Sunday, 30 March 2014

Kieliekrankie and Kalahari Tented Camp

Kieliekrankie and Kalahari Tented Camp

   The next two wilderness camps is Kieliekrankie and Urikaruus.  Both are very popular and can be reached by normal car or "platkar" (flat car).  Kieliekrankie's strong point is that it features a beautiful view over the dunes and also a wide view onto a waterhole in a amphitheatre-like setting.  Lots of tiny birds visit you on your nice-wide stoep.  The huts at Kieliekrankie are also the most luxurious of them all.  The sunsets are also superb and in winter, accompanied by the sounds of thousands of Barking Geckos.

The first sight of Kieliekrankie as you approach the camp.

Parking bays at Kieliekrankie, with the huts at the background.

A Secretary Bird coming in for a drink and a hunt.  They are notorious snake catchers.

After a drink of water, a hunt is in order.  (Secretary Bird.)

Stoep with braai and a wonderful view over the dunes.

Wonderful sunsets with the nearest neighbor real far away.

The Kieliekrankie waterhole with a pair of Rock Pigeons and a Grey Heron enjoying a drink,

Late afternoon view over the Amphitheatre.

One of the two cheetahs after their Springbok meal not far from Kieliekrankie.

Braai and view over the Urikaruus waterhole

Springbok at the waterhole.  Lions brought us a visit at night, but no photos possible.

Springbok in the riverbed at Urikaruus.  Nice and green after the good rains.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Bitterpan and Gharagab Wilderness Camps

During our time in the Kgalagadi, we took accommodation at all the camps, with the exception of the Mabuasehube camps as well as those near Kaa, which we will pass on our planned trip to the Kunene later this year.We stayed over at all the Wilderness Camps and loved them all, but of course there will be the ones we consider our favorites and those are Bitterpan and Gharagab.   Both because one gets a very enjoyable and beautiful dune ride included in the price.  Sorry for those in their "platkarre" who cannot go there.The Bitterpan experience start at Nossob Rest Camp more or less halfway to Unions End and ends near the Craig Lockhardt waterhole next to the Mata-Mata road.

The local Brown Hyena and his shadow, the Blackbacked Jackal at the waterhole near Bitterpan.  We had lions passing the hut at night, once very noisy and the second time we only saw their spoor the next day.  There are only four little huts in the complex, each harboring two people, thus a maximum of eight people per night.  The Barking Geckos are very active here at night in summer, turning their music into a natural choir performance.  This place is a must for 4x4-owning nature lovers.

The dune driving to and from Bitterpan is very enjoyable and a good place to learn how to get over the dunes.  Some of the dunes must be charged in the correct gear and if you stop before you are on the top of the dune, you go back and start all over, but you learn quickly how to do it and then it becomes real fun.  Very much like a roller coaster ride.  Only in the most beautiful nature.  A real privilege.

These photos were taken with a Gopro as we drove through the dunes.  Here are a few to help you get an idea of the scenery - but of course nothing can describe the feeling of being right there.


Some of the locals.  Gemsbok or Oryx.

Gharagab is situated in the far Northern side of the park, quite near Unions End and Grootkolk. This part of the park is not as heavily visited as the southern parts, mostly due to the distances involved, since this part is just as ore even more exciting than the southern part, but that is my own feeling, which may be slanted because of the fact that I cherish solitude when visiting pure nature parts like the Kgalagadi.

Visitors to Gharagab normally make use of the opportunity to also visit Unions End, which is of some importance since it is where the three contries, SA, Namibia and Botswana meet.  There is a picnic spot nearby where one can rest and stretch legs a bit before tackling the dune road to Gharagab.

These communal nests consists of small units made of fine grass and then covered with coarser sticks to forma bell-like structure.  The seperate units hang and form the lower layer of the bell.  The birds then enter from below.  This community had a bit of a mishap with their nest when the Camel Thorn could not carry the weight any longer.

Pale Chanting Goshawk eating its prey.

The huts at Gharagab seen from the water tower on the dune at the back of the camp.  The huts are on their turn overlooking the waterhole from their dune as can be seen on the picture below, which was taken from number 2's veranda.

Three lazy lionesses lying under a tree while wildebeest roam nearby  Shade in the Kgalagadi always comes at a premium.  The sun can be merciless in the Kalahari.

Unions End, where three countries meet.