I’m back to the Kalahari Desert, now in Botswana, trying to remind
myself that my feelings about authoritarian governments and regimes
are not to be confused with my feelings about Africa. Travel is harder
here. The National parks are expensive to access, and bush-camping is
dangerous – too many elephants walking around. I try not to get too
annoyed with the armed men who stop the car every hundred kilometers
and make everybody step onto a filthy rag socked in something like
ammonia, supposedly for the prevention of foot-and-mouth disease.
Away from roadblocks, I try to forget how much I’ve paid to get into
Central Kalahari NP, and swore next time I’d find a hole in the fence
(or make one). The park is as secluded as true wilderness should be.
Nobody here is going to patrol to make sure you’ll be staying in your
car. In two days here, I met only two other vehicles, so when I
finally stumbled upon a full-grown black-maned male lion – he was all
mine. Camping is in the open; there is no other way and that is just
fine with me. I could almost laugh at how incredibly low-maintenance
the ablution blocks (local term for bathrooms) were made here to be.
At every campsite there are two structures, just spiral walls with no
doors. One has a hole in the center – that’s the toilet, and the other
has a bucket with a shower head attached to its bottom – that’s the
shower. Ultimately, Central Kalahari is the sort of safari heaven only
a true bushman – modern traveler or tribesman – can appreciate.