Sunday, 17 May 2015

From Two Rivers to Molopo Lodge

We normally make our reservations in National Parks in batches of days and sometimes when we catch a wake-up it is too late and we find that the park is full at the time we wanted to book. This happened again and we had to go to the Molopo Lodge about 35 km back towards Askham.

The camping at the lodge is quite nice with us having our own private ablutions and a reasonably good restaurant where we had the best mutton necks of our lives.  I can also recommend their Calamari.

On this visit, a few Bushmen (San) visited us to sell some of their handicrafts.  We befriended them and talked about their lives now in "civilization" and what they still know about the bush and tracking arts their ancestors was so famous for.

We also used the free time and the good internet connection to catch up on this blog and other internet jobs we do.

Below are some pictures of the camping at the lodge, as well as some information about a project sponsored by a person as well as the Lotto.

Nice little shades at the camping sites.  A white donkey is used to keep the grass short. :-)

Little house built for the Bushmen project.  Photo taken from a dune behind the building.

Notices advertising the tracking tours the Bushmen used to do.

What is left of the house and the good intentions of the donors.

Camping sites with our vehicle visible at our camping spot.

Little huts at the Lodge

Monday, 11 May 2015

From Twee Rivieren to Two Rivers and Polentswa in Botswana

Many people are unaware of the existence of a certain camp in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.  It is near the main entrance at Twee Rivieren and quite invisible from that side where most of the traffic and human activities are found.It is on the Botswana side and called Two Rivers Camp.  It has only five campsites and has an ablution block that is most of the time without water and the gas heaters are being used as nests by birds, but one can go and have a shower at Twee Rivieren about two kilometers away and the very nice A-frame huts are very welcome hiding places against the Kalahari sun.Another very good thing about this camp is that it is very seldom full and most of the time it is completely empty so you can be the only people there.  We stayed there for a few weeks and enjoyed the solitary feel of the place very much.  We asked the people on the Botswana side at the entrance gate to please pump some water for us, which they promptly did and we enjoyed the lukewarm showers during the very hot hours of the day.Another plus for some people will be the fact that it is fenced out of the park, it is the only camp on the Botswana side that you can expect lions NOT to visit the camp!  All the other camps in the Botswana side like Rooiputs, Polentswa and the camps in the Mabuasehube area has lions visiting the camps from time to time.

We went to sleep at Polentswa for two nights.  A real treat with a beautiful camp next to the Polentswa Pan and a great waterhole nearby.  We even had lions visiting our camp, probably lured by the smell of water.

Polentswa#2 seen from Polentswa#1

Lions drank the birds' water at Polentswa

Back at Two Rivers at sunrise

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Kalahari Sunset to Tweerivieren in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Well, finally we had to leave Namibia!  Luckily for us, to one of our very favorite places!At the Mata Mata borderpost we experienced something quite unreal.  To explain:  When entering Namibia, you fill in a form where they ask you how long you plan to stay in the country.  At the time of entrance, we just said "about a month" thinking that we are allowed 90 days and that if we should change our plans during our stay in the country, it will be OK and they will actually be glad to have a few extra days' money spent in their country.  Everybody loves tourists visiting their country.So, when the Namibian official at the border post told us in a very stern way that we will have to be arrested for overstaying our time in Namibia, we were totally flabbergasted.  That was just before Christmas and we would have spent Chrismas in jail in Namibia with nobody to bring us some presents in jail :-)  After three hours about and just before she left for her house nearby, she forgave us our mistake and after a long sermon to us as if we are primary school children, she let us go to the other side in South Africa.  The thought that she actually wanted to scare us into paying her a bribe to let us go, crossed my mind, but I refused to offer her a bribe and took the long way to wait her out.  With this comes a warning to people traveling to Namibia and other countries:  Check what the longest period is that you are allowed to stay in the country and make sure you ask for the maximum when you enter and make sure it is notified correctly in your passport before leaving the counter when you check in.  You may always stay for a shorter period than allowed, but definitely not longer.Once inside South Africa and the Kgalagadi, we were happy to experience the atmosphere, the landscapes and the animals of this wonderful place again.  We were booked in at Twee Rivieren on the SA side and we took the road there.We stayed in the park for about two months in the end.  We had some more troubles with our vehicles here, mostly because of the bad state the roads can be in some times. Luckily the animals were not shy and we saw many wonderful things, some of which we were lucky to be able to capture on film.  Here are some of them.

Very large bird Cori Bustard

Cori Bustard - largest bird that is able to fly.

Ostrich  in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Ostrich and chicks.  The largest bird and not able to fly.

 Cheetah in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Cheetah with kill in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Cheetah in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Cheetah with Springbuck kill in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Lions in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Lions drinking water in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Pride of lions drinking water in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Pride of Lions in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Male lion watching female lion in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Male and female lions  in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Cheetahs in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Three Cheetahs in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Resting Cheetahs in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Cheetahs resting in the shade  in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Cheetahs enjoying a meal in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Cheetahs enjoying a meal.

A Picnic spot in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Ostriches with chicks in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Ostriches with chicks in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

From Red Dune to Kalahari Sunset, still on the C15.

By now we were very near Mata Mata, but we decided to do one more of the string of nice campsites next to the C15.We stopped at the farmhouse of Kalahari Sunset camp and were welcomed by the wife who gave us their WiFi password and after we bought some cookies and biscuits from her stall, we went to the campsites some small distance from the house.  Each of the campsites have its own little ablution area - very comfortable.  The campsites are situated under Camel Thorn trees and very much Kalahari-like.The friendly owner stopped at our spot a while later and invited us on a drive to his game animals that he was feeding some extra supplementary food.  He also took us on an extensive drive over the dunes to show us his wildebeest.  We enjoyed the dune riding as well as the game viewing very much.  The hospitality of some of these Namibian farmers are legendary and one can get stuck with some of them for a week or more!  Really not a problem.:-)

On the way to Kalahari Sunset, a view on the dry Aub river from the C15

On the way to Kalahari Sunset, a view on the dry Aub river from the C15

Reception and Farm Shop at Kalahari Sunset

Camping sites at Kalahari Sunset

From Aub Lodge to Red Dune Camp on the C15

Still not really wanting to leave Namibia, we drove on a little distance and passed a farmhouse on the right of the road,  In front of the place was a board with the name "Red Dune Camping" and we decided to investigate.
We were welcomed by a very friendly gentleman who told us that we can camp on a dune some distance from the road.  We took off to the campsite and were surprised by the natural beauty of the place.  There were water and rustic ablutions, quite luxurious according to bush standards. Investigating the area a bit, we found another campsite further on the dune with the same standard of amenities, but a little bit smaller.  That will make a very nice camping spot for a few couples.  To get onto the dune, one needs a 4x4 with soft tyres.
Back at our camp, we took a few pictures and made a fire for our usual  braai and chat before rising the tent and got into bed for a good night's sleep listening to the night sounds of the Kalahari.

Our camp at Red Dune.  Quite a large group can overnight here on their way to or from the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Late afternoon picture taken from the dune.  

A view from the dun over the "straat" (road) towards the other dunes.  The Kalahari people call the valley between the dunes  a straat which means road or way.

A Shepherds Tree with typical roots dug into and spread around the tree in the dunes.

The smaller camp with its own Shepherds Tree. It also have a deck where a small tent may be pitched.

Strange shapes of some of the Shepherds Trees in the Kalahari

Taken on the dune towards the Safari Tent in the far distance.  This tent is very nice for people who want some more luxury in the dunes of the Kalahari.