Trip report




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Thread: Trip report

  1. #1
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    Default Trip report



    TRIP REPORT : BOTSWANA OCTOBER 2009
    Judging by the previous reports posted on the forum of water in the delta I knew that this trip was going to be different!!!
    I left South Coast and slept over in JHB as I was collecting a mate at OR Tambo the next morning enroute to Botswana, I assumed that if we were in the car by 1pm we should easily make the border (Martins Drift) by border closing time! Well thanks to
    1. Me not taking note of where I parked my car – resulting in walking both parkades until we eventually found it
    2. Trailer problem – not actually a trailer parking but the boom gate would not allow both the vehicle and the trailer to leave……..and after unhitching the trailer and pushing it through on its own we were off!!!!! Or were we??
    3. Roadworks …..AHHHHHHH what else could go wrong ………….we had planned to enter via Martins drift and sleep at Letlakhane (Mikele Lodge ) the first night…………..BUT it was too late and GARMIN said arrival was 6.25pm should we gamble it?

    Nope we broke left and headed to Lobatse Border Gate …………………we arrived at the Border at 17h20 and contrary to other reports it was by far the slowest border I have been through? We left the Border at 18h05 and next stop KANG….what a pleasant drive until Sunset and Dark! Nice road, minimal go slow areas and just like BOTSBOY and others said don’t drive after dark! I see why………COWS / DONKEYS / JACKALS / GOATS / AND A BROWN HYENA……….at least the brown hyena was a great spot we even pulled off to watch him for a bit!
    We arrived at KANG Ultra Stop at 10pm and being 24hrs just paid the attendant the 280 Pula for a Comfy room and went straight to bed………..Tomorrow was going to be a long drive to Maun the into 3rd Bridge!
    We woke up to the sound of heavy rain! Nope can’t be? OH YES it was raining buckets! Now what …… ? We left KANG at 5h00 and arrived in GHANZI at 7h25 and eventually got to MAUN at 10h05 and what a great drive barring the two stops!
    STOP A – VET STOP JUST AFTER GHANZI……….
    STOP B – POLICE CHECKPOINT AND RAID FOR MEAT…..I think they wanted to braai too!
    In MAUN we filled up and collected our paperwork at the DWNP Offices ………the best contact there is MAVIS she was incredibly helpful!!

    We had arranged with VAHINE (via the 4x4community forum) that they could join us in Moremi!
    At 11h30 we left a message with DWNP to inform VAHINE that we were going into the reserve as they were now very late……….or had piggybacked other accommodation!
    We entered South Gate by 1pm and were told not to attempt the XAKANAKA route………water water and more water! And judging by the Cars leaving it was going to be a Hell of a drive! It was still raining and things could only get worse!
    We went through lots of water and sometimes the trailer seemed like it to needed a snorkel? After a really long drive we arrived at 3rd Bridge at 4.20pm and it was empty!
    We setup and went for a quick drive to see what was around? Upon returning to Camp we discovered that:
    A] It was wet and there was lots of water.
    B] Everyone had rooftop tents and seemed like half of Botswana was in the camp…….
    We made an awesome fire and chatted with others in the camp about their sightings and the best routes ……..seems like the Lion left the area (or did they) !
    The next day we left at Sunrise and proceeded to Dead Tree Island……………..no chance of crossing too much water…………Lion Pan area – too much water! So we just looped and looped all day between 3rd Bridge and Xakanaka……………..not even spoor on the road!
    Arriving at Xakanaka we spoke to two guides and they said they had not seen Lion for a while because of the water and that general game too was scarce?
    We arrived back at camp that evening and VAHINE came and explained that they had been stuck for an entire day between SAVUTE and KHWAI area, and that was the general info that was discussed amongst all in the camp …………. Over the next couple of days we did only managed to see a pride of seven Lions in South Gate Xini Area ! But it was not only about the Game Viewing it was about:
    · The fire chat!
    · Talking to people in the Campsite!
    · Getting stuck……….very stuck and digging our way out and placing trees under the vehicle [OVERATED!!]
    · Baboons raiding our tent!

    We changed our plans, we had booked the last three days in SAVUTE and judging by the reports of no Lion there too we decided that we would gamble it and head south into Central Kalahari!

    Our departure from Moremi was a sad one! I have always been lucky there and this trip ………the sightings of predators was not even close to a day in the park in previous years! It seemed like we were leaving something behind…………….and we did a braai ( so please if you found it let me know )….

    The drive was a very quite and boring one but we knew there were Lion at Xini area so we should get lucky …………..we drove past were they had been ! Nope they’ve gone……………….our hearts were really heavy! Anyway that’s it we consoled ourselves …….at least we saw them!

    Then within the next 5km’s we hit JACKPOT! 3 Cheetah all walking on the road and posing for the camera! They even drank water next to the car…………! AWESOME--------------Our smiles were back!
    They disappeared through the bush and the GPS said that the road did a bend and my instinct said we could meet them on the other side if we were really lucky!

