Cape Town to Tanzania 2014

Solo trip for 12 months - Toyota Hiace 4x4 van

Kalahari Desert

June 1, 2014  —  Botswana
Kalahari Desert - Botswana

As stated in the previous blog, the Kalahari Desert covers about three quarters of Botswana and there is sand everywhere; it is the largest contiguous sand-covered area in the world with its 2.5 million square kilometres.

Exiting from Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, I expected better roads but I was somewhat surprised. On this photo, I am a few metres outside the park and here is the road that was in front of me... I would have to drive about a hundred kilometres. Accepting the fact, I started to drive on...

Kalahari Desert - Botswana

After a few kilometres, I notice with the help of the GPS that I am not heading in the right direction. I turn back and I arrive at the 'real' road. Wow! It is even nicer than the other one. Sand and more sand...

It was just the beginning. In the following weeks, I will drive a few hundred kilometres of sandy tracks such as these. Sometimes, it was even more difficult track for the van. Even though several travellers and rangers told me I would not be able to drive those tracks, I succeeded in negotiating the tracks and getting stuck only 2 times and I got out of my predicament by myself; by shovelling sand for 1 hour the first time and 30 minutes the second time.

Khutse Game Reserve

Khutse Game Reserve - Botswana
Female Kudu.

Khutse Game Reserve is an extension to the Central Kalahari Game Reserve; it is the same ecosystem in both reserves.

Several species of animals are common to those already seen in Namibia and everywhere in Southern Africa. In the desert, it is supposed to be easier to spot leopards, lions, and cheetahs. I was lucky and I have seen all these three big cats (the cheetah from far away).

Khutse Game Reserve - Botswana
Khutse Game Reserve - Botswana
Giraffes seem well adapted to the arid conditions of the Kalahari.
Khutse Game Reserve - Botswana
Khutse Game Reserve - Botswana
The rare waterholes are good places to see animals. In many cases, there are artificial waterholes. A wind-operated pump keeps the waterhole from drying up.
Khutse Game Reserve - Botswana
Springboks.
Khutse Game Reserve - Botswana
Khutse Game Reserve - Botswana

A lioness was prowling around my campsite. It was difficult to see due to the long herbs on the ground.

In the evening and the next morning, I have seen the lioness walking around with its four cubs.

Khutse Game Reserve - Botswana
Khutse Game Reserve - Botswana
Who would not like to have one of these small cats in their house? (Note: the photos are not very sharp since it was dark; the sun was not out yet.)
Khutse Game Reserve - Botswana
Khutse Game Reserve - Botswana
A nice encounter! It is impressive since it is an animal that is more than a metre high and weights probably around 130 kg (2 times my weight).
Khutse Game Reserve - Botswana
Khutse Game Reserve - Botswana
Khutse Game Reserve - Botswana
It seems to be slightly hurt.
Khutse Game Reserve - Botswana
After their walk, they rested in the wood.

Central Kalahari Game Reserve

Central Kalahari Game Reserve - Botswana

The Central Kalahari is a vast region of 52,000 square kilometres. When in the centre of the reserve, it is possible to drive 50 kilometres east or west and more than 100 kilometres north or south.

When I was there, there were not many cars in the reserve. I drove the second day for nearly 100 kilometres without seeing another vehicle. That evening, I was on an isolated campsite more than 20 kilometres away from the other nearest campsite.

Alone in the middle of the desert, it is so peaceful.

Central Kalahari Game Reserve - Botswana
Hundreds of kilometres of tracks.
Central Kalahari Game Reserve - Botswana
Oryx.
Central Kalahari Game Reserve - Botswana
Central Kalahari Game Reserve - Botswana
A wild watermelon.
Central Kalahari Game Reserve - Botswana
The inside of a melon.
Central Kalahari Game Reserve - Botswana
Central Kalahari Game Reserve - Botswana
Yellow mongoose.
Central Kalahari Game Reserve - Botswana

I was hoping to see one of these small bat-eared foxes.

I saw more than 10 of them.

Central Kalahari Game Reserve - Botswana
Central Kalahari Game Reserve - Botswana
New species - Bat-Eared Fox.
Central Kalahari Game Reserve - Botswana
Black-backed Jackal with its breakfast.
Central Kalahari Game Reserve - Botswana
Central Kalahari Game Reserve - Botswana
Central Kalahari Game Reserve - Botswana
Lions have a particularly black mane in the Kalahari.
Central Kalahari Game Reserve - Botswana
Who knows what cats might be hiding in these high herbs?
Central Kalahari Game Reserve - Botswana
Central Kalahari Game Reserve - Botswana
Some good luck once more. This leopard crossed the road just a few metres from me.
Central Kalahari Game Reserve - Botswana
Central Kalahari Game Reserve - Botswana