Are we there yet? Cape to Mana via CKGR, Okavango, Hwange- JULY+ AUG 2014





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  1. #1
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    Talking Are we there yet? Cape to Mana via CKGR, Okavango, Hwange- JULY+ AUG 2014

    So we have a trip booked in our little Bushlapa Boskriek, which should take us about 57 days to complete

    We have been so fortunate to book the camps we chose in most cases. Some we lucked out on however, and will have to settle for what we can get. I am hopeful that it will not detract too badly from the whole experience.

    I was thinking that a few breather nights with no booking could have been a good idea with such a long trip planned, and I am sure we will be zooming past some fantastic spots that we will wish we could have taken in, but I guess you just hope for the best, pack your camera and go.


    Nights Camp Destination
    1 Langberg guest Farm: Kimberly
    3 Khama Rhino Sanctuary: Serowe
    1 Deception CKDEC-03 : CKGR
    3 Passarge CKPAS-03 : CKGR
    4 Piper Pan CKPIP-02 : CKGR
    2 Sunday CKSUN -02 : CKGR
    1 Audi Camp Maun : MAUN
    4 Moremi, 3rd Bridge #2 : Moremi
    2 Xaxanaxa #8 : Moremi
    2 Savuti RSV3 : Savuti
    2 Linyanti RSV2 : Linyanti
    5 Ihaha #7 : Chobe
    2 Chobe Bush Lodge : Kasane
    3 Hwange Kenedy Picnic : Hwange
    1 Stop over
    4 Nyamepi # next to 17 : Mana Pools
    3 Kuimbashiri Bird Park : Harare
    2 Big Cave Campsite : Matobo
    3 Khama : Serowe
    -home via Gabs
    The Lady Camper
    Toyota FJ Cruiser, Bushlapa Boskriek

  2. #2
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    Aswambo I have some comments to make and hope you find them constructive. You really will be visiting some of the best wilderness areas around but have set yourselves a tough schedule. I note that the days on your booked schedule only add up to 49 days but that you have 57 days available. If you have not already visited the Northern Cape and Namaqualand, this would be an excellent time to visit the flower areas. Probably best on the way back in August.

    I must say that Kimberly to Khama seems a long day's drive. In winter you will probably have to leave before dawn.

    Three nights on the way up and again 3 on the way back seem disproportionate for Khama Rhino, as nice as it is.

    Hwange to Nyamepi Mana Pools is also quite a pull in 2 days. Will you be going via Bulawayo and Harare or do you plan on taking the fairly slow dirt road between Binga and Karoi southeast of Kariba? This requires some thought as there is a shortage of places to overnight on the Karoi route and this road can be pretty rough.

    I think your choice of campsites and places to stay is excellent. I am sure that you are going to have an amazing trip. It would be great if you could report back on your return.
    Landcruiser 76SW.

    “Great journeys are memorable not so much for what you saw, but for where you camped”.

    At least "Once a year go someplace you have never been before" Delai Lama.

    Trans East Africa 2015/2016 Trip report http://www.4x4community.co.za/forum/...e16?highlight= from post 315.

  3. #3
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    Enjoy the trip ! I'm jealous....

  4. #4
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    Thanks for your reply Stan,
    I left some of the family visiting time out of this schedule, but we are staying 4 nights in Harare and 4 in Joburg to catch up with family that we see too seldom. The Kuimbashiri Bird Park is in because of a school reunion, and we will be taking our bass rods out in between the merriment!

    You are right about Khama of course, but my daughter adores Khama, what can I do. If she had a choice we would go there for the entire time! When she was a baby we avoided heavy malaria areas, and so Khama was where she had her first bush camping experiences. If we are squeezed for time on either side it will be the place to trim.

    I really hate those one night stops with hundreds of kilos on each side of them, but when you are going 8000kms you have a distance to travel. At least we have a very quick set up time which helps! Have you any suggestions as to which stops we should try to consolidate?


    Quote Originally Posted by Stan Weakley View Post
    Aswambo I have some comments to make and hope you find them constructive. You really will be visiting some of the best wilderness areas around but have set yourselves a tough schedule. I note that the days on your booked schedule only add up to 49 days but that you have 57 days available. If you have not already visited the Northern Cape and Namaqualand, this would be an excellent time to visit the flower areas. Probably best on the way back in August.

    I must say that Kimberly to Khama seems a long day's drive. In winter you will probably have to leave before dawn.

    Three nights on the way up and again 3 on the way back seem disproportionate for Khama Rhino, as nice as it is.

    Hwange to Nyamepi Mana Pools is also quite a pull in 2 days. Will you be going via Bulawayo and Harare or do you plan on taking the fairly slow dirt road between Binga and Karoi southeast of Kariba? This requires some thought as there is a shortage of places to overnight on the Karoi route and this road can be pretty rough.

