Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Candy Ladies

In my class recently we were discussing the history of the tourism industry.  As I was covering some of the major highlights I asked them to finish the phrase, “All Roads Lead to …”  The answer I was given was Palapaye.  I couldn’t possibly fathom their reasoning, but after examining a map to make sure I knew what they were referring to, I realized their hypothesis was logical.  Here in Botswana, if you want to go north from Gaborone you go through Palapaye.  If you want to go from South Africa to Zimbabwe, you go to Palapaye.  Nevertheless, I told them the phrase as it is known to the rest of the world is “All Roads Lead to Rome” because the Roman Empire developed the first extensive road system to connect all their cities and provinces.  With the rise of the road system, travel throughout the Roman Empire became quite commonplace.  In fact, tourists would go sight-seeing, use guidebooks and tour guides to enhance their understanding of various areas, and collect souvenirs to take home with them.

Over the years I’ve collected my share of souvenirs and passed many on to friends.  Until my early-20s I collected postcards.  Friends would send them to me from wherever they visited.  And I would send them to myself as well.  Having a pristine, unsent postcard with no message just seemed a waste, hence why I would send myself postcards.  I have countless cards that read, “Dear Kelly, Having a great time.  Wish you were here.  Oh wait!  You are! Even better.  Be home soon, Kelly.”  I no longer collect postcards, but I still have over 500 packed away.  Once I began making money and could afford more costly souvenirs for myself I began collecting clothing.  I bought a silk jacket in China recently, a sari in India, and I still have my kuspuk from my time in Alaska.

My graduate student, Matt, likes to collect gum.  Each time I travel overseas I bring him gum.  As a result of this request I think of Matt every day when I pass a Candy Lady.  All over town you see little tables which are set up on highly travelled pedestrian paths where women make their living selling little candies and gum.  Imagine Halloween and the packages of mini candy bars you buy to hand out to Trick-or-Treaters.  Essentially these women will buy those packages, break them apart and sell the candies one piece at a time.

To us, it might seem like a difficult way to make a living.  And apparently, it is.  I see the same two Candy Ladies each morning on my way to campus.  I occasionally buy something simply to make conversation and help them out a bit.  A candy is typically about 1 pula which is equivalent to a little less than 12 cents.  I asked one of the Candy Ladies recently how much she would need to make in order for her to consider it a successful day.  She told me 100 pula is good.  That is about $11.75 A DAY!

From the customer perspective the Candy Ladies may be the only way they can afford these treats.  To buy these packages of candies in the stores may be more than most can spare, but most have an extra pula or two in their pocket and can enjoy their favorite sweet one little piece at a time.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Dr. Phelan: Illegal Alien Extraordinaire

If you read my blog last week you are aware that I have a residence permit which expires on May 31st, however, I don’t have a plane ticket departing Botswana for a little while.  This means that two days from now I will be considered in the country illegally and I can technically be deported.  I will have become an illegal alien!

In all honesty, I am the best illegal alien a country could ever ask for.  I’m not looking for employment.  I’m not a refugee asking for a hand out.  I have plenty of money to spend.  I’ve paid all my bills.  I worked FOR FREE!  And I know that I am most definitely leaving… I’m just leaving slightly later than initially planned.  By the way, I’m actually not leaving later than planned.  The real problem here is that my residence permit had the wrong end date from the beginning- it was supposed to be valid through the end of June.  I brought this to the attention of the university back in October when I originally got the permit and the problem was never corrected.  So in reality I’m not leaving later than planned, I’m leaving on time and the permit was issued incorrectly. Nevertheless, I am the one who is considered at fault, meaning I am about to become an illegal alien and people with that status are generally looked down upon.  As I was contemplating my upcoming illegal status I was reminded of another experience not too long ago with illegal aliens:

Back in November I made an unexpected trip to Ethiopia when my flight to Rwanda was cancelled.  This was the trip where my perpetually lost luggage went rogue and spent six weeks in purgatory.  Part of the reason for the chaos of the Ethiopian airport during my ill-fated 24-hour layover may have been due to a mass illegal alien roundup.

