Pg 7 – Khaudum National Park – Day 7

Day 7 – Khaudum National Park, driving the ring road.

Trip Report – 

We woke up before sunrise to the birds chirping all around us and so happy that we were going to be exploring what Khaudum Park had to offer, on our self-drive safari adventure.

We packed our flask, coffee, rusks and homemade bread to enjoy the sunrise at the closest watering hole hide.  The peacefulness of the Bush is almost deafening and your senses are on high alert as you scan the landscape around you and watch, as the morning sun arise, giving life back to the earth.   There was a constant activity of some sort or other.  I’m sure they could smell our coffee and our scrumptious homemade bread as they noticed us but still went about their daily routine.

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Crimson-breasted Shrike

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These two elephants were on their mission as they made their way to the watering hole to drink and not soon afterwards were on their way again.

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A Crimson-breasted Shrike that was so inquisitive about us.

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Above is a sub-adult male Kudu above, checking out his surrounding area and below a young sub-adult male Kudu making a run for it!

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Warthogs are such characters as they run around, always on the move with their tails standing straight up towards the sky like an antenna.

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  • Warthogs have a lifespan of around 20 years.
  • Their gestation period is around five month when they give birth to between one and five.
  • They drink about 3 – 4 litres of water a day.
  • They eat grass, succulent roots, earthworms, insects and wild fruit.
  • They give a growl, snort or grunt.
  • Males have two pairs of warts on his face while females only have one.
  • Their tusks are elongated canine teeth.
  • Their nostrils can close when they dig with their heads into the soil.
  • They can go without feeding for at least 12 hours in the day.
  • They love to sleep in the middle of the day and wallow in a mud pool then rest in the safety of a den.

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We made our way, over a dry river bed, to the next watering hole that was very active.  The viewing hide was  “protected” by thick cable around its perimeter and wrapped around the huge trees for support and to keep us game viewers a bit more protected.  We probably were in a more volatile area of the park for elephants getting agitated by humans. The male elephants that were here were huge!

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Oh, the joys of a mud bath, easy to get in but quite something for some of them to get out of the muddy water.

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A Greater Kudu, strolling around the watering hole in the picture below.

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A giraffe was watching the commotion going on while his partner stood back in the distance.

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It was fascinating to look at the elephants in their individual herds scattered here and there.  The loving way they interact with each other, the hierarchy within their herd and the way they all care for the young ones.

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I hope and pray all these animals stay protected as us humans have already taken so much from them, their land and freedom.  For our children and children’s children’s sake, may they have the joy and beauty of experiencing the adventure of truly being in the bush with all the majestic wildlife still around.   Even now, you’re not 100% “in the bush” as they have demarcated campsite areas and its under control by the parks board, which is one reason we still can experience it.  It would be sad if Khaudum got too commercialised as it would lose all the charm it had in the first place.   It is the perfect getaway destination for just a handful of cars at a time as too many vehicles could scare the animals away.  The sightseeing opportunities are endless around the watering hole but otherwise we only had a few sightings spotted, here or there.  You could and we did, drive kilometres without seeing anything.  The park is not entirely fenced off and the animals are free to roam through the passage, via the various parks, as they all work together with protecting their animals, culture and land.

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Driving around the park where the roads were in pretty good condition.

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Every corner of the park offers something new to view.  We came across the giraffe above and an elephant below who were watching us as we drove along the road.

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After the days sightseeing and game viewing, we made our way back to the campsite for another peaceful and pleasant evening around our campfire.

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Please follow the link below if you’d like to view the map of the route we drove today with our pictures related to this Garmin adventure:

http://adventures.garmin.com/en-US/by/earth-wanderer/khaudum-national-park-game-drive/#.U8lcaVar38s

Information on Khaudum, from Khaudum National Park:

In the south side of the park, you will find calcrete and clay with shorter growths of shrub and bush.

Large fossil dunes characterise the south-eastern side.

The south-western part is known as the hard veldt with its bedrock areas of quartzite and subordinate phyllite alternate with shallow, sandy to loamy soils.  Calcrete terraces occur in the vicinity of the dry rivers which are referred to by the Herero people as Omirambas, meaning ephemeral river.

