It didn’t take long into our journey into the Kalahari this past weekend for me to turn to Amanda and say, “If I could sum up Khutse in one word, that word would be: Vast”.
The Khutse Game Reserve is in the Kalahari desert and is connected with the
Central Kalahari Game Reserve. Both are national parks and are protected. We spent most of our time in Khutse, but did drive through the Central Reserve at one point on our game drive.
Getting to and staying in Khutse is not that difficult provided you have the following: 4×4 vehicle, lion-proof tent, extra fuel, plenty of food, and experience driving in sand. Unfortunately, we didn’t have any of those things with us at the German Guest House (although we could probably come up with the food), so we decided to go into the desert with a company called Africa Insight. They provided everything, including Leonard our guide, and made the trip very hassle-free. As a bonus, the “group” for this trip consisted of three people: myself, Amanda and Leonard. It was our own private tour.
We left at 8 am on Saturday morning. After a couple of hours, I was thinking that the drive to Khutse is not that bad as we had been on paved roads up until that point. That’s when the road quickly changed to dirt and gravel and was a loud, bumpy ride for the next few hours. Conversation was at a minimum due to the noise, but it was still exciting knowing that we were heading into the dessert.
We finally arrived and setup camp. We knew that Africa Insight was providing everything, but we still thought we would bring our sleeping bags, thermarest sleep pads and some other camping necessities. None of these things were necessary. We stayed in dome tents measuring 3 metres by 3 metres with military style stretcher beds, mattresses, sheets, comforters, and pillows! It was the biggest tent I have ever slept in and the only one I have ever been able to stand up inside. The next surprise was the “kitchen” setup including tables, chairs, table cloths and even an apron for whoever was doing the dishes. We were definitely impressed!
When we lived out in Calgary, people would often ask us about seeing grizzly bears. I lived there for 7 years and we did quite a bit of hiking and camping. We never did see a grizzly in the wild though. Some would say we were lucky, others unlucky depending on your point of view. We found the experience in Khutse to be similar but instead of grizzlies, most people want to see lions. We knew it would the luck of the draw so we were not disappointed when we didn’t see one. We did see lots of oryx, ostrich, springbok and many other birds.
The coolest part about the weekend was the scenery. As I said above, everything felt huge and vast. When we went on game drives, there was so much land and surroundings that it truly felt like we were seeing animals in their natural habitat. The pictures don’t capture how huge it felt, but we still think we got some good ones.
A great weekend was had by all! If you haven’t seen the pictures yet, click here.
UPDATE: Click here for Amanda’s post from the weekend.