Unemployment is a problem throughout Africa.  In many countries unemployment is as high as 50%, with Zimbabwe believed to have the highest rate with over 80% of the population unemployed.  Not surprisingly, many people cross borders, taking up residence in foreign countries illegally in order to obtain some sort of employment and standard of living.  Ethiopia is no exception to this rule.  Thousands of Ethiopians cannot obtain travel documents or papers, but they take the chance and WALK to Djibouti and then get on a ship bound for Saudi Arabia. Once in Saudi Arabia they secure under the table, illegal employment. But it turns out too many of them have been trying this method and there are now too many illegal migrant workers from Ethiopia in Saudi Arabia.  Since the Saudi Arabian economy can’t handle the massive influx anymore it has created a problem with homelessness and petty theft which is overburdening the Kingdom’s resources.  In short, Saudi Arabia doesn’t want them.

When I arrived in Ethiopia it was mass chaos at the airport.  Reason being because Saudi Arabia rounded up over 23,000 Ethiopians who were in the country illegally, put them on planes, and flew them back to Ethiopia.  When the planes landed Ethiopia was unwilling to accept the passengers because none of them had any legal documents.  So the Saudi planes dumped the passengers and their luggage on the tarmac and took off!  You could actually see the chaos from the terminal.  There is a huge field directly behind the Ethiopian airport where the passengers and their luggage were camped out because the customs officials didn’t know how to handle the situation.  By the time I arrived this situation had already been compounding for almost a week.  In the end I didn’t stick around to see what happened with Ethiopia’s repatriated citizens.  I did stop in Ethiopia for a few days last month and the temporary refugee camp which had been set up adjacent to the runway back in November had been dismantled.  I also saw newspaper reports stating Saudi Arabia had plans to return as many as 80,000 Ethiopian citizens, so it will be a considerable ongoing project.

Though I am about to be considered an illegal alien I don’t believe Botswana will go to such extreme measures to forcibly remove me from the country and give me a free ride home.  But after some of the challenges I’ve had during my stay here and the stress resulting from my immigration/residence permit drama I’m starting to feel a little homesick and wouldn’t mind a quick departure.  When I do get back to the U.S. at the end of the summer I may just jump across the desk and hug the passport control officer than stamps me back into the country.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

“A Police Officer is a Statue Standing by the Side of the Road”

Last week when my friends Amanda and Ashleigh came to visit we spent a lot of time in the car driving across Botswana.  The fun part is that we got to see lots of interesting places and saw animals all over.  The not so fun part of the trip was my constant interaction with Botswana’s finest.  That’s right, the police.

On the first day of our trip I was pulled over for speeding.  Here in Botswana the speed limit drops quickly within a short distance. Many times you have to practically slam on the brakes in order to slow down in time.  The speed will often go from 120 to 80 to 40 within 50-100 feet.  I knew I had not dropped my speed quickly enough, but most of the other people on the road hadn’t either.  However, I was the person who got caught.  I tried to sweet talk my way out of it and it almost worked.  My officer was very nice.  But his partner (who was writing the ticket) definitely got up on the wrong side of the bed.  There was no way I was getting out of that ticket.  So I accepted the ticket and off I went.  Oh, hey! Silver lining!  If I get deported I CAN’T pay my ticket! Ha!  Who’s the winner now?  (Not really.)

Day 2: We wake up and depart Elephant Sands, excited for a short three hour trip to Chobe.  About twenty miles from Elephant Sands there is a check point.  There is a police officer standing at the checkpoint looking at me.  I look at him.  (Side note: there are check points ALL OVER Africa.  You ALWAYS get stopped at checkpoints in Zimbabwe and Sierra Leone.  I have NEVER been stopped at a check point in Botswana.  They see me coming and just waive me right through.) I slow down, but expect to get the waive through, so I didn’t prepare to stop until the last minute when I see him indicate I must stop.  (Additional important information: there was a stop sign next to where the policeman was standing, but there was also an earlier stop sign about 10 feet in front of where he was standing.)  The officer asks for my license and then quizzes me about why I didn’t stop at the first stop sign.  I told him I was looking at him and expecting him to waive me through because that’s what always happens at Botswana checkpoints, “That’s why I LOVE living in Botswana and am SO THANKFUL I don’t live somewhere like Zim.”  This did not win him over.  “Don’t look at me! A police officer is a statue standing on the side of the road!  Ignoring a stop sign is a 1,000 Pula fine!”  It took every ounce of strength I had not to say, “That’s funny, because your statue friend yesterday had a very different opinion of the role of police officers.”  The officer made fun of me for a few minutes and said I looked like I was about to cry and then told me not to run a stop sign again.  Verdict: No ticket.

