PARK FEES

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im­me­di­ately hear some­thing rustling in the grass be­hind the ve­hi­cle. I slam the door closed and make my de­ci­sion: Tonight I’m sleep­ing right here, as un­com­fort­able as it might be. A while later I put a gas stove on the ground out­side the door and cook some noo­dles for din­ner. I open the door a lit­tle to stir the pot when needed.

Here’s a tip: If you ever have to sleep in the cab of a bakkie, it helps to open the win­dows a crack. But only do this once you’ve turned off the cabin lights, other­wise you’ll at­tract ev­ery in­sect in the Kala­hari.

It’s a moon­less night. I lie back and watch the light­ning roll closer in the dark­ness. The air smells like rain. I don’t see the lion again, but I can hear it mov­ing in the grass around the camp. When it roars, it feels like it’s on the back seat. In the dis­tance, thun­der roars back. One ben­e­fit of a lion in your camp is that you don’t have much to pack up the next morn­ing. I head out early, driv­ing a cir­cu­lar route along which you can see al­most the whole re­serve. You could eas­ily do this route in a day and re­turn to Khutse Pan for the night, or you can take it easy and camp at some of the other pans along the way. (See the map above.)

I turn south on the cir­cu­lar route and drive as far as Moreswe Pan. The mud has baked dry and some gems­bok wade through the mi­rages to the man­made wa­ter­hole on the north­ern side of the pan. By the time I reach the camp­site at Molose Pan, it starts to rain. I man­age to get my tent up just be­fore the driz­zle turns into a down­pour.

Hud­dled in­side later, think­ing of that lion, my ny­lon shel­ter feels very thin…

– François Haas­broek All the camp­sites are man­aged by Big­foot Tours. P250 (R324) per adult; P125 (R162) per child aged 8 – 15. All vis­i­tors must pay a daily con­ser­va­tion fee of P120 (R166) per adult; P60 (R83) per child aged 8 – 17; P50 (R65) per ve­hi­cle. Con­tact: Big­foot Tours

00 267 395 3360; 00 267 391 0927; big­foot­tours.co.bw

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