Central Kalahari Game Reserve..... Botswana wilderness adventure
Updated: Jun 9, 2019
Endless miles of sunscorched land and wild, untameable beauty. Be amazed at the life that thrives in this water starved environment.
We stayed the first night at Rakops Lodge at the gateway to the Central Kalahari and the Serval Team, Vasco and Attie, met us at the lodge. At dinner there was lots of excited chatter about our anticipated adventure into the Central Kalahari Game Reserve ("CKGR") the following day. Vasco our professional guide was able to give us valuable insights into how to manage the sandy roads, as we were following the game viewer in our expedition vehicle giving it its maiden voyage into a true wilderness environment.
Morning arrived and we tanked up with fuel and water, the two essential ingredients of a successful safari into the the desert. It was just over an hours drive to the gate of the CKGR and there was a certain amount of satisfaction at successfully managing it even this far!
Vasco had done all the arranging of permits and Attie had organised the booking of our campsite so the check in process was quick and we were soon on our way again. It was November and so leaving early we were able to enjoy the journey in the cool of the day and the light over the desert terrain was spectacular. We were all in awe of the incredible vistas of flat white nothingness, broken in only a few places by a lone gnarled tree.
We arrived at our campsite mid-morning and before setting up camp enjoyed a wonderful breakfast and a very welcome cup of coffee. I put a small bowl of water down on the ground and within seconds about 50 birds flocked to it. My presence, only a couple of metres away, did not seem to faze them in their haste to access the life giving water.
After breakfast, with camp all set up very quickly by the experienced team, we headed out in the game viewer to explore the surrounding pans and waterhole. The vastness was humbling and we were all grateful for Vasco's knowledge and experience as he navigated around this vast reserve leaving us to enjoy and absorb the sights, smells and sounds of our amazing surroundings. We saw lots of Kori Bustard, that are actually an endangered species of bird, but which thrive in the desert regions of Botswana and in fact are very readily seen and common in this environment. Springbok and Gemsbok are also very common species. Black backed jackal, goshawks, honey badgers, bat eared foxes, and a pride of lion were the treasures we were able to enjoy on our game drives. Sundown brought a spectacular display of colour and was enjoyed with a ice cold gin and tonic after the heat of the day.
Dinner was a feast prepared expertly by the team over a campfire and we were able to relax in the cool of the day recounting our fun experiences and learning some Setswana names for the animals we had seen. We all slept solidly after a busy day. I slept in the pop up tent on top of the expedition vehicle and left a bucket with a small amount of water in it at the bottom to wash my feet so I didn't drag white sand up into my tent. In the morning the bucket was empty and there was a very distinct leopard track next to the bucket!!! I had unfortunately been completely unaware in my slumber of my night time visitor.
We spent another wonderful day and night in our campsite before making our way back to the gate now much wiser and more experienced after our foray into the wilderness and certainly much richer for the experience.