The remainder of our trip was very slow and stop-and-go, but we made it through without another police incident, sort of.  As we were driving back from Khama Rhino a speeding bus nearly ran us off the road while he was trying to overtake.  The almost-running off the road situation occurred because he tried to pass while another bus was approaching in the opposing lane.  Apparently there was a police officer right behind him and he came speeding up and pulled him over.  But he didn’t pull me over!

And then I kind of offered to pull myself over as we were driving to Johannesburg.  I must have a guilty conscience or something. That was actually pretty comical.  An officer came running out into the street and pointed one hand towards me and another towards the side of the road, indicating to pull over.  But the officer didn’t appear to be looking at me.  It looked like he was looking past me.  But I wasn’t sure.  So I slowed down, even though I knew I wasn’t speeding, stared at him intently, pointed at myself and kept shouting (inside the car, with the windows rolled up no less), “Me? Is it me? Am I in trouble?”  At that point Amanda reminded me, “He can’t hear you.”  Thankfully he wasn’t pointing to me, but to the vehicle behind me.

Overall it was a fun road trip.  I now feel as if I have met ALL the police officers across the country in one capacity or another.  And aside from my $60 ticket, which I probably won’t pay anyway since I’m about to get deported, it was uneventful.  Here’s my souvenir:

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Soweto: South Africa’s Largest and Most Famous Township

When Nelson Mandela died back in December, you may have heard about his roots in Soweto.  Soweto is the largest and most famous township in Johannesburg, South Africa.  Soweto is short for South Western Township.  A township is a black, shantytown settlement. During apartheid in South Africa, towns and cities were segregated by race and black citizens were forced to leave their freehold properties and move into townships.  For the most part, these townships were primarily overcrowded, under-resourced, and exceptionally poor.  As Amanda, Ashleigh and I have been driving around in Botswana and South Africa they have seen several of these shantytowns and been curious about them.  Since it is considered unsafe to visit one of these neighborhoods without the assistance of a local who lives there, I decided it best to organize a tour for us.  And since Soweto is the most prolific example of a township I elected to do the tour there.
The interesting thing about Soweto is that it is now like a normal city.  There are two million people who live there now.  Granted, a huge portion of Soweto is comprised of tin one-room houses in which 10+ people live in each without electricity or indoor plumbing, but they have middle and upper class areas as well.  For instance, Mandela’s second wife, Winnie, owns (and still lives in) a giant home in a neighborhood with manicured lawns, BMWs and swimming pools.  This isn’t her house, but this is an example of one of the upper class residential areas:
Soweto also has one of the largest, and nicest, malls I have seen in South Africa.  The best part of this mall is that it is 100% locally owned.  There is even a McDonald’s (far right side of pic):
Of course, the tiny shanties dominate Soweto:
We were able to walk through the township and even visit our tour guide’s home there.  He said there were about 1,000 shanties in this neighborhood and everyone uses ONE tap to obtain water.  The woman in the bright green shirt is using the tap in this photo while the other women are waiting their turn:
And here is the inside of our guide’s home:
As we were leaving the shantytown we saw this guy who was collecting discarded plastic bottles and cans to turn in to the recycling center for a few dollars.  He had amassed all this since the beginning of the day:
One of the last stops on our tour was the Johannesburg cooling towers.  These were part of the old power plant which is no longer in operation.  Instead, they serve as a giant billboard-type advertisement while simultaneously giving thrill seekers the opportunity to bungee jump:

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Terminal 2: Coming Soon

In 2004 Tom Hanks starred in the movie, The Terminal.  Tom Hanks’ character, Viktor Navorski, arrives in New York’s JFK Airport only to be denied admission to the U.S. because during his flight his fictional home country of Krakozhia broke into a civil war, making his passport invalid.  He is not permitted to enter the U.S., but he can’t return home either because he doesn’t have a legal passport which prohibits him from boarding a plane. The movie details Viktor’s nine month stay in the JFK airport.  The movie is loosely based on a similar predicament of Mehran Karimi Nasseri, an Iranian refugee who lived in Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport for 17 years.  (Yes, 17 years, that is not a typo).  I mention this because there is a possibility I may become Viktor Navorski very soon.

