Mahurushele Camp 03 (Khutse, Botswana) to Molosi Pan ( and back, except for Kevin)
Distance : 85.6 km
After going big the night before in celebration of getting the full team together, the morning wake up was somewhat slow and sedentary… However, we did eventually get our act together and have breakfast where we planned the day ahead.
First priority was to get make the drive to Molosi Pan to the waterhole there. This was the area the we were advised to visit by our lunch time visitors the previous day when on our way down to Khutse (see here). So, after breakfast, we packed the cooler box with a few beers and some snacks, set the GPS and headed out with all three vehicles.
Molosi Pan was a “quick” 45 minute drive away, along 21 km of parks road. Along the way we passed three vehicles, in convoy, that were heading out of the park. They stopped and gave us a heads up that lions had been chasing a giraffe near the Molosi waterhole earlier that morning, news that raised the excitement levels amongst us.
When we arrived at the waterhole – expecting to find a ravenous pride of lion feeding hungrily on the unfortunate giraffe – we initially so no sign of the lion. We did see a a black backed jackal and the early avian visitors at the waterhole. However, before the disappointment of not finding a kill set in, the call of “…lioness at 3 o’clock…” came over the radio waves causing instant whiplash in some necks!
The lioness strode regally down to the waterhole where she slaked her thirst while keeping an eye out on any movement around her. A short while later several more lion appeared and settled up on a small rise under a copse of low trees. A couple of the younger lions played tag under the benignly watchful eyes of their parents and one young male showed a curious interest in the vehicles before moving off.
After an hour or so, Kevin decided that he had had enough and was heading back to camp. Since no-one else was interested in leaving at that point, Kevin departed on his own thus breaking one of the cardinal rules… but more of that later.
The rest of us continued to circle the area in the vicinity of the waterhole watching the lions playing nearby and the bird life coming in for their daily drink. Suddenly the lions all stood up and headed off into the bush and we decided to follow suite so we headed back to camp.
45 minutes later we arrived at the camp expecting to find Kevin presenting us with a fresh round of drinks but this was not the case. We parked cars and proceeded to make ourselves comfortable in our camp chairs to wait out the midday heat. As lunch came and went (it was now around two in the afternoon) we decided that Kevin may not be arriving any time soon and that we should, maybe, send out a search party.
John and his Cruiser were nominated as the rescue vehicle (he has the GPS…) with Dietwin (he is the youngest and fittest…) and myself (I can only think its because I’m the cleverest and best looking…) as co-rescuers in case cars needed towing, bodies needed reviving, wheels needed changing… whatever!
First call was to head back to the waterhole in case Kevin had made his way there. About 8 km out from camp, we were doing regular “Yo Kev, are you out there?” calls on the radio when we picked up a broken, scratchy reply “… I’m …. back to … Pan …. cut line….”
“Repeat please Kevin”
“On the cut line … gate … 3 km from the …”
“Got you on the cut line Kevin, which direction?”
This discourse went backwards and forwards as we slowly worked out where he was. The range on the radios is only up to 5km so we knew we were fairly close. Just as we were narrowing down where Kevin was, the indomitable Sharpie voice burst through the static “Where is he? Is he ok? Do we need to send another search party? Hello, is there anyone out there?”. Which completely blocked out Kevins radio leading ‘Santa on Safari’ to let rip with a quick fire “Please get off the air Sharpie, we’ll inform you when we have news!”
Long story short, we tracked Kevin down to the cut line road which crossed the road between our camp and the waterhole. He had spent 5 hours (and 2 litres of water, 5 beers, two packets of chips and a boskak) driving around the park looking for the camp.
We collected him and lead him back to camp where he was greeted with great amounts of joyous sarcasm and a drink from Sharpie guaranteed to drop a 500 kg mountain gorilla…
Naturally, his new nickname is now…”Cut Line Kevin”.
The afternoon game drive was cancelled due to the welcome back celebrations…
Plus, after almost losing one person to the Kalahari, partaking in a few beverages seemed a much more refined method of time utilisation…
Facts for the day:
Distance 85.6 km
Min Alt 800.760 meters
Max Alt 1187.980 meters
Max Speed 41.8 km/hour
Avg Speed 10.9 km/hour