16-Dec-2005 -- This was our first line-hunting trip in Botswana. It was a bonus trip, so to speak. I had a three-day program with a delegation from China to visit facilities specialized in care for AIDS patients. The delegation departed early and I got an extra day in Botswana when I failed to get on an earlier flight from Johannesburg to Singapore. To make good use of this extra day, my host at the BOTUSA Project kindly arranged an additional visit to a district hospital in Kanye, about 90 km southwest of Gaborone, the capital. Walter was my guide for this visit and I co-opted him to make a small detour after our visit to the hospital to hunt for the line.
Since part of Botswana is lion country, I had to make it very clear that we were interested in "lines" and not "lions". Walter assured me that in this part of Botswana we had no risk of finding lions. After explaining the whole concept of the Degree Confluence Project to Walter, he was quite keen to hunt for his first point.
From Kanye, we took the highway heading northwest for about 15 km and found the dirt road that was supposed to bring us closer to the confluence point. Along this rather wide dirt road the closest we were able to get was 1.7 km from the confluence point. We then tried to get closer by driving on smaller trails or off trail. The area near this Confluence was totally flat with desert bushes. It would have been entirely feasible for us to drive to the point but we decided to walk the last 400 meters to better enjoy the surroundings.
As we walked toward the confluence point, we ran across a well-established dirt road about 150 meters from our objective. After the hunt, we took this road out and it was much easier than the way we had come in. Walter was pleased with reaching the point, and I was also glad that I had the extra day in the country, which gave me the chance to visit my first confluence point in Botswana.
On the way out, we stopped by the nearest village - Selokolela - for a few photos. Most of the houses were classic round huts with a straw roof, a symbol of Botswana. Through this hunt, I got a chance to appreciate the rural scenery, which was the real bonus. Overall, this was a pleasant and easy hunt. Walter was a terrific guide and I learned from him a great deal about what life is like in this interesting county. Happy Line Hunting, Walter!
Rating of this hunt:
Degree of Challenge: 1 - a potential drive up to the point (Scale: 1= very easy - drive to the point; to 5= a death march - glad it is over)
Scenery: 3 - Southern Africa desert scenery with good color contrast (Scale: 1= not interesting at all; 5= take your breath away)
Culture-social factors: 3 - Classic rural Botswana villages (Scale: 1=dull; 5= most stimulating)