Kasane and nearby Kazungula are Botswana’s northernmost safari hubs – towns built around their proximity to the Chobe River and the borders with Zimbabwe and Zambia. It’s not uncommon to see warthog, elephant or even buffalo in town – Instagram fodder for
Meet the residents of this safari town in Botswana, where warthogs and elephants are your neighbours.
It’s late in March and every afternoon at about 2 pm, the heavens open and a loud, quick thunderstorm empties its warm, wet cargo over Kasane. People take it in their stride: umbrellas come out, or they seek refuge under tall mopane trees where sugar cane is sold by the metre. In front of the Spar in the main road, the members of the local warthog gang seem to enjoy the raindrops streaking down their hairy bodies, reddened by dust. At the back of town, where the main bypass road between Chobe National Park and the nearby border town of Kazungula runs past (at Kazungula you can cross the Zambezi into Zambia or head east into Zim), a BMW slows down to allow a herd of elephants to cross. In the background, at the municipal dump, a hundred marabou storks roll their eyes. They’ve seen it all before. The elephants are probably on their way to the Chobe River for a drink. Although corridors have been left open for them, it’s becoming harder to avoid contact with humans and their things: cars, lodges, a Nando’s drive-through… Both Kasane and Kazungula are expanding. Malls have sprung up to serve the workforce building the new bridge at Kazungula. Once this bridge has been completed, you’ll be able to drive across the Zambezi. Until then, ferries still do the job. It’s barely 12 km from Kazungula to the furthest end of Kasane, which borders Chobe National Park. This 12 km is contested ground as it runs along the southern bank of the Chobe River – one of Africa’s finest wildlife destinations. Because the park isn’t fenced you can encounter wild animals anywhere. This makes Kasane and Kazungula fascinating places to visit if you’re a tourist, and potentially challenging if you happen to live in either town. It takes a special breed of person to thrive in this part of the world. Let’s meet some of them!