The challenges of Etosha

We thought it would a quiet day today. We were wrong. We had to change accommodation from one set of huts to another so we decided to have a morning drive, come back for breakfast and then pack up and hopefully move over. Fortunately they did have the new rooms ready and so our plan worked out. Michael, Chloe and I then decided to go for a drive. The others including the Greyers decided to stay in camp and visit the waterhole.

Given the circumstances I might have been tempted into letting Michael drive, if it was legal. About 15 kms from camp a guy stopped us and said that there was a very aggressive elephant about 1km down the road. I thought how aggressive could it be and so we continued. We approached slowly and were making good progress when it turned and flapped and started charging. Michael might have done extremely well to get the car into reverse and start backing up quickly (if of course he was driving). And he would have needed to reverse for at least 300 to 400 meters before said elephant stopped charging. In the reversing there might have been a bend that was slightly missed and so one thorn bush less now in Etosha. And assuming Michael was driving that might have been the right time for a more skillful driver to take charge again.And the best way to change drivers might be for Michael to simply vault over the gear lever and for me to run around the car into the drivers seat. The changeover would have been competed in about 2 seconds.

We still needed to get past the grumpy elephant though. While I was edging closer (Michael later explained over the braai tonight that it was like we were playing a game of K I N G spells king) another car came from the other direction. We tried to warn them to go back but they ignored us and the elephant promptly charged at them. That gave us a little space to creep up some more on it. It kept turning back to have a look where we were though. Eventually it went far enough in and had its back to us still while watching the other car that I could gun it past. The elephant immediately started charging us at full speed. And I kept accelerating. Only problem was that the other car realized he had a big problem as he was facing the wrong way and he had an elephant charging at him.  He had the best 2 point turn in the bush I have ever seen (including also taking out a bush or two) and by the time I was level with him he was also ready to accelerate after me. I clocked 80 km/h while getting around Mr Grumpy. Mr Grumpy followed us for at least 200-300 meters.  Our adrenalin was pumping. I needed a Coke and Michael kindly passed it to me and he couldn’t keep his hand from shaking. Michael and Chloe then needed to defuel about a km down the road as well. The encounter legends are made of. After all that who really cares about the rest of the drive or day for that matter?

The rest of the drive and day was sedate and pleasant. In the late afternoon we visited the waterhole and watched the sunset and we saw mother and baby rhino come down to drink. The waterhole never fails me. Every time I have been there it has had something to offer and usually one of the big five. We also went after supper and we saw a small matriarchal herd of elephant wth a baby drinking (or should I rather say slurping).

The other highlight was the braai. After making the fire we tried to put the grid on (it was a chimney type of braai place) only to discover that the braai grid didn’t fit probably because of the expansion due to the heat. But in discovering this we got the grid stuck in half way. And in the effort to get the grid out, I tried to pull the grid out with the tongs and they got stuck into the grid. It was a comedy of errors. Mrs Greyer was helping and summed it up by saying if she we’re a marshmallow she would have been toasted brown by that stage. If the fire wasn’t so hot it might have been slightly less inconvenient getting the tongs stuck. And to make matters worse it was the only set of tongs amongst the utensils from all 4 huts we had between us. Stephen kindly posted a Facebook photo of the incident!

So that was our day. Hope yours wasn’t as exciting. Until tomorrow.

P, M (gets promoted for his driving skills), C (because she was with us), H and S.

Ps: if you read something today or yesterday that doesn’t make sense it wasn’t because I was drunk or suffering the effects of an insect bite on my groin (first didn’t happen but second did), it is because I am typing and posting this on my iPad and the predictive text has a mind of its own!

Etosha continues to perform

Despite not seeing any predators today, Etosha continues to impress. We went for an early morning drive to two waterholes. There was a reasonable amount of game around and we did a black backed jackal again (almost getting bored of seeing them now). We also addmum numerous birds to our ever growing list. We are now up to 97 for the entire trip and so hoping to clock over the 100 tomorrow. We did see the biggest herd of zebra I have probably ever seen – well over a thousand.

