Central Kalahari Game Reserve

Trip Start Apr 24, 2012
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Trip End Ongoing


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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

With a full tank of water and clean washing we left Maun with a booking for Central Kalahari in hand.  The road was long and boring as there are no villages next to the road, only the props indicating that somewhere in the back there is a village. 
Cattle, donkeys and goats are about the only thing one sees.  The occasional donkey cart and people slaughtering some animal right next to the road plus seeing goats and donkeys eating away at the road, was about the biggest highlight of the trip. 
When we turned off to Central Kalahari, I was convinced that Carlos choose this route for fun and not because it was the only road to the park from this side.  I had to have a look at the map to be sure.  This, a 2 track dirt / dust  / sand road was the only road to this gate.  Is this not a National Park?
Anyway, we stopped to pick up some free wood as we have been burning at least 2 bags of wood every evening.  At the gate we found a number of young Kudu drinking water at a man made water hole.  A nice welcome into the park.  We were told that there is no problem if we wanted to stay longer as the park was not full.  We just needed to pay for the extra nights when we left.  OK ! So much for having to book.
The road condition continued in the same vane to the point where one could not actually concentrate on looking for animals.  We did not see much either.  We arrived at Deception camp 1 and made small work of setting up camp.  Carlos started the fire and we had fun with the Finches.  I put out a bowl of water and many different kinds of birds soon came to have a drink of water.  We did not stay outside very long as it was very cold.  We would rather go to bed early and set the alarm to wake up early the next morning for a game drive. 
At 6 am the alarm went off.  It was still dark so we could lie in for a while.  Soon afterward we got up and got into the car with our flask already prepared the night before.  We had a lovely time driving round but did not see much.  A black back jackal and the normal buck.  The sunrise was amazing though.  We arrived back at camp about 8 or 8h30.  Carlos proceeded to take care of the fire (one has to dig a hole to bury all ash) and I put the kettle on the burner. 
Carlos spoke to me but I did not hear what he said.  He spoke again and all I could make out was “lions”. When I walked out of the tent, 5 lionesses were walking straight into our camp. I think I gave only 2 steps to cover a distance of about 5 meter to get to the car.  Carlos was already in the front seat.  The boot was open so I closed it and got into the back seat as all the doors were open. 
What just happened??!!!! OH MY HAT! I was shaking like a leave whiles changing the lens on the camera.  Carlos started the car and we followed them as they walked down the road on their way to where ever they were going.  We could not believe what just happened.  Once we had calmed down and taken enough photo’s we went back to camp.
We had to break up camp now…….with the knowledge that there are lions walking around.  I remained in the car for some time before getting out to help with the routine.  It is incredible how ones senses sharpen when you are afraid.  We packed up in record time and got out of there.
We must have giggled about the incident for another couple of hours. One of the other visitors to the park stopped us to ask us in frustration “have you seen anything?” We giggled and said 5 lions at Deception camp 1.  I am sure they must have thought we were joking.
Driving along the way they came from we could understand their frustration.  We did not see much.  A lucky spot was a cheetah lying under a bush.  We were on our way to Piper Pan a little south when a strange noise came from the back. We stopped (one can get out of the car in the Botswana parks – at own risk) got out only to find the trailer on the floor.  The tow bar plates bolt snapped right off.  So after facing lions this morning, we had to fix this problem in the middle of lion territory.  Carlos worked hard and had the problem solved as soon as possible, while I kept a lookout for lions.  The trailer was going to be considerably lower now, this was a concern.
We decided to cut it short and rather go to Tau Pan as it is on the way out of the park. There is a Lodge at Tau Pan a little way in the distance.  Little did we know that the Tau Pan Camp Site was no longer allowed because of the Lodge. (Although it is shown on their map inclusive of coordinates).  We were just too happy to find a camping spot with a wide open space to spot the wildlife before they spot you.  Trees on the one side and pan on the other, we set up just before sunset much to the amusement of the Bat Eared Foxes. We did not fool around with a fire this time.  We just made ourselves a lounge inside the room and  got ready for the night. Taser, Pepper spray, and noise horn all close at hand.
Next morning we packed up like demons to be on the road before the lions woke up.  Problem with this was that it was so cold that the tent was hard and our hands could not manage the zips to close the tent properly.  Never mind, we will close it on the way when it is a bit warmer.
We stopped at Sunday Pan’s water hole and was pleased to see many animals come for a drink.  Knowing that we had a way to go we got going.  Soon afterward a light on the dash indication “water in the fuel filter” came on.  AG Nee man.  Again – I keep watch and Carlos fix the problem.  Only this problem did not go away.  The light remained on.  We would have to go to Maun for bolts and to have the filter problem seen to.
When we got back to the gate we paid for another night, R350. I needed the toilet – I have you know, they don’t even have toilet paper in the toilet!! This is a well known National Park, it should be geared for tourists. Not only do their roads suck, they have no facilities and then no toilet paper.  What the hell do they spend the money on?  Carlos says I am just negative. 
Now we need to fill up at Rakops and then to Makgadikgadi. What awaits us there?
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