We had an amazing time out at Loch Maree deep in the beautiful landscape of the Kalahari. As we headed north, deeper into the Kalahari, the scenery started changing. It was just big blue skies and wide open spaces. Basically lots of nothing. The road was quiet and empty. Besides a few passing vehicles, the only signs of life were the gigantic nests of the sociable weaver birds that seemed to colonies trees and electricity poles. I read that some of these huge nests have colonies of up to 50 chambers housing as many as 300 birds. We also saw some of the nests that had fallen to the ground – I presume when they just get too heavy to sit to the telephone pole or tree.
The Kalahari is not only amazingly rich in diversity but also reflects an endless variety of moods, making each new encounter different from the previous ones. The Kalahari Red Dune Route extends north of Upington into the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park that forms the borders with Namibia and Botswana which is also one of the largest conservation areas in the world. The red colour of the dunes in the southern Kalahari can be attributed to the high iron oxide content of the sand. In areas of higher rainfall and in shallow areas where water collects, the iron oxide is leached out, causing the sand ultimately to turn white. The gradual effect of the leaching transforms the desert into a wonderful variety of colours.
We camped for three days at Loch Maree just outside the Kgalagadi Park as it was a long weekend in South Africa and everybody was out visiting the park as the days are getting cooler now. Here summer temperatures soar easily to over 45 degrees so that is not the favourite time of the year to visit this remote section of our beautiful country.
God was good to us and every morning we woke up with the most stunning of sunrises which turned into beautiful days of maximum temperatures reaching about 28 degree Celsius.
From Loch Maree the Kgalagadi is within easy reach (± 90 km) along the tar road that will take you to the southern gate of the park at Twee Rivieren. Unlike Kruger National Park check-in was easy as there were no crowds and queues to negotiate. The friendly lady who checked us in even advised on the appropriate tyre pressure to negotiate the corrugated roads of the park. Although we did not see any species of the cat family gemsbok and springbok were in abundance and as an extra bonus we had some great bird sightings too.
If you are willing to travel that extra bit to avoid the masses you will undoubtedly be rewarded with spectacular views in the Kalahari!
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