After we had breakfast, Stephen and I went to spend some time at the waterhole again in the camp. We saw some more birds and then a herd of elephant came for a drink. It was amazing watching their antics. Another herd also came down and there was a bit of pushing and shoving and trumpeting. They all wanted to drink from the same spot and they chased away any other animals you tried to dink including guinea fowl and impala. A kudua managed to sneak in for a drink while they weren’t watching. A solitary male arrived and he calmed everyone down. Quite funny to see him imposing his presence and how everything did clam down.

Helen and I went up before lunch and again saw elephants drinking. This was a bigger herd of about 24 with some of all ages including some really young ones. Their antics were also very entertaining. One of the teenagers was very amorous and wanted to mount another teenage female who was having none of it. She was more interested in chasing away the guinea fowl. Eventually she sprayed the male with water – aka cold shower!

We went for an afternoon drive down to the Etosha lookout. You can go about a km onto the pan. A freaky kind if feeling. Erie. Cannot post photos now as only access is on iPad but will try to post a few tomorrow. As we came back into camp we decided to go to the waterhole and watch the sunset. Stephen was smiled at and waved to by 3 young ladies. His response was ‘not surprising when you have his looks’. He seems to be a babe magnet even in Etosha.

At the waterhole it was quite when we got there but we were enjoying the sunset and so weren’t bothered by the lack of game. Then suddenly out of the bushes came a black rhino. It was very skittish and walked all around the waterhole (in the bushes) before finally approaching and having a drink. A great sighting and once again the waterhole delivers one of the big 5. Every time we go we see one of the big 5. Tomorrow we are hoping for some more predator sightings which have been sparse on this trip. But we aren’t complaining as we are thoroughly enjoying Etosha.

We had another braai tonight with our travel companions – the Reders. They had spent two nights elsewhere and rejoined us today at Halali. I am tired and my only connection is on the iPad and so sorry for no photos today.

Until tomorrow …. P, h, s, m, c


Etosha here we come

hadassaToday we left Otjiwarongo heading up to Etosha where we will spend the next 3 nights. While we had breakfast this morning, one of the guesthouse staff was cleaning all the cars. That was quite a big thing for us as the Beast was really looking very dusty and the seeing through the windows (especially the side ones) was not easy.

I do find Namibians quite paranoid about their security. The guest house we were staying at had electric fence all around (and yet I believe crime is almost non-existent) and the lady from the Mariental guest house told us to be very careful at ATM machines because there were two (yes you read that correctly – two) incidents involving robbery that had been publicised. I bet there are two a day per machine in South Africa.  She was muttering about ‘what is becoming of our country’.

We left Otjiwarongo heading north toward Etosha. You got through one town on the way.  It is about 180km to the gate of Etosha. Not much intellectual conversation this morning though. Helen though was ‘educating’ us with her music selection. It all started as we went through the town and saw Delarey Butchery selling biltong. We had to stop and re-stock and while I was inside doing that, the rest of them were singing ‘De la Rey’ by Bok van Blerk in the car. Now we are not only speaking Afrikaans we are now listening to Afrikaans songs as well (if you’re so inclined you can watch it on YouTube‎). We moved on from there to other supposedly ‘educational’ songs.  One of which was ‘Kung Fu Fighting’ which was meant to be for the kids education and it turns out they all knew the song already and I had never heard it. Helen says her parents played it all the time (it was written in 1976) but clearly my parents deprived me (or in this case protected me). She played other classics from our childhood such as Super Tramp and a few others which only Helen seemed to know.

