Botswana planning advice (nata, kasane, chobe, namibia)





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  1. #1
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    Default Botswana planning advice (nata, kasane, chobe, namibia)

    Evening all,

    I've started planning a Botswana trip for early 2014. My intention was to go sometime from May to October.

    Due to leave issues and restrictions on other party members, it seems the trip will need to happen in March 2014.

    So my situation is:
    - Plan any Botswana visit for about a week in mid march 2014.
    - From there a week in Namibia.
    - Three to five adults in two vehicles.
    - My Pajero (3.2 DiD SWB) and a Mazda drifter 2.5 TD 4x2 Difflock
    - The trip is basically: i want to show my family botswana and then they show me namibia.
    - So I now need to plan the Botswana week.
    - The plan is to leave pretoria, enter botswana for a week and then enter namibia somewhere and spend a week there.

    I've been to botswana before but i need some help planning this week.

    My initial plan for the Botswana portion is:
    - Have a long first day. Enter at the border post which i cant remember now and spend first night at Nata lodge. Or FT as a backup
    - Then tour salt pans quickly and one or two or three nights around kasane. (Chobe river lodge i think). The one where you can camp.
    - From there we must at least see vic falls and do at least one boat cruise on chobe river.
    - From here it gets hazy. Not sure where to enter caprivi ( which border post) and what to do for last 2/3 nights.
    - I know what I would like though: the remaining botswana time at savuti or linyanti or ihaha.
    - I've been to savuti before but it sounds like better game viewing around linyanti. I want to see Ihaha too. Then cross into caprivi.

    My concerns / questions are:
    - How will the 4x2 difflock drifter do around chobe (especially march which shud still be quite wet)
    - While still wet, I'm not sure what the game viewing around my intended areas would be. Dry months easier to predict.
    - Pretoria to nata is one helluva first day distance. Is it too much?
    - Where to cross into caprivi.
    - Booking availability booking for for March. Last year december we entered botswana without any bookings at all. We phoned from the car enroute or booked on arrival. We did this for two weeks without failure. We stayed at nata, kasane, savuti, moremi, planet boabab and kubu island. I wasnt in charge of that tour, i just tagged along. So I dont know if i shud be worried.


    My objectives for the Botswana portion of the trip:
    - Show my family the transition of RSA-like country in the south to wild wild west in the north. My plan covers this.
    - Show my family the beauty of Botswana. I truly fell in love with this country when I first experienced it a year ago. Think I'm OK.
    - When at Savui last year, I experienced elephant & hyena meters away from my tent. Lion not much further. With their experience limited to kruger park, i want to give my family the experience of unfenced camping in africa.
    - Lastly, proper game viewing. I'm hoping we'll see all the main attractions (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, hippo, hayena, wild dog) and plenty of birds (my parents are bird watchers......).

    Any comments on my current plans, solutions for my concerns/questions or other advice will be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks



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  2. #2
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    If you're driving the pans and savuti (and especially linyati) areas, you really need a full 4x4. I'm not sure how your Mazda drifter 2.5 TD 4x2 Difflock will handle the conditions in Botswana but personally, I think you may be chancing it? The tar roads will be fine and Chobe river front etc... but some areas of Bots need full 4x4 (sand, maybe - mud, possibly not). It's hard to say what the road conditions will be like (depends on the rainy season) - last year March was relatively dry already. Perhaps other drivers on here have some advice.

    Pretoria to Nata is a long way (do-able, but long). Consider Pretoria to Serowe (Khama Rhino Sanctuary) for one night (more to see than Francistown for sure!). 5 hours drive. (Or Francistown) if you're not keen on the long drive. But you'll make it in one day

    From Kasane, you can cross into Caprivi at Ngoma border post.

    Bookings should be more relaxed in March next year - it's not a busy time.. so the towns should be ok, but you can not pay at the privatised campsites on arrival, so book these beforehand. We're also expecting Park fees to increase sometime soon (who actually knows when though)

    March in Botswana.... The fruit of the Marula trees attract elephants that wander from tree to tree in search of their favourite meal. At this time of year elephant are often encountered on walks in the Okavango as they feed from one Marula tree to another. This is the start of the rutting season and impala males snort and cavort to attract females. Temperatures are still warm both day and night but the air is drier and the rains less frequent. The bush is lush and green and there are lots of flowers.
    (So beauty of Botswana.. it's a given!) Enjoy!
    Last edited by taraleegoosen; 2013/12/22 at 03:20 PM. Reason: Spelling error.. oops!

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    Thanks Tara - input much appreciated.

    Let me play around with that info for a while and see what i come up with.


