Overview of Travels in the Kalahari
Roxanne Reid’s ebook on the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and its surrounds acts as an ode to the beauty and subtleties of the rugged wilderness of Kruger’s quieter cousin, as well as sharing the insider’s wisdom of an experienced Kalahari campaigner. It’s easy to read from cover to cover, and just as comfortable to dip into chapter by chapter as each works independently of one another. Reid’s book offers a combination of anecdotal storytelling and critical discussion. The 24 short chapters combine well to communicate both the ‘spirit of the thirstland’ and the special connection with the place which is felt by those who visit it on a regular basis. The last of these chapters is a need-to-know section which is both concise and informative, complimenting the tidbits of insider information given by Reid in the rest of the book.
Why you should read it
The first thing that strikes you when reading Travels in the Kalahari is that it has been written by someone with a real and deep connection to the place. Reid is successful in communicating the sense of belonging and somehow personal attachment to the bush which is felt by those of us who make regular pilgrimages – whether to the Kgalagadi, Kruger or any other beautiful, wild destination. This connection is also presented as it should be – as a somewhat complicated one. Reid combines descriptions of the beauty of the landscape and accounts of amazing game sights with considered discussions of frustrations with infrastructure and planning, seemingly inevitable in an environment not-conducive to human habitation. She thus relates the way in which one has to take the not-so-good with the good, which keeps one coming back year after year.
Having been to the Kgalagadi only twice myself ( many years ago at that), Reid’s description of sociable weaver nests resulted, for me, in the absolute truth of this statement of hers: ‘One day – perhaps long after you have left it behind – you’ll . . . realize it has wormed its way into your heart.’ The book is not, however, only for those familiar with the Kgalagadi. Prospective bushveld holiday first-timers or even those looking for a closer, quieter alternative to Kruger could gain valuable insight into the particularly laid-back pace of life and the ‘humbling silence’ of the Kgalagadi. You could also stand to learn a lot about how to plan your holiday in the park by taking a careful look at the need-to-know section.
Anecdotes of interactions with a local tracker left me chuckling, as well as jealous of Reid’s particularly special experiences of the Kgalagadi and its surrounding areas. Her descriptions of the ever-changing physical beauty of the place are complimented by the portraits she paints of the people who live and work in the Kalahari, from grinning guides and bashful camp attendants to professors rehabilitating meerkat pups. As a bit of a sucker for bush trivia I also enjoyed the bush facts which she has dotted throughout the book.
Travels in the Kalahari is available on amazon.com as an ebook. It will cost you R70 at the current exchange rate and can be downloaded straight to your kindle. If you don’t have a Kindle, don’t worry, you can download a free app for most smartphones, computers and tablets which will allow you to read the book on whatever device you prefer.
Has Travels in the Kgalagadi sparked an interest?
Have a look at these 5 reasons why you have to visit the Kgalagadi at least once, or if you’ve read Travels in the Kalahari, and can’t wait for a Kgalagadi adventure of your own, check out this Kgalagadi self-drive expedition package.