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Self-Drive Safari in Botswana, South Africa, and Namibiab


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KaliCA

Southern Africa loop trip September 9- October 18, 2015

 

Hello, I decided to post my rather lengthy journal of our trip last year in the hopes that it may help some readers with planning their own Southern Africa adventure. I purposefully included many details so that potential self-drivers can squirrel away bits of information for future trips.

 

Our Route:

 

Windhoek, Namibia

Kgalagadi, South Africa

Central Kalahari GAme Reserve, Botswana

Maun, Botswana

Boteti river, Makgadikgadi NP, Botswana

Nxai Pans NP, Botswana

Maun, Botswana

Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana

Maun, Botswana

Mahango NP, Namibia

Etosha NP, Namibia

Brandberg, Namibia,

Windhoek. Namibia

 

Here is the detailed itinerary:

 

September 9: Klein Windhoek Guesthouse, Windhoek, Namibia, B&B

September 10: Kalahari Anib Lodge, camping

September 11: Mata-Mata, Kgalagadi, South Africa, camping

September 12: Two Rivers, camping

September 13: Urikaruus, wilderness chalet

September 14: Nossob, camping

September 15: Bitterpan, wilderness chalet

September 16: Nossob, camping

September 17: Gharagab, wilderness chalet

September 18: Kalahari Rest Camp, Kang, Botswana, bungalow

September 19: Tautona Lodge, Ghanzi, camping

September 20: Motopi, Central Kalahari Game Reserve, camping

September 21: Sunday Pan, camping

September 22: Sunday Pan, camping

September 23: Island Safari Lodge, Maun, camping

September 24: Audi Camp, Maun, Luxury tent

September 25: Khumaga Boteti River, Makgadikgadi NP, camping

September 26: Khumaga, camping

September 27: South Camp, Nxai Pan NP, camping

September 28: South Camp, camping,

September 29: Audi Camp, Maun, Luxury tent

September 30: Third Bridge, Moremi GR, camping

October 1: Third Bridge, camping

October 2: Xakanaka, camping

October 3: Xakanaka, camping

October 4: Khwai, camping

October 5: Khwai, camping

October 6: Audi camp, Maun, Luxury tent

October 7: Mahango NP and Nunda Lodge, camping, Divundu, Namibia

October 8: Mahango NP and Nunda Lodge, camping

October 9: Bushbaby Lodge, bungalow

October 10: Namutoni, Etosha NP, Namibia, camping

October 11: Halali, camping

October 12: Halali, camping

October 13: Okaukuejo, camping

October 14: Okaukuejo, camping

October 15: Dolomite camp, chalet

October 16: Hobatere public campsite, outside Etosha Galton gate, camping

October 17: White Lady Lodge, Brandberg, camping

October 18: Klein Windhoek Guest House, Windhoek, Namibia, B&B

 

Planning: When planning this trip, I used the two Bradt guides BOTSWANA, and NAMIBIA, both written by Chris McIntyr as well as paper maps of each country, available on amazon.com I find both of these guides are very helpful when planning self-drive trips. I also read a ton of trip reports on this and other forums and learned a lot by just "lurking" and reading questions and answers.

For the Kgalagadi park, I found information on sanparks.org website and nice forumites there helped me out with tips about this park.

 

Operator: Peter Weber at Zimba Adventure, Windhoek, Namibia

www.zimba-adventure.com

 

It was a very pleasant experience to deal with Peter. He was extremely polite and patient with my many questions, as well as very prompt with all his answers. It was a true pleasure to do business with Peter and I can highly recommend his services. He also provides tours in Namibia as well as to all the other countries in Southern Africa.

 

Car Rental: Peter Weber arranged our two Hiluxes through Classic Cars managed by his partner, Peter Kehrer. There was one mishap with our friends'car while still in Windhoek, see below, and the last two weeks, our cool box did not cool at night. Apart from that, both cars performed extremely well and at my asking, had new mud tires mounted, just for our long trip.

Both men are very pleasant and professional, live in Windhoek, and speak English, German, and Afrikaans. In addition, they are registered with the Namibian Tourist

 

Safety and Security: I told Peter too late about wanting to rent a Satellite phone, so he was all out. We then found a SAT phone rental company here in California and we rented it from them for cheaper than had we rented it from Peter. Of course, it made for extra carry-on luggage. Thankfully, we never had any type of emergency, but both parties used it to talk to family and it worked very well. It was one of those difficult decisions: do we or don't we. At the end I decided that it was worth having a SAT phone for everyone's peace of mind. Just in case.

