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Traversing the Kalahari in flood January 2021

The green kalahari like very few get to see it

I could write a string of cliches about our 7 hour trip on flooded Kalahari roads during which we progressed all of 97 km toward Augrabies from Red Sands Country Lodge. It was all about the journey. The planned destination of Witsand Nature Reserve eluded us. Despite plans being thwarted the unique experience was unforgettable, and not without an element of fun. Oddly my first visit to the Northern Cape was after navigating and repeatedly changing routes on flooded Namibia roads on our honeymoon in March 2005.

Flooded roads were the order of the day
when you send your 10 year old ahead to test the depth of the water
This looks a lot more like the mists of the Natal Midlands than the Kalahari. This is where we were forced to turn back, the angle of my photo doesn’t show how impossibly steep the incline was.

Near to Witsand, our car could not cope, a short paved section of road was too steep, wet and slippery. We could not risk burning out the clutch and being stranded. We had not seen another vehicle for over 5 hours and cell phone signal was near non existant. The next day we were told that a Padstal in the area recorded 91 mm of rain.

On our return trip from Augrabies a few days later, we made it to Witsand on a far better road (and the torrential rain had stopped). Retrospectively we should have asked someone at Witsand for directions and the best route in advance, rather than relying on Google maps.

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