Back in October I wrote a blog post rejoicing about the fact I had finally obtained my Botswana Residence Permit, thus avoiding deportation for the time being.  Well, deportation is looking more and more likely every day now.

My residence permit expires one week from today, May 31st.  I am currently out of the country with a plane ticket to reenter Botswana on May 31st.  Even though I have 30 days left on my tourist visa I am told I cannot reenter Botswana as a tourist because my status has changed to a resident.  (Apparently once you become a resident you can’t become a tourist again.) However, in order to remain a legal resident I must get a permit extension.  I have been working for weeks now to get all the appropriate paperwork for the extension and still don’t have it.  And if you have been following my blog for any amount of time, you are aware that expediency is an unknown concept here, so reiterating the fact that I need something done now now doesn’t really help.  The challenge is that I don’t have the paperwork I need and even once I get the paperwork it still must be taken to the Immigration Office, which will likely take their time processing and approving it.  Queue a miracle here please!

Last night I was explaining my predicament to a friend back in the U.S. and as I was detailing my situation I realized how ridiculous this whole scenario truly is.  I have all my paperwork in order with the exception of a letter from UB stating that they support the extension of my residence permit.  Here’s a very abridged version showcasing the unwillingness of anyone to take responsibility and make a decision:
  • Over a month ago I spoke to Person Number 1 at UB and told him I needed a letter. No1 agreed to write the letter. (I should have known immediately that something would go terribly wrong as nothing ever happens here that easily).
  • After weeks of contacting No1 asking about the status of my letter I finally get an email from No1 telling me he is on vacation and forgot to write the letter.  No1 tells me to contact No2.
  • I email No2 explaining my predicament, tell No2 than No1 agreed to write the letter but forgot, so now No2 is supposed to write the letter.
  • After several days of not hearing from No2 I get CC’ed on an email from No2 to No3.
  • No3 says he doesn’t know anything and refuses to write the letter.  No3 recommends No2 talks to No4.
  • I get CC’ed on an email from No2 to No4.
  • No4 emails me asking about the letter.
  • I respond to No4 telling her No1 was supposed to write the letter but forgot and now No2 is supposed to write the letter.  I give No4 the information No2 is supposed to put in the letter.
  • No4 emails No2 (and CC’s me) to say she (No4) refuses to write the letter because No1 already agreed to do it.
  • No2 emails me back to state she (No2) cannot write the letter and I should speak directly to No4 and ask her to write the letter. (Please refer back to the previous point in which No4 emails No2 and refuses to write the letter).
Here’s the part that kills me: UB wants me to stay for an additional year to provide FREE LABOR as a Fulbright Scholar!!!  I can’t stay (for another week, far less a whole extra year) if you won’t give me a letter in order to remain in the country legally!

A month or so back I wrote about the arrogance of UB and how they are their own worst enemy.  I think this little letter fiasco is just another example of how if Africa wants to progress it needs to learn how to be proactive and take some amount of responsibility in formulating its own success.

In the meantime the jury is still out regarding my fate.  My dad is scheduled to arrive in a few weeks.  I know he can enter Botswana as a tourist visa.  Unfortunately he may also be vacationing alone and packing up my house in Gabs if I am living in limbo at the airport customs office like Viktor Navorski.  I’ll keep you posted.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Tracking Rhinos and Pythons

Anytime someone visits Africa they always have a favorite animal they want to see.  Many prefer the felines, which tend to be a challenge as there are few cheetahs and leopards anywhere on the continent, and lions can very elusive.  Others, such as my friends, really like the elephants.  But rhinos are one of the most endangered species in Africa.  In fact, it is impossible to find up to date statistics on rhinos because most countries keep those figures a secret due to poaching.

Most people only think of elephants when they hear the word: poaching.  But the truth is that rhino poaching is as much, if not more, of a problem.  In 1900 there were more than half a million black rhinos in Africa.  By 1970 that number had fallen to 70,000 and in 1993 there were only 5,000.  No one is confident of rhino numbers today, but the numbers are likely even lower due to poaching.  Rhino horn can grow up to 8kg and each kilo sells for $50,000.  If someone is suspected of poaching in Africa they can be shot on site, no questions asked.  And this does happen from time to time.  But the poachers are willing to take the risk since the payoff is so high (up to $400,000 in profit from one rhino).  Unfortunately, while technology does allow some parks to keep track of rhinos with microchips, technology can also work against conservation efforts.  Poachers are now using the Internet to track rhinos as GPS information is often available when someone posts a picture online.  In other words, “Look at the rhino I saw today!” translates into a map providing poachers with directions to find that rhino later that same night.

