Samstag, 9. Februar 2008

South Africa – Botswana – Namibia

We started our journey on the 24 January 2008. We left after 4 hours of packing Cape Town and drove towards the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. We reached the park on day 2 and enjoyed an evening drive. We saw already some game (springbok, ostrich, wildebeests, gemsboks and jackals). Back at the Twee Rivieren Campsite (the ground is far to hard to pitch a tent properly) we enjoyed a braai. In the morning we went to the Botswana Border inside the park to get our passport stamped. It all went very well; on the SA side they had an officer in uniform who checked our car and passport properly. On the Botswana side we first waited until someone showed up – but as soon as someone was there it only took 5 minutes to do the bookings and get the passport stamped. We even got 30 days, in case we like it so much! Our next stop was Mata-Mata (the roads were fixed recently, it was a very smooth drive), on the way we saw a lion family (1x female, 1x male and 3x cubes) they were just lying next to the waterhole. The campsite at Mata-Mata is just next to a waterhole, so we enjoyed an amazing view from the comfort of our camping chairs. There is even a bird hide which is quite cool during the day. The pool at Mata-Mata was great, especially during the bloody hot January days… On the drive to Nossob (this street will be fixed soon) we saw lions again. In front of the restcamp is another bird hide, which was visited by lions daily. We saw and heard them every day. During the night the jackals visit the campsite looking for food, so it was necessary to store away everything, as they even steal your shoes! We spend two days at Nossob, there are quite a few waterholes nearby, but the best one was the one just in front of the camp. On our arrival day we saw about 400 black herons resting at the waterhole, before they flew away the next morning on their way towards Europe.

On day 4 we took the Trail to the Botswana side. The drive is very easy for a Landcruiser, but on our way we helped out some German tourist who were pushing their Hillux Rental car over the dunes (it wasn’t even steep!) They did that already for the last 2 hours and were very pleased to see us. We checked their tyre pressure. 2.5 bar!!! No wonder they couldn’t drive in this sand. We deflated their tyres to 1.2 bar and off they went, no more pushing. We wanted to overnight at the Matopi 2, but we arrived there so early that we decided to go further. The park was empty so we thought it wouldn’t be a problem to stay at another camp site. As Lynn was very afraid to sleep in the tent on the ground without any fences around the camp site, we slept in the car. It was horrible, about 40C! We turned the aircon on and slept with ice bags next to us, but it was just not comfortable. The next morning we went to the entrance gate to check where we can sleep for the next night. No one was there. We waited quite long, until some rangers showed up. They went looking for the lady which was not very happy that she had to work. Apart from us there were two more vehicles on the Botswana site. She told us were we can pitch our tent, so we stayed at the Mabuasehube 3, from where we enjoyed a great view over the pan. We decided to sleep in the tent and hoped that no lions will visit us. (Lynn is considering a roof top tent.) We did not see much game on the Botswana side and had no visitors at night (as far as we know…). We left the park as our car drank way too much petrol – the fuel gauge was already on half. Outside the park was deep sand and the next petrol station in our direction was 140 km away. We floated over the sand until we finally reached Hukuntsi, just in time before we had to use our jerry cans. Luckily they accepted Rands, as their ATM was out of money. We continued towards Kang and hoped to find an ATM with cash… the first two places were out of order, the third place could get us 400 Pula before it ran out of money. From Kang we drove to Ghanzi were we stayed for two nights at the Thakadu Camp (Pula 40 per person) which was very nice. We continued our journey to the Central Kalahari National Park. The road was surprisingly in good condition (hard as rock). We didn’t even have to deflate our tires. The bush was very thick and the grass high, so it was quit hard to spot any animals outside a pan. We spent one night at Piper Pan and have been quite lucky in the early hours of the evening. There were giraffes, bat eared foxes, lots of jackals and bocks. It was the first time that we saw the foxes so that was quite nice.
The next day we went up to Deception Valley. On the way were massive herds of Gemsbok and Springboks but we did not spot any predators during our whole stay. The park was empty, apart from us where only guest from the Wilderness Expedition Camp inside the park. It was a weird feeling being the only humans in this huge area. On the day of departure it started to rain and the roads turned quickly into mud pools. Our car was covered with mud by the time we reached Rakops. The petrol station in Rakops by the way has disel and petrol and is no longer hand pumped – but the next ATM is only in Maun. So we continued towards Maun where we stayed at Audi Camp (Pula 42 per person and Pula 60 for electricity per night). We just chilled out at the camp, as the weather wasn’t too good. Next stop was Ghanzi again before we headed towards Namibia where we will meet Lynns sister and her boyfriend. We are currenly in Windhoek and it is raining. :( The weather forecast doesn’t look too good, hopefully it will soon clear up.

Matt & Lynn

SA - Central Botswana

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