The day started out right, our covering 300 kilometers and arriving at the South Africa – Botswana border at about 2pm. Well, not exactly the border, m This 38,000 hectare joint park has an entrance where your visa is stamped out of South Africa, but you don’t enter Botswana or Namibia until you exit the park on the other side. Each country shares the money you spend inside, and park staff work for a third-party contractor.
But the park actually belongs jointly to the local successors to the Bush tribesman and the colored peoples of South Africa. We’re staying at the House Lodge, an elegant elevated series of wooden cabins and walkways above the ground in the midst of a huge sand-duned grassland.
But back to entering the park. About twenty miles up the road, while photographing some antelope, our front left tire went flat. Now, this is in an area where little to no cell phone coverage exists, and not many people travel. And if you remember our fat tire on the first tour, the problem was that the lug nuts were tightened so much that they could not be loosened to change the tire. Ditto.
Two hours later, with the help of a park visitor who gave Kembo a ride back to the entrance gate, and two park staff who brought him back and helped provide extra weight on the pipe which was used to crack the lug nuts, we were on our way very late to our next stop.
But what a stop it was. The plan was to meet up with staff from the lodge 50 miles into the park, and transfer to a large four-wheel drive truck. That’s the only way to get to the lodge, as its 50 miles farther across 90 sand huge dunes. Just before we got to the trnsfer point, we spotted a leopard which had just killed an Africa squirrel, on the side of a hill about 150 feet from us. Playing with it, like any cat does with its food, we took dozens and dozens of photos. Unfortunately, we had to leave long before we wanted to, in order to make our connection.
The location and environment is almost beyond description. Reached by driving many miles of sand dunes, the cabins overlook a huge dry red-sand waterhole resting under the biggest, brightest sky you can imagine.
!Xaus Lodge and two days at Fish River Canyon Lodge, we did morning, afternoon, sunset, and night game walks and drives. They were all mesmorizing. Combined with great meals and the serenity of your dreams, we felt like we were in quite another world.
To see the photos we took on Wednesday and Thursday, click on: Wednesday and Thursday.
To see the photos we took on Friday, click on: Friday
To see the photos we took on Saturday, click on: Saturday.