow, relax start, waking up on our deck while watching all the animals. Lars was feeling a bit better and his fever had gone down. I organized all the camping equipment we had chucked in the car the days before (we had been in a hurry). In the afternoon we went down to the River Camp and had some fun with our camera. We finished the day with a classical braai (African bbq), together with Sander, Jurgen and one of the local in habitants of the island, Janice the genet! This very cute but sneaky racoonlike animal showed up to finish our leftovers! In fact, it grabbed the meat right from Sander his hands.

giant kingfisher, by life connected, koro river camp

A Giant Kingfisher in action, picture from our deck at Koro Island Camp.

That night we woke up several times, and every time we opened our eyes there were kudu and impala browsing within 2 meters from us! We woke up early in the morning (they were still there), because we would go search for a hyena den, information necessary for Sander’s research. We parked the car near a Koppie (small hill of stones) and went walking. I spotted two hyena’s running past us in the general direction where we headed. However, the two dens we came across had a large amount of bones, but no fresh tracks; they were abandoned. We climbed one of the largest Koppies in the area hopeful of spotting a hyena, but mostly just for the beautiful view of the area. From here we could see elephants, zebra’s and wildebeest, but no hyena’s.

koppie, by life connected, koro river camp, bushwalk

The view from the highest Koppie in the area. Beautiful!

Walking back we got pretty hungry, so we went back for breakfast. Then we visited one of the neighbouring farms, which was about 1,5 hours drive because you can only drive about 35 km/h on these roads, so it was pretty much a middle of the day game drive. We planned on going for a drive in ‘the Golden Hours’, which is between 5 and 7 pm, but the car had other plans. While driving back to get some food we got a flat tire! After some tries, we had to walk back to camp because the jack in the game vehicle was shit. Than Sander (hero!) finally managed to change the tire and we were off again. TSSJJJJJZZZ…. Nope we weren’t. The car did not start! It was actually pretty funny, we got the ‘car in the bush’ experience all at once. So we jumpstarted the car by pushing it (after several tries and a lot of hard work), and then we were off! By now it was pretty much passed those golden hours. So we just went back and cooked a delicious Mexican wrap meal.

tire change, game vehicle, by life connected

Sander and Lars trying to change the tire of the game vehicle.

And that brings us to today! This afternoon we will try and get the car seats out (while I’m typing I’m looking at two baboons playing with each other), and sort out all the paperwork of the car, for which we need to go to town with Sander. We will try our jack and the air compressor, see if it all works. And then maybe, just maybe, we will be able to do a “Golden Hour” game drive today! But I have learned one thing so far, it is better not to expect anything here in Africa and instead just accept how things work out!

tree climbing, limpopo, by life connected, koro river camp

Lars doesn't like heights, but could not resist climbing this tree. The way down was a bit less fun!

UPDATE!

We couldn’t do the game drive yesterday (what a surprise), but we did one today! We had company of Andrew Kruger, a very experienced game driver, and his wife Amy. This morning they had found wild dogs with 10 (!) pups. So we went back to the same place. Now, I have never seen wild dogs before so I was very excited! And Andrew has a way of calling carnivores, which of course we have been practicing ever since, he can make the sound of a wildebeest in distress. It took a little while, but all of the sudden we saw four wild dogs coming our way! There was one beautiful female with a lot of white on her coat. It was amazing! They didn’t come real close until it was darker, but fortunately it was a full moon and we have very very good binoculars through which we could see them perfectly. So that was a beautiful ending to our well-deserved relax stay at Koro River Camp. And tomorrow we will drive towards the Kalahari Desert. So keep posted !

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Baobab silhouette at sunset. In my opinion, one of the most beautiful tree species there are in this world.

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Onze eerste stop in de echte Afrikaanse wildernis

Onze eerste stop in de echte Afrikaanse wildernis

Onze eerste stop in de echte Afrikaanse wildernis

Koro River Camp - Tuli Block

Lekker in het zonnetje, een briesje wind door m’n haar en luisterend naar het vele vogelgezang om me heen. Met uitzicht op een half opgedroogde Limpopo-rivier en grazende impala’s op de achtergrond. Vanmorgen werden we wakker door de geluiden van springende en spelende bavianen op het dak van onze tent. Ja het is eindelijk zo ver, we zijn duidelijk in de wildernis van Afrika.

