MY GREAT NOSSOB ADVENTURE
To walk and camp in the wild is to discover the magic of the Kgalagadi. Words and pictures by Kate Collins.
The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park has many attractions for those wanting to explore the wild side of the park. This I discovered when my friend Lucy Argent and I took on the !Xerry Wilderness Trail and the Nossob 4x4 Eco Trail.
The !Xerry Trail is a two-day walk that departs from Nossob and is your ticket to exploring the Kgalagadi on foot. Walks take place in the morning and afternoon. Our guides Melissa du Toit and Jan Kriel, the manager of activities in the South African side of the park, point out everything from trees to spoor. We spent our downtime at the !Xerry Camp, an enclosure that will keep any wild animals out but will have you listening to their calls throughout the night.
The Nossob 4x4 Eco Trail runs through red undulating dunes between the popular Twee Rivieren and Nossob Camps. It is not simply a four-day off-road trail, but rather a chance to see animals, birds and plants and spend time sleeping in unfenced campsites.
The first camp on the trail is called Witgat. “It’s known for its lion activity. On my last trip we had some lions playing with our firewood,” our guide Dawid Pearson said. He explained that while they do not always see lion, they can hear them not far from the camp. He also adds that camping in the wild is not something to be afraid of. “If you respect the animals they will respect you.”
While the trail offers you a chance to see game, Pearson explained that the beauty of this 4x4 excursion is the time to enjoy the park with a smaller group, where animal sightings are seen by only a few. “It’s also an opportunity to learn about little things; scorpions, plants and insects.”
The second night is spent at Rosyntjiebos and the last night at Swartbas. Swartbas is Pearson’s favourite campsite and excellent for bird watching. This is also where we spotted two lionesses lying in the road. After a 10-minute nap, the two stretched their legs and walked off. It was a great way to end a trail that’s not likely to disappoint.
Need to know
The cost for the Nossob Trail is R2 340 a vehicle, with a minimum of two vehicles and a maximum of five. Trails depart every Monday at 09h00 and alternate on a monthly basis between Nossob and Twee Rivieren.
The !Xerry trail departs from Nossob at 11h30 on Wednesdays and returns to Nossob at 12h00 on Fridays. The cost is R935 a person. The trail caters for a minimum of three and a maximum of eight; no under 16s. The trail is open from 1 April to 31 October only.
Bookings: 054-561-2050 www.sanparks.org
Kate’s tips for 4x4 driving:
Keep a good distance behind the vehicle in front of you.
Make sure your tyre pressure is correct before you leave.
Be considerate of game sightings and stop to inform others on the trail.
Pack your car so there is enough space to see out the back window.
The less you pack the easier it becomes to climb the dunes.
Choose your travel partner wisely – you’ll have a lot more fun.
Source: Wild Magazine