Wild Botswana, Kalahari and Kubu island trip report.
We did the wild Botswana, Kalahari and Kubu island trip at the end of January 2019. What a lot of fun. First off was a looong drive from Pietermaritzburg to a b&b in Zeerust. But you have to drive to get somewhere. Anyway the next day was quite short into Botswana via the Pioneer gate border. Driving through the capital of Botswana was lovely. What a clean city Gaborone is. Another 4 hours on tar got us to Khama rhino sanctuary but not before one of our group had to jump through a lot of loops to get a visa. Russians!
Khama didn't let us down. The animals are all over the place.
I didn't manage a photo but we could see the National animals of Namibia, Botswana and South Africa all together. Amazing. We had to wake up early to see the sun rise over the African bush and then a breakfast of bacon and eggs for the champions. Today we are going to one of the largest nature reserves in the world. The Central Kalahari is not for sissies as you need to have your own water and fuel for your whole stay. We were going to camp there for 2 nights. And it was worth it. As we drove into our camp my mad wife jumped out to check for a good spot to park the Landy.
Next thing I see a lioness running through the bush maybe 15m away. Yes!
I yelled and Leslie sprinted. All ended well though. She is still around. Have to be careful. Later on after the tents were up we did a drive to Desolation pan. Not so good but you have to try. Actually it was okay. We did see plenty of Gemsbok, Springbok and Wildebeest and the biggest bird in the world that can fly. Kori bustards can get to 18kg's.
We had heard about the huge black maned lions and really wanted to see them. Don't worry early the next day we were cruising around when I thought a bush looked a bit strange. Low and behold it was a huge lion. As we drove closer he got up and sauntered off. Where was he going? Next thing another huge lion came from the other direction. I think they were brothers because they greeted each other very nicely. We sat and watched them for ages but now I was rather peckish. Back to camp for breakfast and then back to the loins. They hadn't moved. Lazy bastards.
So we drove to Sunday pan.
Again not so good but on the way back I look up and there was the biggest leopard I had ever seen. The Kalahari breeds them big. He was on a mission so we went back to check on our other boys. Yup still hadn't moved. Geez. So back to camp to cook dinner. As the sun was setting the lions got noisy. Sitting in the bush with no fences and lions making a racket is rather scary. But they didn't come through our camp. I am sure something got killed that night though.
I was wide awake the next morning. Ready to check out the funky Planet Baobab. So we left the Kalahari and drove about 5 hours to stay at Planet Baobab.
As the name says, there are huge Baobab trees here.
They even have a pub. Heaven. We cooked dinner again and slept under the stars. Better than a 5 star hotel. Next day was off to Elephant sands. If you only go to 1 place in Botswana it should be here. Everyone loves this place. We drive in to find a camp spot with a view onto fresh water pumped there to attract wild elephants. It's just amazing. So we sitting under the gazebo in the shade sipping on a cold one watching these huge animals stroll 20m away from us to drink. Unbelievable. Tonight we had dinner in the restaurant for a break and then on to a real wild adventure.
Kubu island was waiting.
We drove back on the tar road through Nata for some fuel and then onto the Makgadikgadi pans. The first part has quite a few trees and we stopped for some tree climbing in a huge Baobab tree. Further on is the Makgadikgadi pans adventure center. I always stop for a break and to buy a cold one from the lonely chap that looks after the place. It's also great to stretch the legs. Another 35 minutes through a vet line and we arrived at a very special place. Kubu means Hippo in Tswana and the big rocks look just like hippos sticking out the water.
We had to go exploring so off we went. It is a lovely walk around the island and we saw Springbok wandering around. I love birds and was happy to get close to a Lanner falcon. Later on while tanning some lamb chops on the fire a wind storm blew in. Luckily we were quite sheltered and it didn't last long. Supper was incredible. Sour dough bread, lamb chops and salad with a few cold ones. Just what the doctor ordered.
We didn't know but the fun was really about to start!
I thought it looked a bit damp on the way to Kubu but the road was crazy on the other side. After cruising along beautifully across the pans we got into some MUD. Oh boy. The ridiculous Defender barged through but the other vehicles weren't so lucky. Damn. Somehow this amazing Defender got back to yank out the other vehicles. I was so proud. After that it was fine and we finally got to Letlhakane. The cars were shaking with all the mud on the wheels so we had a local car wash spend hours washing the mud off.
Our adventure was coming to an end.
We drove about 3 hrs to camp at Martins Drift. It was so close to SA that we were picking up our local cell network. Supper was a lovely pasta with creamy cheese and bacon. Needed that because the next day was another 8 hrs drive back home.
The wild Botswana, Kalahari and Kubu island tour is an incredible adventure that everyone should do and it is only from a Saturday to the next Sunday. No excuses. I hope the Wild Botswana trip report inspires you to join us next time.
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