We got to the getoshaate at around 11am and filled in the necessary forms to give us entry. Within 500 meters of the gate we had seen Giraffe, Springbok, Impala and Gemsbok. Why did we waste 3 days in the Kgalagadi was my first thought and that was echoed by everyone else. We are staying at Halali so after passing through Okaukuejo (the equivalent of Skukuza in Etosha) we headed to Halali. At the very first waterhole we saw elephant (the whitest elephant I have ever seen), impala, springbok, gemsbok, ostrich and a few other birds.  The one male elephant looked quite amorous and so we stayed to watch for some time but he never got up to any nonsense. The comments from the occupants in the car (especially from Michael) were rated (R18) and can’t be repeated on the blog.

To get to Halali you basically drive along the Etosha Pan. It is very stark and impressive. You can see animals from a mile away.  We saw a lot on route including large herds of Springbok, Zebra, Wildebees, Giraffe, Gemsbok and Impala. We seriously saw more on that drive (68 kms) than we saw in the entire time in the Kgalagadi. For those ‘friends’ who think the Kgalagadi is great – let us introduce you to Etosha!

We also managed to increase our bird list total to 86. Some of those were actually seen in the camp as we were driving and parking at our huts. We have two very nicely furnished Family Units.  Each has 2 bedrooms, a lounge, small (ill-equipped) kitchen and an outside braai area. It is very good quality though and much better than any Sanparks accommodation in SA.  At about 4pm we headed out for an afternoon drive down to the nearest waterhole. We didn’t see a huge amount on route (except a few birds) but at the waterhole we saw a herd of elephant and then ticked off another 4 or 5 bird species as well.

waterhole1As soon as we got back Stephen and I headed for the waterhole at the camp and once again saw elephant bathing and drinking at the waterhole. As you can see from the photo, the waterhole is very close to where you can sit and watch and so you feel like it is a very intimate experience.  We watched the sunset and saw a large flock (around 100) of Double Banded Sandgrouse come in to drink (and make a huge racket) and also added a Pearl Spotted Owlet (flew into the tree right behind where I was sitting).

We went back to the hut for dinner and then straight after dinner headed back again to the waterhole.  It is flood lit at night. As we arrived we saw a Hare come to drink and then bounced off again. About 5 minutes later we heard a whoop from the far side of the water which was responded to by a whoop from just next to us on the left. That continued for about 10 whoops. It was Hyena undoubtedly calling to each other. About 5 minutes later a Hyena appeared and cautiously approached the water. It eventually got there and drank and we could hear the lapping.  It then suddenly got a fright, jumped back and headed back into the bushes and all was still again at the waterhole. I wonder how much game you could see by just sitting there the whole day (pretty sure more than you could see in the Kgalagadi). And the sunset and evening star rising were amazing as well. Only been in the park for 1/2 day and it is already matching (or surpassing) my memories of last time.

Until tomorrow (assuming our connectivity holds up!) – P, H, S, M & C

sunset waterhole


Mariental to Otjiwarongo

communication towerWe left just before 9am this morning as we headed up to Otjiwarongo. It is 530kms and you pass through Rheboth, Windhoek, Okahandja and then there is nothing for 186kms until you hit Otjiwarongo. 530kms of very straight road. As there is very little of interest, when you see anything strange or odd (see photo), it starts a lot of guessing what it might be until you approach it more closely and can actually figure out what it is (in this case a very large communication tower).  The other thing that we do on these drives is discuss items of random interest.  Today we discussed courts, trials, juries and the judicial systems worldwide, the death penalty, OJ Simpson, Anna Nicole Smith, Bernie Madoff, Nick Gleeson, Ponzi schemes, Pyramid schemes, Arbitrage and a few other subjects of interest. You can probably see the link through all the subjects covered today.

