Exploring the beauty of Botswana while walking for charity

A 72 km walk in the Thuli Block wilderness, Eastern Botswana raising money for charity. Having had the mother of all blisters in last year’s Makgadikgadi Pans walk, this time around I came out stronger with no single blister to show for the long tracks covered while exploring the beauty of Botswana.

The first 2011 Y-care walk took us to the “Land of the Giants,” Thuli Block. This was one of the two new walks introduced among other walks that take place during the year to raise funds while exploring beautiful Botswana on foot and pushing one’s body to the limits all in the name of charity.

1. Walkers at a full pace escorted by guides
2. Solomon’s Wall
3. On top of Limpopo River: (L-R) Thalefang, Nomsa &Pako (me)
4. Still going strong on day 2

Walkers and the support team left Gaborone and headed to Thuli Safari area where we camped at Molema Community campsite, located right in the Thuli Safari area. Thuli Block is also known for big game viewing but it does not have the big 5. There are no buffalos in the area and rhinos have not yet been re introduced. We spent our first night by the campfire, getting to know each other better and networking. I retired early, saving the energy for the first leg of the 72km adventure walk in the untapped wilderness. Deep inside I was busy wondering if I won’t get blisters. Last year’s walk in Makgadikgadi Pans left me with mother of all blisters which covered my feet and left me limping for days.

I must have been the earliest bird on Saturday. The early rise and shine was to strap my feet with an adhesive fabric plaster, wear three pairs of thick socks to make sure there’s no free space inside the boots to cause friction. By the time most woke up, I was geared up to explore the undisturbed wilderness infested with wildlife and vegetation I don’t get to see everyday. We were all briefed by the trained guides who were escorting us through the bush while imparting their knowledge of the wilderness to us. The entire group of walkers started off in a fast walking pace. We walked in a single file through Mophane trees that seemed stunted not due to lack of nutrients nutrients but rather elephants as they are the gentle giant’s favourite.

Walking through the dense bush crossing hills and hillocks, streams and the mighty Motloutse River heading for Motlhabaneng, all walkers maintained the pace and we would occasionally stop to regroup and get more suppliers of water and energy drink from the support vehicles. Matshekge Hills were a lovely sight which most walkers compared to a woman’s breast due to their shapes.

The adventure walk took us to near by villages. We visited community-based women’s weaving projects in Mathathane and Lentwelemoriti. A visit to Mathathane also took us through the making of palm wine, which is popular in the area. The last leg of the walk was more rewarding. After having walked 36km without seeing wildlife, we got a taste of some.As we headed to Lentswelemoriti on day two of the trip, we passed through Solomon’s Wall. A natural wonder of imposing rocks along the Motloutse River making a visit to the ruins an unforgettable experience. The breathtaking view of the endless twisting of the Motloutse river which borders the Botswana and South Africa brings an exhilarating experience to an exhausted walker. After two days, walking 36km a day, it surely is a walk of a lifetime even for those without a lions heart to walk with the wildlife and experience Botswana off the beaten track while giving back to the unfortunate through charity.

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