Every night when going up to our roof tent, I would take with me all of our important documents. Just in case.

To our surprise, the rental car only came with one set of keys. We never lost ours, but I would have felt a lot better with a second set. Just in case.

We also placed copies of passports, credit cards, and cash in different bags. Just in case.

 

Accomodations: We have discovered that although we like sleeping in a roof tent and camping, we also like spending every 5th or 6th night in a B&B or budget lodge. It gives us a chance to sleep in a good bed, do some laundry and get reorganized. I will give a brief description of the places we stayed at in the course of this report.

 

Photography: In the last few years, we have become more interested in photography. We have a lot to learn, but the good news is that each trip we show some improvement.

This trip, our focus was to get crisper, clearer pictures as well as trying to capture birds in flight.

I am using a Nikon 5100 and doing mostly the landscape, group, people, and camp shots. My DH is using a Nikon D90 with a Sigma 150-500 lens. He is responsible for all the close-up and portrait shots.

I also tried my hand at shooting some videos, but I'm not good at it at all, and as it turns out, most of it is shaky, or blurry. Also, my camcorder seemed to have had a problem recording movement when zoomed in, and now the little machine is altogether dead and I won't replace it.

 

So here goes my first ever trip report:

 

California to Windhoek, September 7-9

 

The long awaited day for the start of our third Southern Africa adventure is finally here. We leave at 7 pm after having said good-bye to Daniel (our son) and Charlie and Sadie (our dogs). Daniel is our doggie sitter in chief and they love him as much as they love us.

First leg is to SF where we eat dinner, then onto NY Kennedy via a red-eye. After a 4 hour wait, we board SA Airways to Johannesburg for a 15 hour long-haul flight. Luckily, the plane is not full and we can lay down a little and sleep. Screaming kids keep us awake.

When we arrive at O.R. Tambo, it is already September 9. It is during the Ebola scare and upon arrival we have to fill out a form of possible symptoms as well as countries visited. Then there is another 4 hour wait before our flight to Windhoek. Oh you lucky people who come from Europe and stay in the same time zone!

We pass the time sleeping on the benches in front of the Mug and Beans Cafe and looking for things to buy at the many shops selling African souvenirs. The flight to Windhoek is boarded via a walk along the tarmac. I have a window seat and from above, I can see hundreds of white pans dotting the landscape, as well as many animal trails. Very exciting.

Benny, a representative from Classic Cars, picks us up in a van. There are troops of baboon foraging along the road and sitting on fences, not something we normally see along California's highways.

Yes! We are back in Southern Africa!

Klein Windhoek guesthouse is located in a quiet neighborhood of Windhoek and is comprised of a few different buildings on both sides of the road. The pool is tiny and the water is much too cold for swimming.

Our friends and travel buddies from Canada have already spent a night here and they greet us with warm enthusiasm. After that, we go to dinner together at the very busy on-site restaurant and everyone had schnitzel, except our friend who wanted to try Kudu steak. Being thoroughly jet-lagged and generally up-side down after our long journey, we turn in early and enjoy our comfortable room.

 

 

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Above is an experimental night pic of moths flying around webcam at Nossob.

Chronologically, the mating lions should be before the pics of the Gharaghab cabin.      

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penolva

@@KaliCA I will be following your TR with great interest. A great start? Keep it coming Pen

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Treepol

@@KaliCA another long trip to Nam-Bots and Kgalagadi - wonderful. I will be following your TR avidly, re-visiting some favourite places and learning about new destinations and accommodations.

 

Thanks already for the idea of the Bush Baby stay at Grootfontein to break that long trip from the Caprivi to Etosha and for the detailed notes on planning, booking and getting started..

 

I'm particularly interested in your game viewing experience in CKGR and Boteti in September.

 

 

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KaliCA

Pen, thanks for the encouragement. There is lots to come.

 

Treepol, thanks for coming along and Boteti and CKGR will come up. Not sure how much I should post at a time. Thinking of 3-4 days, maybe?

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Treepol

@@KaliCA happy to read the TR as your time permits.

 

I usually break my TRs into destinations and try to do one destination per post, or if I'm pushed one day at a time. Really, its whatever you are comfortable to do in the time available.

