We had already broken the first rule of driving in Africa – Don’t drive at night. We quickly understood this rule because as we were searching for our campsite (in the dark) a huge antelope jumped directly in front of our car. We weren’t in a national park or game reserve this was just a random dirt road in the middle of nowhere.
Our campsite was 22 km off of the main road. This didn’t sound so far, but add a dirt road, darkness, and having no idea where we are or where we are going and it makes for a long drive.
This is the first time Josh has driven a manual car and had already had one of the most stressful days of our lives trying to get our 4×4 Hilux across the Botswana border and parked in our campsite. I will skip all of the boring/stressful details and skip to the part that we finally 8 hours later found our campsite.
We sat outside of the entrance to our campsite for 10 minutes.
We stared at our car and then back at the entrance. This is sadly a true story as we couldn’t tell if our truck would fit through. To make the story better there was a car behind us turning into the same campsite. We hadn’t seen a single other sole driving and all of a sudden there was someone following us into this random dark camp. Creepy.
After sitting there for quite a long time the car behind us got anxious and got out of his car to ask us what we planned to do and why we were blocking him from entering. Embarassed, but truthfully we told him we werent sure if the car would fit. With his reassurance that we were in the right place, and we would fit we drove through and continued what seemed like an additional 20 minutes until our new stranger friend led us to a campsite and from what we could make out we were the only ones there.
I didnt want to get out of the car.
I am not proud of this, I wish I could brag about how adventurous and brave I was this first night, but I wasn’t. It was dark and my mind danced around scorpions, crocodiles, hippos and snakes. I had never camped in Africa before and I was honestly scared. So, I told Josh that I wanted to sleep in the car and he told me that I was crazy.
Next, we had a random friendly lady knocking at our car window. I jumped.
First I was startled, but then overly thankful to have Lucinda knocking on my window. She talked me off from my crazy ledge and not only built us a fire but she started the hot water heater so we could take a warm shower. Not only did I want to sleep in my car but I definitely didnt want to get naked and take a shower outside – I was terrified.
It was 7:30 PM.
I convinced myself that this was going to be a long month if I insisted on sleeping in the car so I got outside, cooked some dinner and even showered since Lucinda went through the trouble of heating up the water. In my own defense there was a baby scorpion in the shower waiting for us which was another fun way to start our safari.
We set the tent up for the first time in pitch darkness, climbed in and fell fast asleep. All in all it ended up to be a wonderful night – and one of our favorite campsites!
We woke up to this, luckily it was too dark the night prior to read:
When have you been scared while traveling?
Check out more photos from African Ranches, our first campsite in Botswana
It may have been scary then — but I hope now you can look back and laugh! 🙂 🙂 🙂
Caroline Eaton says
After the first night, the next month was the best of our entire trip! Absolutely would recommend everyone to do this!!