In Botswana we have fewer than 100 rhino and more than half of these are located in one place: the Khama Rhino Sanctuary (KRS).  The Khama Rhino was established in 1992 to protect and breed rhinos.  Since I haven’t had the chance to visit the Rhino Sanctuary previously, I decided to use Ashleigh and Amanda’s visit as an excuse to do so.  The trip proved to be a huge success.  We got to see about a dozen rhino during a game drive, along with plenty of other animals.  There are 47 white rhino and 5 black rhino at KRS:
Thankfully, we also saw zebra at KRS because for whatever reason we did not see them anywhere else during Amanda and Ashleigh’s visit.  I would have felt terrible if they hadn’t seen zebra, especially since it is Botswana’s national animal.  The zebra were right in the middle of the road, so we had a fantastic view:
We also had an up close and personal encounter with a python.  Our guide told us that a python had eaten a goat two days prior to our visit and therefore, “He isn’t hungry, so it is safe for you to get very close to him.  We are going to track him today!”  And track him we did.  Normally, the rule is hard and fast: NEVER get out of your vehicle in a national park with wild animals.  But our guide told us to, so we did.  He saw the marks which indicated the python had been on the move, so we got out of the vehicle and tracked it.  In case you are curious how far away the safari truck was, here is a point of comparison (the game drive vehicle is the little white dot in the distance):
And here is the python, peacefully sleeping after his meal.  Sorry, this is a tough picture, you have to look through the grass and you will see it curled up:

Thursday, May 22, 2014

It’s Raining, It’s Pouring

The nice thing about visiting Chobe is that it is only ten miles to the Zimbabwean border which is close to Victoria Falls.  Once you cross the border you still have to drive about an hour to Vic Falls, but it is an easy day trip.  Since Amanda and Ashleigh are both on their first visit (of many I expect) to Africa, I had to take them to see the Falls.  Plus, being so close it would have been a real shame to skip it.  So we woke up early one morning, drove to the border, proceeded to Vic Falls, and then got soaked.  Actually let me back up a minute…

While at the Zim border, Ashleigh and Amanda were introduced to the true chaos of Africa.  Essentially there were a ton of people, each one jostling for a place in line, shoving one another and trying to get the attention of the border patrol officers in order to get through as quickly as possible.  I actually felt a little bad because I am accustomed to this kind of behavior, but my friends aren’t.  After I was processed I turned around to see them politely waiting their turn, so I grabbed Ashleigh and practically threw her through the visa window in an effort to make sure the immigration officer helped her before someone line jumped her.  Fortunately we made it out in one piece with the girls laughing to one another saying, “So and so could never come to Africa, she couldn’t handle that kind of stress.”  That is right; Africa isn’t for the faint of heart.

We made it to Victoria Falls around 9am.  As we were headed toward the Falls we saw some baboons in a car.  You may have read a while back that there was some concern over the monkeys on campus learning how to drive.  Well, it appears the baboons may have beaten them to it.  In all reality, the baboons were not driving the car; they were making out (and doing a little bit more) in the backseat.  I’m glad that wasn’t my car:
Dr. David Livingstone, my namesake, is believed to have been the first European to have seen the falls back in 1855.  If you want more information about Victoria Falls you can check out my previous blog post about it here.  I had never been to the Zambian side of the Falls before, so that was the side we decided to explore.  As we drove into the town of Victoria Falls we could see the spray from the Falls.  Then as we were crossing the bridge from Zimbabwe to Zambia we began to feel the spray.  Any time you cross the bridge lots of people approach you asking you if you want to bungee jump.  We did not partake, but here is a picture of the bridge, with a rainbow due to the spray, and a bungee jumper (he is in an orange shirt directly above the rainbow):
It wasn’t until we got a little closer that we REALLY felt the force of the Falls.  In fact most of our pictures didn’t turn out properly because the mist was so extreme it looked as if we were standing in the middle of a fog storm.  But here is one shot of the Falls that did turn out well:
We also made lots of friends because everyone wanted to get their pictures taken with us:
We spent about two hours visiting the park and ultimately ended up looking like drowned rats, but we loved every last WET minute of it:

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


The best thing about living in Botswana is that we have more wildlife here than anywhere else in Africa.  One of the best places to see that wildlife is in Chobe National Park.  Back in September I mentioned I visited an elephant orphanage when I was in Kenya for a conference at the same time as the terrorist attack.  The reason the baby elephants were in the orphanage was because their mothers were killed, many by poachers, before the young were old enough to care for themselves.  Africa in general has a lot of problems with poachers, but we are fortunate in Botswana that we are largely exempt from this problem.  In fact, we have the opposite problem: we have too many animals, particularly elephants.

Botswana is home to approximately half of the 400,000 elephants in Africa.  And about 100,000 of Botswana’s elephants live in Chobe National Park.  My visitors, Ashleigh and Amanda, were particularly keen to see elephants during their trip.  In an effort to satisfy their request I took them to Chobe.  We stayed at Kwalape Lodge in Kasane, which is adjacent to the park.  Since we were on a budget, and I wanted the girls to get a different experience since we stayed in a chalet previously, we opted to stay in safari tents.  They were basic, but met our needs:
While in Chobe we went on a boat cruise which is always a fun way to see the animals as they like to congregate along the shore and in the water.  I think all three of us took about a thousand pictures each, but a select few follow.  Here is a picture of Ashleigh in the boat making friends with a couple of kudu a few feet away:

And here is Amanda (before her sunglasses broke) with the elephants eating grass:
We saw hundreds of hippos:
I’m sure I am forgetting a few animals, but we saw water buffalo, kudu, impala, crocodile, monkeys, hippos, water monitor lizards, warthogs, giraffes, and of course elephants.  And since you can never have too many pictures of elephants, here is a small group, from a much larger herd, drinking on the riverbank:
We took our cruise in the late afternoon and were treated to a beautiful sunset on the ride home:
This trip reminded me how much I will miss Botswana when I leave.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


I don’t know if you have ever seen the Disney movie Cars, but if you have there is one scene where two cars are lost and wander into Radiator Springs, which was previously a major tourist destination but seldom sees any visitors any longer.  As the two lost vehicles approach the town the cars which reside in Radiator Springs get excited and start to frantically prepare for their guests’ arrival.  The character that spots and announces the approaching cars starts exclaiming, “Visitors! We finally have visitors!”  That is how I feel right now.  I FINALLY have VISITORS!

Two of my friends from back in the States, Amanda and Ashleigh, arrived in Gaborone Monday evening.  I am so excited to have them here them and have spent the last week showing them around Botswana.  Tuesday morning we woke up early to head north.  Since it was a long drive and we had to spend most of the day in the car we spent the night at Elephant Sands, which is a guest house about 30 miles north of Nata.  We had intended to do a game drive that night, but the safari vehicle had broken down the previous day.  It ended up working out for the best because we were exhausted, so we moved into our chalet, ate dinner and then sat by the watering hole, desperately hoping we might see some animals stop by for a drink.  Here is a look at our chalet:

During our drive to Elephant Sands we saw many elephants and giraffes along the side of the road.  Aside from the evidence we saw of elephants in the area, there were also the typical warnings.  You know how there are deer warning signs?  Or moose warning signs in Alaska?  Maybe you aren’t aware of those signs in Alaska if you haven’t been there before, but they are there.  Well, here in Africa we have elephant warning signs: 

Later in the evening I was reminded of the elephant warning signs because we were standing on the porch and began hearing a lot of trees wrestling.  The next thing we knew about 20 elephants appeared about 15 feet away from our chalet.  This reminded me of the elephant warning signs and made me wonder what type of coverage I had on my rental car for animal incidents.  Fortunately there was no incident with the rental car, the elephants walked right past us to the watering hole where they drank for about 20 minutes and then left as peacefully and quietly as they arrived.  It was amazing, absolutely magical. Sorry, this isn't the best picture because it was nighttime, but you should be able to make out the shadows of the elephants:

Also along our drive to Nata we saw a dried riverbed which was just shocking.  I know there is a lot of debate about global warming and environmental changes, so take a look at this:

Those little islands with the trees on top were at least 20 feet tall and located in dried riverbeds all along the road from Gaborone to Kasane.