Na de paar weken van semi-stress om het kopen en klaarmaken van 4x4 auto (voor meer details, zie deze blog), hebben we haar eindelijk mee kunnen nemen op de eerste echte tocht. We zijn vroeg vertrokken vanuit Gaborone op de ochtend van de 51ste Onafhankelijkheidsdag van Botswana. Aangezien Onafhankelijkheidsdag een nationale feestdag is, realiseerden we ons dat we niet de beste timing hadden tijdens het bulk inkopen doen de dag ervoor. Vooral de drankwinkel was bomvol en we konden ons kont niet keren zonder tegen iemand aan te stoten! Maar geduld is een schone zaak hier in Afrika, en na nog een aantal wachtrijen waren we helemaal klaar om te gaan. Onze eerste stop, deze prachtige plek van waaruit ik jullie schrijf, is het Koro River Camp in Tuli Block net bij de grens met Zuid-Afrika. Dit is waar Sander Vissia (vriend en mede-auto-eigenaar) werkt en zijn onderzoek doet. En het is geweldig hier! Als je meer wilt weten, ga dan naar deze website: www.the-african-experience.com

koro river camp, by life connected, limpopo

Een van de tenten bij Koro River Camp. Een prachtige, wilde locatie langs de Limpopo rivier.

Hij stuurde ons de routebeschrijving toen we in het laatste dorp waren met ontvangst, oftewel, net op tijd! Dit is wat we kregen: rijd naar het einde van de asfaltweg, sla dan rechtsaf de grindweg op. Volg dit pad tot een dip in de weg waar je linksaf kan slaan, sla linksaf. Je passeert dan een uitkijkpunt en een klein watertje. Wij waren net zo verrast als jullie toen we ook werkelijk bij dit uitkijkpunt uitkwamen! We zagen echter geen klein watertje, dus we waren niet helemaal zeker dat we op het goede spoor zaten. Hoe dan ook: 'Hierna ga je rechts bij elk kruispunt wat je tegenkomt, en dan ben je er'. Oké, er was nog een laatste deel bij deze instructies, maar hier vergat Sander een kruispunt te benoemen waar we naar links zouden moeten gaan. Gelukkig was dit kruispunt naast de tenten van het Koro River Camp, dus we dachten toch al dat we er waren. Hier stappen we uit, en zodra we de auto uit zijn, wordt Lars ziek! Twee super aardige jongens van het personeel brachten ons waar we werkelijk moesten zijn, namelijk op Koro Island Camp ongeveer 10 minuten verder. Zodra Lars het bed zag en zijn hoofd het kussen raakte, vielen hij en zijn koorts in slaap.

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Op onderzoek langs de oever van de Limpopo rivier. 

Dit kamp werd niet voor niets Island Camp genoemd, om hier te komen moet je een hangbrug oversteken. De tenten hebben een terras wat direct aan de rivier ligt (prachtig!), En er is een gebouw met een gemeenschappelijke keuken en een diner ruimte. Nadat ik al ons eten en tassen naar het eiland had gebracht, heb ik in de keuken mijn 'eenzame' avondmaal gemaakt. Ik voelde me helemaal niet eenzaam hoor, integendeel, ik had me waarschijnlijk liever een beetje meer eenzaam gevoeld... Laat me dit uitleggen; het wordt hier om 18.00 uur donker en er was op dat moment geen elektriciteit in het kamp. Dus ik had mijn avondmaal in een open gebouw, alleen in het donker, met een zeer luidruchtige wind die al mijn zintuigen verwarde en mogelijke wilde dieren om me heen. Dat laat je fantasie wel overuren draaien! En dat terwijl ik weet dat de kans dat er iets gebeurt bijna nul is in vergelijking met de stad!

De volgende dag hadden we een trage, ontspannende start van de dag. Lekker wakker worden op het terras terwijl we konden genieten van alle dieren om ons heen. Lars voelde zich al een beetje beter en zijn koorts was gezakt. Ik heb even alle spullen die we de dagen ervoor gekocht hadden georganiseerd in de auto gestopt, het was echt een zooitje want we hadden een beetje haast de dagen ervoor! In de middag gingen we naar het River Camp en we hebben we ons vermaakt met onze camera. We eindigden de dag met een klassieke braai (Afrikaanse bbq), samen met Sander, Jurgen en een van de lokale inwoners van het eiland, Janice de genet! Dit zeer schattige, maar sneaky wasbeerachtige diertje verscheen om onze overblijfselen op te eten! Sterker nog, ze graaide het vlees rechtstreeks uit Sander zijn handen.

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Een Reuzen Ijsvogel in actie. Foto genomen vanaf ons terras bij Koro Island Camp.

Die nacht werden we meerdere malen wakker, en elke keer als we onze ogen openden liepen er binnen 2 meter afstand kudu en impala te grazen! Vervolgens zijn we ‘s ochtends vroeg wakker geworden (ze waren er toen nog steeds), omdat we op zoek gingen naar een hyena hol, informatie die nodig was voor het onderzoek van Sander. We parkeerden de auto in de buurt van een Koppie (een kleine heuvel van grote stenen) en gingen lopen. Ik zag twee hyena's voorbij ons racen in de algemene richting waar wij ook heen gingen. Echter, de twee holen die we vonden hadden een groot aantal botten, maar geen verse sporen; ze waren verlaten. We hebben vervolgens een van de grootste Koppies in de omgeving beklommen in de hoop een hyena te spotten, maar vooral voor het prachtige uitzicht op het gebied. Vanaf hier konden we olifanten, zebra's en wildebeesten zien, maar geen hyena's.