The north consists of sand plains, known as the sand veld with its flat ridges of fine-grained red sand.  It’s dunes with the tall standing woodland forests.

Khaudum is the only park in Namibia that protects the northern Kalahari Sandveld biome of the forest-savannah and woodland with its flat, clay pans and riverbeds.

The park offers over 320 different bird species including the rare and endangered ground hornbill, African Hobby Falcon, racket-tailed roller, sharp-tailed starling, bateleur, tawny eagle, White-backed and Lappet-faced vulture, Bradfield’s hornbill, coppery-tailed and Senegal Coucal, rufous-bellied tit and the black-faced babbler. In the rainy season the bird species include yellow-billed kites, Abdim’s storks, steppe and lesser spotted eagles, Blue-cheeked and carmine bee-eaters and the African golden orioles.

The following vegetation species are dominant in the south:  purple-pod cluster leaf, kudu bush, lavender croton, russet bushwillow, blade Thorn and many the trees as listed in the North.

In the north the following species are dominant:  false mopane, wild syringa, Zambezi teak, Kalahari apple-leaf, silver cluster-leaf coffee bauhinia, kiaat, manketti, leadwood, African wattle, sickle-bush, sand veld acacia, black-thorn acacia, candle-pod thorn, camel-thorn, buffalo thorn and russet combretum.

In the western sections of the park, you will find some baobabs.

Safety in the Park from Khaudum National Park:

While offering adventure and an unforgettable wilderness experience, Khaudum is potentially a dangerous park.  Lion, leopard, hyena and elephant attacks, while uncommon, do cause injury and have claimed human lives.  Elephant, particularly if they have been harassed or injured in neighbouring countries, can be vengeful and aggressive and sometimes charge vehicles, even if unprovoked.  The park is also home to venomous snakes, including the black mamba, which, unlike most snakes, exhibits little fear of humans and has a reputation for irritability.  Keep your tents zipped closed at all times.

We were happy enough not to have encountered any snakes while staying in the park.

The park entrance rules are as follows:
  • You need to be in a convoy of at least two 4×4 off road vehicles with high ground clearance due to the challenging routes.  Drivers should be able to perform essential repairs and have the tools to do so.  There are no fuel stations or vehicle maintenance places inside or near the park.  Should your cars become incapacitated, stay with it and wait.  Do not walk off in search of help.  Help will come sooner or later.
  • You need to carry a minimal of 100 litres of water per person and three days of food per person because there are no supplies in or near the park.  Travellers need to be entirely self-sufficient.  Water may be available at the camps but can not be guaranteed.
  • Camping is only allowed at Sikereti camp in the south or Khaudum Camp in the north for safety reasons.
  • No firewood to be picked up from within the park.  There may be wood available to purchase but this can not be guaranteed. Fires are to be lit only in designated camping areas.
  • No caravans, trailers or motorcycles are allowed in the park due to the conditions of the roads which are extremely rugged and arduous.
  • A minimum of 2 spare tyres, a hi-lift jack (or other means), a square wood board for under the jack, a shovel, mats, spare fan belts and a winch should be with each vehicle.
  • A net or fine mesh is recommended for over the grill to prevent the buildup from the long grasses on the radiator.  One must also check regularly for grass build-up by the exhaust as this can be a fire hazard.
  • No pets are allowed.
  • Remove all your rubbish from the park – what you take in you take out with you.
  • Stay on established roads and tracks.
  • Only 2 000 – 2 500 people visit each year, so expect to be alone for much of your stay.
  • The Park is in a malaria area.
  • There is a state clinic at the very end of the Katere road which is way up, past the north exit of the park, as you approach the B8 main road.

The park fees are around N$40 per person per night for foreigners, N$30  for South Africans and N$10 for Namibians.  A once off Park fee per vehicle also needs to be paid which is  N$10.

Contact information for Khaudum National Park:

Boesmanland, Namibia – Game warden – Tel:  +264 (0)67 244 017

Regional Head of Parks & Wildlife  Tel:  +264 (0)66 255 403

Ministry of Environment and Tourism – Tel:  +264 (0)61 284 2111 Ministry of Environment and Tourism – Fax:  + 264 (0)61 229 936

Contact and reservations – Fax:  +264 (0)61 244 558 or email info@namibweb.com

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