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    Quote Originally Posted by taraleegoosen View Post

    March in Botswana.... The fruit of the Marula trees attract elephants that wander from tree to tree in search of their favourite meal. At this time of year elephant are often encountered on walks in the Okavango as they feed from one Marula tree to another. This is the start of the rutting season and impala males snort and cavort to attract females. Temperatures are still warm both day and night but the air is drier and the rains less frequent. The bush is lush and green and there are lots of flowers.
    (So beauty of Botswana.. it's a given!) Enjoy!
    Fantastic description Tara!! Here I am stuck in Pretoria and working as well!
    Peet Schultz

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    Quote Originally Posted by PeetS View Post
    Here I am stuck in Pretoria and working as well!
    Oh dear Peet! let's hope the forum members all post great photos after their Christmas trips for us to see (& dream). Hoping you have a wonderful Christmas at home! All the very best for the New Year

  6. #6
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    Based on your feedback I decided to forget about Linyati for this trip (maybe too ambitious with my dad's 4x2).

    I'm hoping Ihaha is close enough to make it OK. Ihaha has space available too!

    Just struggling with the booking :-(

    Thanks again


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  7. #7
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    I can try and help if you like, email me dates & numbers. They are open odd days during the holidays - but everyone slows down around this time

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    Thanks a million Tara!

    I think I just need to slow down a bit and learn some patience ;-)


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  9. #9
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    So it seems planning currently is leaning towards:
    - Khama Rhino Sanctuary
    - Nata lodge
    - Ihaha

    Spread above visits between 4 to 6 nights and then cross into Caprivi.


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    Quote Originally Posted by pantoffel View Post
    ...maybe too ambitious with my dad's 4x2....

    ...I'm hoping Ihaha is close enough to make it OK...
    We were at Ihaha in October. It was one of only two places on our entire trip we got stuck in our 4X4 Hilux (the other was at Black Pools near South Gate). The sand was so deep the front diff of the Hilux was pushing sand (middelmannetjie). 1.5 Bar in the tyres, diff lock and low range and it would not budge. I had to dig out. Fortunately a BDF truck came along and offered to give us a tow which I gratefully accepted given that it was 44 degrees outside. Believe it or not, they also got stuck! Not sure of the type of truck, but similar to an old SADF Unimog. They disconnected the tow-rope, got themselves unstuck and repositioned, and then pulled us out - with difficulty.

    I would definitely NOT take a 4X2 along that road. (We got stuck about 1 km in from the Ihaha gate, just west of the campsite). Everything east of Ihaha to Kasane was easy.
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  11. #11
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    Chobe (Ihaha) is very doable in the wet seasons with a 4x2, just keep tyre pressures low. Family of ours in a TD Colt had no problems at all. Nata and Khama I am also quite sure can be done.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JNB2YVR View Post
    We were at Ihaha in October. It was one of only two places on our entire trip we got stuck in our 4X4 Hilux (the other was at Black Pools near South Gate). The sand was so deep the front diff of the Hilux was pushing sand (middelmannetjie). 1.5 Bar in the tyres, diff lock and low range and it would not budge. I had to dig out. Fortunately a BDF truck came along and offered to give us a tow which I gratefully accepted given that it was 44 degrees outside. Believe it or not, they also got stuck! Not sure of the type of truck, but similar to an old SADF Unimog. They disconnected the tow-rope, got themselves unstuck and repositioned, and then pulled us out - with difficulty.

    I would definitely NOT take a 4X2 along that road. (We got stuck about 1 km in from the Ihaha gate, just west of the campsite). Everything east of Ihaha to Kasane was easy.


    That's scary! Thanks for the heads up.

    I only intend for the 4x2 bakkie to travel east of Ihaha. We will enter at Kasane and then only need to make it to Ihaha from there.

    You say this will be OK?

    Thanks again


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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by James Mackay View Post
    Chobe (Ihaha) is very doable in the wet seasons with a 4x2, just keep tyre pressures low. Family of ours in a TD Colt had no problems at all. Nata and Khama I am also quite sure can be done.

    Thanks James

    March is a bit of a grey area for me- still wet maybe - already dry??

    Is the ground more compact in wet season?


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  14. #14
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    The road from kasane to ngoma border is tar road right?


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    Quote Originally Posted by pantoffel View Post
    ...I only intend for the 4x2 bakkie to travel east of Ihaha. We will enter at Kasane and then only need to make it to Ihaha from there.

    You say this will be OK? ..
    Yes - Ihaha campsite to Kasane was generally hard and sometimes rocky. The only sandy sections were not deep and would be handled by a 4X2 without any difficulty imo. Can't comment if it's wet. It was dry when we were there. Ihaha is spectacular! We had a buffalo kill by 3 nomad male lions very close to our camp.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JNB2YVR View Post
    Yes - Ihaha campsite to Kasane was generally hard and sometimes rocky. The only sandy sections were not deep and would be handled by a 4X2 without any difficulty imo. Can't comment if it's wet. It was dry when we were there. Ihaha is spectacular! We had a buffalo kill by 3 nomad male lions very close to our camp.

    Good news!

    How great is that hey? Seeing a buffalo kill from camp (and an unfenced camp as well). !!

    I really hope there's good wildlife in the area during March!

    Thanks


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