September 5, 2019 | By Donna Evans
Arriving in the green Kalahari Desert, I could hardly wait to see the nocturnal animals, but especially the meerkats. There is a lot of wildlife spread throughout the 114 hectares of diverse, colorful, and varied landscapes, including lots of red sand. There are several varieties of antelope, as well as cats, giraffe’s, kudus and other unique wildlife.
My number one goal was to see the meerkats. I looked forward to that private early morning, as the sun rose and the meerkats peeped their heads out of their burrows. I watched as they came up a little more and more until finally, they stood up directly into the sunlight to warm their tummies. There is nothing so adorable as watching them pop up, one by one, to begin their day. Their burrows seem to be in clusters, and it appears they are very social.
We were able to see the aardvark, but as soon as they smell your scent, they run the other way, and they can be speedy! One day, however, we spotted one of these rare animals coming in our direction. Our guide suggested we squat down and wait for him to come to us. We did this and were rewarded by a very close viewing as the aardvark walked, foraged and then moved a few steps, passing very close to us. It was an experience that is very rare.
On another occasion, we had a tracker who was determined to find the pangolin for me. We had searched for two days and then finally, were rewarded on the third day with tracks that the tracker followed for about 30 minutes. We were awe-inspired and honored with a very fantastic sight of an adorable pangolin. We were able to watch and follow this little fellow as he went from plant to plant hunting and foraging for the particular termites and ants he favored. We were able to get very close, since this particular animal was not too frightened by our presence, due to being monitored for research. We watched and enjoyed the busyness of this creature for almost 2 hours, absorbed in his activities and a sense of purpose.
Finally, we were forced to leave, but not without the memory and love of this highly endangered, innocent scaled anteater.
The green Kalahari, with its many species of wildlife, spread far and wide, was quite a treat. I went to see the meerkats, but the pangolin stole my heart!