By this stage we had reached Windhoek where we stopped to refuel and defuel. helen and stephenMichael already was the occupier of the front seat by this stage as Helen had needed to have her first morning nap. After Windhoek, Stephen and her had a further morning nap. That left Michael and I to occupy ourselves and we did that by talking about another whole stream of subjects including driving skills (I have a lot to impart in this regard), people’s response to Christianity, driving speeds, overtaking, road signs and the like.

signOn the 186km stretch into Otjiwarongo, there are numerous warthog on the side of the road. So many that they in fact are constantly warning you about them. The problem is that they are pretty hard to avoid when driving at a speed of 120 km/h (or over). This was evidenced by the fact that as we were overtaking a truck at one point, the car in front of me did not pull back in immediately and I wondered why until I drove over a warthog which was lying in the middle of the road. Now that is a fairly large bump to drive over at 120 km/h but the Beast handled it magnificently (the car not the warthog in case there was any confusion) – I never even had to use my superior driving skills to do anything. Those who were asleep kept on sleeping even. Shortly after this a bird decided to test the strength of the windscreen glass. It hit the windscreen so hard that I ducked thinking it was coming straight through. That put me level with Mrs Blacker (our travel companions) who had managed to kill a bird on the first day of the road trip already. I didn’t even get a chance to ID the bird but there was definitely some crimson involved.

We made excellent time and arrived at Otjiwarongo at 1:45pm – averaging around 105km/h including stops. We are staying tonight at Hadassa Guest House (‎).  And once again I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for accommodation in Otjiwarongo. The rooms are of a high quality and the WiFi is much faster than last night.  We went to the Spar in Otjiwarongo to re-load our snack bag and also buy food for the next 3 days (self-catering). Quite a nice shop with a mix of SA and German brands. The bizarre thing was that there was no chicken on sale eseweragexcept frozen whole ones. People in Otjiwarongo clearly don’t eat chicken.  When we got back to the Guest House, the owners (who are French) saw us birdwatching at the Guest House and told us about the hidden secret of Otjiwarongo.  He said there were 10 lakes (read sewerage ponds) where numerous birds could be seen so Stephen, Helen and myself headed there for a quick 30 minutes of birding. Nothing like visiting the sewerage plant at Otjiwarongo while on holiday. But that is what we did and he was right about the sunsetbird life. The only problems were the smell (it was so bad Helen got back into the car), the visuals (you could see the raw sewerage being pumped into the dams) and the fact that the sun was setting quickly so we needed to get in as many sightings as possible before it was dark. Given that we did not expect to add many birds to our trip list today, we impressively added 13 new ones including ones that are not very easily seen (African Purple Swamphen – for you Paul).  And to top it off we got some beautiful sunset shots (have a look on Instagram under #templetravels).

dinner1We had asked about dinner and were told by the Guest House that it was too late for them to arrange for tonight. I asked what is the best restaurant in town and was told Kari’s. When we searched on our GPS for restaurants it only came up with 3 choices one of which was the Wimpy! We went to Kari’s and we were the only customers at 7pm. We took the only inside tables and so we had our own private dining area. No Haute Cuisine expected and none obtained. Stephen and I went for the Oryx steaks (Gemsbok for those of you who are less posh) and they were actually quite nice (either that or I was hungry). The others went for the boring option of chicken (not obtained from the Spar obviously) and hamburger. We just realised how fortunate we are living in Cape Town with all the restaurant choices we have.  Some more interesting conversation over dinner including Gini coefficients (Michael can give you the formula of how it is calculated if you would like that) and the population of Namibia and where are they (because we haven’t seen them yet). We did discover that only 40% of the Namibia population live in Urban areas and most of those are in Windhoek.  Otjiwarongo (for example) only has 21000 people living in it.

Still a lot more driving ahead and so no doubt a lot more facts to be gained.  Until tomorrow – P, H, S (back in his usual spot because he suggested we do the birding thing this afternoon at sewerage plant), M & C.

PS: I was told I have to correct yesterday’s blog – it was oversteer not understeer.

