After a very comfortable nights rest in Van Zylsrus it was time to head on to our first camping stopover of the holiday. We were finally on the road to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and more specifically, the Rooiputs camp on the Botswana side of the park. This would be our second visit to this camp and we were very excited to see the area again.
|Happy Campers Namibia 2017 – Travel log Day 2 & 3|
|Place||Rooiputs Campsite no 5, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Botswana|
|Type of lodging||Camping (unfenced)|
|Ablutions||Pit toilet and shower enclosure, we used our solar shower|
|Water at site||No|
|Kilometers travelled||309 km|
We were still traveling on the R31 gravel road and the route took us past Askham where we pulled in to buy firewood and top up diesel. Soon after Askham we re-joined the main tar road leading to the Park and we were traveling past many familiar sights such as the signboards to Hakskeen Pan and the many sociable weaver nests built inside the huge thorn trees.
There is nothing quite like pulling up to the KTP entrance. It’s a beautiful building that fits perfectly into the surroundings and inside this building is where you find the Sanparks reception and both the South African and Botswana border posts. This must be one of the most beautiful border posts in the world and it is so easy to move between the different desks. We checked into the park at Sanparks for our stay at Mata Mata and we also visited the DWNP on the Botswana side to check in to Rooiputs. Then it was on to SA border post to get our passports stamped as we would be exiting SA from the Mata Mata border post. Once all the formalities were completed, we could finally venture into the park to start this leg of our holiday.
Kgalagadi did not disappoint when it came to seeing wildlife. We saw a lot of gemsbok (oryx), springbok (springbuck), and blou wildebeest (blue wildebeest), and of course the little critters, meerkat and squirrels. Bird sightings were also plentiful with several species of hawk and one or two owl species on full display. We also came upon a standoff between a Cape Cobra and a squirrel which was quite special. We speculated that it might have been a mommy squirrel protecting her young as they are not known for being so feisty with the snakes. Nontheless it was the first of two snake sightings of the holiday.
Life at the camp was very chilled and relaxed, it was very hot with temperatures running into the low forties so we tried to keep cool by drinking lots of beer and water, and spraying ourselves with water filled spray bottles. Off course this was done in moderation as you are completely self-reliant on water when you visit Rooiputs, as there are not water or electricity supplied at their camp sites. We went out for our usual game drives early morning and early evening and we were fortunate enough to see a huge male lion walking across a dune close to the Rooiputs lodge on the first evening, and two male cheetahs on the second evening.
A lot has been said about camp site no 5 on the 4×4 forums and Facebook pages, and let me tell you, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this site. You share the ablution facilities with no 6 which a few hundred meters away from you, and the only down side was the A-frame that was difficult to use, as it is perched quite high up on the site. It didn’t bother us that much as we have a complete kitchen set-up in our tent so we didn’t use the A-frame as a kitchen at all. True, it is the closest site to the Rooiputs lodge but with that being said, it’s still quite some distance away and even though you can see it, there is no noise disturbance and you still get spectacular views on the landscape. What I’m trying to say is that you shouldn’t panic if this camp site is allocated to you, as it is a very nice camp site.
The cheetah sighting were quite cool as they ended up walking right next to road for a few hundred meters and we were the only vehicle there at the time. We saw them marking the trees as they were walking down the road and they also took a keen interest in some of the sociable weaver nests. But sadly we had to say goodbye as it was close to closing time and you have to be back in your camp site by then. We were a bit disappointed not to have had any visits from animals in our camp site, with only a few lone gemsbok sleeping next to our camp during the night. On the first night we were treated to the very loud roaring conversations between the resident Rooiputs lion pride members but they never came through the camp site itself. We are firm believers that you should not bait predators to visit your camp so we put away all remnants of food and rubbish at night.
After spending two nights at Rooiputs, it was time for us to pack up camp and move on to our next destination – Mata Mata rest camp.