Makgadikgadi

Trip Start Apr 24, 2012
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of Botswana  ,
Saturday, July 21, 2012

Leaving Central Kalahari we had a couple of concerns.  Firstly, the repairs necessary and a shortage of Pulas.  Nowhere did they want rands and we are running low.
Just before arriving at Makgadikgadi we had to cross the river by ferry.  We did not know about the ferry crossing and at 170 Pula it was going to dig into our already depleted Pula stash.  There was no getting around it though.  We will just have to make the stay in Makgadikgadi shorter. Relieved to get across the river safely a further bonus was that they did accept SA rand at the camp. 
After being negative about the poor management of Central Kalahari, I was most impressed with the camp site and ablutions at Makgadikgadi.  They even have soap dispensers in the bathroom!  The camp is neatly raked too.
We set up camp and enjoyed an evening amongst other campers. Next morning we took a drive along the river – nice and early – but did not see much.  Hippo’s on the other side of the river and a young Fish Eagle was the highlight of the spotting for the morning.
Back at camp we had a good meal and decided to go to the pan.  At reception they said that there is nothing out there and that the animals don’t really go there. What they did not say was that the road to the pans, or at least the first 33 km, was a nightmare!
When we finally reached the pans it was short before 3 pm and there was NOTHING just as they said.  Now we had to tackle the nightmare road back to camp!!
We arrive just before sunset and in time to see 11 elephants  walking back from drinking in the river.  Spectacular!  I got so excited I got out of the car to get closer to them to take photos.  Very happy with our good fortune we got back to camp.  
Two youngsters from Netherlands had set up camp next to us.  We made friends and soon we all sat around the fire telling stories of where we have been.  A couple of Honey badgers kept coming into camp for food and one even ended up in our tent.  My Taser seemed to be the only thing that got them to back off.  The camp had a couple more campers so at least they did the rounds.
At some point we heard lion and everyone packed it in and went to bed.  The boys did not feel like going to bed and said we should just make a big fire and talk a bit more.  So we did.  We had coffee and chocolates at talked until 11h30. Not forgetting to take a good look around every now and again to see if some lions did not think it a good idea to have us for a snack.
The boys, Derik and Bros, said that the road out of the camp was deep sand for long stretches and that we might have difficulty with towing the trailer.  Carlos moved the spare wheel from under the car to the front of the trailer.  Emptied the diesel from the jerry cans into the car and ran the water tanks empty, all in order to make the trailer lighter and to give the car more clearance.  The boys said they were going to do a drive and will be going out the same way later, so if we got stuck they would help us out.
With that said, we said good bye. 
We still needed to go pay the park fees at the entry gate as the lady was not there the day before when we got in.  We were warned about the Botswana fees being expensive.  Well, it is. Between Park fees, camping fees and vehicle fees we ended paying approx. R1500 for two nights.
The way out it was indeed deep sand. The trailer dragging so low behind did not make it easier. (because of the breakdown at Central Kalahari). In any case, we negotiated the deep sand pretty well. The main thing in deep sand is to keep momentum. The problem arises when somebody is coming the other way, which fortunately happened at the correct spots where there was enough room and better ground.

I, disagree with Anita about seen "nothing" at the pans. Although we never got to either of the big pans (Ntwetwe or Sua), we went through some smaller ones. Just to observe the pans with the Palms at the edges is great. To imagine them flooded and full of bird life must be unreal. Will definitely come back here one day. 
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