The wind howled for most of the night and I kept on dreaming that we were at home, or on the tar road home after this trip. But every time I woke I knew where I was and that we still had THAT ROAD to get through.
A Brown Hyena had visited us during the night and you could clearly see its tracks around Tristan’s tent where I had thrown my rib bones from last nights dinner.
Our stay in this fantastic reserve was drawing to a close, we were just to pack-up and leave.
Whilst Sue crumbed our left over bread and threw it out for the birds, so we had a visitor. Through the grass I could see something moving in our direction. It came into an opening and there stood a honey badger sharing at us. The morning sun glistening on its silvery back.
Not phased by us at all, it headed straight into camp, past all our equipment, and with determination, straight towards Sue and the bread. Sue tried to chase it off, but it would have nothing to do with that. Being well know as being aggressive and tough animals Sue wisely backed away. The badger fed a bit and then ran-off into the bush.
All packed it was time to head home, my stomach was in a knot – THAT ROAD. Well the last 8 to 10km of it – depending who’s telling the story.
The road was once again a major challenge and actually seemed worse than when we came in on it. At one stage a massive hole, that I couldn’t avoid appeared, and our front right wheel went in. I gave the car more power and somehow the wheel came out, the back wheel went in and and amazingly out as well, but I thought our trailer would just disappear in to it. Somehow it made it.
I was very relieved when Sue said “there’s Rakops” and even more relieved when I could see vehicles traveling on the tar road.
The roof rack was still firmly attached and we pumped up our tyres which we had deflated for the soft sand. My job for the trip was done. I handed the driving duties over to Sue and sat and relaxed with a cold beer calming my nerves.
The blisters from my burns will disappear, the roof rack will be sorted, but my memories of this amazing trip, that had so many incredible aspects to it, will be remembered for the rest of my life.
We were so privileged to get the opportunity to see an eco-system that is so harsh and unforgiving, but somehow provides life for a massive diversity of mammals, birds, reptiles and flora. All of which has worked out its own way to survive in this hostile environment.
It amazed me that migrant birds such as the Yellow-billed Kite, which must have flown over places such as Zambia, the Zambezi, the Chobe River and Okavango Delta – after seeing all that why would it choose to come here.
Our very special thanks to our friend, Howard, without him sharing his knowledge of the area and all his advice our lives wouldn’t have been so easy. Just remember though Howard that the bad stretch of road is not about 8km it is 8.2km 🙂
Finally I just want to let everybody in the Orapa Bush Club know that Sue and I are no longer “Sandton campers”.