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graceland

@@KaliCA

 

So many self drivers these days! Such independence, I am so impressed.

 

Looking forward to your adventures....maybe one day :rolleyes: I'll see myself driving through South Africa!

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Marks

What an itinerary! What did you friend think of the kudu steak?

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KaliCA

@@KaliCA happy to read the TR as your time permits.

 

I usually break my TRs into destinations and try to do one destination per post, or if I'm pushed one day at a time. Really, its whatever you are comfortable to do in the time available.

Thanks for your input. I think if it's per destination, it may be too long.

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KaliCA

@@KaliCA

 

So many self drivers these days! Such independence, I am so impressed.

 

Looking forward to your adventures....maybe one day :rolleyes: I'll see myself driving through South Africa!

As you correctly point out, we love the independence, but it comes with some stress as well as you will find out if you read along. Looking forward to your comments!

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KaliCA

What an itinerary! What did you friend think of the kudu steak?

He loves game as he is a hunter in Canada. As a result, he was also great at game spotting.

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KaliCA

Post 2

 

Windhoek to Kalahari Anib Lodge, Wednesday, September 10

 

After a hearty breakfast, we were picked up at 8 am by Peter Kehrer, owner of Classic Cars. Then we met Peter Weber at the depot. After a million emails back and forth, it was great to finally see Peter in person. He has helped me plan this rather complicated trip and he did all the bookings to perfection. After signing our contracts and getting a very thorough explanation of all the equipment, we each took over "our" Toyota Hilux 4x4 with a roof tent. Same reliable car as last trip, but for a far better price.

It was already 11 am by the time we were done. Then the first mishap occurred: While picking up our pre-ordered meat, our friends's car engine caught on fire and Peter's mechanic came and drove the car back to the garage where the problem got fixed. Something to do with the dual battery system. Oops. Other than a missing outside light, our friends'car luckily had no other problems. Good thing too, that if it had to happen, it happened a few minutes from the operator's garage.

After running around town, we finally found a bank to exchange SA Rand, we would need Rand the next day, without the opportunity to go to a bank in SA)we drove to the Spar supermarket to get our big shopping done. As anyone going shopping in a foreign country knows, it takes a while to find the things on your list as you are not familiar with the packaging and brands. But eventually, we found all the items on our ready-made shopping lists, had a quick lunch at their deli; things got loaded into the Engen cool boxes, and off we went driving south to the Kalahari Anib Lodge for our first night's camping.

We made it just before sunset and it was great to see the familiar African golden light and even some antelopes and a jackal on the way to this working farm. We have been there on a previous trip and love the camping

set-up. Each site has its own toilet and shower facility as well as a covered patio and lights. Very luxurious for camping, but quite normal by Namibian standards. I made a quick instant soup then we had a pasta dinner, because most of our time was spent getting the car organized and finding a place for every item. We find eating a simple meal the first night camping, is less stressful than setting up an elaborate BBQ.

The back of the Hilux cargo space is outfitted with two long drawers that pull out and contain all the kitchen equipment. There is a designated place for two camping chairs and there are clamps to secure the table under the roof. In addition, there is the all important Engen cool box connected to a second battery, and there is a 40 liter water canister with a hose.

We were also given two bins for various household items and dry goods. So all together it is an organized and convenient camping set-up.

It was our friends' first time camping in Africa and we all had fun watching and helping them setting up the roof tent for the first time.

This lodge has giraffe and antelopes on their land and they offer game drives, but for us it was just a convenient stop-over on our way to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, KTP In short.

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KaliCA

Post 3

Kalahari Anib Lodge to Mata Mata, Thursday, September 11

 

Today, we remembered the horrible terrorist attack back in 2001.

 

It was quite a long and rather boring drive mostly along the dry Auob river, passing some cattle ranches, before we reached Mata Mata. The border crossing from Namibia to South Africa was easy and took about 20 minutes. We might have been victims of a fraudulent scheme as the border official insisted we needed a NAM sticker at the back of the truck or else we would have trouble with police in Botswana. Conveniently, he just happened to have a stack of such stickers readily available on his desk and he sold it to us for Nam$40, about $4 U.S. Was it a scam? We never found out. But he enthusiastically proceeded to slap the sticker on our rental car!

