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Published: November 11th 2008
Wild Dog (Lycaon pictus)
Lucky to come across these on the way to the Kalahari
We set off from camp, drove north to the gate where we paid our dues, before setting of southwest to exit the park at the Khumaga
gate. How fortunate it was that we took this route because, before long, we saw two lone bull elephants walking determinedly across the plain.
The stopped about 100 yards from us and turned to look at us - what lovely beasts they are. A mile or two further on we suddenly came across a pack of about 9 wild dog. We had absolutely no idea that they lived in this park so it was a real treat to see them. We had all seen them before, of course, many years ago in Kenya, where they are now a rarity. We stayed watching this pack for quite a while before they left us, rather than the other way round!
Also along this road there were numerous oryx and, nearer the gate itself, many zebra. Because the whole place was so dry we were amazed that there was so much game. It became clear at the gate because the western boundary of the park is all fenced off, just the other side of a (dry)
river - the fence to keep the animals in the park and the cattle the other side out. There was some water holes in the river bed, whether they were man made or natural we never established, and they were packed with thirsty animals. Zebra were in abundance, wildebeest, kudu, and even a small herd of elephant - all of whom were surviving the drought conditions somehow or another, expectant for the coming rains at any moment.
We left the park, hit the main tarmac road and headed north to the major town of Maun where we had to get the permits to visit the Kalahari Game Reserve
- permits only issued in Gaborone
or Maun. About the same size as Francistown, Maun is not, we felt, as attractive. But we found the National Parks Office and obtained our permits to visit the Kalahari for a couple of nights. We found the Maun Rest Camp, about 6 km north of the town, where we spent the night.
A spotless set up with a beautiful site with a view across the river. The showers and loos were immaculate and, as I commented to the owner, this was the first
place we had found where there were actually plugs in the basins! His reply was that he purposely kept out the overland trucks whose punters invariably pinched the plugs as well as the shower roses. He didn’t need that! A great chap whom we complemented on his excellent facilities.
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