Friday, November 13, 2009

Makgadikgadi National Park, Botswana

While we were in the Moremi Game Reserve we met a man who said that due to the high water levels this year there was water flowing in the Boteti River, which is usually dry. This was attracting lots of game to the area which was located in the Makgadikgadi National Park. This sounded like a plan, so we booked two days in the campsite there along the river. Since the river was flowing, the entrance gate just across the river from the campsite was closed. We used a different entrance and got to the campsite by driving about 35k on a sandy track through the park.

The two days of rain we had prior to arriving at the park made the sandy track well packed and easy to traverse. It also allowed the game to disperse into previously dry areas. We did see some animals there, but not in the great numbers we had expected. There was definitely signs that large numbers of animals had been there, and an impressive number of skeletons littering the ground, but we saw no predators. Nonetheless it was very lush and scenic down by the river where we did see impala, kudu, zebra, giraffe, hippos, a large rock monitor, and elephants. As usual we enjoyed hanging around the elephants while they drank, bathed, and swam in the waterholes and the river. It was also quite uncrowded, we only saw one other party of two vehicles in the time we were there.

The highlight of our visit was having elephant for dinner. Not on our plates, but joining us for the meal. The 2nd evening we were there a large elephant appeared in the camp while we were cooking. It was browsing on trees and eating the grass in the camp. It worked its way closer and closer until it was just 12-15 meters away. We moved our chairs for a good view, we ate our chicken and noodles while he continued to much on leaves and grass before wandering off into the bush.

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