At the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, the welcome committee is out in full force as we arrive and slowly drive along the dry Auob riverbed. We spot ostriches, herds of gemsbok and wildebeest and a bustling family of meerkats. Under a camel thorn, a black-maned lion rests and looks rather unimpressed by his newest guests. Fortunately, the two !Xaus Lodge employees who meet us at Kumqua picnic site are much friendlier. They show us where to park our car, and we jump into their open-air game viewing vehicle. We bounce and glide interminably along a strip of coppery sand, slicing through shimmering waves of grass-covered dunes. Splotches of cloud shift across the burnished sky. I feel drowsy. Relaxed. Our cell signals disappear. !Xaus has no Wi-Fi and the lodge has only a satellite phone. The whole world suddenly feels a universe away. Our digs — one of 12 thatched, earthen chalets dotted along a boardwalk — are simple and comfortable, with a deck looking out onto the terracotta-coloured...

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