Our trip started in Maun where we met our clients and old friends from Belgium at the airport. They collected their vehicles and we went shopping in town. We left as soon as we could and headed off to Tiaans camp. This was a good first night stay, not to far and hot water.
The next morning we crossed the Boteti river by ferry to go into the Makgadigadi National Park.
This was an eventful experience as it always is and you are always glad when it is over and there are no casualties. As usual the drive along the river delivered. There were a lot of Zebra and vultures on baby wildebeest kills. There were elephant also on the islands and just wandering around. The herds with young calves more vigilant than the others. Our clients had a problem climbing out of the river bed area up the steep side banks and we spent a bit of time unsticking them. All good fun. We made camp quite early and had a very nice meal. A lamb chop stew (potjie).
The next morning we were on the go quite early as it is a reasonable trip into the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. It proved to be an uneventful trip where in the past it was very wet and slippery. This time it was very dry and long. Our first stop in the park was Deception valley crossing. This sight always makes us feel at home. We decided to drive down the cutline to Sunday Pan instead of driving past Leopard pan. Soon after arriving at Sunday Pan it poured with rain.
We took a drive in the rain ,just for the fun of it, around the pan. The animals are not stupid we did not see much. We set up camp and had a lovely meal and went to bed. The next morning I clambered down and saw some of the party sitting in their cars. They said there was a leopard by the shower which I promptly ignored because I thought they were joking. A quick glance confirmed they were not joking and it was a rush for the cameras.
Nobody was in a hurry for the toilet today. It took it’s time and eventually after 3000 photo’s it pranced off into the bush. Not a bad start to the day. After coffee we explored the pans, drove around and had a bush breakfast at Leopard pan. A very relaxing day. The next morning , same again , except it stayed for much longer and was a lot bolder.
We left for Piper Pan stopping en route at Deception pan for breakfast. Piper Pan is one of our favorite spots. We spent 3 nights here with a pride of lion at the waterhole about 1 km from us. Piper Pan is actually 3 pans and massive. It is beyond my ability to describe the vastness and beauty of the pans. There was also a big herd of wildebeest. It was extremely hot and one of our guests decided to do traffic control. He waited 3 days and when a vehicle eventually drove past he missed it. We would just drive around when we felt like it or just sit at the camp in the shade and watch the game wander past.
Eventually we had to leave and drove through Xade out of the park to Ghanzi. Here we had to say good bye to 2 of our guests and this had my wife in tears. We stocked up and headed for Kalahari Rest camp.
The next day we started early for the trip to Mabuasehube. As usual it is quite far but with anticipation it goes quite quickly and we were soon at the gate. A little bit of attitude from the guy at the gate but with a lot of smiles and compliments we managed to get him to chill.
On arrival at camp we were met by several lion having a sleep at our camp site. They were very settled in so we had to leave and go to another camp site where we could have something to eat and wait for them to move off. We returned as it got cooler and as the lion were beginning to stretch and saunter off. We waited until they had moved off far enough to feel safe and then set up camp. That night , the next day and the next night and the following morning we had our feast of lion. They roared all night, gate crashed our dinner, gate crashed our ablutions, mated shamelessly, roared again, gate crashed again. Understandably the guests were getting a little spooked when every time they turned around a huge male lion or irritable female lion was watching them. Lion have a way of making you feel like you are dinner and it is off putting to most people. Needless to say nobody could complain about not seeing lion on the trip and for the first time we had suggestions that enough was enough.
After Mabuasehube we headed across the dunes to Nossob where we spent the first night behind a fence. A bit of a let down as we get very used to visitors in the evening. On the way across we saw more lion. Our guests managed to get their very capable land cruiser stuck when we had a break for breakfast and after pointing at them and laughing we pulled them out. No point in passing up an opportunity like that but then you have to hope and pray that you don’t get stuck and they have to pull you out.
From Nossob we headed down to Rooiputs for our last evening and must have seen about 7 prides of lion all with kills during the trip down.
To sum up the trip we have never seen so many lion on one trip – ever !