PHOTOS Khutse game Reserve in the Kalahari of Botswana is a truly wild place where nature reigns.
That was my reaction that third night when Steve from the Lion and Leopard Research Project drove up to our campsite around dusk.
After several days in the wilds of the Kalahari’s Khutse Reserve Russ and I got used to the quiet, no people only the sounds of birds or the ringing in my ears. Ever been in a place so quiet you ears literally start ringing?
After our first day without phone service or internet access I was pretty much ready to leave. After all, we’d seen Ostrich with their young, several herds of Springbok, Hartebeest, two Bat Eared Foxes, numerous Gemsbok, even a little one who was afraid of the Egret that wanted to check him for ticks, Lappet Face Vultures, a Tawny Eagle, and even a Kori Bustard.
However, that second day, although we didn’t see much because of the thick vegetation (had rained recently) and water being more plentiful, it different simply experiencing the wilds with no care for what time it was. Except of course making it to our next campsite before dark. Don’t want to be caught after dark in the Kalahari Game Reserve where there are no fences to keep you and the lions apart.
That second night a storm moved in and we rushed to take a bucket shower. In Khutse you have to be totally self sufficient, hauling enough fuel and water to last your stay. Russ took one of our 5 liter bottles, after cleaning out the elevated bucket, poured the water in. You can’t take a long shower and the water is only luke warm… which is nice in 100 degree weather.
We barely made it to the tent with all our gear for the night… no going out after dark, when the wind picked up and the rain drops came pelting down. The rain stuck around all night, thwarting our early ‘get up, pack up and go on a game drive’ plans. So instead we watched the rain from our rooftop tent, chatted and played a few rounds of solitaire on the iPad.
When it was really time to visit the long drop (pit toilet) kindly the rain stopped. We were about packed up with a dry tent and a yummy breakfast in our tummies when the lions roared! I hurried a bit faster despite that it sounded rather far off. On our way out of the park we chatted with an Overlander, all the way from Holland, who’d had two lions walk by his tent that very morning. We were conflicted about being jealous!
The day was much of the same, lots of driving, mistaking gnarly old trees and branches for wildlife. However, the scenery and environment is unique and captivating as are the Ostrich families with their babies. We saw several, some with really small chicks and one with a clutch of 14 half grown ones. And can they ever run!
We spent hours sitting at a waterhole enjoying the birds of which there are many in Botswana. Maybe our expectations were wrong or maybe the mammals are sadly disappearing, we’d hoped for large herds of antelope and much more variety. Steve later told us that in the old pocket conservation model (where isolated parcels of land are set apart for nature) certain species simply don’t thrive and eventually disappear.
The Khutse game Reserve in the Kalahari of Botswana is truly a wild place where nature reigns.
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