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Het uitzicht van 1 van de hoogste Koppies in de omgeving. Prachtig! 

‘s Middags bezochten we een van de naburige boerderijen, wat ongeveer 1,5 uur rijden was omdat je op deze wegen slechts 35 km/u kan rijden, dus het was eigenlijk een ‘midden op de dag’ game drive (safari). We hadden gepland om nog een game drive te doen tijdens 'The Golden Hours', dat is tussen 5 en 7 uur, maar de auto had andere plannen. Terwijl we terug reden om wat eten te halen, kregen we een platte band! Na enkele pogingen moesten we toch terug naar het kamp lopen, omdat de krik in de safari auto shit was. Maar Sander (held!) slaagde er met de andere krik toch in om de band te wisselen en we konden weer verder. TSSJJJJJZZZKKK .... Nope, toch niet. De auto startte niet! Het was eigenlijk best grappig, we kregen de 'auto in de bush' ervaring helemaal in 1 keer. Uitiendelijk hebben we de  gestart door hem op gang te duwen (na meerdere pogingen en veel hard werk), en konden we toch gaan rijden! Echter, tegen die tijd waren die zogenaamde gouden uren wel voorbij. Dus we zijn terug gegaan en hebben een heerlijke Mexicaanse wrap-maaltijd gekookt.

tire change, game vehicle, by life connected

Sander en Lars die proberen de band te verwisselen van de safari auto. 

En dat brengt ons bij vandaag! Vanmiddag zullen we proberen om de extra autostoelen uit Sisis te halen (terwijl ik typ, kijk ik naar twee bavianen die met elkaar spelen) en om al het papierwerk van de auto op orde te brengen, waarvoor we onder andere naar de stad moeten met Sander. We zullen onze krik en de compressor proberen om te kijken of het allemaal werkt. En dan misschien, heel misschien kunnen we vandaag nog een 'Golden Hour' game drive kunnen doen! Maar ik heb tot nu toe één ding geleerd; het is beter om in Afrika niets te verwachten en in plaats daarvan gewoon te accepteren hoe alles uiteindelijk uitpakt!

tree climbing, limpopo, by life connected, koro river camp

Lars houdt niet van hoogtes, maar kon het toch niet laten in deze boom te klimmen. De weg naar beneden was iets minder leuk! 

UPDATE!

We konden de game drive die we gisteren wilden doen, toch niet doen, maar we hebben het vandaag gedaan! We hadden een gezelschap van Andrew Kruger, een zeer ervaren game driver, en zijn vrouw Amy. Die morgen hadden ze wilde honden met 10 (!) puppies gevonden. Dus we gingen in de avond terug naar dezelfde plek. Nu heb ik nog nooit wilde honden gezien, dus ik was erg enthousiast! En Andrew Kruger heeft een manier om carnivoren te roepen, hij kan het geluid van een wildebeest in nood nadoen (je snapt natuurlijk dat wij dat al sinds dat moment aan het oefenen zijn). Het duurde even, maar plotseling zagen we vier wilde honden op de weg! Er was een heel mooi vrouwtje met veel wit in haar vacht. Het was geweldig! Ze kwamen niet dicht bij totdat het wat donkerder was, maar gelukkig was er een volle maan en hebben we een heel erg goede verrekijker waardoor we ze toch perfect kunnen zien. Dit was een prachtige afsluiting van ons welverdiende ontspanning verblijf bij Koro River Camp. En morgen rijden we door naar de Kalahari-woestijn. Dus blijf op de hoogte!

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Baobab silhouette met zonsondergang. In mijn mening 1 van de mooiste boomsoorten op aarde.

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Guidelines on how to stay positive during a very shitty flight

Guidelines on how to stay positive during a very shitty flight

Guidelines on how to stay positive during a very shitty flight

Nederlandse versie - klik hier

Actually, not everything went wrong. Here is the first positive note; we did not crash! We are still alive and kicking and able to write you about our monstrosity of a flight so that you, if ever needed, are always prepared for one. The story we are about to tell is based on the actual events that happened between the 13th and 15th of September, 2017. It was not dramatized in any way. Adjust your seat and brace yourself as we will guide you through our hellish journey.

