Leg 2 of Peter van Kets and Jacques Marais’ Beyond Lockdown, Beyond Expedition, took them up the into the Northern Cape to the red sands of the Kalahari Trails Nature Reserve. There they learnt from a Khomani San tracker and played with a family of meerkats.

“The spirit of man is nomad, his blood Bedouin, and love is the aboriginal tracker on the faded desert spoor of his lost self.” – Laurens van der Post

“The quote above is from one of South Africa’s greatest writers, and arguably one of the leading experts on the Kalahari Desert” mused Jacques Marais. “His words echoed inside my skull for the past few days as we explored the amber dunes of this arid Northern Cape Tourism desert region.”

The sandy takes of the Kalahari were no match for the Isuzu mu-X, especially fitted as it is with Dunlop Grand Trek AT5 tyres. Photo by Jacques Marais.

The Beyond Expeditions, Beyond Lockdown, team managed to squeeze in a couple of top destinations in the second province of their adventure over the last two days. Their stops included the Kalahari Trails Nature Reserve, Molopo Kalahari Lodge and the incredible Khomani San community on Erin Game Farm. “I cannot but help think that Van Der Post was speaking about the Bushman people when he penned the above words” Marais reflected.

‘Khomani’ means the forgotten people, but – like the Red Dune Route sand – you will find it impossible to erase them from your memory once you’ve experienced their encyclopaedic knowledge of the veldt. Or witnessed their rich, yet humble and unfettered, lives. Marais, Peter van Kets, Zane Schmahl and Peter Kirk had the pleasure of being led on a tracking expedition through the shifting dunes by !Xopan. The Khomani guide’s passion for the Kalahari is only exceeded by his intimate knowledge of the region.

Zane Schmahl making friends with one of the affectionate Meerkat Sanctuary locals along the Red Dune Route. Photo by Jacques Marais.

The same can be said for the delightful little denizens ruling the Boesman grass plains at the Meerkat Sanctuary. “We burrowed in the sand with them; tracked into the ancient dunes, and went free-range on an exhilarating desert trail run” Marais recounted. “And we ate like kings, and sat around many a fire, listening to tall tales or just letting the desert night wash over us.”

Please make a point to play local and stay local to support local tourism at grass-roots level, and help change the lives of those thousands of people dependent upon your contribution to the local economy. Today, 7 August, the Beyond Expeditions’ ‘Long Drive to support SA Tourism’ meanders all the way south onto the edge of the Free State. There the team will visit the Karoo Gariep Conservancy for their next adventure.

In the Kalahari Trails Nature Reserve the team was treated to a venison braai; complete with gemsbok marrow bones, roasted to perfection. Photo by Jacques Marais.

The plan is a ‘Shy Five Safari’, sand up paddle boarding on the Orange River and wild camping on an island in the mighty river. You can continue to follow the Beyond Lockdown adventures on social media, the until the 20th of August on the following channels:

Facebook: OutdoorZone.Africa

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Twitter: @OZone_africa

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Podcast: oZONE Podcast

Website: www.ozone.africa