There’s a Rhino in my Camp…

Day 03

Khama Rhino Sanctuary to Deception Camp, Central Kalahari Game Reserve

Distance : 400 km

Early wake up at around 6am and while we were setting the fire up for breakfast one of the other campers came driving through towards the ablutions. He rolled down his window and told us that he was driving to the ablutions to pick up his wife as there was a rhino walking around their camp site and he didn’t want her walking into it on her return!

We quickly gathered cameras and shot through to his camp – about 70m away – and true enough, there was a black rhino calmly walking around the edges of the camp site browsing on the bushes. We took pictures of the rhino as it wandered back and forward and then got talking to the couple that had originally given us the heads up. They frequent the park regularly and while they originally used the park as a stopover (as we were now doing) they now spend a couple of nights at the park as the dams/pans in the park are visited by a wide variety of animals.

Later on we were discussing the rhino and John mentioned that he had seen it meters from his vehicle (in which he sleeps) as it came browsing past our camp in the early hours of the morning.

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After the welcome sighting we drifted back to our camp, had our breakfast, broke camp and headed back to the main gate where we loaded up on firewood for the next week. Along the way we saw a small group of waterbuck – a sighting that was dismissed as ridiculous by the other vehicle (they did not see them) so, to you bunch, check out the picture below and suck on it! (And no, its not photoshopped).

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Soon we were on the road heading north west towards the northern end of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve.

A small rant –

Q: How do you know when there are goats in Africa?

A: Nothing edible survives below 1.5m above ground level (see picture below)

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As we travelled the landscape began to change with large dry pans appearing beside the road. Finally we saw the sign we had all being waiting for – Central Kalahari – no fuss, no fanfare, just a sign and a dirt road leading off into the distance. Shortly after the turn off we stopped to reduce the tyre pressure in the vehicles and trailer plus a short stop for lunch.

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At last !!!

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What a pan looks like in winter… no water

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This is not a pan – its just bloody flat here!

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Dropping tyre pressure

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Lunch – under the biggest tree we could find

 

By now our spirits – both emotional and alcoholic – were rising as we finally, after almost 3 days of travel, left civilisation behind and entered the roads less travelled. And this road was dead straight, albeit in a slightly drunken weaving kind of way, that kept our speed down to less than 50km/hr.

There would come a time, a few days later, where we would come to wish for a ‘highway’ like this…

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The straight and narrow and weavy and rutted road.

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Check-in at the main gate was a breeze as we had booked and paid for everything up front – camp sites, vehicles and gate passes. A special note on the sign below – the final point lists ‘tracks’ instead of ‘roads’, an extremely accurate portrayal of what we would be encountering along the way 🙂

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As we drew closer to Deception Valley we started seeing some game and were at last in ‘wild’ Africa.

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Steenbok

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Springbok

 

 

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Northern Black Korhaan

Finding our camp site was easy and no sooner had we stopped and climbed out we were joined by a flurry of hornbills and francolins. The hornbills had no problem with us, eventually walking right amongst the chairs and grabbing anything they could – including a few exposed toes! The francolins were more reserved and well behaved but soon were nicknamed ‘chickens’ as their behaviour was so similar.

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Stick insect – when pictured from above you can hardly see him against the background of leaves and twigs

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Captain Grumpy

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All set up and ready to braai

By now Dietwin was getting very good at mastering the various tasks required around the camp – even in the dark!

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Facts for the day –

Distance 400.3 km
Min Alt 906.860 meters
Max Alt 1246.790 meters
Max Speed 125.9 km/hour
Avg Speed 38.8 km/hour

The day’s route –

Day 03

 

 

 

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