Tag Archives: Kgalagadi National Park

Kgalagadi Game Drives

Day 5 Dec. 17 Wednesday

Because we went on an early morning game drive at 530 am, we didn’t follow the usual morning routine. First of all, we were woken up by a thunder and lightning display with heavy rain and then,  a spectacular sunrise! Water water everywhere! What had been dry during the afternoon game drive of the previous afternoon, became a lake.

Kgalagadi sunset  IMG_0299  IMG_0300

Our first sighting of the day was a Leopard Tortoise. Richard explained to us that the bushmen in the Kalahari use it for survival in the desert, poor things. We saw many more Sociable Weaver nests.

IMG_0301  Sociable weaver nest
A few springbok close to the truck. The first ones we saw got a lot of photographic attention but as the day passed, because we saw so many of them, we no longer stopped, admiring them on the move instead.

Then … a highlight!! We saw a vehicle pulled over and when we stopped, we saw a lioness, close enough to see red stains on her chest and paws. We watched for a while and then continued on but we hadn’t gone very far when we saw another vehicle. The person driving pointed to a thicket and told us that there was another lioness in the thicket, with a kill. Sure enough. It was right beside the road but so well hidden we could hardly see her. What we did see was tawny fur and the bloody head of a springbok and what we did hear was the loud crunching of bones. We were astounded and stayed watching for quite a while until the feeding lioness joined the first one.lionesses

By this time it was around 11 and all we’d eaten was a rusk and coffee so we set off to find a place for brunch – eggs, bacon, beans, salad, fresh pineapple! After brunch we headed back to camp for an afternoon siesta before heading out for our third and last game drive in the Kgalagadi.

The big, culminating event was seeing this black-maned lion. At first, he was stretched out in the shade and we couldn’t see much but then, he got up and moved to another spot. We had a good laugh about the males of this species as we were told that the lionesses do the hunting and raise the kids. The males? They just lie around doing nothing …. well, they do make a lot of noise!!

Black maned lion Protection from wild animals

And this is to protect game viewers from the lions!! We stopped to use the toilets and this is what was there. Just outside and across the road from this ‘enclosed toilet’, Anne found a paw print and sure enough, Dumi told us it was a lion track!! I guess there’s a good reason to have the toilets enclosed!!

We saw lots more small game and birds including a bird I was fascinated by, the Kori Bustard. I don’t know why – we saw lots of them. They were quite shy and would run to get out of the way and once, we saw one take to the air. They looked prehistoric to me.

Kori Bustard

With all of the driving and looking for game have come many opportunities for quiet contemplation and a deep appreciation of the beauty of nature seen from my window. The different times of day of the game drives presented us with a variety of lighting effects.

On the way back to camp, the setting sun was giving a warm, golden glow to everything it touched. There were a few puddles still on the road; all that was left of the morning’s rain storm.

Dinner was spaghetti bolognaise with fruit cocktail for desert.

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park 500 km

Day 4 Dec 16 Tuesday
Another disruption in the middle of the night when the camp dog chased a cat up a tree just outside our window, not just once but twice. We were on the road by 7, heading for Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, in the Kalahari region of South Africa, where we would stay for the next two nights. We would have our first game drive that afternoon.

On our drive this day, as we travelled through the Orange River wine region (which produces about 40% of Africa’s wine exports), we passed through miles and miles of grapevines accompanied by big, flat, rectangular, concrete pads for drying the grapes into raisins. Vinyards stretched as far as my eye could see. We stopped to shop in Upington then continued north. The terrain was characterized by flat plains, white salt pans and and red soil.

IMG_0295  IMG_0296 IMG_0297  IMG_0298

We were on the Kalahari Red Dune Road. Above is what it looked like.

We stopped at Molopo Kalahari Lodge for a lunch of rice salad, veggies, bread, turkey,and pickles. While we waited for the guys to prepare lunch, we went up to the lodge to see if we could use their internet. We found some internet, very slow, but we also found an abundance of ostrich eggs – they were everywhere, being used as decorations.

Molopo Lodge 1 molopo lodge 2 Ostrich egg lamp

We got to our camp, which was called ‘Twee Rivieren Camp’ (2  Rivers Camp) by about 3pm; explored a bit, got our tents set up and did laundry. Then it was time for the game drive. We set off at 430. Saw lots of animals and birds. The first ostrich prompted a photographic frenzy.

DSCN3799 first ostrich sighting

The crowning glory at the turn around point was three cheetahs lying in the shade at the side of the road. WOW!!! We watched them for a long time.

Cheetahs  Wildebeeste sunset

And at the end of our drive, wildebeest at sunset, in a herd, on a ridge in the distance.

our camp  Kgalagadi Camp  our camp 2

Home for a dinner of chicken curry with loads of veggies, a mix of wheat and lentils, and a gem squash. Healthy and good! A glass of wine, good conversation and bed by 10.