Andrew Bone

2016

Kalahari Diary Entry 1

Dear Friends and Collectors

It has taken 3 full days of hard driving to finally reach the Kalahari Desert. Our first camp is devoid of any creature comforts, save the shade of a magnificent camel-thorn acacia.
Our base at Mpayathulwa campsite lies on the eastern boundary of the Kalagadi National Park. Everything needed to eat or drink has to be brought in. It is a desolate and unforgiving place, and a little unnerving to spot the fresh spoor of a large lion where we planned to pitch our camp. A vast empty pan lies before us.
The day has been hot, the night – beneath an almost full moon – promises to be bitterly cold.

Kalahari Diary: Entry 2

Dear Friends and Collectors

 

Apart from a small man-made waterhole on the edge of the pan, the area appears to be a waterless wasteland. However this desert is anything but devoid of life. Meercats, brown hyena, squirrels and gemsbok have all adapted to the harsh conditions. Sandgrass and doves by the hundreds share the spring with wildebeest and springbok.

 

We were fortunate to be visited in the night by a large lioness, and in the morning by a magnificent male strolling through our camp on the way to the pan.

 

Kalahari Diary: Entry 3

Dear Friends and Collectors

 

It has taken two days of driving to head north with overnight stops at Kang and Maun. Finally we arrived at Moremi game reserve in the Okavango Delta.

 

The Okavango is the largest land Delta in the world and home to abundant wildlife and bird species. I have spotted my first Red Lechwe, the national animal of Botswana.

 

This is the most beautiful part of Africa, comparable to the Victoria Falls in natural beauty and bounty.

 

 

Kalahari Diary: Entry 4

Dear Friends and Collectors

 

The Chobe National Park which encompasses Savuti and Moremi is vast, diverse and undoubtedly 4x4 country. The deep sand track that leads us to Black Pools laces through planes of grassland, broken by islands of palm and fever trees.

 

Buffalo, elephant, giraffe, zebra and impala are in abundance. There is a sense of peace and serenity. Botswana has ceased commercial hunting and the wildlife seems to know that the sound of a vehicle brings only the sound of a camera shutter, not gunfire and death.

 

Kalahari Diary: Entry 5

Dear Friends and Collectors

 

We continue our journey North East towards the Chobe River. Our night stop is at Dijara camp in Mababe - a real gem, rustic but relaxing.

 

As with many areas in Botswana, previous hunting concessions have become community run photographic ventures. On our way out we were stopped by a pack of painted dogs, their pups playin in the road. Jackpot! The highlight of my trip so far.

 

Kalahari Diary: Entry 6

Dear Friends and Collectors

 

The Chobe River, an artery of the mighty Zambezi is a haven for elephants and boasts a huge population. With Namibia across the river, a lot of time and energy is put into anti-poaching patrols by the Botswana authorities.

 

The bird life is abundant, we have to negotiate herds of wildlife and Ihaha camp on the river bank is idyllic. This is a far north as we go. Reluctantly we must turn south tomorrow.

 

Kalahari Diary: Entry 7

Dear Friends and Collectors

 

Our final stop before heading home is Elephant Sands (where elephants rule). After possibly many kilometers of walking, great numbers of elephant find relief at the spring. Once their thirst has been quenched, they spend time getting reacquainted.

 

We make a day trip to the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans and to our amazement this normally featureless vast plain has transformed into an endless lake. Within months it will once again revert to an enormous and lifeless salt pan thanks to the relentless climate of the Kalahari Desert.

 

(We had the pleasure of pulling a Toyota 4x4 from the mud. A first for my new Landrover, but the first of many I'm sure.)