Monday, April 09, 2012

Central Kalahari, Passarge Valley

Water consumption, Drinking : 9l
Water consumption, Washing : 25l
Fuel consumption : 3/4 tank left.

We only have to drive about 30km to the next campsite but I thought it would be much nicer to take the long drive and go down the Passarge valley, around Tau pan and then to the Deception valley campsite, a distance of just over 100km.  It was a good plan but things have a habit of taking longer than expected out here.

Before we left camp I popped my head under the car, mostly because I had read that grass was a problem, and to my horror found several birds nests of grass stuck in the bottom of the car and it wouldn't take much for the exhaust to light this.  I had to drive up onto the concrete fire place into order to be able to crawl under the car and get as much out as I could.  The bash plate which I had so laboriously installed seems to be a very efficient grass mower and graeme and gill started making jokes about 'rolux magnum' and how I am mowing the kalahari, renaming me to 'rolux roland'.  The sheer amount of grass which I managed to pick up in such a short space of time was real cause for concern.  By the time I had finished I was absolutely filthy even though I used a groundsheet; if it wasn't for the groundsheet I think caron would not have allowed me back into the car.

We finally got onto the road at 10:00 which was quite late but I thought that 120km at 30km/hr would be four hours, how wrong I was.  The time I didn't count on was the amount of time we spent looking at game, we saw amazing sightings of gemsbok, giraffe, a whole pack of bat eared foxes, a black backed jackal, lots of ground squirrels and a lone wildebeest.  We also saw lots of birds a couple of which are evading identification much to carons annoyance and my mirth.  Caron was really looking forward to seeing the lions but although we heard them calling quite clearly last night, they were nowhere to be seen and the game were looking very relaxed so I don't think they are close anymore.  It's quite an experience to hear lions calling and know that there is absolutely nothing between them and you, they could literally get to within 30m of the campsite without being seen.
The gemsbok were very skittish and it was quite difficult to get close enough to them to get a decent photograph.
A giraffe showing off its ungainly gait which passes for a run.  Although it looks like everything is happening in slow motion, they actually cover the ground pretty quickly.
A rather well endowed ground squirrel.  I wonder if he is showing off?
A pack of bat eared foxes was very interesting to see especially how they play with each other.
More gemsbok, it turned out that there were lots of them and in spite of the dryness, they all looked pretty heathy to us.
A black backed jackal crossing the road after carefully looking left and right.  If the animals in the park can get this right, why can't the cows and donkeys outside the park?

We stopped for lunch at Passarge #3 and found 4l of water left in the shower; I'm really going to enjoy my extra long shower this evening while the people that forgot it are going to be doing without theirs.  We had actually been planning on being at deception for lunch so we were a bit unprepared but there was enough fresh lettuce, tomatoes and that with some tinned salmon made for a very delicious lunch thanks to the rolls which graeme and gill kindly gave to us.

From lunch we headed around tau pan and then made a dash for the campsite which we arrived at in daylight but only just!  Before we lit a fire I checked the car for grass again and I have a real problem.  The amount of grass which I am picking up is just incredible, graeme by contrast is only collecting a couple of hands full.  I made a decision to remove the bash plate since I can't really see me hitting any rocks and anything has to be better than the rate at which I am currently collecting grass.  Not only that but with the bash plate in place, it is really difficult to clear the grass out.  I'm not sure where I am going to stow the bash plate but I can't see removing it making things worse.

The endless vistas where one just drives and drives without seeing anything which is man made is an experience which is somehow beneficial for the soul, whatever that actually is I don't know but everyone knows what I mean.
 An example of a "Tree Island" which are patches of trees surrounded by an ocean of grass.  We don't know why they grow there, it must be some kind of soil change or have access to water or something.  There were often tracks with no entry signs in front of them leading to these islands so they obviously make great campsites.  We had some fun joking about "meals on wheels" (tourists) arriving at the islands as a delicacy for the calamari lions.
For some reason, one can just keep on looking over the pans even when there is nothing on them.
Check out the heat haze obscuring the scene.  I really like the effect it gives to the photograph.
Daniel riding on top.  Officially this is a no, no and I think justifiably so.  The roads are very bumpy and it wouldn't take too much to dislodge someone on the roof and it is a very long way down to the ground.  Unfortunately it's great fun and you can see what appears to be forever from the top of the car.

Supper was vegetarian stew which was very tasty possibly as a result of the 1/2 bottle of rupert and rothschild that we had in it.  Although the day was quite long and the children were completely knackered I am starting to feel much better.  We tried a new ploy for washing clothes and when we had our luxurious shower we stood in a basin with the clothes in and used the shower water and a bit of stomping to was the clothes, it seems to work quite well.  Climbed into bed tired and happy.
There just seems to be so much sky here, even more than at home and orders of magnitude greater than in europe.
 He takes her taking him taking her ...
On the edge of Tau pan.  Tau means lion in the local language but I think that they are confused, there were no lions to be seen anywhere on the pan.

These trees right on the edge of the Tau pan look like they are made to have campsites underneath them.

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