Leaving Elephant Sands we hit the highway. A bitumen road it might be but the wildlife along the road was amazing. Elephants roam free in Botswana - there are no fences - and they line the road feeding, often small groups of males. We turned off the highway onto a dirt road again which took us to a small town called Pandamatenga, a little outpost with about 6 large Bars and not much else apart from this little-used border crossing.
We checked out of Botswana in a painless and quite fast process and drove to the next stop, the Zimbabwe entry post. It took about 2 hours to get all 7 trucks through. First we had to do Immigration and pay a US$30 visa fee. Then it was a task to register the cars into the country with some more dollars attached. Finally we had to pay a $10 road tax in a tiny booth along a path. The staff were all very friendly and helpful, if a little slow by Western standards… but this is Africa and you must re-set your time clocks to a different pace.
The road was dirt from there but not too rough. We were headed straight for Hwange National Park, the oldest park in the country having been declared in the 1920s. The countryside was remarkably different from Botswana. Instead of flat countryside and wide white dirt roads, here there were hills, lusher vegetation and red dirt roads. We started to climb and ended at the edge of an escarpment at Simanatela Camp. We perched our tent right on the edge and marvelled at the incredible 180 deg view to the horizon with elephants looking like tiny zoo animal toys in the distant valley below.