On the SA side, a policeman wanted to check our cool box. So, of course, we let him.

Check-in at Mata Mata camp took a while and it was stifling hot waiting in the cramped office. It made sense for us to get the Wild Card that can be used for a year of entrances in all Sanparks. Camping was very sandy and quite cramped in one little area and we could hear our friend snoring in the roof tent. Not a favorite campsite.

 

Mata Mata to Two Rivers, Friday, September 12

 

We were up before first light in order to get the golden light effect for photographing wildlife.

Animal sightings around Mata Mata were:

Wildebeest at waterhole in Mata-Mata

Lion, male, sitting up on dune in early morning light as a silhouette.

Cheetah in Auob river bed, crossing to other side, far, but alert

Sitsas WH: very busy with Oryx and springbock.

By Kamqua: 9 giraffes browsing. Looking great in the desert setting.

When looking at some pioneer ruins by the museum, I got stung by an angry bee, right below my eye. Beware of bees at the museum!

 

We had to do border formalities for Botswana in Two Rivers, as we were planning to enter Botswana via the Ka'a road and gate in the north-east corner of KTP and there is no birder station.

The Botswana border official forgot to charge us a vehicle fee and later, we almost got in trouble about that with a policeman in Maun. Also, we had to go back to the park office in order to check in for Urikaruus Wilderness chalet, because I had forgotten earlier and you can NOT check in at the chalets themselves.

TR is not a very nice camp. There is no waterhole and camping was rather cramped, on top of that, loudly barking dogs from the service camp kept us awake at night. Not the kind of sound one wants to hear in the bush.

A highlight: We saw a honey badger by Samevloeing, in evening light, busy scavenging around. Our first ever ratel! The other three animals on my must-see list? Kalahari black-maned lion, bat-eared fox, and brown hyena.post-47216-0-05856300-1435253941_thumb.jpgpost-47216-0-46992100-1435253963_thumb.jpgpost-47216-0-70844200-1435253985_thumb.jpgpost-47216-0-62841200-1435254012_thumb.jpgpost-47216-0-64919000-1435254049_thumb.jpg

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KaliCA

Post 4

 

Two Rivers to Urikaruus chalets, Saturday, September 13

 

Lucky for me, the next morning we spotted two bat-eared foxes after Leeuwdril WH. Our first ever. Two new animals are checked off. Also thousands of birds at Leeuwdril WH. Oryx and hartebeest drinking. Later, a colony of meerkats, playing and doing sentry duty. Too cute.

By Melkvlei picknick area, we found 5 lions sleeping under a tree, quite far off, so did not get much detail, but these were the first ever lions in the wild for our friends and they were happy.

At this picnic area, we said good-bye to our friends for 24 hours . We would meet here again by noon tomorrow. They would be camping at Two Rivers camp again while my husband and I would spend one night at Urikaruus. A few weeks earlier, I had snagged one night at everyone's favorite wilderness camp, Urikaruus and, as it turned out, it was a great choice.

At Dikbaartskolk rest area, we talked to a Belgian couple in a Discoverer 4x4 camper about their vehicle, as we had used a similar car last year from the same operator. They gave us a hot tip where to find three lions by Moravet WH. There is nothing that gets our adrenaline pumping like a lion (or leopard) tip. Off we drove full of anticipation.

Sure enough, there they were, resting under a tree in a pan of dried mud, close to the WH. Very hard to spot had we not known where to look. It was the middle of the day and of course, the three sub-adults were snoozing. We ended up spending 2 1/2 hrs with them watching them change positions and finally yawn and wake up. All the while a very nervous oryx was only a few feet away, snorting and not daring to approach the waterhole for fear of the lions.

Then the first lion got up and walked right by our car, then made his way up the hill to lie down under a lone tree. Pretty soon, the other one followed and the last one cooed for directions on where to go and got a response from his buddies. Beautiful experience, as it all happened in the golden light of early evening.

Then we checked into the Urikariuus chalet number 3. It was a two level affair with the bedroom and BR on the top floor. Both levels had a balcony. Very cool set-up right above a productive and quite natural-looking waterhole.

In the back, all the cabins were connected by a catwalk. The inside of the cabin was very hot but it eventually cooled off when it got dark. The cabin is outfitted with everything you need for self-catering, but the gas fridge was not very efficient, as it was simply too hot. The one thing I did not care for at This camp was the constant creaking of the floorboards every time we took a step. Very annoying.

