With a bit of trepidation I had planned a trip back to Central Kalahari Game Reserve. We had first gone there at the end of the dry season; it was our first major trip (as far as being self sufficient) in Botswana and we went by ourselves so we had no back-up.
It had been an amazing experience, but it felt more at the end of it that we had survived Central, and not as we if we had, had a holiday. It had been hot, dusty and some of our equipment had failed us.
It was such a barren and harsh environment where it seemed hard to believe so much could survive, as it does. Having been told that in the wet season the reserve gets transformed into a lush landscape I needed to see it, even if it meant high temperatures, rain and mud.
So it was with mixed feelings that we headed out. This time at least we had two vehicles as friends of ours, Mpho and Thoko, decided to join us.
The trip on the tar to the small village of Rakops went well, except there was a power failure in Rakops and fuel pumps weren’t working. I did just want to top-up, just to be sure we would have enough for the next 5 days and this was the last place we were able to get fuel until we returned.
We had 3 x 20l filled Jerry cans and Mpho had 2, so not knowing how many hours we would have to wait for power, we headed out. Was this going to be a problem later.
The first 10 km of the road from Rakops to the park had been a nightmare last trip, powdery, soft sand with major holes. So I could feel myself tense up as I swung the car onto the dirt. We went and went and no bad road, went past 5 km and then 8 km, where I knew there was an awful spot, but nothing. The road had been graded and in great condition.
This was wonderful, but were the roads in the reserve going to be muddy. It didn’t help my concerns, having got an e-mail from somebody 2 days before we left, saying that last year at this time their friends got stuck often.
The trip from the gate to the campsite is about 40 km and it was dry, but we had to cross a pan, which could be bad. But it wasn’t, so I was wondering why I had been so worried.
We arrived at our campsite (Kori 2) only to find that there were chairs and a table there, obviously from a guest that was out on a game drive. We didn’t have much option but to set-up camp and wait for their return.
It was already dark when we saw the lights of their approaching vehicle and when they got out I was expecting an uncomfortable moment as we worked out who actually had rights to the campsite.
It was a Dutch couple and they had been allocated a different campsite, which they didn’t like, so they had moved into ours the night before, and now were a bit disappointed to see us. After a beer they took their stuff and went and found another campsite.
The following morning we were to have a game drive that one only dreams about.
To be continued ……