The day of departure we knew it would become a tough day at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. A perfect, clear blue sky with a beautiful sun, but also with insanely hard winds that were ravaging through the land. A lot of flights were cancelled or delayed, and take-off for our flight went from 14.55 to 16.15. In the end it left at 18.20. So.. it only got delayed twice.. That is not too bad now is it? And we even managed to get our transit in London at a very chill pace (side note, this was only because this flight was also 1,5 hours delayed). What we are trying to say here, and I think the best way to do this is to quote Monty Python: “Aaalways look on the briiiight side of life”. Even during frustrating and stressful times at an airport!

Next thing you can always do to stay positive is to put annoying bits into perspective. In other words, just search for the people that have it worse than you! And trust us, there are ALWAYS people that have it worse than you. I think we have a proper example here:

When we arrived at check-in, we were told we had to rebook our flights because we wouldn’t be able to catch our transit. So.. we had to go to the service desk… And the service desk sent us back to the check-in… And vice versa. Long story short, we’ve done this a total of 9 times during which the time spend in queues adds up to a total of over 2,5 hours! The thing is, while we stood in line 9 times, people from Flybe didn’t even come close to finishing one queue. In fact, they had been in that specific queue for over 4 hours. So yeah, they definitely had it worse than us.

Sometimes though, you are JUST NOT IN THE MOOD to actively search for ways to stay positive. In such an occasion we recommend food; it is easy peasy to confront the difficulties in life with a mouthful of sugar! This flight we had such an occasion. We arrived in Joburg around 9 am and went straight to the baggage carrousel. I don’t know if this is something personal or if everyone has it, but you know that anxious feeling you get that your backpack is the one that won’t arrive while you’re at the carrousel waiting and waiting…?? Until finally, against all expectations, there it is! Kellie’s backpack arrived first on the carrousel! But that didn’t relieve us from that feeling that the other backpack would not arrive. Logically, if Kellie’s backpack was the first, then Lars's should be next or at least soon after right? We were on the same transit! Unfortunately, the carrousel became emptier… and emptier and then it stopped spewing out suitcases… And his backpack did not arrive. Now if this happens to you, just find the nearest service desk and patiently get in line (you can do it! We did!). We went to the British Airways service desk where a letter was already waiting for us. The letter said some ‘mistakes were made’. Djeez, wonder where. Wait! We haven’t told you about a tiny detail during check-in. After we received our boarding passes and the bags were labeled, there was some push message on the ladies screen about Lars Vermeer his bag. “It is probably just an error in the system”, was her explanation and that of her colleagues. And with our positive attitude we will assume that it was just a coincidence that Lars his bag did not arrive. But maybe we can still advise the lady to “trust the system” in the future.

Back to Joburg; the BA service manager explained, with a beautiful South African English accent nonetheless, that the backpack would arrive in Joburg the next day. However, we would be in Gaborone in Botswana by then. Fortunately he arranged that our luggage would be sent to Gaborone airport and everything would be okay! But yeah, after sorting out all this we surrendered to our cravings and bought a whole carrot cake and a big KitKat bar at Joburg airport, and continued with a questionably vegetarian burger (loaded with sauce) at the lodge in Gaborone to finish it all off with at least half a litre of ice cream topped with cookie crumbs, toffee sauce and chocolate sauce at the airport of Gaborone the next day. Our wounds were healed.    

When you can’t get your hands on food and you’re done searching for positivity and putting things in perspective, or when you’ve done all that and nothing helps, well then things might turn a little bit ugly. This is exactly what happened to Kellie. Because of all the shit that happened at Schiphol, being rebooked several times etcetera, less and less seats had become available. So our pre check-in seats next to a window, far away from the toilet and kitchen, were gone. In fact, there was only one place left where we could actually sit next to each other; middle row with four seats and then the middle two seats, plus directly placed in front of the kitchen. Kellie always gets really nauseous from the kitchen smells in an airplane. And if that wasn’t bad enough, her neighbour was huge (to put it nicely). You know those discussions in airplanes about which armrest you can use and which is your neighbours’. Well, that wasn’t even an option here, as his arm was so fat it just hung over the armrest, invading her seat. To make it even worse he snored like only fat guys can. So Kellie decided to punch the guy in the kidney at least 30 times during the flight whenever he started snoring. No worries, no fights were set off! He just kept on sleeping.. and snoring unfortunately.

The last guideline on how to turn a flight gone wrong into something positive is definitely the most important one. Although not everyone might be as fortunate, try to surround yourself with family and friends (e.g. through whatsapp) that will support you during your travels and are eager to listen to your joyful and less joyful experiences. It helped us a lot.

To end up; we are currently in Gaborone, eating healthy again, and reunited with our backpack (even though that flight was delayed as well, all our clothes were in there!). With fresh underpants covering our bottoms we will remain positive to tackle the challenge of buying a car in Gaborone that can take us through Botswana, Zambia and Namibia. Besides, what could go wrong after this!? Stay tuned for more!

Hugs and kisses,

Kellie & Lars.   

Posted by bylifeconnected in Blog, 2 comments