My Trip to Botswana with Sanlam GO Cover

Botswana… A beautiful, wild place, with even more incredible people. My journey to Botswana started with Sanlam Go Cover, and almost ended with me needing to use Sanlam Go Cover too.

I arrived at the Border, taking my very excited first step on Botswana’s soil. I had heard so much about the beauty of this land, the tales had stories of countless amounts of wild animals, creepy crawly creatures, mud and sand so thick you could stuck for weeks at a time. All of these things would naturally leave you somewhat anxious, but there was at least a bit of respite from that worrying, knowing that I had just the day before taken out R1,000,000.00 accidental injury and death cover through the exciting new Sanlam Go Cover App, this insurance was as good as a winch when you need it. Its one of those things that’s better to have and not need, than to need and not have. Except a winch costs a good few thousand, and my week of cover only cost me R246.00 so it was a no brainer!

With my mind at ease, it was time to head to our first campsite. Khama Rhino Sanctuary, the thick Kalahari sandveld being the perfect habitat for both black and white rhino to flourish, amongst over 30 other animal species! So, we were in for some seriously beautiful sightings! The area had recently experienced some heavy rainfall, so we had the miracle of seeing the pans with some water in them, this certainly added something special to the experience! This was the perfect way to ease myself into what Botswana had to offer. The next day was spent lounging around the pool and heading out for a magnificent sunset game drive, where I experience possibly one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen, nearly 10 Black, and white rhino’s all coming to the golden pan right as the sun was beginning to set behind the Mopani, where I sat and stared, taking in every last second until the sun had nearly faded away for the night.

My next day would see me head for the Central Kalahari, a place known for its extreme environment. I clocked 40ºC by the time I arrived at my campsite for the evening. This time I had to watch my back. These campsites are incredible wild, and very remote so the likely hood of predators being around was high, and considering I was all alone I couldn’t let my guard down. Even with Sanlam Go Cover looking out for my wellbeing, a chance encounter with a predator was one I only wanted to have looking through the lens of my camera. Besides the heat of the day, I still managed to spot some incredible animals, Lions, Honey badgers, Black backed Jackals, Springbok and Oryx. There are two sides to the coin of being in remote places, one is that there is no one around and all my game sightings were intimate and personal but, there is also no one around at all, and if something was to go wrong, I would be in for some serious stress! Keeping that in mind, I could see the clouds begin to darken and the wind began to gust. The sand around me started to swirl and sting. My plans would change that day, and I would find myself running from a massive sandstorm… Into a thunderstorm. There would be no denying the fact that mother nature was angry and needed some release. I ended up needing to leave the Central Kalahari Reserve a day early, knowing that I didn’t want to be trapped by the incoming storm.

So I made my way to Lehlakane, to find shelter in a BnB for the night. After a shower and a hot meal, my days of exploring and camping in the wilderness caught up with me, and a fantastic nights rest was in order. Upon waking however, I realised that it was the day that I would be heading to an Overlanding Mecca… Kubu Island, on the Makgadikgadi pans! A famous place that many travellers hold dear. With the storm passing, we would find ourselves careening through the Mopani forests, splashing through the pools of mud. An incredibly fun experience, although messy! My Suzuki Jimny was handling every little obstacle I threw at it with ease. I would ride this confidence all the way to pans, where I spent the day driving around and exploring these seemingly endless horizons as dust devils billowed around me. But it was nearing late afternoon and it was time to head back to Kubu Island for my night amongst the Baobabs, and that’s where things changed quickly… painfully fast.

My tires sank through the crust of the salt pans, immediately clogging the tread on my tyres with slick saline mud. With my wheels turning in place I realised that this situation wasn’t going to be much fun anymore. I got out and the vehicle and with the help of my buddy Blaine, we tried to get unstuck. Attempt after attempt, we weren’t making any progress. It would also be Murphy’s law that I decided not to take my recovery tracks with me for this trip because I was certain nothing would happen…. Big surprise… Something did indeed happen, and it got worse. I was trying to shake and lift the vehicle when all of a sudden I heard and felt a click in my lower back. This was certainly not time to be in excruciating pain, there was still mud to be shovelled and a vehicle to be pushed, but I was man down, not know what had happened or how bad the injury really was. However in the distance two shadowy figures grew closer, I grabbed my binoculars to make sure I wasn’t deluded by a mirage.

This Is where Bosta and Billy arrived, I was so excited to see them I greeted each of them with a hug, despite my injured self. They had seen us from their camp and thought we might need some help because we hadn’t moved for a couple of hours. They are two guides known as the Pan Rangers, who live right on the pans, so they know these pans well and have rescued many a weary traveller. They helped dig us out and even gave us some shelter for the night where they prepared a stretcher for me to lie on and recuperate my back. This was yet another moment where the incredible kindness of the people of Botswana was shown to me. That night we pulled all our best food out the fridge and feasted to celebrate getting out and being well enough to tell the tale!

Luckily if things were worse and if my back was potentially further damaged, I would have been covered by Sanlam Go Cover. It comes down to the classic saying, its better to have and not need, than to need and not have. I will never leave on an adventure without recovery tracks again, but I will also never leave without taking out Sanlam Go Cover, because I very nearly needed to use it.

The world is covered in beautiful places and incredible people. At the end of the day, we can let fear of failure or pain stop us from living our lives, and having incredible experiences. So take every little thing that gives you a feeling of confidence to go our there and enjoy yourself, even when you want to do something a little bit crazy!