Diamonds are a Rhinos best friend….

Today we headed south from the Okavango delta into the Central Kalahari of Botswana. The trees gradually gave way to the open pans and desert as we droves south and east, scrawny cattle, goats and donkeys line the road and occasionally cross in front of us. We take a little diversion onto the side roads to get a better impression of the desert.
We arrive at a surreal place for the evening, the little town of Orapa, this town is owned by Debeers the diamond people as it is the site of a massive diamond mine. Even to get into the town, which is well endowed with hospital, school etc we need to get a special permit and pass strict security. Only folks who live and work there are allowed into the town and the perimeter of the town and the mine are patrolled by soliders.
This has a happy consequence, the areas of the concession which are not being mined are a massive wildlife park, totally free of poachers thanks to the strictly enforced security, hence Rhino otherwise endangered are free to live here and do so in considerable numbers, once we clear the security we are free to roam the reserve and are the only visitors…
Diamonds, it turns out, are a Rhinos best friend.
The green trees of the Okavango give way to the barren landscape of the desert and the pans of the Kahalari
Local version of cowboys herd their rather scrawny cattle along the verg
The place is pretty desolate, the cowboy bar appropiatly named
A little diversion off the main road onto the sandy tracks of the pan to get a feel for the desert
Once we get to the game reserve around the diamond mine we have the whole place to ourselved
Looking for Rhino I stand on top of the landrover
From the top of the roof I spy a rhino for the first time eyeing me up from the bushes nearby
Impala kick up the dust of the pan as they run away from the car as we pass
Then a nice giraffe appears from the busnes
Our first sighing of a baby Rhino with its protective mother
This little jackel was enjoying the evening sun and was undisturbed by our passing
at the watering hole the Rhino were hiding in the trees at first
Eventually they came out for a drink, a lovely final shot of our time in the park
Driving to the campsite in the setting sun we celebrate another great day in Africa

About Gerry Mulligan

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