We needed to get away from everything, far far away where only the healing of Nature surrounds you.
So into the wide open spaces we drove, spaces so wide open it’s one-tenth land, nine-tenths sky. Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. Where the soil is copper-coloured and the hip-high grasses a lustrous gold. Where often our vehicle is the only one on the road, for hours on end.
Over 10 days, we crossed Kgalagadi from south to north, from east to west. Up and down the Nossob riverbed, then up and down the Auob riverbed. We did a lot of driving: 3 800 km to be exact. We went from 0°C to 28°C, sometimes in a single day.
Anyone who’s been to Kgalagadi knows that you can drive the entire park and not encounter a single cat (it’s what the park is famous for). And, oh, those tree stumps. They take on animal shapes, human form, feline contours. There are perfect antelope’s ears, seated male lions, waving figures, people doing star jumps, cats sitting upright, cats leaning forward.
But this time was different. First, there was the female cheetah sitting up in the grasses, observing a herd of springbok, too far away, while glancing over her shoulder at three twitching, restless cubs waiting dutifully a few metres away. Every now and again, little faces with angry frowns would peer out at us.
There was the ghosting presence of a sizable male lion with a massive dark mane, lit by a spotlight, at Bitterpan wilderness camp, who let out the deepest, most resonant, most reverberating mighty roar, it sounded as if he had joined us at our braai.
And finally, on a remote sand road, an adolescent male lion appearing around a corner, padding purposefully towards us. Another one appeared. And another one. Eventually, seven young males loped slowly and steadily up the road ahead towards our vehicle.
When there’s a pandemic on, this is the only place you want to be.
See the full story at www.gravelroadadventures.co.za/blog