Kalahri Plains – Oryx, Springbok, Hartebeest, Wildebeest
After the flight from Johannesburg I transferred from the international to the domestic part of Maun Airport – a walk of a few meters – and made contact with the staff of Wilderness Air who provided me with a single ticket for all my local flights in Botswana. The domestic part was even smaller than the international with a distance from the security check to the departure gate of about 5 meters. In the plane I was privileged to sit in the co-pilots seat but was careful not to press any pedals or move the joystick. The flight lasted about one hour before the Kalahari Plains lodge came into view at the edge of a large dry ‘pan’. central lodge building is a simple open wooden construction with a lounge, bar and dining area. The en-suite individual lodges have canvas and netting walls and a veranda overlooking the pan. The guide collected the 5 passengers with an open 9-seater Land Rover and my first safari drive started at about 16.30. The morning drive starts around dawn at 6.00 and this became my normal schedule for the next 12 days. Breakfast is provided at 5.30, lunch at 11.00 and dinner at about 20.00. This makes a long day but there is time for a siesta during the hottest part of the day, at least if one is not changing lodges. One evening the lodge staff provided entertainment in the form of singing and dancing round a camp fire followed by dinner under the stars.
On safari drives the most numerous animals seen were antelope, mainly oryx and springbok, but some red hartebeest, steenbok and wildebeest/gnu were also spotted.