The toughest road in the land
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.