KASANE

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

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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!

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