    And lucky we were! I started the car and proceeded to the bend a WHOOOOOAAAAA a massive MALE LION appeared out of nowhere!
    This was amazing……………..3 Cheetah and a Male Lion within 100m! After getting some good pics of the lion we decided follow the cheetah…….and yes we found them walking across the road and into the open scrub where they lay down and went to sleep! So its true the best sightings occur if you drive around (1st out normally see’s the best ) and luck ( right route at the right time )!

    We left Moremi and stayed over at Maun Rest Camp…..Simon and Joyce!
    Nice accommodation and very knowledgeable people they also run a safari operation into almost any area in Botswana!

    We spent the day in Maun and met some other operators and chatted about their sightings and where the best place is because of the water in the Delta…….everyone agreed IHAHA was on form ………some said four LEOPARD one day some said Lots of LION and Some said WILD DOG! That seemed like the best place but for now it was fully booked and we didn’t want to chance it and go north and not get in!
    So we asked MAVIS at DWNP to check availability for CKGR ……….is fully booked! After a second call to GABORONE by my wife we were told there is a cancellation and we can proceed to DECEPTION #4!
    We were Off ……………..MAUN to MATSWERE GATE via KUKE Cutline and we were in the gate by 9h20 am, at the gate I asked the Gate Reception officer (chap in uniform) if we could spend the night at Sunday Pan 1,2,3,4,? Or anywhere that wasn’t occupied! He said the park is full and that I should speak to the other two persons standing with him………….yup one from BIGFOOT and one from SIMPLY BOTSWANA……………..! NO SIR WE ARE FULLY BOOKED!!!
    We proceeded straight to Deception Number 4 and setup camp then did a quick drive around!
    No vehicles – No people – Empty Camps?
    That afternoon on our drive we checked all the campsites – they were empty we were the only campers in DECEPTION / LETIAHUA/ KORI / SUNDAY AREA! It was an eerie but really nice experience! It was Hot and Sightings were really slow! No LION but we did hear them and saw lots of spoor/tracks and we even had a visitor into out campsite during the afternoon and evening …………A LEOPARD! Nope didn’t see it but saw the spoor ! Damn have to wait for the next trip for that elusive LEOPARD!
    Our drive Back to SA was as expected and if I was travelling back from Maun I would definitely recommend the route via Kang as there are not as many 80km/h zones or as many stops!

    Below some useful pointers that should be taken into consideration for your trip:

    · ROADWORKS AND TRAFFICE HRS – IF LEAVING FROM JHB! BIG DELAYS
    · SATELLITE PHONE – I RENTED ONE SO I COULD SPEAK TO MY KIDS! (I AM A SOFTIE YES!)
    · NIGHT DRIVING – DRIVING ON BOTSWANA ROADS AT NIGHT IS VERY DANGEROUS!
    · VET CHECK POINTS – DON’T TAKE MEAT ! IF YOU DO HIDE IT WELL!
    · DWNP OFFICE – EXPECT TO WAIT! AFRICA TIME!
    · DRIVE DRIVE DRIVE – THE MORE YOU DRIVE THE MORE YOU’LL SEE
    · LUCK LUCK LUCK – CANT CHANGE THIS CAN YOU?
    · SPADE – DO DIG YOURSELF OUT OF THE SAND / MUD OR TO CHOP BRANCHED WITH!
    · MAUN REST CAMP – EXCELLENT PLACE TO STAY
    · GARMIN GPS ……….MUST LOAD TRACKS 4 AFRICA ON IT FOR YOUR TRIP! NB NB!!!
    · SUNDAY PAN 1/2/3/4 THIS IS A CONFUSING ISSUE AND THE SITES HAVE CHANGED:
    SUNDAY PAN 1 IS LEOPARD PAN ***
    SUNDAY PAN 2 IS THE OLD NUMBER 1*
    SUNDAY PAN 3 IS THE OLD NUMBER 2**
    SUNDAY PAN 4 IS THE OLD NUMBER 3**** ----------THE BEST ON TOP OF THE HILL!
    I MUST ALSO COMMENT THAT THE COMPANY I RENTED MY SAT PHONE WAS EXCELLENT SHE DELIVERED IT TO THE AIRPORT AND COLLECTED IT FROM THE AIRPORT! WELL DONE SHANA
    Shana Coetzee
    Sat 4 Rent
    Mobile Nr : +27 82 822 9549
    Office Nr : +27 11 894 6029
    Fax Nr : +27 11 252 7978
    Fax to E-mail : +27 8669 62533
    Website : www.sat4rent.co.za


    Last edited by wildlifewanderer; 2009/10/11 at 02:46 PM.

  2. #2
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    Thanks for the report and info. Is Maun Rest Camp a better alternative to Audi? The 'night sounds' at Audi doesn't do it for me anymore
    FJ Cruiser
    Echo Kavango

  3. #3
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    Hi Hoffie, Maun Rest Camp is better for me:
    1. Its very small!
    2. The owners are very informative!
    3. Very Reasonable at 300 Pula for a two sleeper!

  4. #4
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    Hi,
    just 2 things:I would recommend the Old Bridge Backpackers in Maun(actually 10km from maun near Matlapaneng for the atmosphere(very friendly!) and the fruit bats above the camping spot,
    And stay at Kalahari rest In Kang,great campsite with a wonderfully young and friendly pet giraffe called George(amazing experience of petting and feeding a bottle of milk to the giraffe and have him follow me like a pet!!)...