Shower was great. Dinner was fried hamburger, as it got windy and we did not dare use the Braai station. After that, most time was spent watching the waterhole and setting up the cameras for taking a picture every 5 minutes all through the night. There were oryx in the evening light as well as a jackal. The highlight, however came at night.

We heard loud roaring at 1AM and ran outside to shine our lights around. There were three males and one female and they were drinking and roaring intermittently. One black-maned male came walking straight up from the WH to our cabin in all his slow majesty. He lifted his head and seemed to look up at us weird humans in our Pj's. Then he walked around the last cabin before heading up the dune roaring loudly all along until it disappeared. Wow, that was surely worth getting up for in the middle of the night.

Does any animal even come close to walking as cool as a male lion walks?

Black-maned lion? Check.

The lions' roaring was extremely loud and at times, seemed to shake the cabin. It all happened very, very close by and sounded so primordial and ancient. We were glad to have the safety of our cabin and I could not help but think of how frightening lion encounters like that must be to native people living in the bush.

During the night, I woke up again and again from more roaring and while kneeling on my bed I could see more lions drinking at the WH as the waterhole is lit up all night long. Thank you Sanparks!

Not a restful night, but boy, was it exciting and beyond any expectations.post-47216-0-90629300-1435348027_thumb.jpgpost-47216-0-64668800-1435348048_thumb.jpgpost-47216-0-69907600-1435348103_thumb.jpgpost-47216-0-38938000-1435348124_thumb.jpgpost-47216-0-83003300-1435348142_thumb.jpgpost-47216-0-13962600-1435348161_thumb.jpgpost-47216-0-10105200-1435348181_thumb.jpgpost-47216-0-11978600-1435348199_thumb.jpgpost-47216-0-37165100-1435348211_thumb.jpg

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ReiseBeate

KaliCa,

 

happily I've found your trip report. And now I'm travelling with you virtually.

 

Your first days seemed to have been very adventurous. A roaring lion so nearby is a very breathtaking experience.

 

About the guy at the border, who pushed you to buy this sticker:

I asked in a german Namibia/Botswana travel forum about this and got the answers, that this was no scam. The officer was right, it is the law to have this sticker.

 

Your pictures are so beautiful so I feel a desire for Africa again.

 

Now I'm very curious about your next experiences.

 

Beate

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KaliCA

KaliCa,

 

happily I've found your trip report. And now I'm travelling with you virtually.

 

Your first days seemed to have been very adventurous. A roaring lion so nearby is a very breathtaking experience.

 

About the guy at the border, who pushed you to buy this sticker:

I asked in a german Namibia/Botswana travel forum about this and got the answers, that this was no scam. The officer was right, it is the law to have this sticker.

 

Your pictures are so beautiful so I feel a desire for Africa again.

 

 

 

 

Now I'm very curious about your next experiences.

 

Beate

Hi Beate and thanks for your kind words. Yes, those roaring lions kept our adrenaline going. Unforgettable.

My husband and I are happy to learn that the NAM sticker was legit. Maybe sometimes we assume the worst too soon, and also it's hard to communicate small details clearly. Anyway, this brings up the question why our car provider in Windhoek did not have a sticker on his car. Hmmmmm

It's a long report, so hopefully you will enjoy reading on ..

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KaliCA

Post 5

 

Urikaruus to Nossob, Sunday, September 14

 

First thing in the morning, DH checked the camera memory, and sure enough the camera had captured some images, albeit blurry, of lions drinking at the WH.

We had BF on the porch and there was herbivore activity with 9 hartebeests coming to drink, 4 female kudu and a stag, as well as springbock boinking. After checking out the many lion tracks around our cabin, we reluctantly checked out (would have loved another night there) and drove to Melkvlei parking lot to meet up with our friends again.

Just before the parking lot, there was a lioness sleeping under a tree, then walking away. This was lion number 13 so far. Yes, I kept score.

We reunited with our friends and they were impressed with our tale of lion activity at Urikaruus. We started heading north towards Nossob.

At Kaspersdrai WH we met lion number 14 and 15, it seemed they were a honeymoon couple. I spotted the male not far from the waterhole sitting up in profile. He seemed young and very golden. Our friend had spotted the female from another vantage point. We spent more than 2 hours with them, watching them snuggle and mostly drink a lot next to each other in the golden light. Awesome!

