We are back in CKGR
To return to CKGR, we left Nxai Pan with a good feeling in our stomachs and headed back to Rakops. We wanted to fill up with Diesel and prepare for the next six nights in CKGR. Diesel was available again and since we had plenty of organic dried vegetables, we didn’t have to rely on buying options for fresh vegetables. ‘Food Lovers Market’ is definitely the best address in Southern Africa if you want to stock up on high quality and a large selection of healthy food.
This time we could only buy fresh potatoes and drinking water in Rakops, and so we were quickly on our way back to the gate. The almost 45 km long access road promised good news. It was totally muddy when we left and now almost completely dried up. Accordingly, we were quickly back in the park, and we first met Guido’s bride and groom. They were on their way to Maun and totally delayed. They had a total of three flat tires and now had to wait four hours for a replacement vehicle. At least they had good sightings in the Kalahari and had a lot of fun there.
Cats – the stars of the CGKR
This second stay was the time for cats. Besides one of two males forming a coalition, we met a part of another pride for several times. Only the dominant male with two lionesses was missing. We met the other eight lionesses and two cubs several times.
We enjoyed setting out very early in the morning especially in the region around Lekhubu and Letitiauh. Mostly we left at the start of dawn (about 5:40 am) so that we could enjoy sightings with the rising sun.
Cheetahs in the morning light
Two days before leaving the CKGR we drove to the waterhole of Letitiauh and Guido still shouted: “Ah a jackal at the waterhole. Wait, no, a Cheetah! – That’s a Cheetaaahhh.”
Wrong, there were two, and they were so kind to ran through the adjacent plain in a soft, reddish morning light. Unfortunately, we couldn’t follow them any further as they disappeared into the tall grass. In CKGR off-roading is prohibited. What a prelude and what a peaceful atmosphere in the early morning. In the afternoon we met the eight lions from the incomplete pride and accompanied them for a while before we went to the camp after a successful day.
The next day, due to a booking error of the agency, we unfortunately had to go to an unattractive camp near the entrance at Xade. We decided that we would leave early in the morning to stay in a more attractive area at Piper Pan. We wanted to stay there until the afternoon and arrive last minute at Xade. The next day our adventure in the Central Kalahari should finally end.
The absent maned lion roars
At night, we could not trust our senses: a lion was roaring. The absent maned lion of the big pride must have returned. We heard his roar the whole night. In the morning it was clear that we try to find him. We immediately saw his tracks, which led in the direction of the waterhole. When we arrived there, we experienced a surprise: there was a lioness, and she was alone.
We stayed with her for a while and could watch her drinking, then she disappeared in the high grass. We followed more tracks, and we finally met the tracks of several lions, but they got lost after 10 km. For us, this remained a mystery. The lioness was still there after our return and rested alone in the high grass. All the explanations we could think of did not fit, and so we left the area with many question marks in our minds. Our transfer to the exit went without incident, and we successfully reeled off the monotonous 72 km of deep sand.
Heading back to Ghanzi
The drive back to Ghanzi the next morning was more exhausting due to the dryness of the previous week, as the deep sand was no longer wet. In Ghanzi we now have two full days to recover and get desiring our last leg in Botswana: the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (KTP), a park also located in the Kalahari – in the south of the country – with a Botswana and a South African part.