The tough­est road in the land

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The CKGR is enor­mous. Only two na­tional parks in the world are big­ger: Tas­sili n’Aj­jer Na­tional Park in Al­ge­ria and the North­east Green­land Na­tional Park. The CKGR is about two and a half times the size of the Kruger Park, but don’t ex­pect camp shops and chalets with air con­di­tion­ing.

There are three types of ac­com­mo­da­tion: a camp­site with a braai, a pit toi­let and a bucket shower; a camp­site with a bro­ken braai, a pit toi­let and bucket shower; and a camp­site with no fa­cil­i­ties what­so­ever.

You have to be self-suf­fi­cient and bring your own drink­ing wa­ter, fire­wood, food and ex­tra fuel.

My tour starts south of the re­serve, in the much smaller Khutse Game Re­serve. I pitch my tent at Molose, a camp­site in the heart of Khutse. (See map on p 31.) My plan is to tackle the CKGR from the south and to drive as many of the roads as pos­si­ble to en­sure that the in­for­ma­tion on our maps is ac­cu­rate.

Armed with four jerry cans of diesel, lots of wa­ter and a GPS, I say good­bye to Khutse and drive north. There are a num­ber of pans in the north­ern parts of the re­serve. (See map on p 28 – 29.) You’ll see the most an­i­mals around these pans, and the most tourists. I plan to drive there via Xade, 230 km from Khutse (a whole day’s driv­ing).

The best way to tackle this road is not to drive it at all! It’s tough, mind-numb­ing work. There are deep holes in the sand and I rarely go faster than 30 km/h. The veg­e­ta­tion is so dense you could drive over a lion’s tail and not even know it. For the most part, the road is straight as a ruler, with only two 90-de­gree bends to break the monotony. Keep an eye on your GPS so the bends don’t catch you off-guard – tracks in the veld show that a few driv­ers were asleep be­hind the wheel…

A much eas­ier way to ac­cess the north of the CKGR is to take the tar road via Ghanzi from the west or via Rakops from the east, and en­ter the re­serve through one of the north­ern gates like Tsau or Matswere.

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