We changed campsites three times at Rooiputs as we couldn’t get bookings at one particular site for the whole duration of our stay. In fact very often the campsites were purported to be fully booked and we ended up being the only campers there. Travel agents apparently make block bookings and then fail to come with clients. This is unfortunate as people are turned away when in fact there are sites standing empty.
The birdlife around the campsite was always interesting. Rob managed to track down the Barn Owl that we had found in the A-frame. It had taken up residence in a nearby tree, obviously not planning to come back until we had left.
We had a very productive game drive on our last afternoon of the holiday. We took a drive a short way past the Kij Kij waterhole and Rob spotted an African wild cat (Felis lybica) in a tree. (How he saw it amongst all those branches is still a mystery!) These wild cats, that closely resemble domestic tabby cats, are mostly nocturnal, which made our daytime sighting all the more gratifying.
On the same drive we came across a pair of Tawny Eagles in a tree, which we photographed. We later found out that they had caught a snake, that can be seen pinned under the foot of one of the eagles. Amazing what one could miss with the naked eye!
Another bonus was a Honey Badger, known in Afrikaans as a ratel (Mellivora capensis). The Honey Badger, which gives off a foul smell like a polecat when threatened, is tough and aggressive, so has few enemies. They mainly hunt at night, but are often seen in the early morning or evening. Their gait is rolling and they keep their noses close to the ground as they hunt for food – bees, honey, fruit, scorpions and reptiles.
We saw literally dozens of leopard tortoises in the Park. This tiny one was battling to climb to safety from the road.
Everyone knows that awful feeling when a wonderful holiday has come to an end. The sadness at knowing that we’d be leaving behind wonderful friends, amazing birds and animals and the freedom of the great outdoors. Our special evenings around the campfire chatting about the day’s sightings would be sorely missed, as would the jovial sundowner times at our various ‘lone tree pubs’ out in the bush. But we had so much to be grateful for and we always had next year to look forward to – wherever the next adventure would be.
The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is truly one of Africa’s great game reserves. If you have the right vehicle and don’t mind bad roads, then it really deserves to be on your list of ‘must do’s’.