  5. #5
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    I have to be honest and say that I am a little disturbed by your trip report...

    When ever I pick up someone from the airport, I take them straight to the Krugesrsdorp Lion park first. I take them into the park, show them lions and say to them: Now you have seen a lion, let's go and explore Africa the way it really is.

    My biggest conquest was when my father in law asked me, on his second trip to Africa, what the bird was called that was sitting in the tree next to where the lion was lying asleep...

    I honestly pity the man that comes to Africa to see only lions, leopard and cheetah who sleep 20 hours a day and only move when we sleep. You are missing the essence which is the true Africa on offer!

    The yellow billed ox pecker, or Bohms bee eater, or Honey Badger, or pangolin is much more rare and much more interesting to see than the big cats...

    If big cats is what you are after, book yourself into Londolozi in the Sabi sands and you will be guaranteed to see them every day.

  6. #6
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    wildlifewanderer, tell us you didn't you forget your camera at home ?
    Johan Mitchell, Swambo : Marthie.

    My beste kennis is dié oor my eie onkunde

    '96 Colt DC V8 ... Safari Camper ... '88 Fleetline L
    '88 Ballade 150.
    "The rule here is that there is no rule" .. MikeAG

  7. #7
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    Nope Gaitshi ..........got some nice pics! Will post them soon!

    Freeflyd, can you honestly not say that on every trip you go into the wild that you dont hold your breath to see Predators............if that is indeed true then you are a much better man than I ?
    I have been going to Botswana every year twice a year for the last 6 years and every trip I leave hoping to see the big cats! Same when we go to Kruger / Hluhluwe and all the other parks!

    Saying that!,I really enjoy seeing the other stuff .........little 5 as well as all the birdlife and absorbing the sounds of the wild!

    Yes Pangolin are great to see.....I have seen 2 but still cannot compare them to the feeling RAW feeling you get when you see the Big Cats! Honey Badger too ! We actually spent some time with one in CKGR (time being 1 minute while it was kicking two jackals arses!!)

    Hope that my report doesn't give you sleepless nights but that is just the way it is for me !

    But I do agree in essence that if I were only driving around looking for big cats and not absorbing the serenity it would be a shame!

    BUT LIKE THEY SAY! DIFFERENT STROKES FOR DIFFERENT FOLKS!

    When is your big trip into Africa ?

  8. #8
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    Freeflyd

    Nobody stops you from writing a bird report to your liking after one of your trips. Why get disturbed about something that other people find interesting. We are not all animal/bird lovers so please do not be negative about other peoples' reports.

    Surely this forum caters for birding specifically elsewhere if you find reports on four legged animals so disturbing. Write and post photos and I will read that too without throwing my toys from the cot since you left out my gorgeous four legged friends.

    Wildlifewanderer

    Thank you for your report, seems to me that one should be careful when it comes to rainy seasons. Getting stuck for a day by your friend seems part of the lesson, water can put a spanner in the works for anybody.

    Where is the photos you are telling us about or did you lose your braai and the camera as well?

  9. #9
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    Hello Gary

    Nice to see your trip report and the Central Kalahari part

    You were so lucky to see 3 cheetahs the day you left Moremi ...Hope to see your pictures , we love them so much

    Concerning the rest of our trip : it was amazing : we followed the Xakanaka pride (10 lions) for 2 days near 3rd bridge , find 2 mating lion not far from the camp , saw big family of elephants , had good time with monkeys , etc, etc...
    In fact we are now addicted to this country and his beautiful reserve , landscapes are awesome !!!!! ...........................We have to go back very soon !!!!!

    Cheers.

    Valerie and Pascal
    Crasy about wildlife , crasy about cats ......If you would like to have a look :

    http://wildlions.eu

  10. #10
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    Lekkerrrrrr!

    Photos please!

    Bostoe

  11. #11
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    bostoe, hy het sy kamera by die huis gelos - daar was nie plek oor nadat Swambo al die beskikbare hoekies met 'what ifs' volgepak het nie !

    Soos hy praat was dit 'n lekker trip, baie lekker trip report....
    Johan Mitchell, Swambo : Marthie.

    My beste kennis is dié oor my eie onkunde

    '96 Colt DC V8 ... Safari Camper ... '88 Fleetline L
    '88 Ballade 150.
    "The rule here is that there is no rule" .. MikeAG

  12. #12
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    Default Photo's

    Sorry guys, I have been hectic............even too busy to download the photies!

    But today is the day....! I will post some up today!

    Cheers

    Gary

  13. #13
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    Default Trip report photos

    Herewith some of the pics......I hope it makes you want to go to the bush tomorrow or sooner.....!

    We are planning a trip into Mana and Matsudonha next year anyone keen to join?
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  14. #14
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    Nice pics, thank you! Any others?

  15. #15
    Stow Guest

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    Nice Pics Wildlifewanderer.....check it out Freeflyd, not all the pics are of predator. i like your variation.

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