A short circular walk in the Kalahari desert, through low red sand dunes and plains, and under many social weaver nests.
With most of the day free, I’ve got plenty of time to do one of the longer walks around the Kalahari Red Dunes resort – although I’m hobbling a little after my fall two days ago on the more challenging Olive Trail in the Naukluft Mountains.
The Dunes Walk starts at the main lodge building, and initially follows one of the 4WD tracks in a northerly direction. I’ve got a rough map from reception, and the tracks are well marked.
There are social weaver nests in just about every tree, and having plenty of time I stop and watch them for a while as they dart around carrying twigs to build their nest. A common bird in the Kalahari region, the social weavers build one nest for their entire colony as well as for future residents, and the nests are huge. Like a giant apartment block, each nest is occupied by up to 100 sociable weaver families, and some weaver nests have remained occupied for over 100 years. They choose acacia trees for their nests, as these trees can live up to 200 years.
After about 2km along the 4WD road, there’s a sign showing the path heading away from the road, across the top of one the dunes. It’s still a very well marked track, and you can’t really tell that you’re following the top of a dune.
In fact, it’s very hard to get a sense of where you are. I can see fair way along the track, but the dunes are very low and don’t allow you to see how far the dunes go.
I send up the drone for an aerial view, which gives a better idea of the landscape: it’s a huge, featureless expanse, with a series of low sand dunes extending into the distance.
There’s not much wildlife around, other than the social weavers (although it is the middle of the day). I spot an ostrich, but despite my best stalking skills I can’t get very close.
Towards the end of the 7.5km circuit, I spend some more time watching the social weavers building their nests. I’ve picked one of the largest nest I’ve seen, and patiently watch the tiny birds come and go.
I’m determined to get a photo of the birds actually in the nest, which I finally manage to do. I don’t think I’ll be winning any awards with my photo, but I am pleased that I’ve got a couple of the social weavers peering out from one of the chambers.
I’m back at the lodge for lunch at 1pm; it’s taken a very leisurely three hours to complete the circuit.
|Location||From the Kalahari Red Dunes main lodge|
|Grade||Easy (minimal shade and can get hot, but a very flat walk)|
|Season/s||All year round|
|Maps||Basic map from main lodge, and well sign-posted|
|GPS Route||Routie GPS trail. View route and export to KML format.|