Kgalagadi Desert Wander (part 2)
Updated: Sep 3, 2018
Next stop was #Gharagab Bush Camp, only accessed by 4x4 drive vehicles. Again just 4 huts, this time made of canvas and with tin roofs, not ideal for a summer desert visit but this isn’t a 5 star lodge destination. The waterhole here is equally as close to camp as the previous one and soon to feel even closer.
Our first evening was a relatively quiet one with only ±50 Jackals, 5 Spotted Hyaenas along with a herd of #RedHartebeest to keep us company, so we decide to retire early. In the early hours we started to hear lions roaring, and they were clearly getting closer. Excited at the prospect of more lion sightings Graeme jumped out of bed at sunrise to check for any waterhole activity and couldn’t contain his excitement as he grins and whispers that 7 #lions are drinking at the waterhole, 1 male, 2 females and 4 juveniles; we couldn’t believe our luck. However, just 15 minutes later another huge black maned lion strutted in, clearly, he was the leader of this pride!
The juveniles all followed ‘dad’ into the shadows. However, the 2 lionesses eager for a day off from babysitting duties, walked up the dune towards our camp and proceeded to take relieve from the sun, first behind our hut, again #3, before moving next door to #4; and there they stayed for the entire day slowing following the shade around the hut. We had our breakfast and lunch no more than 10 metres from these beautiful beasts, words can’t begin to describe the awesomeness of this experience.
Once the sun started to set the lions once again joined forces at the waterhole before the whole pride came to rest 20 metres in front of our hut. As soon as the sun had set the chorus began, all 8 lions started roaring and roaring, announcing their presence to all; we’re here so watch out!
Our last stop was again a 4x4 access only bush camp called #Bitterpan. The drive to camp was fun with steep dunes to climb and soft sand to negotiate but the breathtakingly stunning camp made it worth the trek. These four raised huts made of canvas, tin and reed blend into the landscape beautifully, all overlooking the waterhole and a perfectly circular pan, which gives it its name. The communal kitchen has electricity to power the fridges/freezers but like the other camps no conventional plugs for guests.
We were lucky to be joined in camp by two other couples, so the communal kitchen and braai area was an ideal spot for us to all exchange stories and watch the sunset with an ice-cold G&T. Bitterpan isn’t a camp that sees huge numbers of game due to its location, but the setting is well worth an overnight stop. Saying that we did follow fresh lion spoor as we drove out of camp in the morning, so the game is closer than you think.
The #Kgalagadi wasn’t quite done with us yet. During our 3 hour drive from our camp to the gate we still managed to see, amongst others, Giraffe, some fighting #Springbok, a dozen or so #Meerkats, 2 #Cheetah and 2 Lionesses jumping over a waterhole so as not to get their delicate toes wet.
Whilst this park may not have all the #Big5 or plains game you’d expect to see somewhere such as Kruger NP, it does still have that wilderness feeling that Kruger lost a long time ago, it’s lack of modern infrastructure allows it to stay truly wild to its core, which is why it will always remain one of my favourite destinations of all time.