As I am getting ready to leave a neighbouring camper comes to chat. She tells me that she saw the African Wild Cat walking past our campsite and going up onto the roof of the ablution block. This wild cat was rescued by Peter and Colleen who I met at the pool yesterday. They were camping here last year and found this abandoned kitten on the road. Peter caught him and brought him back to the camp where the ranger reared him and then released him back into the wild. But he still comes back and preys on the birds in the camp!
I am second in the queue but as one has to open and close the gate oneself several campers race to the gate while their spouses get the exit permits. This means that we have to wait for them to get their permits before we can leave! We still manage to get out pretty smartly and take the north-bound road.
Jim and Maureen are ahead so when they slow up we know there is something interesting. Earl says – it’s a skunk thing – not able to get the right word out of his mouth. It’s a honey badger and he is in the company of a Pale Chanting Goshawk and jackal. The HB and PCG have a symbiotic relationship and are often seen together although this is the first time for us. The HB digs in the ground for insects and grubs and those that he disturbs are grabbed by the PCG. It is fascinating to watch and the highlight of our day.
We are a fraction too late to find lions on the road but manage to watch them walking through the bush – I don’t even try to take a photograph.
At the turn off to Kousant water hole Jim and Maureen have a cursory glance to see if there is anything there and nearly drive off when a car indicates that they should go there. Lucky for us as we find 2 jackals and a stunning brown hyena.
We stop at Polentswa Waterhole and have breakfast in the car. There are hundreds of doves and a herd of wildebeest trying to get a drink. It seems to us that there is no water in the waterhole. We wonder whether the solar powered pump is working as it is quite overcast. We spend an hour there and watch the lanners trying to catch the doves – a fascinating spectacle. The birds all drink at the same time and the whoosh off together and scatter then repeat the whole process. This confuses the lanners and other birds of prey – there is definitely safety in numbers.
We find out later back at camp that the water did eventually pump in and other folk saw lions there after we’d left.
Always nice to see is the Kori Bustard
Jim and Maureen stop when they see a chap struggling to change a tyre. He says he doesn’t need help but Earl decides to stay with him anyway. It is hot and I stand in the shade of a tree with his wife. We keep a sharp eye out for dangerous animals but to our disappointment none arrive. I comment – oh such a pity to get a puncture in the middle of the bush. Oh – she says – we’ve been travelling through the Central Kalahari for week and nothing has gone wrong – we get more punctures on the road to our holiday cottage in Infanta. This of course gets me to saying – I know people with a house in Infanta – Stuart and Janet – Well – they’re their opposite neighbours! I will tell Janet that I met Alan Crocker and his wife whose name now escapes me!
Jim turns back to see if we’re all okay but the job is done by then and we carry on. The next exciting sighting is two Bateleurs at the Cubitje Quap Water Hole. The male flies off and we see another with him in the sky – probably their juvenile. When he comes back the female spreads her wings showing all the white beneath and then she flies off and he takes a drink at the waterhole.
Back at camp the Gibsons offer us rare beef sandwiches for lunch which we gratefully accept. Earl struggles to sort out the solar panel problems for the rest of the afternoon and Jim tries to give non-expert aid. It turns out that it is too hot! It stops functioning when the temperature reaches 25! How ridiculous is that in Africa!
Maureen and I do some chores and then go for a swim. There are a few other people there. A gentleman turns to me and says – Aren’t you a Pnematicatos? Yes, I reply, Who are you? Nicholas Fairly. Well I never – he is a close school friend of my brother Nicholas whom I knew so well at the time. Of course when I had a good look at him I don’t know how I didn’t realise it sooner. You’re still looking good, he tells me. What a charmer and how lovely to meet up with him here in KTP.
Dinner tonight – Maureen treated us to Tai Fish Curry which was to die for. It was full of prawns and calamari and lovely seafood. What gourmet food we eat here in the middle of the Kalahari Desert!
It is hot when we go to bed and I sleep on top of the comforter but need to get under as the night cools down.