Finally in Namibia

tempIt was freezing cold this morning as can be evidenced by the photo at 8:11am. It was our last day in the Kgalagadi and so we thought we would give it one last chance and do a loop down to the nearest waterhole from Mata Mata. Going down we saw nothing of note. At the waterhole a bird of prey flew into the tree above our car and by the time we had positioned ourselves to try and ID it, it was attacked by Southern Pale Chanting Goshawk and chased away. On the road back we saw a White-backed Vulture collecting twigs for it’s nest and it was right on the side of the road (nice photo opportunity). The only the interesting sighting was 2 black backed jackals. We added no new birds to the list of 60 as well. So we remain underwhelmed by the Kgalagadi and can’t see ourselves rushing back. There is no question in our minds that the Kruger National Park, Etosha, Masai Mara, Karoo National Park, Augrabies, Okavango Delta all beat the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park by some distance. Seriously have no idea why so many friends of ours have raved about it. Might be time to change friends.

We exited the KTF at Mata Mata. We had done SA passport control at Tree Rivieren 3 days ago (in case you missed that) so we only had to do Namibia immigration. That involved a reasonable amount of paperwork and also paying a road tax (Western countries would consider this a form of legalised bribe). Fortunately all of this was done relatively quickly as there are not a lot of people entering Namibia through this gate.  As we crossed the border our GPS kindly told us we had just crossed into Namibia and flashed up a Namibian flag.

It was then a 330 km drive from the Mata Mata gate through to Mariental. 90% of the route was gravel. The gravel roads are in superb condition though and the speed limit is 100 km/h.  Within a kilometer I was up to 100 km/h and feeling very comfortable on the gravel. I did warn our travel companions (the Whiters) that they should give us a little space as you kick up a lot of stones and dust when you are traveling at that speed on gravel roads. While the roads are in excellent condition, you do have to keep paying attention all the time just in case there is a stray large stone or a hole or a rocky section or a dip or loose gravel. On one corner the gravel was very loose and at 100 km/h (or maybe slightly more), the back of the Beast slid out (I can hear the gasps from the grandparents) but the Beast is not called the Beast for no reason.  Along with the power and agility of the Beast, my superior driving skills ensured we recovered easily. Stephen said that going into a corner and sliding through it like that (with understeer) would be highly rated by the men from Top Gear and that would make us real ‘Petrol Heads’ (even though the Beast drinks Diesel I don’t think she would mind).

As with most things in Namibia, you pretty much drive for ever and not see a farm or town. It took us about 2 hours before we hit Gochas which was the first town since we left Mata Mata. We had to stretch our legs and refueled and unfueled (the ladies). And then we were off again. The Whiters didn’t stop and we only caught up with them when they stopped at the next town (Stampriet) which was about another 75 km down the road. That was where we enjoyed Namibian tar for the first tar. It was also our first Namibian road block. Why you would put up a road block in a place that only about 5 cars will pass all day is the question I have been pondering since we went through it. And they did the road block straight outside the police station. Element of surprise I suppose.

We stopped for lunch just outside Stampriet and then on to Mariental. We are staying at Mariental tonight. We are at Anandi Guesthouse anandi( for the night. It the same place we stayed at 5 years ago. And the quality remains the same. If you ever need to stay over in Mariental, this would be our recommendation. The boys and I went into town for 2 purchases – Namibian SIM cards (which we had to get 4 of to ensure everyone was connected again) and biltong. We found both. Paul will be pleased that there was no requirement to be RICA’d or any other ‘namby pamby’ such Western legislation. Just pay cash and get the SIM cards.  The biltong was a little harder to find – we drove the town flat until we found Wessie’s Biltong Shop. Wessie himself was there and we conducted the whole transaction in Afrikaans. Wessie told me about his daughter and apologised they had no Springbok biltong. The Kudu biltong was cheaper than the Beef. We bought both. The boys were standing with their mouths open that I could conduct such an extensive conversation in Afrikaans.  I was proud of myself.

