This is certainly a must see, so do it...arrange with Nata lodge, or if you have your own 4x4(must have a 4x4)take a trip to Makgadikgadi salt pans for sundowners.here you will see one of the most beautiful sunsets of your life....drinking brewskies under ancient baobab trees watching the sun set over one of the worlds biggest salt pan concentrations...what more is there to life?????ask for directions at nata lodge...they would be glad to help, or get a road map.
Botswana has tried for years to stop corruption within the Police and to try and stop them from forcing innocent people from paying bribes. Innocent people like me. So how did I come into contact with the scary, drunken, corrupt Police in Nata? I had a car accident and was stupid enough to go see them.
I was driving down the deserted road south of Nata at dusck one night. I looked down at over 100 miles per hour and thought I saw the faint outline of a word painetd on the road. A very faint outline. It said:
S T O P
I looked up to see 2 figures trying to open 2 metal gates blocking the road. I slammed on the brakes and then one of the gates hit the front of my car. It then bounced down smashing against the car and windscreen in 4 more places. Look at pictures 3 and 4. Can you read the words? Try at dusk ant high speeds. When I got out of the car I noticed the paint had faded from the 2 gates. 2 very heavily damaged gates. When I asked how many times it had been hit by cars. Answer: none. Hmmm. Never? Answer: well not today. Yep I was first today. When I said the paint was gone - I was told that it was painted very well coming form the other direction.
Welcome to Nata
So I rang the rental car company in South Africa. They told me I needed to go to the Police and get an accident report.
When I arrived at the Police Station, I was greeted by a small Policeman that asked why I was there. He looked very surprised to see me. I explained the damage to my car, but that the fence was fine. I was told to wait on a chair outside. Then a huge and drunken Policeman appeared and hovered over me. He was very drunk and very angry. He finally sat down next to me and said that since I had had a car accident I would need to be arrested and thrown into a cell. Needless to say I was scared. When I tried to explain he became enraged and I just shut up.
Finally after a few more threats I was led into an office by a 3rd Policeman. He explained a few things. They were:
1) I had to pay about $40 in Pula for a report
2) Not paying for the report would mean that the big Policeman would put me in a cell until I paid
3) It had to be cash
And to make me feel better
4) The report would say it was not my fault!
I had no cash and needed a cash machine. I was allowed to drive away after surrendering my Passport. So I drove back to the gates of what turned out to be a Disease Control Point. I had passed through many before in Botswana, but they had signs and paint on both sides. A man and a lady had flung open the gates when I hot it and the gentleman agreed to ride with me to the ATM, miles down a now dark road. On the way back we saw why you never drive at night in Africa. A cow was bleeding to death after being hit by a large, and now damaged, truck.
My return to the Police was greeted by the drunk Policeman telling me he didn't care what I paid - I was going to jail. Thankfully the sober one made out the report and promised to escort me off the premises, with my passport, and away from a jail cell.
So if you find yourself near Nata - drive slow and keep driving.
Nata is the last place you can fill up for at least 300km before reaching kasane or maun...there is somewhere on the maun road but it`s far...whenever travelling around Botswana, or Africa for that matter, in a car, always remember to carry a spare tank(can)of petrol and fill up as often as possible.it`s no fun being stuck in the middle of no-where with lots of wild animals......especially if you`re not accustomed to this.
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