Cancelled by COVID: Day 6-8

Today we would have woken up inside the Kgalagadi National Park, where modern conveniences are few and the wildlife is plenty.

Follow along to see where we would have spent the next few days of the trip if it hadn’t been cancelled by COVID-19, or click here to catch up on the adventure from the beginning.

Waking up in Mata-Mata, we would have risen early (again!), so that we could do a quick check of the waterhole from the camp’s hide, then join a ranger-led morning drive.

The drives with the park rangers are great because not only do they give us a break from driving so that we can put all of our attention to looking for animals, but they usually give us access to parts of the park or times of day that would otherwise be out-of-bounds for tourists.

Once back from our game drive, we would prepare the 4×4 with our camera (PRO TIP: buy a small bag of rice to act as a stabilizer on your vehicle’s window ledge, you can always find someone to donate it to when you’re done) and snack setups and head out for our next camp. Along the way to our next stop, we would search for whatever critters we could find. According to SANParks, desert-adapted giraffe are frequently spotted near Mata-Mata.

This guy’s video gives a pretty good show of how many animals you can find just on your own, driving between Mata-Mata and Twee Rivieren (starting from the opposite direction).

Twee Rivieren Restcamp:

This camp is the biggest and most well-equipped in the park. It has 24-hour electricity and even cell service!

This camp has a restaurant, and I’m grateful that we won’t have to waste time making linner before our sunset game drive, so we can spend the majority of our day on our own out in the bush looking for animals.

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A Dik Dik (aka Cutest Creature Ever) in Etosha National Park

Tonight would be a good night to do some laundry in our Scrubba so that it has two full nights to hang dry, although that’s not generally a problem in this climate.

After waking up on Day 7 in our 4-person family cottage (complete with a full kitchen), we’d head out as early as possible to make our way towards Nossob, where predators are known to be common in the area. It’s about 4.5 hours each way, so a bit tight, but hopefully worth it.

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A Lioness in Etosha National Park

On our return, we’d make ourselves a quick dinner, then fall into bed. We’ve got to be up early again for our morning drive with the rangers.

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A Cheetah in the Kruger National Park

Day 8 will be spent finishing off any tracks we missed around Twee Rivieren, before heading to our final camp, back near the Namibian border.

Kalahari Tented Camp:

At this camp, although I am tempted to go on one last sunset drive with the rangers, we’ll take a break and just hang out in camp finishing off our last sundowners on our verandah overlooking the dry riverbed, watching the stars and animals come out.

This camp is called a “wilderness camp” and is a bit more primitive than the first two we stayed at, but the real draw is that there is no fence! Hyenas, among other wild animals, are known to walk right through, and can actually be a bit of a nuisance when trying to braai undisturbed.

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A juvenile hyena shakes off some water in the Kruger National Park

There are only 15 tents in this camp as it is “designed in such a way that residents feel they have only themselves and the desert for company”. If we want any services, we have to drive to Mata-Mata to find them. In other words, a fantastic way to spend our final night in this area.

Finally:

Our time in the Kgalagadi National Park was to be brief but rewarding. It would be a new park for us that we were excited to add to our collection of African experiences. I am exceedingly disappointed to miss out on this unique environment.

Tomorrow is another day, and time to head back to the more familiar areas as we make our way to Johannesburg.

For referral links to American Express cards like the Bonvoy, Cobalt, Gold, or Platinum, please don’t hesitate to send me a message. These cards have contributed greatly to my travels and could do the same for you.

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