    I think your choice of campsites and places to stay is excellent. I am sure that you are going to have an amazing trip. It would be great if you could report back on your return.
    The Lady Camper
    Toyota FJ Cruiser, Bushlapa Boskriek

  5. #5
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    Kimberley to Khama, Mokolodi Game Reserve, has got also Rhinos

  6. #6
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    No that's it. You are obviously very familiar with both Bots and Zim. Enjoy.
    Landcruiser 76SW.

    “Great journeys are memorable not so much for what you saw, but for where you camped”.

    At least "Once a year go someplace you have never been before" Delai Lama.

    Trans East Africa 2015/2016 Trip report http://www.4x4community.co.za/forum/...e16?highlight= from post 315.

  7. #7
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    Thanks Southerndreams, Mokolodi might be a good call!

    Can anyone suggest a night stop on the Hwange to Mana route that goes past Matusadona? I have read that the Matusadona road is hell, so we would rather find something more accessible.
    The Lady Camper
    Toyota FJ Cruiser, Bushlapa Boskriek

  8. #8
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    Somewhere to sleep on this Binga-Karoi route is exactly the problem. This dirt road is also rather notorious for its neglected condition and is often slow going.

    Chizarira NP is too close to Hwange to overnight.

    You might want to look into Gache Gache, lying between the Matusadona camps and Kariba town. This lodge on the lake has fairly recently been opened for camping and it comes highly recommended. Apparently the road from the Binga-Karoi road to Gache Gache is not too bad and does not take nearly as long as that to Tashinga Matusadona. Google them and look at this thread http://www.4x4community.co.za/forum/showthread.php?t=166343

    We stayed in a room at the Two Rivers Hotel just after Karoi (GPS co-ordinates S16 48,617 E29 40,460) but cannot recommend it at all, very run down 3 years ago. I did not see any camping.

    There is a campsite/caravan park with rooms, 6km north of Karoi named Spring Fever Caravan Park, the campsites are apparently nicely grassed but the ablutions were reported as grimy a while back.

    Finally there is the Makuti Travel Lodge 87km beyond Karoi. This has fairly recently been renovated and has been recommended. The tel nos were +263 63 531 or 526. Makuti appears to be too far for a single day's drive because of the condition of the Binga-Karoi road which has to be taken fairly slowly.

    I think the Binga-Karoi road is only worth taking if you want to visit Chizarira or Matusadona. If you are merely wanting to get up north to Mana then the Bulawayo-Gweru-Kwekwe-Chinoyi route is probably quicker, less stressful and there are plenty of places to overnight. A good start would be Antelope Park about 8km from Gweru, although you might want to get closer to Harare.
    Landcruiser 76SW.

    “Great journeys are memorable not so much for what you saw, but for where you camped”.

    At least "Once a year go someplace you have never been before" Delai Lama.

    Trans East Africa 2015/2016 Trip report http://www.4x4community.co.za/forum/...e16?highlight= from post 315.

  9. #9
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    Thanks again Stan. I have looked at all of the options and think Gache Gache looks the nicest. The only thing is that according to Gache Gache's distance spreadsheet that they sent me, it is a 2 hour drive off the main Binga- Karoi road to the camp site. So that is a 4 hour detour. I can honestly not see Mr Aviator609 going for that one!

    We may just choose to press on and drive the extra 160kms to the Makuti Travel Lodge. Most of this remaining distance is on tar, and you will probably find that it would take us less time than the 2 hours required to get to Gache Gache.

    The question remains if it is possible to do Hwange - Makuti in one day, and arrive before the sun goes down.
    Last edited by ASwambo; 2014/01/20 at 08:21 PM.
    The Lady Camper
    Toyota FJ Cruiser, Bushlapa Boskriek

  10. #10
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    Hi there.
    What do you mean when you indicate # next to 17 at mana pools. Just curious.
    We have booked a similar trip but we will be taking the ferry from binga to Kariba. We are also battling to find accomodation between Kariba and Binga on our return trip as we will then drive back. We will be doing this portion of our trip solo so I hope that the Binga, Karoi road will not be too challenging. We will be traveling in August.
    Any comments will be most welcome.

  11. #11
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    Hi ASwambo,
    Hwange – Mana Pools with just one stop overnight is one hell of a drive!
    Especially as you are staying at Kennedy picnic site. From there it takes you about 1.5 hours to reach the main road.
    Gache Gache is indeed about 2h off the main road I would guess.
    Hence your trip would look like this:
    1.5h from Kennedy to main road / 1h to turnoff to Binga / 3h to turnoff to Bumi Hills / 1h to turnoff to Matusadona / 1.5h to Sanyati River / 20’ to turnoff down the escarpment / 2h to Gache Gache
    Total driving time: 10 – 11 hours

    The second leg from from Gache Gache to Mana is not a problem. However, please keep in mind that you need to be at Marongora Parks Office 15:30h at the latest to be allowed to carry on to Mana Pools

    The alternative route from Hwange via Bulawayo-Gweru-Chinhoyi is a very long drive too (1000km / 13.5h). But it’s mostly on the tarred main roads and plenty of possibilities to stay over one night, hence no bad surprises to be expected.

