Khutse Game ReserveIn the hart of the Kalahari Desert lies a magical game reserve, a place that fuels your senses and leaves you in awe of mother nature, far from pollution, noise and other people this is where the avid bush goer is in their element.
Khutse Game Reserve forms part of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve in Botswana, a vast expansive wildlife habitat set out in 1961 that covers an astounding 55 300 square kilometers in the hart of the Kalahari. From rolling red dunes, grasslands and salt pans it has all the features for a reserve with an abundance of game.
The reserve like Central Kalahari to its north is a wild camping destination only accessible by 4x4 vehicle that requires of you to take everything for your stay with you, water, tents, food, drinks and wood will always be the basics. Roads consist mainly of two track dirt and sand roads that depending on the season can be challenging.
Camp sites are unfenced giving you a true feeling of being one with nature, there is a pit latrine and a bucket shower at each campsite with a concrete base that is used as your "fireplace". Khutse has a total of four camps each with a number of campsites situated out of sight of each other in most cases.
How to get there:
From Johannesburg you can travel to Zeerust via the N4 or via the Magaliesburg road, from Zeerust your best option is to drive to Skilpadshek Border Post. From Skilpadshek enter Botswana and to avoid Gabarone drive to Kanye then Molepolole and the last bit to Letlhakeng.
|Khutse 08 Campsite|
We spend our first night at Khutse Camping (Khutse 08) a stunning campsite with a large Camel Thorn tree (Vachellia Erioloba). Although Khutse is the largest of the campsites and the campsites are closer to each other it definitely had some of the best game viewing the reserve had to offer because of its close proximity to the Khutse waterhole and the Khutse Pan 1 that holds an abundance of game.
Night 2 - Moreswe
Our second campsite Moreswe Pan 01 was another stunning campsite overlooking Moreswe Pan. We did not hesitate to put up our hammocks and take a well deserved afternoon nap once we setup camp. Once the sun set the Kalahari becomes alive with nocturnal animals and the all to familiar cry of the black backed jackal was the dominant sound that broke the silence of the Kalahari. Large herds of plains game can be seen around the waterhole during the day and we were lucky enough to see two breeding pairs of black back jackal in the area.
|Campsite at Moreswe|
Night 4 & 5 Molose
Night four and five was spend at the iconic Molose Waterhole an area very well known for a large pride of lions that frequent the area, we stayed at Molose 1 the closest campsite to the waterhole. Game viewing in the area is excellent, take a drive to the waterhole at around 15:45 park the vehicle somewhere that gives you a good vantage point over the waterhole and enjoy an amazing sunset and great game viewing. If you are lucky enough you might even see the Molose pride of lions.
|Sundown at Molose Waterhole|
At Molose you are bound be to woken up by the call of a lion, we were lucky enough to hear a male lion every evening and early morning as he calls for the rest of the pride. Unfortunately he eluded us every day and the only sign we had of him was the fresh tracks he left on the Kalahari sand roads. Make sure to pack all of your food and rubbish away when you leave camp for a game drive, there are jackal that raid the campsites and they can cause a huge mess.
Night 6 & 7 - Maharushele
Our sixth and seventh nights we spend at the iconic Maharushele Camping (03) another campsite with a stunning Camel Thorn tree that provides much needed shade against the Kalahari sun. Maharushele does not have any waterholes in the area but from the track and what we saw has a very good population of predators. Being the closest campsite to Central Kalahari it gives you great access to the north of the reserve and serves as a great base should you want to continue into or through Central.
|Fresh Lion tracks and a Cold Lion Lager|
We did a day trip into central and took a drive up to one of the local bushman villages that are established in the reserve. Being native to the area before the reserve was established these people were granted permission by the government to reside in the reserve. Unfortunately and very disappointing the village and its surrounds was badly littered and one gets the feeling that they do not take much pride in the fact that they are in nature, beside that it is a great drive and incredible to see people live out in the middle of nowhere.
On the way back we stopped over at Khankhe campsite, the most southern campsite in Khutse, it has incredible campsites overlooking a massive pan, should you want to stay in central I will recommend Khankhe. On game drive around Maharushele we had some excellent sightings of Cheetah, Eland and plains game, there is a seasonal waterhole near Maharushele on the way back to Khutse that is well worth a visit.
Night 7 - Khutse
Night seven was spend back at Khutse (03) this time, this will be the last evening of an amazing trip and the last night of quite for a while as we head back to the hustle and bustle of the city. We chose to spend the day around camp and did a short drive to the Khutse waterhole and around the pan.
After you travel through the entire reserve and come back to Khutse you realize it is one of the best game viewing areas in the reserve because of the massive Khutse Pans and the abundance of game it holds. If I could change anything it would be to have stayed at Khutse a night longer.
- Use Sklipadshek Border post to travel into and back from Botswana via South Africa, this way you will avoid Gaborone and all the traffic jams. From the border post travel to Kanye, Thamaga, Molepolole and then Lethlakeng, this will be the last town you can fill up with fuel and do any last minute shopping. I would suggest buying all the ice you require in Zeerust and keep it in a separate freezer, there is nothing available in the reserve.
- Take enough water, for both drinking and washing / cooking. We took 180LT / vehicle and barely had enough for the trip.
- You can buy wood next to the road on the way to Khutse, we used our fire to cook and also to warm up our shower water in the evenings. Take an old water jerry and put it next to the fire to warm up, open the lid.
- Evenings during (April - August) can get very cold, make sure to take enough warm clothing.
- Avoid glass and other heavy items if possible, there are no rubbish bins in the reserve and you are required to take all your rubbish back to the gate with you. Cans work better as they can be crushed and take up less space. All the plastic items can be burned.
- Leave only footprints and take only memories, mother nature is always best enjoyed when untouched, adhere to the reserves rules and respect wild animals at all times.
Enjoy Khutse it is a wonderful place.