Sunday, 21 December 2014

After the lonely, remote Central Kalahari, we moved on to Ghanzi, the largest town in the southwestern area of Botswana.  Be warned, liquor is very expensive here. :-)  There is also a shortage of good camping facilities, with Tautona Lodge having the best we could find around Ghanzi.  We are at Elizenheim Gastehaus at the moment and will be moving out south tomorrow morning, so below follows the description of the trip from Tautona Lodge to Otjiva Lodge.

The restaurant at Tautona Lodge.  Well-kept and clean.  The camping sites are large and near a pavilion looking out on a waterhole, but sadly the vegetation prevents a clear view of the waterhole.  We were totally alone and enjoyed the solitude for a few days before moving on to Guma Lagoon.

Guma lagoon was a real gem and well worth the effort of the deep sand drive to the place.  The campsites are huge, shady and each have their own ablutions.  The whole place radiated peaceful tranquility.

At the main building, one has a very good view over the lagoon and lots of chairs, couches and everything needed for a lazy day's rest.

One can hire a canoe, a mokoro or go on a trip with one of the motor boats on the lagoon.

Next we went to Nunda River Lodge in Namibia.  The most wonderful sunsets did we see here!  Also had a bad experience when someone broke the Hilux's window and stole cash, a camera and a laptop.  Security at Nunda failed us miserably!  Maybe we should have tried another one of the many lodges along the Okavango river in this area?

The deck at the main building at Nunda River Lodge.

Again next to the Okavango River.  This time near Rundu at Hakusembe River Lodge.  This lodge serves very nice cocktails on their spacious deck.

The camping next to the Okavango at Hakusembe River Lodge.  Each site has its own little ablution hut.

Our next stop was at Bushbaby Safaris near Grootfontein where we spent about a week.  They have great WIFI at their lodge where we were treated like kings.

Rhinos and a cow at the waterhole near the lodge building on a hill.  Wonderful views can be seen from this position.

This camp is called Dik-Dik after a small antelope that occurs here.  It is a very informal camp with only the barest amenities, but still very clean and well-kept.  We were the only ones at this camp as well.  It is situated about 30km from Tsumeb from Grootfontein.  A good overnight stay.

In Tsumeb is a new resort called Kupfer Quelle where the camping sites are very large, grassed and under huge shady trees.  A bit far from wilderness, but that is also needed on a tour like this.  Shops and a restaurant with a pub and very friendly barmen.  Good WIFI even at the camping sites.

The restaurant at Kupfer Quelle.  Like most of the camping places we mention, they also have good permanent accommodation available should the weather turn bad.

Our friendly barmen at Kupfer Quelle.  We took a few samples there.

Great to see large game in such abundance!  At the Little Namutoni waterhole in Etosha we saw loads of Giraffe, Oryx, Springbok, Kudu and even Hyenas who joined the party!

Another beautiful waterhole on the way between Namutoni and Okaukuejo.

At the Okaukuejo waterhole we saw this massive Giant Eagle Owl sleeping in the nearest tree to the waterhole.

A white elephant!  At Etosha one sometimes see these white elephants.  Not a different species, but normally after a bath in one of the chalky waterholes on find in the area.

Back at the Okaukuejo waterhole next to the camp, elephants and springbok.

Still at Okaukuejo waterhole.  Giraffe and Oryx.

To the western side of Etosha, the part that was closed to tourists, the Dolomites Camp overlooking a waterhole.

Still at the erstwhile out-of-bounds area of Etosha, a new camping-only camp called Olifantsrus with a very good gameviewing hide.  In fact, the best I have ever seen!

Seen from the hide.

Seen from the hide.

The Springbok are so well-camouflaged on sees them only in their reflection on the water!

Seen from the hide.

Two lionesses seen on the way to Olifantsrus

The Greatest Gameviewing Hide Ever Built!

We saw Rhinos here two nights in a row.  Many more animals will congregate here when they become aware of this new facility.

The top floor facilty with hidden lights for nighttime viewing, electricity plugs for laptops, etc.

The bottom floor facility with one way mirrors for real close-up game viewing.

Just six kilometers from Kamanjab on the road to Etosha's Galton Gate is Alpec Bush Camp.  A very good spot to overnight or to spend a few nights doing game drives, enjoying a drink at the bar and to just relax a bit.

A great little dwelling at Alpec Bush Camp!

The Bushies at Alpec!

A GoPro picture of the waterhole one night at Alpec.

A wonderful camping place is Mamselle on the way between Outjo and Anderson Gate near Okaukuejo.  

Buschfeld Park Rest Camp near Outjo.  Also a great place to camp or stay in one of their neat permanent dwellings.

The pool and restaurant at Buschfeld Park.

A real gem is Otjiva Lodge on the B1 South of Otjivarongo.  Great camping, great restaurant, great game viewing, great WIFI.  Highly recommended.

One of the camping sites at Otjiva.

The Restaurant/Pool area at Otjiva Lodge.

The Bushies at Otjiva Lodge.

We plan the rest of our trip to go through the Kgalagadi, then back into Botswana and Namibia.  Come back for more in a few days!

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

We, The Bushdrifters or "The Bushies" as we call ourselves, embarked on another trip during 2014 through Botswana and Namibia  We had a bad start with another wheel coming off the Cruiser, but this time it looks like the side-shaft supplied with the previous breakage may be the problem.  We decided never to use another part from any other supplier but from Toyota itself.

Due to a break-in we had during our visit to Nunda River Lodge near Divundu, we lost a lot of our earlier photos and I can therefore not place any photos from our stay at Tzaneen Dam and Khama Rhino in Botswana.  Some early pictures were not stolen, since they were  not on the camera or laptop that was stolen.

The dining room at Boma in the Bush near Polokwane on the Makhado road north.  A good place to overnight on your way to Zimbabwe or some of the Northern game reserves.

The restaurant and campsite at the Big Fig camp near the border post at Martin's Drift.  A good place to evernight and to enjoy a light meal.

"You picked a fine time to leave me, loose wheel" 

The view from Tiaan's Camp over the Boteti river into the Makgadikgadi National Park in Botswana.

Start of a great breakfast at Tiaan's Camp in Botswana

Yellow-Billed Hornbill posing for me at our campsite in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve

These hornbills normally get involved in a huge, never-ending territorial fight with their own reflections in the car windows!

Springbok in the Central Kalahari.  Thousands of hectares of just nature!  A wonderful experience one should not miss!

A Bat-eared Fox in the Central Kalahari.  They live off insects that they find underground with their keen hearing abilities.

One of many of the pans in the Central Kalahari.  After the rain, when they have water, thousands of animals congregate on them, creating wonderful views.

A Lappet-Faced Vulture in the Central Kalahari

A Secretary Bird in the Central Kalahari.

A large herd of Springbok in the Central Kalahari.

A Giraffe mother and her young calf in the Central Kalahari.

Springbok hiding against the sun in the shade of a hardy Camel-Thorn tree in the Central Kalahari.

A lioness that came walking into our camp while we were sleeping on our reclining chairs.  Luckily I woke up and warned Cari about her.  Luckily, she was not hungry!

Gemsbok in the Central Kalahari

A Lapped-Faced vulture, Guinea Fowl at a waterhole and a blue Wildebeest in the distance on the pan in the Central Kalahari.

Ostriches in a pan in the Central Kalahari

Finally reached Xade Gate of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve!  Temperature 47 degrees C.

From here, on to Ghanzi, a large town in the western part of Botswana and the starting point of my next chapter.