    When doing the research for my trip I found information about the Sanyati River Camp which should be shortly after the bridge where vehicles with camping equipment could stay overnight. The location would be perfect as it cuts the drive nicely into two! However, the info about whether or not it was still operative was conflicting.
    Furthermore, I remember talk about a hunting camp close to Matusadona where campers could stay overnight outside of the hunting season.
    I will see if I can find out more about these options and get back to you!

    I would advise against “wild camping”. The area is very remote with mostly no cell phone reception at all. It just seems too risky to me…

  12. #12
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    This may not work for you as it is a bit close to Hwange but it may be an option to break up the long drive .... http://www.ndabiri.com/

  13. #13
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    Thanks Makalali,

    I have also found references to Sanyati River camp, which is apparently tucked away close to where you cross the Sanyati River.

    Has anyone else had any experience with this camp?
    The Lady Camper
    Toyota FJ Cruiser, Bushlapa Boskriek

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by ASwambo View Post
    Thanks Makalali,

    I have also found references to Sanyati River camp, which is apparently tucked away close to where you cross the Sanyati River.

    Has anyone else had any experience with this camp?
    Coordinates for Sanyati River Camp: S17 06.554 E28 55.404
    According to information found in a German Forum the camp has most likely been unmanned since late 2012. Unfortunately I couldn't find any more recent info.

    Re "Steve’s Private Hunting Camp". It is situated close to the turnoff to Matusadona NP but they don't want to cater for 4x4 campers :
    http://www.4x4offroad.co.za/articles...1_Zimbabwe.htm
    We found a marked camp site on Tracks 4 Africa named Steve's Camp. It also had the description "free Zambezi or coffee to anyone who visits". As it was getting late in the day and Binga was still three hours (at least) down the road we decided to call in to see Steve. Firstly he delivered the bad news that the camp was a private hunting camp that catered for international visitors who pay top dollar for an exclusive experience. Secondly, he told me that he had guests and that we could not camp. After some pleasant discussion Steve proved to be another Very Nice Person and obtained permission from his hunting clients for us to be allowed to camp.
    Once this was arranged, Steve became the perfect host and made two cottages available for those who wanted to sleep in a bed. He also lit a fire for us and made us welcome in the main camp area.
    In return for his kindness and generosity (he didn't charge us a cent for our stay, we simply made a donation to his staff) I undertook to get the message out that this is not a camp for travelling off roaders. I have also undertaken to contact T4A to get the point removed from the mapping.
    However, it might be useful to keep it in mind in case of an emergency...

  15. #15
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    We traveled the Hwange Mana route via Binga in April 13. The road was ok then and very quiet. We bush camped in a quarry just past the Bumi Hills turn off and it was out of sight and had no problems. The scariest bit is the drive down into the Zambezi Valley, those trucks are a menace.

  16. #16
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    Mike, can you recall how long it took you from the quarry bush camp to Mana Pools? Was it possible in one day?
    Landcruiser 76SW.

    “Great journeys are memorable not so much for what you saw, but for where you camped”.

    At least "Once a year go someplace you have never been before" Delai Lama.

    Trans East Africa 2015/2016 Trip report http://www.4x4community.co.za/forum/...e16?highlight= from post 315.

  17. #17
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    We drove last winter up from Bulawayo to Mana Pools, and hence from Mana Pools to Hwange.

    Our first idea was to do some shopping in Kariba, and to drive along the beautiful lake to Gacha Gache, to spend the night overthere, before we wanted to continue to the Karoi - Hwange road.
    The shopping went well (good availability), but the road along the lake to Gacha Gacha was very painfull. After a couple of hours driving, we saw swiss people (almost the first car in many hours) crossing us from the opposite direction: they had been trying to get to Gacha Gacha also, but it appeared to be impossible (road washed away higher in the mountains you need to cross). I don't know if anyone has done this recently?
    We ended up with the swiss couple in Kariba town on a campsite.

    So we changed plans: we drove back to the main road, passed Karoi, and drove on the Karoi - Binga road. We passed the Sanyati River Camp (you can't miss the river, the camp itself wasn't really marked on the road, never a good sign of any activity), and finally passed the night along the road: very close to the turnoff for Matusadona, there's a little village. In the outskirts of the village, we asked if we could setup camp close to some houses: we had a wonderfull, safe night with a very friendly family!
    Afterwards we continued to Chizarira NP, Binga and Hwange.

    Conclusion: if we should do this again, after leaving Mana Pools, we would give a skip to Kariba Town, go for shopping in Karoi, and continue onto the road Karoi - Binga, and stay the night again somewhere around the road, as we did.
    That would have saved us one day (and a night in Kariba Town).
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  18. #18
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    Time is coming closer! Does anyone have an idea of the current conditions in the Delta regarding water levels please?

  19. #19
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    just be careful on the roads between the main dirt road and matusadoma and chizarira they were in a terrible state last year in Sept,especially if you are towing a trailer or caravan,we broke our trailer completly so that we could not even go to Mana

  20. #20
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    Thanks Tjarrie, I'm towing a Bushlapa product...so falling apart should not happen...

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