Central Kalahari and Makgadikgadi Pans

BotswanaPosted by Espen Tue, July 24, 2012 15:28:18

Hooking up with friends from home is always fun. We drove south from Maun and our friends rented a 4x4 in Jo’burg and drove north. We met in Rakops in Botswana about 40 kilometers from the north eastern gate of the Central Kalahari National Park, and early next morning we drove in. We had booked three nights in two different camp sites, and we had filled up the cars with food, beer and wine, and firewood. The receipt for successful camping! After finding our site we went out for the day to look for animals. First stop was a waterhole a couple of hours drive away.

Winter is a dry time of year. Not sure if it is good for wildlife watching, but the colors and light are beautiful as the sun gets lower in the afternoon.

On the way to the waterhole we saw loads of the bat-eared fox.

Later that evening, on our way back to camp, we also came across a small group of cheetahs. They were sneaking in on a herd of antelopes a few hundred meters away, and we positioned our vehicles for the hunt. However, it was the antelopes lucky day, and the cheetahs never went for it. We waited for about an hour, but had to leave to get back to camp before dark (you are not allowed to drive in the park after sunset).

Not really sneaking anywhere at this moment, but still very fascinating.

We saw them again two days later in the same area. This time it looked like they were considering a go at one of the younger giraffes, but nothing happened.

Our last morning in the park we decided to drive to another waterhole for sunrise, and then just hang out there and wait for the animals coming in to drink. Good plan, but only a few antelopes and a fox showed up for the photo session.

The famous “brown” lions in Kalahari were unfortunately nowhere to see. Next time.. We punched in new coordinates in the GPSs and drove for the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans. The total areal is bigger than the Uyuni in South America, but the Uyuni is the biggest single salt pan, and it is also whiter and drier. We camped one night at Chukutsa Pan, and then drove further east the next day. Our goal was to find Kokunje Island on the large Sua Pan where there should be free camping under a huge baobab with views over the pan.

The road going across the salt pan to Kokunje Island. You can see the island in the distance about six kilometers out. And we found our baobab. It really was huge!

There are no cats on the island so it is relatively safe to walk around or to the top. We heard that there should be a hyena, and that we could try to leave some water in a bowl to see if it would come closer to camp at night or in the evening, but no luck. There are also a couple more campsites, but for two days we had the whole island to ourselves. It was a pretty amazing place to camp.

Next stop is Kruger National Park in South Africa!


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