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  • Day17

    Kori camp, Kalahari

    May 23, 2017 in Botswana ⋅ ⛅ 66 °F

    We do not want to sound repetitive, but another longer than expected drive from Khama to our first camp in the Kalahari. Partly our fault since we didn't follow an important rule when driving in most parts of Africa; fill up at every gas station! If you have only driven 10 miles since filling up and you see an open gas station, with gas, top up! Going into the Kalahari you have to be prepared for any situation since there are no services in the park and on a busy day you may only see one or two other travelers. So let's describe some of what we drive with. Our 4x4 has a 110 liter long range fuel tank. We also carry 40 extra liters in 2 cans on the roof. There's no water here so we have 40 liters of water in 2 cans, another 40 liters in an internal tank inside the 4x4 and a few 5 liter bottles. 2 spare tires, repair equipment for flats, hi-lift jack and a compressor to inflate repaired tires. Sand tracks if we get stuck in deep sand and a winch on front of the 4x4 so we can pull ourselves out if really stuck. A lot of stuff to carry, not including food and camping stuff, and hopefully we do not have to use this self-rescue equipment.
    Back to why it was a longer than planned drive. We had planned to do our last fuel 'top-up' in the last town before turning towards the entrance to the Kalahari. This is not a one-horse town, but a 2 donkey one fuel pump town with a windowless, brick structure called 'Her Majesty's Internet Cafe' called Rakops. We pulled up to the pump and a woman from the shade of her hut gave us the international sign - arms crossed in an X above her head, no gas and don't know when we'll get more. Our only option was to drive back 50 kilometers the way we had come to Mopipi where they hopefully had gas. Our calculations suggested an added hour driving but an extra 100kms worth of gas. We had also been pulled over on the way to Rakops for speeding, but managed to talk our way out of the fine. Going back to Mopipi, however, meant we had to go by the speed trap 2 more times - much more carefully.
    Once we were full of fuel (thankfully), we returned to Rakops and turned off the main road towards the Kalahari park entrance. Once you leave the main road in Botswana, everything is sand-or mud in the rainy season. Since they had an exceptionally wet, wet season, the roads were really impacted and have now turned to either bone rattling corrugation that goes for miles, interspersed with deep holes or deep, soft sand or a combination of all of these. With 50kms to the park gate and another 50kms to our first campsite it was great to finally get in, set up camp and go straight to bed.
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