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Lots of Dry Pans

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Published: June 17th 2017

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01 Sunrise01 Sunrise01 Sunrise


The view from our tent at sunrise.

Geo: -23.5741, 24.104

This morning we were woken up by the alarm and it was still dark. After a few hits of the snooze button we got up to go for a game drive. The sun was about to rise. We drove north towards the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. At the top of a dead looking tree I noticed a huge bird. Paul recognised it as a White Backed Vulture. I then noticed more of them in surrounding trees. We stopped at Khutse Pan II to have a coffee. The great thing about this reserve is that we were allowed to get out of the car as long as there are no predators about and we didn’t stray too far. We stretched our legs and enjoyed a hot drink. The pan was huge and dry. We could see some giraffe and springbok.

We continued north past Tshilwane Pan and then we entered the Kalahari. Driving past Mahurushele Pan and Sekushuwe Pan we didn’t see anything at all- maybe the animals were sleeping in until it was warm enough to venture out. I so wish we had done the same, it was still pretty chilly. The next pan was Khwankwe. There are campsites

02 Track02 Track02 Track


The track leading out of our campsite.

here and we came across site number one, which had a great view over the pan. We decided to book this site next time we come here.

On Khwankwe Pan we saw a Kori Bustard, Secretary Bird and on the other side there was a large group of giraffes of all different sizes. They stopped and stared at us. Unfortunately they didn&’t come any closer so we left. The track was becoming even sandier. Unexpectedly we came across a resting donkey. We drove close to it and it didn&’t move. Paul got out and it still didn&’t move. Paul gave it some water to drink and then it reluctantly got out of our way. The poor donkey looked quite weak. I&’m not too sure what it was doing in the reserve. Paul thinks it will be a lion&’s dinner very soon. Soon after we reached an intersection. We turned south and headed back to Khutse. In the dry grass we saw some ground squirrels scurrying in and out of their burrows.

We were now back at Khutse Pan II. It was much more alive now that the sun was up. We saw some gemsbok, red hartebeest and springbok. By the

03 Track03 Track03 Track


The main track that goes around the reserve.

pan there were also about a dozen vultures.

We drove back to the camp site and packed up our tent. Once again we drove past Khutse Pan II. This time we saw many more vultures- about 50. They were the Lapet Faced and White Backed variety. There was only one road from our previous campsite to the next one. Along here near the Kujwe Pan we had a close encounter with four gemsbok. They had just crossed the road. After the stopped and stared at us for enough time to take a photo, they ran away. Along this track there was a lot of tumbleweed blocking the road. I had never seen tumbleweed before- except in the movies. We easily drove over it.

We arrived at our next campsite near Molose waterhole. It is one of two waterholes in the reserve that has water pumped into it by a solar charged pump. Before finding our campsite we went for a drive around Molose waterhole. Paul said that there is a good chance of seeing predators at the waterhole and he was right. We saw a lioness walking around the waterhole and then she had a drink. She walked away. We followed

04 Brown Bird04 Brown Bird04 Brown Bird


Its also known as Ant Eating Chat.

until she went down a track with a no entry sign. There was nothing else at the waterhole so we went to set up camp. On the side of the track we saw a family of kudu- male, female and youngster.

This campsite also had a long drop toilet and a bucket on a pulley for a shower. This site was considered ‘developed&’. We put the solar shower in the sun. Apparently it only needed three hours to be ready. The site was on a small hill and we had a nice view of the surrounding bush. Once again we set up camp. Then we drove back to the waterhole.

In the distance we saw a journey of giraffe. They were slowly walking towards the waterhole. We got excited as we were parked very close to the water. It would make some great photos. We waited. There were about a dozen giraffe of different sizes. Another car came along and parked. The giraffe seemed scared of us and slowly walked in a circular direction, but continued to look at the waterhole. We drove to the other side of the waterhole thinking that maybe we were parked where the giraffe normally drank.

05 Track05 Track05 Track


The track that leads through the reserve.

Along came a gemsbok. We watched it for quite a while. It drank, stepped back, looked around and then came back for more water. It seemed very skittish. While watching the gemsbok, the giraffe were slowly coming closer. We didn&’t see them actually walk. Just each time we looked at them, they were closer. I wanted to photograph them before the sun set. The light was slowly getting worse. Two more gemsbok came along and the three of them walked away. We now gave up on the giraffes- it had been nearly two hours.

We went back to camp and started our fire. Put the kettle on- I wanted a hot water bottle tonight. I tested the solar shower. The water was too cold to shower with- despite the instructions saying that it only needed three hours in direct sunlight to be warm. Maybe tomorrow I&’ll shower. We sat around the fire, looked at the stars, chatted, drank red wine, cooked and ate dinner. Tonight didn&’t seem as cold as last night.





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