Friday, January 25, 2019

Thirst land

Three years ago
inside a San Grass hut.
Color me bright

I don't know where I am going but I am going.

I just had to get away,2018 was the worst year of my entire 58 years on mother earth.
I realized I had to start over once more. Single with heaps of challenges. I had to regain myself,rebirth myself and I needed time and space to achieve that.

in my prayers I asked for a companion, a soul mate. I did not ask for beauty or money,simply a good woman. one that could share my dreams and build my future. I had to get away from the city and its unrelenting personal attacks.

I longed for open spaces,fresh air and endless landscapes. Solitude and natural beauty with Sparkling night skies where stars were bright and close. There I could recharge my batteries,rebirth myself,gain courage for the challenge ahead.

I met her on the internet we talked and shared thoughts some even intimate. I had little time to plan. The place I longed for is far and is very popular. I was advised by an old fiend from that area that it would be difficult to get bookings. He also warned about the heat this time of the year.

It took me two weeks, start to finish, I was on my way. I invited her with and asked her to go the new year in with me. She agreed I flew her in on 30 December 2018 from Durban and we met,for the first time at Oliver Tambo Airport.

Last ditch preparations were in full swing. She does not know the Desert,never been there. She wanted to pack sparkly sandals, I stopped her. I bought closed comfortable walking shoes instead. I warned her about scorpions and insects.

I was there before I fell in love with the Kalahari and its people. I warned her it was going to be tough and hot. I however made the necessary purchases to safeguard us against fatigue and heat exhaustion. It was desert,real desert and it could be deadly if you came unprepared.
Van Zylsrus scene

This is San planting in the desert.
Charlotte and the San.She was in heaven finally she meets her people in their Natural enviroment.
She declares to Barbarra "I am Charlotte I am a San"
She felt overwhelmed by their warmness and friendliness and could hardly believe it that they spoke to me in my mother tongue,Afrikaans.

Charlotte hugging San Children. I had to drag her away we had more to do and see.

An original San Artist and community leader signs Charlotte's shirt with his San name and  an original image. They were on their way to do community work and his last words to me were. "next time you come for a real visit. Will do my friend will do.

At the Park we are nervous. Will we get what we came for at short notice. We did and more. We were given two nights at Twee Rivieren and Nossob each and three nights at Mata Mata. Mission accomplished now to deflate tires to 1.6 bar to have a more comfy ride on the sand and gravel roads.

I cannot advise persons to go with a sedan,some do and miss out a lot on seeing animals. Some roads have high sandbanks in a sedan you cannot see over them. 4X4 vehicles are preferable but not essential.  If you wish to travel further on the Botswana side is essential. You are obligated to travel in a convoy.

A Typical Kalahari scene ubder the shade of a huge nest. The San manufacture curios from natural products and sell it to travelers on their way to the Park.

They co exist with the fauna and Flora of this arid region. They are totally acclimatized.
This is truly a thirst land for man and beast alike yet there is an abundance of life and most water is subterranean. It does not rain here often, one river have not seen water in more than 100 years.
it is essential to carry water in your vehicle wherever you go. We had a cooler bottle and small cooler box that kept us hydrated with ice cold water.

Ice is available in the camps but be warned the further you travel north the smaller the ice packets become and they are more expensive.Use water sparingly and make a contribution in this way. Carry enough your very life may depend on it.

Januarry is one of the hottest months. We experienced temperatures above 45 degrees Celsius.It is advisable to travel early morning while it is still cool. From 11h00 onwards most animals gather in the shade of trees. The Kgalagadi Siesta is between 11h00 and 17h00. In some camps the electricity is cut at 22h00 until 04h00 in order to save on this expensive resource. Upington has a huge solar plant that provides electricity to the region.
Bore holes with wind pumps and solar pumps are a regular sight.

We had a bit of car trouble.next morning I am up early have to go to the Sanparks vehicle repair facility and they sort me out in a Jiffy for the princely sum of a mere R25
Charlotte stayed in the chalet to rest a bit while I did the necessary.

Our first night drive did not materialize on the second one Charlotte burst out laughing because the Owl asked us to shut up by saying. Shhh.

Our third day was spent driving to Nossob that was about 4 hours drive away and believe me it is only 160 km and it takes you that long.Speed limit of 50 km per hour and you risk your life if you go faster not to mention animal lives. We came across several people trying to race through the desert and they were reprimanded and even risked being evicted as it is extremely dangerous.

She loved this bird I obliged with an image.

The landscape keeps on changing as you move along.You see different species in different habitats. Kgalagadi is massive it is twice the size of the Kruger Park and spans three Countries. South Africa,Namibia and Botswana. If you are sensible the roads are not a problem. Allow for enough time for every trip

As a precautionary measure you leave your permit at the gate or the office and inform them on where you plan to go and when you will be back. In that way they monitor that people do not get lost or stranded with them not knowing where to look.

Owl family in a tree. Shhht.

There are many predator birds in the Park and many scavengers as well.

Look at the talons on this vulture

A abundance of life at every watering hole during cooler hours of the day

Clear life giving water being enjoyed by the giraffe.

Eland are huge. They are bovine creatures
that move a lot in the grasslands where there is
enough grazing to sustain them.

Mothers and babies forming the rear guard of this group. had to be quick to get images they move constantly.

The landscape changes frequently from grasslands to dunes to bush. The scenery is beautiful and unique.
Giraffe carcass. probably killed by lion or could have been injured or ill.
Njala bul.

A lone Hartebeest, take note of the Namakwa dove in flight in front of it.

Njala Cow.

Kudu bull
Nossob was the camp where we first found the magnificent Lion the Kalahari is renowned for. I heard a lion roar while using the toilet and believe me you drop your gut from fright of this mighty beasts roar. We watched a lion casually walking by our riverside chalet

look at the size of those paws.

 This lioness and her cubs we saw leaving Nossob. later on we encountered her at Mala Mala during the noght.She was drinking water and the cubs were playfull,

She is a dangerous predator and an excellent hunter. Saw her at night with belly swollen drinking water. She is lactating and needs the fluids for healthy cubs.

Mom and cubs

blue Wildebeest or Gnu and calf

water is essential. The desert plants and trees naturally contain and save water.see the green grazing in the dry riverbed.

Sharp eyed hunter

They cohabit without fear. The eagle knows and the springbok knows they do not prey on each other.

Male and female ostrich cuddling and observing The darker male protects eggs and young at night. The female is best suited during the day because of her coloring.

Old show off doing his paces

A Cory Bustard and Oryx crosses paths

Looks like this jackal is stretched it is just an illusion

Secretary Bird hunting

Falcon with its kill.

Charlotte's most favorite little bird with its bright red chest

Kalahari Sunrise
Our little visitor at Mata Mata
Kalahari Cheetah.

Bat ear fox

Taller than the tree

Bateleur Eagle and Vulture

The trip is not over until the lady set foot on Namibian soil

What are you looking at. They cannot hunt her and she knows it. Cheetah resting at a tree next to a Giraffe

fastest land animal built for speed

Lion resting in the shade

Big boy strolling nothing scares this mighty beast.

Time to relax