Adventure Team
Challenge 2002

Africa 03 Journal

Africa: Kalahari

Africa Overland

 

Central Africa

Namibia

Botswana and South Africa

Alaska

Behind the Rocks

Belize 2004

Bill Burke Trail Leader Training

Black Bear Pass

Black Dragon Canyon

Blanca Peak

Camel Trophy

Chinaman's Gulch

Clayton, OK

Colorado State Forest

Dome Plateau

Eastnor Castle

Ellis Jeep Trail

Engineer Pass

Expedition Portal

Fins N' Things

Ft. Hood, Texas

Green Ridge Trail

Hackett Gulch

Hackett Gulch 2

Hackett Gulch 3

Hellroaring Rim/ Gemini Bridges

Hole in the Rock

Holy Cross Trail

Independence

Ice Racing

Indian Peaks

Klondike Bluffs

La Ruta Maya

Leadville Mining

Long Way Home

Moab Spring '01

Moab Labor Day

Mosquito Pass

Mount Antero

National Rally 99

National Rally 01

National Rally 02

National Rally 04

National Rally 06

National Rally 08

Off-Road Impact

Onion Creek

Outback Challenge Morocco

Overland Expo 09

Overland Expo 10

Pinatubo, Phillipines

Poison Spider Mesa

Qatar

Radical Hill, CO

Red Cone Peak

SEMA 2004

SEMA 2008

SEMA 2009

 

Drive to SEMA

At the Show

Top of the World

Twist Off 1999

Twist Off 2001

Venezuela '03

White Rim Trail

Yellowstone NP

 

Adventurers

AEV J8 MILSPEC

Biosphere 110

Chris Tullmann

Craig Jones

Dan Cronin

Dustin Hindman

Firetruck D90

AEV J8 Sarge

Joshua White

Nathan Hindman

Patrick Scranton

Rover Tracks

Stuart Nance

 

 

Photo Journal

Story by Nathan Hindman
Photos by Tyler Wirken

Click on any of the images below to view them at full size.

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Being Picked up at Jo'Burg Airport.

A rental 110 waiting at the airport.

Picking up the Defender 110s.


It’s two o’clock in the morning and I’m lying in my roof top tent staring at the canvas ceiling. Despite the comfy mattress below me, I can’t seem to get to sleep. Perhaps it’s because the normal background noise of city life in Colorado is gone; replaced by the blood curdling shrieks of jackals. Then again, maybe it’s the nearby lions having a territorial disagreement. They can’t be more than a quarter mile away, but their deep baritone voices which echo across the savannah sound like they’re right outside the tent. Come to think of it, lions outside my tent might be a big reason I can’t sleep. They’re a stark reminder that we’re halfway around the world from Denver, Colorado camping on the edge of the Kalahari Desert in southern Africa. Sure, when I get home this is the stuff of great anecdotes and party stories, but right now it just scares the hell out of me.

Although my company, Pangaea Expeditions, had organized this two-week expedition into the bushveld of southern Africa, this was my first time visiting the continent. Graham Jackson, our guide who was born and raised in southern Africa, was responsible for our welfare out here in the bush. It came as a great comfort when I soon heard him walking around outside the campsite checking to make sure that everyone was all right and comfortable with the noises outside our tents. “It’s OK,” he reassured, “it’s just a couple of lions.” Great, just lions! For a second there I was worried that it was a giant predator higher up on the food chain than me, like a LION!

The night before, we’d slept in the comfort of a B&B on the outskirts of Johannesburg, South Africa. There, it was easy to forget that you were in Africa. The friendly people and plethora of chain stores and malls made it seem like any other major metropolis in the world. But here at St. Clair’s Camp, just a few miles inside the border of Botswana, there was no mistaking it—we were in the classic Africa of legend, the Africa you usually only see on the Discovery Channel.


Inspecting the 110s.

At the B & B in Jo'Burg

A group photo prior to departure.


Heading out of town.

At the B & B in Jo'Burg

A group photo prior to departure.


Extinct volcanic cones dot the horizon in Botswana.

Moonrise at St. Clair's Lions Camp.

The grouppacks up to loave the Lions Camp.


Bushveld wisdom dictates that if you don’t bring any food into your tent and you zip all the door flaps up before you go to bed, you’ll be OK. You can go to sleep relaxed and calm knowing that lions and other animals don’t really know what to make of a rooftop tent- they think of you, the tent and the vehicle as one and the same, and thus a larger entity than them- not prey. Real world experience however is not quite so calming, as testified the next morning by the mass of people huddled around the coffee pot, hoping for a caffeine buzz to keep them awake after a sleepless night listening to “those noises”.


Big lion yawn.

The king of the jungle looks on.

Local kids inspect Tylers telephoto lens.


A male lion at St. Clairs.

Lions relax in the morning sun.

Local school kids look at the lions.


After the ingestion of large amounts of caffinated beverages, our group was to begin its first day truly in the wild. Our journey would take us another 250 km along the Kalahari to Khama Rhino Sanctuary, one of the few places left in the world where both species of rhinoceros, black and white, still roam. Once hunted to the brink of extinction by poachers for their horns, the rhino population is slowly beginning to recover. Khama is now home to about 28 white rhinos and 1 black rhino, just one small chapter in what will hopefully become the success story of the rhino.


Local transportation in Botswana.

The intrance to Khama Rhino Sanctuary.

Night time game viewing drive in Khama Rhino Sanctuary.


Our late afternoon arrival to the sanctuary meant that everyone had to quickly settle into the campsite and prepare for a nighttime game drive, a rarity in Botswana. Nearly all parks and preserves in the country prohibit driving after dark, since the glaring headlights and loud lumbering vehicles disrupt the habits of nocturnal animals. However, in a few parks, Khama being one of them, sanctioned night drives in park owned vehicles driven by the park rangers are permitted. These drives offer a unique view of the bush and give you the opportunity to see the “other half” of Africa’s animal population. Among the sightings this night were hyena, aardvark, aardwolf, impala, as well as a mother rhino and her baby.


Morning at the campsite.

A morning game drive.

The roof top tents in full regalia.


Packing up the roof top tent.

Dave is waiting for animals.

Carrie hangs out the side of her 110 ala Dukes of Hazard.


After a cold night camping (May is the beginning of winter in southern Africa, and night time temperatures sometimes drop into the low 40s) we woke up early for a morning game drive on the way out of the park. Gone were the hyena, jackals and leopards of the night; in their stead, herds of gazelle and zebra descended en masse to the watering holes. Our first daytime game drive of the trip was truly jaw-dropping. Seven Land Rover Defender 110s lined up end to end, and perched on top of each truck were the respective passegers with cameras, binoculars and video cameras in hand. We simply sat there panning back and forth as if unable to decide what to pay attention to. Directly in front of us, a heard of impala, but there to the right a few wildebeests grazing beneath the meager shade of an acacia tree. Further off to the right a group of ostriches intermingled with zebra while to the left a lone giraffe made an appearance in the clearing. It was like watching Animal Planet in 360 degree 3D TV.

In one moment the countless hours sitting in an airplane crossing the Atlantic, the frustration of getting sixteen people through the border into Botswana and the exhaustion from a sleepless lion-filled night suddenly melted away. In it’s place, the sheer elation of a lifelong dream fulfilled and the wonder of seeing the curious animals roaming their natural habitat.


Impala's distinctive "M" marking.

Ostrich and Zebra graze.

Zebras on the grasslands.

 

 

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

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For questions or comments please contact nathan@pangaea-expeditions.com