We had an extra hour to kill of the afternoon because Namibia is on it’s own time zone and is an hour behind SA (i.e. on same time as the UK now). Why they have done it I have no idea. It was ‘pitch dark’ outside by 5:30pm this evening. Helen and two the Whiters went for a run around Mariental and ended up coming back in the dark.  It got dark very quickly. Fortunately they found their way back from the bread crumbs they dropped. The rest of us were just enjoying the use of the free WiFi and trying to catch up on Facebook, Email, Whatsapp etc.

The guesthouse arranged dinner for us – they don’t really have a restaurant but they will cook a plate of food for you if requested (what you would call ‘n bord kos’ here in Namibia). We had Chicken Schnitzel, Vegetables, Chips and Salad.  The Whiters had pizzas.  We got the better deal. (Food details given for you Josie). The rest of the evening has been spent catching up on emails, blogging (for me) and for Helen it would be watching a 4×4 racing competition (racing isn’t the right word – more like a skills challenge). Not kidding about Helen!

Until tomorrow from somewhere else far away in Namibia … P, H, C, M & (the least important because he has been insulting me the whole day) S.

PS: I said in the previous post that we saw a Civit and actually it was a Genet.  The biology teaching (Mr Whiter who is traveling with us) gave us wrong information but we corrected it with the use of our mammal book.

More from the Kgalagadi

I am typing this knowing that I won’t be able to post it tonight. We are now at Mata Mata Rest Camp in the Kgalagadi. We have no cellphone signal and the camp electricity will be switched off at 10pm.  It is now 9:50pm and so I am expecting to finish typing the blog by the light of my laptop only. I can hear the generator in the distance so I am glad they will turn it off.  We are all in bed so we are ready for the lights to go out.

Today we drove from Twee Rivieren up to Mata Mata. We left at 8am as we figured that it would be slightly warmer by that stage (it was 8 degrees C when we left). The Yellower’s (our travel companions – real name protected) weren’t quite ready by 8am so we left ahead of them knowing they would catch us up given our desire to stop to do some birding. By 4kms outside the camp they had caught us up.  The distance between the two camps is about 130 kms and we figured it would take us 4.5 hours – it actually took us 6.5 hours.

About an hour outside of Twee Rivieren we saw 3 cheetah sitting on the ridge purveying the world. We watched them until they started walking and eventually lost them as they went down a hill.  It was a great sighting and meant we had seem 3 times more cheetah than lion (and that ratio is still standing).  Later on the drive we spotted Hyena (the spotted variety) with suckling cubs. They were lying right on the side of the road.  We also managed to add 1 more lifer to our birding list (Fairy Flycatcher – for you Paul) and by the end of the day our bird list stood at 60 in total.  It was a slow start to the day because we had seen most of what we had already seen. However, when most of the family was sleeping, Stephen and I managed to see about 5 or 6 trippers including Rock Kestrel and White-backed Vulture.  At least 90 more for the trip needed and at least another 7 lifers as well.  The only other highlight of the morning game drive was seeing a very large herd of Springbok. Up until this point we had never seen more than 3 Springbok together at once and then we saw this herd of well over a thousand (not kidding).

river bedWe arrived at Mata Mata at around 2:30pm. We have two ‘luxury river front’ chalets while the Yellower’s have a family unit. I saw ‘luxury river front’ for a number of reasons. Firstly, luxury to Sanparks means DSTV (which we don’t need). Secondly, because ‘River Front’ is a very broad term for meaning looking out over the dry river bed which looks like it has never flowed in recent ‘known’ history. And the value of ‘river frontage’ when there is no game and no water is pretty limited. I think Sanparks have used the word ‘River’ quite liberally (see photo).

We chilled in the camp in the afternoon and Mr Yellower, Stephen & myself went out for a late afternoon drive.  We did manage to add one new mammal species – a lone Giraffe. Given the vegetation that is a very rare sight in the Kgalagadi. We also saw another two Black Backed Jackals (almost getting tired of seeing them) and the other usual game (being Gemsbok, Springbok & Wildebeest). I can see why the name of park used to be Kalahari Gemsbok Park because the Gemsbok is undoubtedly the equivalent to Impala in the Kruger National Park. There is no animal that comes close in sightings and number to the Gemsbok (even though we saw over 1000 Springbok at once today).

