During the night Sue thought she saw something outside our tent with ears. The tracks in the morning indicated she had seen a Brown Hyena, which had walked from our shower past our tent, sniffed and probably chewed a bit on our braai grid before walking down the road to our neighbours.
We had decided to head once again down to Letiahau waterhole as we had enjoyed our last trip there, which had been a bit rushed owing to the distance. With a packed lunch we headed out.
There was a cool breeze blowing and some dark cloud in the sky. I was pleased that I had forced myself to pack a jersey. With high temperatures in Letlhakane when packing and knowing it was going to be even hotter in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, a jersey seemed to be a stupid item to take and a waste of space.
The morning started with some lovely sightings of big birds. First was a Yellow-billed Kite sitting in a tree close by. Then it was a Kori Bustard, the world’s largest flying bird and then a couple of Secretary Birds. We also saw the same little raptor I couldn’t ID the day before, in the same place. I now think they were Lesser Kestrels.
As the wind dropped and the sun burnt off the cloud, we started to see a lot more game and once again honey badgers, bat-eared foxes and squirrels were all over.
It was not too long that the game drive vehicle had stopped, we searched where they were looking. Way, way in the distance under a tree was a pride of at least 4 lions. It was possible to make out that they were lions, but that was about all.
As we approached Letiahau Waterhole we noticed that there weren’t any animals, which we found strange at first. But quickly realised that a big male lion was obviously the reason for this.
He was a youngish male, but still boasted a beautiful black mane and his face was un-scratched from male / male fights. He lay in the cool shade at the waters edge watching our every move. It didn’t take long to loose interest in us and do what lions do best, and that is sleep.
He did however wake-up every time a gemsbuck or springbok approached to drink.
Two gemsbuck came running up to the hole, saw us and stopped. They carefully watched us. One looked to the side and got quiet a fright when he saw he was only about 15m away from a lion. Suddenly the gemsbuck realised that we weren’t the real threat to them. Snorting they backed away.
The lion had watched the whole scene with interest, but he was to hot and tired to do anything about it, so he went back to sleep.
We felt the lion to be quite selfish just lying there stopping others from drinking as it was getting incredibly hot and the animals must have been very thirsty. There was no other water for 50km or more.
Our trip back to camp was hot and dusty, but the one interesting thing we did see was a herd of giraffe moving through the only trees in that area. It was strange that every giraffe was a different colour, from very light to dark.
Generally you find a lighter variety in the arid areas which helps them to blend in. The combination of wooded areas, the open grasslands and pans of the Central Kalahari must be the reason for this colour variation.
Back in camp it was hot, it felt as if it could have been 50C, but there was a bit of a breeze. Time for a nap in the shade of our tent. Our blow-up mattress had gone flat; a thorn must have found its way into our tent. Lying on what felt like a half filled water-bed we tried to doze of.
The wind did not find its way into the tent, but the flies did. Being extremely hot and irritated by flies I knew I would not sleep here, so I went looking for a better place.
I found leaving the car’s back doors open I had a nice breeze. Lying on the back seat, uncomfortable, I could here our camp fridge click on and off. Knowing there was an ice cold beer inside, it didn’t take long to dismiss the sleep idea and turn to drink.
We still had 2 more nights in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve and we still had plenty of interesting experiences ahead of us…