On the drive from Mata Mata to Twee Rivieren a leopard ran in front of our car and used the road as a path. He preferred the gravel road as a running path and ran comfortably in front of us for several minutes before he disappeared into the grass again. This was another welcome highlight. At the time, we didn’t know that this would be our last cat sighting.
In fact, neither in the four nights in Twee Rivieren, nor in the following four nights in Nossob did we see even the hint of cats. Nevertheless, it was not boring for us – promised.
Flute in Two Rivers
The stay in Twee Rivieren was as unspectacular as it could be. The campsite was crowded and noisy and the surrounding area was so empty that, apart from a few antelopes, nothing wanted to show itself to us. Not even birds were around – except for a wonderful owl. This had its pedigree and we could visit it again and again and complain to it our suffering 😉
Tall grass as far as the eye can see
All our hopes now rested on our stay in Nossob. The drive there was characterized by dusty roads and incredibly green surroundings. Even with the Land Cruiser and the elevated seating position, it was not possible in places for us to see over the grass into the plains. In Kgalagadi two factors come together here: 1. the road is always worn down a bit when leveling the corrugated sheet, so that it slowly but surely sinks and 2. there was the very high grass. It was very hard times for visitors with sedans or SUVs.
Stress of moving in Nossob
Once we arrived in Nossob, we settled in at the regular campsite. The booking system offered us at that time the booking of the basic campsite on two days and a premium campsite on the other two days. This differs in that it costs almost twice as much, but offers an isolated campsite with its own shower/WC and sink area. We now had to move every day. The lady at the reception offered us to spend the full four nights on the basic campsite, so we do not have to move. However, you don’t get reimbursed for the extra cost if you downgrade. We declined with thanks, because we do not own a trailer and therefore do not have to build a permanent camp.
We looked for a shady campsite on the edge and were very lucky, because a short time later we got neighbors. We make it short: Roland and Erika were an absolute stroke of luck. The two of them were very sympathetic and we got along so well that we always spent the coming evenings together. We had a very, very good time with them and we are already looking forward to seeing them again in early 2023 near Kruger NP. In the late afternoon of the first day something happened that we would not have expected at any time.
Our pop-up roof collapses
Guido was cheerfully about to retract the pop-up roof to go on the afternoon gamedrive when it suddenly and unexpectedly fell on his head. The ease with which it lowered was not normal and all the alarm bells in Guido’s head shrilled. The attempt to get it back up failed. On one side, the gas strut that lifts the roof and holds it in place was no longer connected to the roof. After a brief analysis, it was clear that the screw connecting the strut to the roof had snapped off at the strut. How could this happen? The car has only been in use for a few weeks and the cabin is new – material wear due to age can be ruled out. We were fortunate to have met two couples earlier where one of the men is also a member of the Land Cruiser Club Southern Africa. They were extremely helpful and wanted to create a solution with us.
Help is near
The mechanic in Nossob assisted us by welding the screw back on. The quality was not particularly good but everyone felt that it should last a few days. With combined efforts and the use of a ratchet, we were able to reattach the strut to the roof and the structure did its job (temporarily). We lightened the load on the roof by adding 2 poles that we carry for our awning to hold it in place during high winds. With a queasy feeling we slept the first night in the construction. Guido was not only angry, but also sad about the work delivered by the manufacturer. It’s hard to imagine what would have happened if the roof had collapsed during the night while we were lying in bed.
looking for cats
We came to terms with the idea of sleeping the upcoming nights with the support of the poles and explored the surroundings as usual. Every day we drove about 70 km to the north, passing Polentswa on the Botswana side, and still the cats remained missing. In contrast, we saw a notable number of birds of prey engaged in nest building in pairs. Among them were two Martial Eagles and a pair of Bateleurs. These were fantastic sightings.
On the last evening, we wanted to spend the night again on the Premium Campsite, it happened again: While setting up the bed, the screw broke again – this time at the (bad) weld seam – and we panicked slightly.
DO THE POLES HOLD?
The night promised about -2 ° C and the reception was closed long ago. Guido asked Roland to possibly lend us two more poles to stabilize the roof and he even gave him galvanized poles. Guido then supported the roof with 4 poles and put two storage boxes on edge at the stern for safety, so that we were (theoretically) protected in the best possible way in case of a crash. The night was windy and restless and we were glad to open our eyes the next morning around 5.00 am and find everything intact. We then drank our coffee and tea in the large bathroom, since we could not hang the bed on the roof, and left the camp early in the direction of the park exit.