Part 1, Kalahari Plains

By Lyndon Duplessis, Fish Eagle Safaris

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For this trip I was fortunate enough to tag along with a good friend of mine, Adam Traweek, and some of his family on their first trip to Africa.  In all there were 9 of us.  It was quite a bit of fun being able to see first-hand how they enjoyed themselves.  Being the experienced Africa traveler also allowed me to let them know a little bit of what to expect from many of the camps and throughout a lot of the traveling but, as usual, I wound up learning my fair share of facts and information along the way as well.  All in all the combination of traveling with a good friend and getting to know his family (a great group of people) and visiting all these great camps made this one of my favorite safaris to date.

Kalahari Plains Camp

The first camp we stayed at was Kalahari Plains Camp, located in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, one of the largest in the world.  It’s a beautiful mostly raised camp with a great central meeting area and very nice tents.  Each room is designed to let in some wind for the hot midday siestas and there are overhead fans as well.  There is the option to have a bed setup on the roof and spend the night outside which is fun because I don’t know if you will find a better night sky.  The entire camp is run on solar power, very fitting for a camp in the Kalahari. 

Our first morning game drive was very cool, the temperature really varies greatly from the morning to the afternoon and then once again during the evening.  Like we say, always bring some warm clothes.  The green season does wonders for the Kalahari and just a little bit of rain goes a long way.  Foliage is plentiful and lively and this brings in a good amount of plains game, the most common being oryx and springbok with the occasional wildebeest.

As cool as it gets in the morning it gets quite hot in the afternoons.  In order to combat this, take a dip in the pool.  The water actually comes from the ground nearby and because of this it is quite salty but really not a big issue.  Great way to cool down before a quick nap and the evening activity.

One activity that is a must when staying at Kalahari Plains Camp is the Bushman walk.  Typically it is an evening activity where you go on a short walk close to camp with an authentic bushman who takes you through some of his daily routines.  This was really fantastic and kept us all interested from the very start all the way through.  Seeing all the tools they make, what they make them from, how they might make a small animal trap or dig for a scorpion is fascinating.  The thought of carving out a living in such a desolate and dangerous area is almost impossible to comprehend but these guys have done it for ages.

Grabbing a small snack before our game drive.  Easy to eat too much, especially over the course of a long safari.

The view from the main area.

Oryx are plentiful at Kalahari Plains Camp.

As are springbok.

I have seen honey badgers before in Zambia but not during the daytime.  This area is a great place to see them, even if they’re difficult to photograph.

These lions were somehow spotted from the road by our guide.  We had been tracking them for a while but how he was able to spot them is beyond me.

Our bushman guide detailing some of the useful local plants.

And now digging for something…. What could it be?

There’s the little guy.  He really had to dig for quite a while to find this one.

A jackal still waiting for the temperature to rise a bit before taking off on his rounds.  He didn’t move an inch but kept an eye on us at all times.

This pride was camped out in front of camp by a small watering hole.  We got to view them just before moving on to our next camp.

Continue to Part 2