A number of people have highly recommended Khumaga, a camp in the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park. So we headed there this last weekend and wow was it worth it.
The camp is situated right on the banks of the Boteti River, which is rapidly becoming my favourite river. We have visited some amazing places along it and Lake Xau that it flows into.
Dropping down the bank of the river the ferry came into sight. Sue went dead quiet. She had been driving up until this point, but from the look of complete horror on her face, I knew I should take over. I got to the driver’s door and she sat there motionless with her mouth gaping open, her fingers clenched around the steering wheel and her knuckles going white.
We got our car and trailer loaded being told to park as far forward as possible. This to get the back of the ferry off the bank. With a pull of cord the engine kicked into life and we were on our way.
To ensure that the ferry didn’t dig into the other bank I needed to reverse the car as far back as possible. Having a trailer on the back of our car and not being the best at reversing especially on two thin metal strips, I imagined loosing the trailer into the river.
With Chris de Burgh’s song “Don’t pay the ferryman” playing in my head we moved slowly across the river. Getting off the ferry was not too difficult. Sue survived the trip, but realised that we had to get back again at the end of our stay.
Oh – I did pay the ferryman, but only once he got us to the other side. .
The Park, as its name suggests, extends to the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, but we were on the western edge where the Boteti River forms the boundary and the only water source for the animals. The flood plains of the river are lush and the banks are lined with trees, but away from the river is just a dust bowl.
The area is known for the massive numbers of zebra and wildebeest that migrate from the river to the salt pans for the rainy season then back again as the pans dry. They were already back and all along the river we saw massive herds of both. We have never seen so many, just thousands, in any other park we have visited.
Interestingly, something we have also never seen, is kudu actually in the river itself feeding on the water vegetation.
Elephants were also plentiful along the length of the river. Drinking, feeding crossing the river and even fighting, we saw it all. One even mocked charged us.
Like most camp sites there are always some animals that have become pests and here we did have monkeys, but at night we had honey badgers that came in to get what they could find. It is an animal that is not often seen so to have them running around camp was a really a treat.
Our first night I was not prepared camera wise for them. Obviously dam tourists have fed them, that’s why they come to the camp. So I put out some food for them on our second night. Got out my camera and tripod and waited for them. I got excited when I saw them at other guests tents, but dam – not one came for my food.
The bird life as you can imagine was bountiful along the river and we were very fortunate to have a number of sightings of the critically endangered Wattled Crane.
It was an amazing few days, plenty of game and stunning scenery – we will definitely go back – and probably often.
See a collection of a few of our photos https://ourbots.wordpress.com/photos-2013/khamaga/
For more information on Khumaga