DAY 2 – continued – Twee Rivieren to Nossob via upper dune road.
A short drive to Marie se Draai after checking in at Nossob. Very quiet, as though all the animals sensed the imminent rain, and had withdrawn early to the dunes, only a few raptors remained.
Back to camp. At sunset, the storm clouds retreated into Botswana and the sky cleared
. Time for a well-earned lamb chop braai, with red wine.
Across the riverbed, far off in Botswana, lightning swept the sky and sizzled through the clouds. Up at the guest house overlooking camp, there is a large area of grass and bush in front of the braai area. Here I sat watching the spectacle, as the barking geckos marked the end of another day.
I tried to take a video of the braai, lightning over Botswana and the sunset serenade.
Nossob at dusk
DAY 3 –Nossob
(Those of you interested only in wildlife, skip to Day 4 – today is all about rain, thunder and more rain)
Woke at 5am to the sound of soft rain falling on the roof of the car outside the window, and as dawn broke, the sky was heavy with cloud. Out the gate at 6am and on the way to Cubitje, got caught up in a Kalahari rainstorm, huge pelting drops, and I stopped to take some video.
Kwang resembled a soaked and soggy swamp, and looked as miserable as Cape Town on a winter’s day. Not an animal in sight. I could recall all my previous visits, especially last September – brown, parched riverbed, dry waterhole, shuffling wildebeest waiting a turn to take water from the pump outlet pipe, swirling clouds of dust.
Had our coffee and breakfast, and watched the rain fall, growing puddles and then into pools of water.
Rain at Kwang
Then headed back to camp.
On the way, it started to lighten up a bit. Only a few red hartebeest to be seen on the way.
At about midday, a massive storm broke over camp. Or so I thought – later it turned out that Marie se Draai got the brunt of it. It lasted a couple of hours, thunder booming down from the black clouds, and rolling out over the dunes, accompanied by heavy showers of rain. I took some video in camp, and then, thinking the storm was headed north, I went to the little lookout hill before Cubitje.
Once things had settled down, took an afternoon drive to Marie se Draai.
The road was flooded in a number of places. The riverbed opposite the waterhole had been turned into a small lake. Only the ostriches were out, swishing their way across the waterlogged riverbed, while the jackals waded knee-deep into the ‘lake’ collecting all the floating food that they would normally have had to dig out of the ground.
It seems that, as with windy days, antelope stick to the dunes in rainy weather ?
This tawny eagle was definitely having a bad hair day
Some pictures of Lake Marie
Back at camp, the waterhole was littered with hundreds of Abdim’s storks, which only visit during the rainy season. I had spotted them earlier at lunchtime, gliding under the storm clouds.
At around midnight, the Nossob lions woke the whole camp. They roared, groaned and grunted their way through the night, every hour or so, until dawn. Nobody in camp got any sleep that night. At 2am, I stuck the video out the window and recorded a Nossob lion at full throttle (you will need to turn up the volume)
Nossob lion at night
One lion was certainly close to camp, while another issued a faint reply from way south, but at night everything is amplified and distances are difficult to fix.
With the power off at 11pm, the fan stopped, and the room became a suffocating oven. With no insect mesh on the windows to keep out the mosquitoes, and the windows closed, this was the most difficult time heat-wise. Around dawn, the air cooled and remained pleasant until about 9am.
Well, this for me was a memorable day. My first visit in summer, and I had seen everything I had hoped for. For those who have only seen the Kalahari in autumn/winter, I hope you will consider a summer visit next time – the park is unrecognisably different and a whole new experience.