well traveled...

The last time I was in Botswana was over 15 years ago. I found a lot has changed since then.

Most would characterize the changes as positive. Paved roads, more cars, shopping malls everywhere. Even Kasane, a remote little border town on the banks of the Chobe River, now boasts a couple of shopping malls.

There is a good airport in Kasane now. Air Botswana makes several flights in from Gaborone every week. All this is much different from my day. Time was, to get to Kasane, you went overland. It took you at least 14 hours to get there from Gabs and you needed a strong car.

Then, whenever you did finally arrive in Kasane, you camped out. That meant sleeping right on the ground, boiling water for tea in the campfire, eating beans straight from the can. Back then, cruising the Chobe was a real wilderness adventure. There was just one boat, and even it was hit and miss.

But when it ran, was it sweet! They stocked it with cold beer and wine and champagne, plates of hors d'oeuvres, and everything was included with the price of the journey. Part of the joy of it was having just this little taste of luxury within all the other hardship. The guides knew their stuff, the animals were plentiful, and the experience was pure magic.

Nowadays it seems the Chobe is thick with boats packed with tourists. Where do they all come from? The banks of the river are choking with accomodation, beautiful expensive lodges appointed with every opulence and modern luxury.

This piece of river is well-traveled now. The tourist boats motor into viewing position like leap-frogs, the passengers click quickly at tiny digital cameras built into their cell phones.

Chobe River, Botswana, April 2008.

Rolleiflex T, Neopan 400.