Let me tell you that distances between camps in KTP took longer than we expected. Pumped waterholes are spaced at about every 10 km, and there are long stretches of quiet monotony along the dry Auob river broken up by the occasional steenbok or termite mound.

Because of this special lion sighting, we checked into Nossob camp as the sun was setting. We also gave them our reservation paper to check in for Bitterpan Wilderness camp for the next day. We had a great dinner with chicken on BBQ, stir fry veggies and pasta. Then we were ready to visit the Nossob hide.

It looked very familiar as soon as I sat down. Same small waterhole ( sadly, very artificial looking) with a dead tree in back of it as I had seen it on the Sanparks webcam many times. Finally, I saw it in person and I noticed the webcam humming with a lot of moths flitting around it. For those interested, there are four webcams to be found on sanparks.org capturing activity at waterholes in SA, and Nossob is one of them.

The first sighting was a jackal and then a genet very close by on tree branches. It was oblivious to humans as it was hunting for moths.

Then the jackpot happened: a beautiful female leopard came to drink and she was all nervous and very skittish about approaching the WH. She was able to drink quickly, before three howling jackals chased after her, out of sight, but we could hear their meowing sounds for a while. It felt so good at having seen a leopard in KTP and our friends were elated as this was their first ever leopard. Don't we all remember our first ever leopard? Mine was in Savuti guarding an impala kill in a tree. Beautiful sighting.

 

We spent our first night being comfortable while sleeping. Not too cold. Also, we connected the two sleeping bags and now have one big blanket rather than two tight bags. It is September, but we are still sleeping in thermal PJ's, as nights and mornings are quite cold.

 

Nossob to Bitterpan, Monday, September 15

 

We started out early and did the Marie se Drai loop first off, as word around camp was that this was the place to see lion cubs. We were first out the gate and saw sunrise, but we only saw two little lions' butts disappearing up the dune...too late to see the cubs. Gate time and lion time did not match up.

We had breakfast back at camp, refueled, checked the fluids in the engines, bought more water and then we are off on the one-way road to Bitterpan. The gate to the Bitterpan road is licked and needed to be unlocked by a camp attendant first.

This is clearly a 4x4 ONLY road and it was a beautiful drive through apricot colored sand and golden grass. The first 26 km are all across dunes of varying heights and I took a pill to prevent motion sickness as a forum member had recommended. It worked!

We promptly got stuck on dune number 2 and tried four times to make it up driving two different tracks, but no go. So DH lowered tire pressure to 1.2 bar and then we went over it without a hitch. Our friend had to try 4 times on his own, before he believed the empirical evidence and lowered his tire pressure as well. And sure enough, they made it first try after that. I really enjoyed this drive and the scenery to Bitterpan.

At the waterhole at Klein Stofpan, we discovered a lioness resting in the sun and leaning against the water trough. Once in a while she would raise herself a little and lap some water. After she moved into shade, we moved closer and she gave us that golden amber staring look, probably meaning " This is close enough"!

Two other SA couples had already checked into Bitterpan (there are 4 cabins with two beds each) and since the attendant was out attending to a water tank problem, one couple played hosts and showed us to our reed hut. The cabin was part tent with zippered window flaps, combined with reed walls. The bathroom is a separate little room in back of the cabin and it was right next to our friends' bathroom, separated by a few reeds only. Too close to be truly comfortable as one can hear every sound. ( Use your imagination or not).

Bitterpan has a communal kitchen with two sink areas and two stoves and three fridges that work using gas. Since it was extremely hot, the fridges did not work very well. The other couples there were quite territorial about "their" fridge and "their"kitchen space. Oh well.

 

Each cabin also had a balcony facing the waterhole, but it was far away down the hill surrounded by brush and it was hard to spot animals. Nevertheless, the view was scenic with a huge white oval pan and you could see the oryx come across the pan from a long way off.

Our friend was BBQing and we had dinner by the communal area further out on the patio in hopes of catching a breeze because it was stifling hot. Later, the attendant would not light up the waterhole and it was not clear what the reason was. The other couples just shrugged and said "This is Africa". We went to bed disappointed for not having seen any game at Bitterpan and at the fact that there was no light at the waterhole as promised on the website.

