Botswana Adventure: Khumaga Wildlife Camp

We were sad to leave the CKGR and we will definitely return in the summer after the rains when it’s cooler and the bush has recovered from the tragic fires. The trip really reminded us of the importance of putting out a campfire at night - even hot ash can start a bushfire in very dry areas like the Kalahari. (Read our trip report from CKGR here.)

 Khumaga zebras checking us out. 

Khumaga zebras checking us out. 

We’re planners so heading off into the unknown was a new to us but we enjoyed it more than we thought we would. A week or so before we departed Ben had read a blog on 4x4community about Khumaga. We found it on the map and it looked pretty close.

We packed up Jolene, plotted our route and headed back along the sandy track to the main gate. It was slow going and we saw little game.

After signing out we got back on the tarred road and headed towards Khumaga. After days in the dry and dusty Kalahari we were amazed the GPS instructed us to "take the ferry in 300 metres"!

And sure enough, just over a small hill, the Boteti river was in full flood and a pontoon was waiting for us and Jolene.

 Jolene floating across the Boteti river on a pontoon. 

Jolene floating across the Boteti river on a pontoon. 

We paid out fare and drove onto the pontoon. The driver guided us safely across the bank on the other side. We drove up a short dirt road and arrived at the entrance to the Makgadikgadi National Park.

Two very helpful and friendly receptionists welcomed us and recommended we spend the night at the Khumaga Wildlife Camp. Unfortunately, there had been a small burn at the camp recently but nowhere near as bad as at CKGR.

We set up camp under a large Tamboti tree in campsite 10. The camp has excellent ablutions and after the bucket showers and long drops of CKGR Kate headed quickly disappeared to enjoy a long cold shower.

The campsites could be a little more private, but the recent burn meant a lot of the normal vegetation providing privacy was gone. It is a small very well-maintained camp and the staff were extremely friendly.

Khumaga Bird List

  • Khumaga Bird List
  • White backed vulture
  • Double banded sandgrouse
  • Pied Kingfisher
  • Hammerkop
  • Lappet faced vulture
  • Sacred Ibis
  • Great White Egret
  • Goliath Heron
  • Greater Flamingo
  • Lilac breasted Roller
  • Red-billed hornbill

The banks of the Boteti, with little water elsewhere in the region at this time of year, are teeming with game. The river is fed by the highlands of Angola, where it rains for nine months of the year.

We were lucky enough to see a herd of elephant cross the river at sunset. In places the river was so deep that the elephants had to use their trunks as snorkels. They emerged on the bank less than 20 metres in front of us.

 Elephants swimming across the Boteti River at sunset. 

Elephants swimming across the Boteti River at sunset. 

We headed out on a game drive the next morning thinking this experience couldn’t be topped. We were wrong.

We had a great breakfast on the banks on the Boteti river while we watched its abundant birdlife waking up for the day.

 An after breakfast pic on the banks of the Boteti River. 

An after breakfast pic on the banks of the Boteti River. 

On the way back to camp we stumbled upon a large male lion on a fresh zebra kill. We watched him finish off his meal before he sauntered off. He stopped briefly to have a quick pee on a bush.

The real action then got underway. Over 50 vultures had been watching the lion from trees. But before they could get to the carcass a jackal dashed out and claim it for himself. For the next 45 minutes we watch the jackal fight off the vultures between mouthfuls of zebra.  

 Spot the angry jackal. 

Spot the angry jackal. 

The vultures eventually fought off the jackal and mobbed the carcass. We quietly drove away and headed back to out camp to pack up and set off.

We arrived back to find out tent collapsed under the weight of a troop of monkeys. They had tried to break in and raid our bags. Luckily they had been unsuccessful and the only damage was a couple monkey turds on our tent.

We packed up our gear and headed off with our sights set on spending a night or two at Makgadikgadi Pans National Park. Check back soon for that trip report.