Sunday, September 16, 2007

Camping in the Kalahari!

We went camping in the Kalahari this weekend! Joanne, Amy, Jeremy and I went with Johannes (Jo), a guide that works with Tim. It took us 3-4 hours to get there, we had lunch at the campsite, and set up our lion-proof tents. We were staying in Khutse game reserve, which is connected, or adjacent to, the huge Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) – the largest game reserve in Africa.

We had a huge lunch – quiche, salad, other things – and then went on our first game drive. We saw a few funny things, but no huge game. We did see this huge flock of vultures near the air strip – very impressive. Of course, we saw many springbok and steembok, some oryx gazelle, these cute ground squirrels that ran fast everywhere and use their tail to shade themselves. And we saw a ton of birds – the lilac-crested roller, hornbills, some weavers, and the kgori (or kori) bustard (which we were saying bastard the entire time) – apparently it’s largest flying bird in the world. We also collected some firewood and saw a beautiful sunset! Here are just a few pictures of the things we saw:


Ground squirrel


kgori bustard

After we got back, Jo made dinner. It’s funny – there were 3 Jo’s on this trip so it was very confusing when Jeremy or Amy tried to talk to one of us. They would say Jo, and three heads would turn. Dinner was delicious – we had steak, garlic bread, and green beans with pap. And we also had chocolate cake for dessert. We sat around the campfire for a while, and eventually crawled into our tents. I slept with Amy, Jeremy slept alone, and Jo(anne) slept with Jo(hannes). J We were a little afraid of lions – they often go right into the campsite at night although they stay away from humans for the most part. So I didn’t make it out to the drop toilets all night because I was so worried! I think that was a good decision because apparently campsite 5, which was right next to us, had a lion visit them!

We went on another relatively uneventful game drive the next morning after breakfast, and Jo took us to a relocated village of the San-people (they’re also called bushmen, which is derogative, or Basarwa, also derogative since it literally translates to “stick-people”). I thought it was the most interesting part of the trip, but it’s a pretty sad story. I’ll talk more about it in the next blog entry. After visiting the San-village, we stopped at the Khutse Lodge, which is right on the border of the Khutse Game Reserve, for a light lunch of sandwiches and salad. We were there for a couple of hourse, so we went swimming in their pool to cool off, and then drove home. Even though we didn’t see any big game, it was still a great experience, and I’m totally glad I went. It was so quiet and beautiful out there. I think it was a good preview of what our safari will be like…

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