Sunday, 21 January 2018


Back in South Africa!

Must find out more about this story!

I flew out of Heathrow on 2nd January just as storm Eleanor was striking London, so the first hour of the flight was very rough. But things settled down & the rest of the flight was uneventful. I arrived in Joberg early the next day, picked up my truck & drove towards the Botswana border. I stayed the night in Groot Marico a tiny town about 80 kms from the border.

Good roads in Botswana & no traffic!

The border crossing on 4th was very straightforward & I spent all day driving, spending the night in Kang. Enjoyed a few beers & a nice meal & spent a pleasant hour video calling Karen in Doha. It was nice to hear all her news.

Nice rest stops at the side of the road.

Great bar & restaurant.

My very pleasant campsite.

Planning my trip to the 
Central Kalahari Game Reserve.

The following day I drove north to Ganzi, finding a super lodge & campsite & enjoyed another lovely evening, again talking to Karen on the phone. It is amazing how one can be connected these days. Earlier in the day I popped into the National Parks & Wildlife office in town & to my delight they had a two night camping spot for me in Deception Valley in the Central Khalahri Game Reserve. I had always wanted to visit & so off I went early the next morning.

It is nearly 100 kms on a decent gravel road, 
then 72 kms on a deep sand track which 
is difficult driving! That is just to get to the gate!

Really deep sand, hard driving!

Burchell's Sandgrouse

c400 birds came into drink.

It is a long way just to get to the edge 
of this wilderness!

The entrance at Xade.

Big sky country here!

As one travels north, the terrain becomes
 harder & easier to drive on.

This is one of the last great wildernesses in Africa!

Lappet faced Vulture

Quite common here.

I probably shouldn’t have done this as I was alone & driving across some of the wildest & remote semi arid terrain in Africa. The distance was 341 kms all of it off road & it proved to be a bit of a step too far. The first 100 kms was gravel road, boring but uneventful. But then things changed for the worse quickly.

Yep! The first one!

The road became a deep rutted sand track, very tricky & slow driving. It took me nearly four hours to drive 70 kms _+ another hour changing my tyre after it blew up. I arrived at Xade entrance gate at mid day & the 70 kms drive to Pipers Pan proved to be difficult & slow going. Lots of patches of deep sand. Virtually no game was seen at all.



Black backed Jackal


Kori Bustard

This species is at a high density here.

Northern Black Korhaan

Caspian Plover

Some individuals in full summer plumage

Brilliant birds!

The drive got easier as I went north & as the terrain opened up game started to appear. Herds of Springbok, small parties of Blue Wildebeest & Gemsbok. Three species of Bustard proved to be quite common but the highlight was a flock of 29 Caspian Plover, a couple of individuals already in summer plumage. I hadn’t seen anyone all day & arrived at my very pleasant campsite. I started to get the camp in order & then noticed I had a flat tyre! Now I am completely stuck! I am sat here in the wilderness typing this not knowing what to do. I have to find someone & get a message out. But I am over 100 kms from the nearest road never mind a place to get my tyre fixed & also how do I get there?
Red billed Francolin

Common in the campsite.

Very sad!

This lady was very helpful to me
 & made me lunch!

Two spare tyres needed!
Lesson learned!

The end of another day in Botswana.

I was up well before dawn. I got my tyre pump out of the truck & tried pumping up the tyre. To my surprise it started to inflate! But ever so slowing, definitely a slow puncture here! In the meantime I packed away my campsite & drove ever so slowing away. I managed 18 kms before the tyre blew out! Stuck again! I waited for a few hours a car came towards me & I asked him to take me to the gate, which he reluctantly did. Once there I arranged a flatbed truck from Maun & I waited & waited! Five hours later it arrived & I took them to my vehicle. We rolled into Maun very late & I found a bed for the night & drifted into a coma! It had been a very long day!

Attending a roadkill near Ghanzi.

Marabou Stork & White backed Vultures

Yellow billed Kite in attendance as well.



Up at the crack of dawn on the 8th. Purchased five new tyres & by 10 am I was on my way south towards Ghanzi. Arrived at my campsite & spent the afternoon lazing around & enjoyed a great chat with Karen in Doha.

Long tailed Paradise & Shaft-tailed Whydahs

Shaft tailed Whydahs

My very pleasant camp site.

On the 9th I was on the road before dawn. I crossed the border without any problems & stopped in Gobiasis for a late 11 am breakfast & purchased a Namibian SIM card. I arrived at Dan Vijeon Game Park mid afternoon & after making camp, dived straight in the pool & enjoyed a lazy evening with Petra & Bernhard, like minded travelling souls.

Very welcome in these high temperatures!

The next day did a spot of birding/game viewing & spent the rest of the day in & around the pool. I was tired & needed the rest.

Hi from Namibia!

Tom, with a friend!

Tom in Hotel Stoffel!

Planning our trip.

The rapidly drying lake.


Black backed Jackal
Up early on 11th for a game drive, saw very little apart from a lone Gemsbok & a Black backed Jackal. Then tidied up & spent the rest of the morning reading/relaxing. Picked up Tom from the airport in the afternoon & then chatted & planned our forthcoming trip. But that is the next blog!

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