Saturday, 19 December 2009

KTP - The Hidden Gem - Day 1

Wild flowers on the way to the KTP
In December 2009, we did our first trip into the South African side of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.  We'd previously done the Botswana side twice, but decided to check out what the SA side had to offer.  We didn't have much time over the December holiday due to work, but managed to spend 8 full days in this stunning, arid park...  This is the journal I wrote for it...

DAY 1 - Gaborone to Two Rivers 
Living in Botswana, we had originally planned to drive from Gaborone and into South Africa, stocking up in Upington before heading to the Kgalagadi gate.  The reason was that we had no idea what the roads in that part of Botswana were like – we didn’t want to find out on the way that they were so bad that it would take us 2 days to get there. 

Sociable weaver
But on the flip side, if we travelled through SA, it would be a greater distance, and we’d have to spend time getting meat, booze, fresh food (since we didn’t want to take a chance having problems at the border) all of which would cut into our holiday time. 

Finally we managed to speak to someone who knew someone who lived out in Bokspits and who was able to give us some idea of the roads, so in the end we headed out on the Botswana roads from Gaborone on Friday afternoon.  It was a pleasant surprise then that the road had recently been tarred all the way to Tsabong and the traffic was pretty light considering it was the beginning of the Christmas holidays. 

Giant eagle owl
After an unexpectedly pleasant evening spent in Tsabong thanks to our hostess Jill, we left Tsabong after a hearty breakfast at about 9am.  Luckily the road between Tsabong and Bokspits has also recently been tarred, although it still has loose stones on it, so a bit more concentration was needed for the drive.  However, it takes you through one of the most unique roads in Botswana – instead of the normally flat and pretty straight roads, you drive through an ancient dried river with high river banks on either side. 

Springbok drinking
The landscape gradually changes to the red dunes, some of them totally free of vegetation because of overgrazing by the domestic animals.  The final 60km from the border town Bokspits is a gravel road – corrugated but not too bad – and we managed to get to the gate by just after lunch.

I assume that not many people come through the Botswana gate compared to the SA side, (about 6 cars at Twee Rivierin and only us at Two Rivers) so there was a bit of confusion to get booked in, paid up and issued with our entry permit (this was something new for us – that it had to be handed in and collected every day) but after a bit of time, we finally drove into the campsite. 

Spotted eagle owl
First thing for us was to find the payphone and let friends of ours in Gabs know that we had arrived safely (no reception for Botswana cell phones), check out the shop and the sightings board and then find ourselves a campsite for the night. 

Since we like to move around a lot, we don’t really set up a big camp and the camping spots are each set up with a braai spot and table, with nice clean ablutions, so all we basically dropped off were our chairs before heading for our first look at the park.

Young springbok
Our first impression was really good.  With the setup of the road along the dry Auob River, all the game gathers in the valley and we saw plenty of springbok and wildebeest grazing on the new shoots.  There was plenty of “meat” around, so while we didn’t see any predators in the afternoon, it looked like a great place for the cats.  And with all those springbok around, we were hoping to see what we had come to the park for – cheetah :)

The next day >>

Check out what we saw on Day 1

No comments:

Post a Comment