We enjoyed our breakfast today in the sunshine wearing winter jackets and gloves. It gets warmer very quickly after sunrise, but starts at about 1 degree Celsius. Then we sat down in the reception to book a flight and accommodations over coffee. We then continued north past Bremen.
Once again we went to the Game Reserve Bagatelle. This time we booked a campsite and a sundowner game drive with cheetah feeding via the internet. After we had eaten our dinner, polenta with vegetable schakalaka, we were off. The cheetahs have come here partly as orphans and would most likely not survive long in the wild. Bzw. be shot by poachers. The oldest cheetah here “Etosha” is 17 years old. He likes to be cuddled during feeding time.
We both once took the opportunity to be very close to the beautiful animals. “Kiara”, a younger female cheetah still has to learn to become more relaxed and that she can trust people. The animals are fed with fresh meat three times a day. Since in nature they also eat small portions of fresh meat several times a day. They have a total of 8 cheetahs here in the Game Reserve, living in large enclosures of 3 groups. Cheetahs are super fast animals (up to 120 Km/h) and they need a lot of exercise. Breeding is not allowed in captivity. That’s why the cats here are separated into male and female. We had the impression that the big cats like it here well and they are kept as species-appropriate as possible and lovingly. There were then still at sunset drinks at a bar on a dune. “Sundowner!”. We walked to our campsite and planned further with a cup of tea.
In the early morning we could see the full moon and the sun in the sky at the same time. Before we could continue our journey, we had to go through the border formalities at the gate with the Botswana border control. Then at the Twee Rivieren gate post we got our permit for today’s park drive and headed west at 9:30 to the Mata Mata Park entrance/exit. We spotted a badger and many birds of prey. Bird ostriches were rubbing their feathers in the sand. Two cheetahs lay under a tree a little further from the road. Giraffes were walking along the (dry) riverbed. Ibex, wildebeest and oryx were walking to the waterhole. A very nice safari.
At the Mata Mata – gate we got the entry stamp for Namibia. Afterwards we drove for about an hour to check in at the Kalahari Farmstall Campsite, which we discovered while driving by. Today we had pasta with arabiata and peaches with vanilla sauce for dinner. Afterwards we did some research. Afterwards we sat down for a while to chat around the campfire with Christel and Helmut from South Africa.
We made delicious pancakes for breakfast. Since we are leaving Botswana and entering Namibia through the park, we had to go to the southern gate of the park today, Twee Rivieren/ Two Rivers. The road was narrow but good to drive. We lingered a bit longer at some waterholes as there were many oryx, springbok and ostrich there. In the last section, about 15 km before our campsite, we have then even seen a cheetah lying under a tree..
And 5 km further two female lions in the high grass on a hill. Since in South Africa winter vacations are, the Campsite is well visited. But we got a short term pitch without any problems. For dinner we had vegetable soup with rice and beet salad.
At shortly before seven the sky started to get brighter. Of course we first looked at the footprints of the lions again.
We started for the gate at 7:20am, paid our bill and then drove the 181km to Nossob Valley where we arrived at 4:05pm. On the way we saw again these giant nests in the trees.
Vultures, jackals, eagles, oryx, wildebeest and ibex were at the few waterholes, some of which were dry. At the fenced South African Park – Campsite many ground squirrels welcomed us. We cooked pumpkin vegetables in cheese sauce with rice and stopped by the (lit) waterhole. Jackals and springboks were there drinking. The full moon additionally illuminated everything nicely.
Since it gets to the frost line here at night, with 28 degrees during the day, we slept very well and nice and warm in double sleeping bags. The jackals from the waterhole plundered our garbage can during the night.
A bit late, at 11:10 am we started from Ghanzi. Our destination today was the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.
Shortly after sunset, we reached Kaa – Gate, where a staff member directed us to the nearby campsite.
We can pay tomorrow morning. Here we sleep in the middle of nature. A plum toilet and a cold shower all to ourselves! For dinner we had a sandwich and then off to the nest!
Ps.: After we had played a round of Carcassonne, and the daily report was ready, I wanted to go to the toilet again briefly. Just as I opened the entrance to the tent strolled two lions past the toilet. They probably ran to the water hole. I didn’t “have” to spend the night. (Thanks to Alessa for the tip with the bucket! When woman knows that for all cases plan B (bucket) is ready, the psyche plays along (-; ). Just yesterday in Ghanzi the landlady told us: “Africa is not for sissy’s!” .
In the early morning we watched a bit more of the big and small hippos.
We first started towards the airport to the Bidvest Rental Station. They had unfortunately no suitable tent cover for us and a day on a production wait we did not want. It went then again on the runway direction Ghanzi on a campground called Palm Afrique Lodge. A small private game reserve with mainly fallow deer. On the site we discovered a large ghost insect. It looks like a branch or twig and is super camouflaged.
For supper we had broccoli/flower charcoal stew with potatoes.
At 7:30 am we said goodbye to Chantal and Sven.
Have a great rest of your time in Botswana and Namibia. We were picked up by a game drive jeep, on which we promptly met the next world travelers Jan and his wife. They are traveling in the same time frame as us, but started in Singapore.
They are doing the trip to the Okavango Delta that Reiner and I spontaneously signed up for yesterday, over 2 days, with an overnight stay in a tent in the bush. After our experience with the elephants, I was not yet comfortable again. Funny how different world travels are. There are usually a few points of intersection, but everyone has different experiences with the people, the food, the accommodations, etc. . Thus, of course, also quite different stories come about. Anyway, the tour today was wonderful and relaxing. 2 hours each jeep – mokoro boat – walking through the bush – mokoro boat – jeep. The boats are very narrow and seat shells were put in, for two guests each. Our guide “Locke” transported us safely with a wooden stick through the river landscape overgrown with reeds and pretty water lilies. Wonderfully tranquil. We saw some birds, dragonflies and elephants in and around the water. The walk through the bush led over an island to a waterhole where hippos, a crocodile and an elephant could be seen. A herd of buffalo ran away from us through the bush and since a few buffalo did not run with us, we changed our route. After a sandwich – lunch, we went back to the starting point by boat.
By jeep, we were back at camp around 5:30pm. We cooked ourselves noodles with Schakalaka. Afterwards we sat down for a while in the bar with a coke and a non-alcoholic beer at the campfire.
After a quiet night we started our drive to Maun after a refreshing cold shower and a cup of hot coffee. A few buffalo grazed in the pastures near our campground, hippos grunted and springbok hopped across the road. Since we found paw prints around our car, we asked the staff if there were any cats around. She said yes, the lions were stalking the buffalo nearby. At Southgate, a few miles away, we saw several game drive vehicles pointing the way not far away to a lion with freshly killed buffalo.
Wow. He proudly guarded his prey and after some time started to continue eating. The “king of beasts” grabbed the huge dead buffalo by the neck and dragged it a bit further.
About 100 yards away was a second lion that must not have been doing well. The rangers told other tourists that the lions hunted in pairs and the one lion was probably injured by the buffalo. Wildlife pure! Since the roads outside the national park got better again, we arrived at our campsite at Old Bridge Backpackers already at 14:45. We met some very nice travelers. Claire and her son Joshua, South Africans, sleeping with their dog (and the second son, who was just on a mokoro boat tour) on a campsite further on, and traveling with a big overlander. And Chantal and Sven, two Germans we already met at Southgate, and who recommended Old Bridge to us. They are expected to finish their one year trip around the world in 2.5 weeks and we accordingly had a lot to talk about. We also had a good meal at the Old Bridge Backpackers Restaurant and sat on the terrace from where we could see hippos with baby and a big crocodile.