 

Bitterpan to Nossob, Tuesday, September 16

 

We woke with first light, as usual, and went out on the balcony to have a look at the waterhole. We spotted some Oryx and hartebeest walking through the pan along well-worn paths and then drinking from the waterhole. No lions, though.

I made ham and eggs for BF and then we packed up and left around 9AM. We could not find the WH marked on the map in the Kgalagadi booklet. We had missed it coming up, and did not see it on our way out.

Leaving Bitterpan, the drive took us ALONG the dunes rather than over them and we reached Moravet WH without any problem and luckily, no other cars came towards us as some on the forum had said it may happen and there were plenty of blind hills to climb.

Of course the lions from earlier had long left. When we got there, we had to re-inflate the tires and as per normal, our friend would wait until we were done, before inflating his own tires with our compressor. He never even bothered unpacking his compressor the entire trip!

Then we drove to Dikbaartskolk picnic area where it was time to have lunch in the stinking heat. On our way back to Nossob, we checked Marie se Draai WH again and waited for the evening lions, but they did not show. We were disappointed but would have another chance early the next day.

We were camping another night at Nossob and it was very hot in the afternoon, so I decided to have some pool time and cool off. My DH drove up to the next WH by himself while I swam and chatted with South African people in the pool. Our friends, meanwhile, sat in the shade and lamented how hot it was.

We also reported to the Nossob office to show them our reservation in order to check into Gharagab camp the next day.

When DH got back, he reported to have seen a pair of Bateleur eagles. We had left-overs for dinner since we were eager to sit in the hide again and observe wildlife. We saw a genet cat again, two bat-eared foxes playing, too cute. Next was an African wild cat. Don't they look just like ordinary house cats?post-47216-0-89346900-1435426236_thumb.jpgpost-47216-0-94277400-1435426253_thumb.jpgpost-47216-0-51133100-1435426284_thumb.jpgpost-47216-0-72862000-1435426329_thumb.jpgpost-47216-0-82227400-1435426356_thumb.jpgpost-47216-0-63618200-1435426383_thumb.jpgpost-47216-0-06680400-1435426929_thumb.jpg

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KaliCA

Urikaruus camp. Noticed the cat walk that connects all the cabins. This way, you can have more wildlife opportunities as we did when watching the roaring lions at night.

post-47216-0-21410600-1435427306_thumb.jpg

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KaliCA

Nossob hide and sightings. You walk out through a lion-prove tunnel to sit in the hide that's lit up all night. Awesome. Check out the action on sanparks.org webcams. Sorry, at the point we had not mastered night photography.post-47216-0-80409900-1435427420_thumb.jpgpost-47216-0-77998500-1435427446_thumb.jpgpost-47216-0-13929400-1435427478_thumb.jpgpost-47216-0-61862200-1435427498_thumb.jpgpost-47216-0-61862200-1435427498_thumb.jpg

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KaliCA

Bitterpan wilderness cabins and access road. Such pretty colors.post-47216-0-27419100-1435428447_thumb.jpgpost-47216-0-25913400-1435428468_thumb.jpgpost-47216-0-97570800-1435428531_thumb.jpgpost-47216-0-60148500-1435428670_thumb.jpg

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KaliCA

Oops cabin pic got deleted. Here it is.post-47216-0-05105700-1435430007_thumb.jpg

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Treepol

@@KaliCA thanks so much for the detail in your report - reading along makes (almost) think I am back in Kgalagadi!

 

I have never been lucky enough to score a booking at Urikaruus, your description of the camp certainly explains why it is so popular. The 1 am lion sighting was very special, watching the lion walk uphill toward you must be a great memory of the trip.

 

Great luck with so many lion sightings and the small cats too - AWC and genet.

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KaliCA

You are most welcome. Glad to hear that my journal triggered your own memories from this spaces. I believe the only way to get a Kgalagadi reservation for those of us not living in SA, is by checking often and snagging a cancellation. That's how I got mine. Perseverance and luck!

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Marks

Great pictures and narrative. I like the synchronized ostriches.

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KaliCA

Post 6

 

more pics from Bitterpan and Nossob

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KaliCA

Bitterpan chalets look down over a huge white pan. Only problem is that waterhole is hard to see and quite far down the hillpost-47216-0-99873300-1435529573_thumb.jpgpost-47216-0-22187900-1435529589_thumb.jpgpost-47216-0-20004900-1435529630_thumb.jpg

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