Thursday, May 30, 2019

Botswana revisited - Part 1

Michael - Thursday

Michael and Peter enjoying bush time
We’re just back from a wonderful trip to Botswana. It was a belated seventieth birthday celebration for Pat, and since she had never been to the Okavango delta, that was the centrepiece of the trip. But there were lots of other places to go and see, and one of the great things about Botswana is the friends one meets there. And, of course, there is always the opportunity for a little research…

The one disadvantage of living on the Cape south coast is that it’s a long way to the places we love in the bush and from Botswana. Our first destination was Kazungula and that's about 1,400 miles by road, but we took it easy stopping at in Lobatse and doing some research at Otse on the way up. (Otse features in our new Kubu mystery.) Kazungula has busy border posts with both Zambia and Zimbabwe, and is situated close to the point where the four countries meet—Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Namibia. (The actual point is somewhere in the middle of the Zambezi river.) More important, it’s the home of our great friend Peter Comley. He, and his late wife Salome, have been tremendously helpful over the years with local information for our books and with suggesting venues for the next murder. Peter is also the author of a number of guides to the wildlife of Botswana and Namibia, and he has written an autobiographical book about his early years in Botswana focused around his amazing dog, Django. If you want a moving and delightfully written view of what Botswana used to be like in the old days, get hold of a copy of Django. (It will have to be an ebook, though.)

Elephants at Chobe
Apart from the delightful time with Peter, we had the opportunity to stay at his brand new camp in the Chobe Forest Reserve. This is definitely my idea of camping! And since work on the swimming pool, for example, was incomplete, we had the place to ourselves—with elephants, buck, and birds joining us at the waterhole from time to time. One early morning there was an altercation between some lions and a pack of hyenas over a kill. We couldn't see it, but we certainly heard it!

It was a wonderful base to explore the Chobe national park and the stunning Victoria Falls.
I think someone invented the word "glamping" for this sort of tent!

The case rests
Bath or shower? Hot and cold running water, of course
Or just relax ...
... overlooking the waterhole

Fortunately the only croc who made it onto the viewing deck
It's an easy day trip to the Victoria falls across the border in Zimbabwe. But take hard currency with you to buy a visa as you enter, and expect to spend a couple of hours achieving that. However, it's worth it.
Rainbow from the lip of the Devil's cataract
Main falls
Rainbow over the Boiling Pot
Falls through the rain forest
Devil's cataract
Railway bridge over the gorge. Popular with bungee jumpers
After that it was south to the Okavango...

Upcoming events

June 11: release of Shoot the Bastards(Poisoned Pen Press, an imprint of SourceBooks)

June 18: 1830 for 1900
Once Upon a Crime bookstore in Minneapolis
Launch of Shoot the Bastards, in conversation with Kent Krueger


  1. Beautiful pictures. Do you know how the Devil's cataract got its name?

    1. There's some story about "devilish" ceremonies on Cataract Island at the top of the falls that upset the missionaries. Sounds a bit far fetched to me...

    2. Sounds like that's going to appear in a book!

  2. Question: Are there crocs in the water beneath the bridge where bungee jumpers practice their madness...and if so, how high out of the water can a croc jump?

    1. A bit too rough for crocs down there. But there's always a first time...