Much of our evening at Nossob was spent cleaning up and re-arranging after the Mabuasehube trail, but by 21:00 we called it a day. We were exhausted – the heat was getting to us. Although camping was a little harder work than staying in the comfort of a chalet, we missed the openness, to look at the stars from our tent and to hear the sounds of night clearly without interference of fans that worked desperately overtime to cool down sauna-like interiors.
We switched off all our lights in the chalet and sat outside to watch the magnificent night sky, listening to the jackals calling. The moon was starting to fill and lit up the white sand of Nossob all around us. My eye caught movement close to where we were sitting – a scorpion! In general I need to say that I am not disturb by any creepy crawlies, spiders included, but scorpions have me covered in goosebumps the minute we cross paths.
During our travels we have had a number of encounters with these creatures and I am proud to say that I have conquered my fear of them to the degree that I no longer scream and dance about. Actually I had become cheeky to the extent where I had special container to catch them, as one of our projects were to photograph the different kinds of scorpions for identification purposes. (Partner is just simply too weary of them to do the capturing…although he would gladly take photographs after I had “calmed” them down a little…) So after capturing the scorpion – a yellow poisonous one – we finally went to bed as we had a busy day ahead.
After doing our scheduled work for the day at Nossob which also included our arachnid model, we left Nossob by 10:00. If you are wondering, the scorpion was released in a safe place and it gave us an angry tail up as it scampered into the leaf cover.
We were heading for Kielie Krankie wilderness camp via the dune road that turns away at Dikbaardskolk picnic site. The obligatory loop to Marie’s Gat waterhole and all the way to the picnic site yielded very little sightings, a few gemsbok and springbok, but the heat forced the animals to take shelter which made sightings scarce. The picnic site yielded nice bird sightings – Kalahari Scrub Robin, Red Headed Finch, Glossy Starlings and a few other LBJ’s that still needs identifying from our photographs. (And of course, the obligatory debates that accompanies it…)
We arrived at Kielie Krankie by late afternoon where Willem welcomed us warmly. This wilderness camp consists of four guest units which are located on top of a dune with views over the dune fields into infinity.
All the wilderness camps have a tourism attendant that stays on site in his own unit. Our meeting with Willem was not our first, as we did pre-arrangements for our visit to Kielie Krankie in August. Something needs to be told about these young men and their devotion in making a visit to a wilderness camp special. Apart from their normal duties such as housekeeping and maintenance, they are also very knowledgeable about their environment and its activities. What really stood out for me in our second encounter with Willem was his ownership and passion for Kielie Krankie – this wilderness camp was not just his job – it was his “farm”, his space, which he shared with those who, after carefully measuring their enthusiasm, willingly. We left Willem reluctantly and settled into our chalet.
It was incredibly hot, yet a breeze moved on the deck of the chalet where we sat. I cannot say that we were sipping elegantly on our drinks, we were gulping down the cool refreshment in an attempt to find relief from the burning air…
What is the concept of wilderness camps in KTP? A small, intimate haven where the landscape and its beings are not fenced out. Unique architecture with little touches of luxury, yet rustic enough to create an ever-present awareness that you are secluded in a place far away from the hustle and bustle – if one can term human concentration in the Kgalagadi that. Kielie Krankie had an aura of vastness due to its location high on a dune. In my poetic, writer’s mind, this was one of those places on earth where thoughts could take flight into the blue sky and continue flying after the sun had set in magnificent colours to play amongst the stars in darkness. It was a place where your soul could dance to the music of silence…the sacred songs of earth whispered infinitely.
Willem joined us on our deck after sunset. We sat in darkness, watching the heavenly bodies starting to form in an inky black sky. Earlier on, Willem told us about the African Wild Cat who had kittens behind the water container in the unit next to ours and we were keen to see them. Their mother left them for longer and longer periods as she went hunting and doing what AWC’s do when they slink away into the veld. As soon as it was dark, Willem used his search light in the direction of the water hole to see if she was returning to her kittens and as if on cue, she appeared in the beam of light! We followed her path with the torch light until she came up the dune in the direction of where her kittens were hiding. As we opened our door to go to the back where the entrance to the water container is, we saw a kitten coming out of the enclosure of our unit, heading towards where we estimated the mom to be! We waited a while and tip-toed with Willem who carefully shone towards the two cats. What a privilege it was to be able to see AWC so close up!