We had our usual braai for dinner and during the braai we heard cat like calling from near the petrol station and so after dinner the boys went to investigate and came back saying they had seen a Civet (or what they thought was one). It had started off on the other side of the fence and then ended up our side of the fence.  We all went investigating and eventually found it in a tree (and it was a Civet). With all the excitement Helen managed to take a heavy fall over a sewerage drain and fortunately did no serious damage except probably a little bruising (though I think she will feel it more tomorrow).

It was off to our chalets to ensure we were all in bed before the power was cut. I am finishing typing now by the light of the laptop screen only. I am also trying to kill mosquitos by the light of the screen. They are about 4 buzzing around my head and it is driving me crazy. I have only managed to kill 1 so far (make that 2 – just killed a noisy, big fat one – squashed against the wall – left it there as a reminder to the others) – another 3 (at least to go). Hopefully they won’t affect my sleep tonight!

Until tomorrow … P, H, S, M & C


sunrise twee2Today was our first full day in the Kgalagadi and we all agreed that we were underwhelmed. The landscape is very stark and dry but the game is very sparse and there is very little variety. We were up today to leave when the gates opened at 7:30am (as the sun rose). It was 3 degrees outside and it took about 2 hours to warm up to about 20 degrees. The animals were clearly also cold because they were nowhere to be seen for the first 45 minutes or so of our drive this morning. We headed up the road to Nossob again and after passing 2 waterholes and seeing very little we decided to keep going to the next waterhole. On route there Helen spotted a solitary lioness sitting on the ridge. We decided to pull off and have our coffee/hot chocolate/rusks and see if she was going to do anything. By the time we finished she hadn’t moved at all so we went on the waterhole. There we saw a black backed jackal come to drink and then a Lanner Falcon was doing some interesting flight maneuvers. Those were pretty much the highlights of the morning drive. We did add Red Hartebees to the trip list as well as some more birds (though no lifers). About half way back I might have gotten tired of driving and let someone else (not Stephen because he can’t yet officially drive) drive back.

We got back around midday by which time the temperature had risen to 25 degrees (even so Michael was still wearing his Cossack head coveringmichael1 when we got back – that’s him coming back from dropping off the permit at the gate). Michael and Helen headed for their beds (Michael was so exhausted from all the hard work he has done that he even skipped lunch). I believe our travel companions (let’s call them the Pinkers today), also tried out their beds. At 3:30pm we headed out for another drive and we decided to try the road to Mata Mata instead.  Helen and Chloe elected to stay in the camp rather so it was just the me and the Boys and the Pinkers in their own vehicle.  We (unfortunately) again did not see much.  The highlights were probably the Pygmy Falcon right on the side of the road, the Gemsbok with one horn facing forward and the other facing back and a Steenbok that was pooing. When a Steenbok pooing becomes a highlight you can really tell how sparse the game is. It was even a quiet day on the birding front though we are up to 46 trippers and 2 lifers (so far).

Mrs Pinker was so enthralled with the game life that we learnt this evening that she had given up and was reading You magazine (which she claimed she never bought herself but was ‘given’ by someone else). If you don’t bird then I am not sure what the attraction of the Kgalagadi is (at the moment). We are hoping that because we are right in the south, as we move further north we will get a better experience. The board showing animal sightings has giraffe and suricate on it so you know that you’re going to have tough spotting. And by late evening, the only sighting of lion for the day was the one we saw.

This evening we again had the mandatory braai, some good discussion around the dinner table (and Mr Pinker doing some impersonations) and now it is 9:48pm and everyone (except me) is already in bed. We are hoping for a better game sighting day tomorrow.

(PS: the beast is handling the gravel roads here with ease – she is taking it in her stride)