Newbie needs advice regarding 3 weeks in Botswana





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  1. #1
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    Default Newbie needs advice regarding 3 weeks in Botswana

    First I want to say that 4x4community.co.za is an absolute mine of selfdrive knowledge. A lot of excellent info and it seems that people like each other, most comments are friendly and if people disagree it is okay. Very pleasant! I used the last week reading a lot of reports and the latest 4-500 threads, even though I have a lot of paperwork

    I am planning a selfdrive trip in july 2016. I will be travelling with my wife and 2 boys, aged 6 and 10 now. We have done selfdrive 4 times before, the last 2 included the kids.

    We did 5 weeks in Namibia/Botswana (Caprivi, Chobe Riverfront, Etosha, Namib, Damaraland and we also had one day in Moremi) in 2011 and 6 weeks in South Africa (Kgalagadi and Kruger) last year. We really liked it, but since the boys are getting older, we would like to do more of the wilderness camping, like staying in unfenced campsites. We did this a few times on each trip and I think it really gives the camping experience a new dimension 

    We would start Johannesburg (we used Bushlore last time and they were good) rent a 4x4 Toyota Hilux( I know the landcruiser is stronger, but more expensive and they seem smaller) with camping equipment and just go from there. First I was thinking about Zimbabwe or Zambia (especially Mana Pools), but the difference in flight tickets between Johannesburg and Maun, Kasane, Livinstone or Harare is massive.

    My driving skills have never really been tested, so my experience driving in deep sand is very limited and water crossing scares the h… out of me. We got stuck in Chobe once, but that´s about. That’s one of the negatives living in a country where all roads are tar. I do have a lot of experience driving in snow, maybe it is a little bit like deep sand? So all in all, I could be one of those foreign tourist, who have to rely on help from the locals, but I will try hard to avoid that

    I was thinking about doing an itinerary like this:

    Day 1 Arrive Johannesburg- Get the car
    Day 2 Waterberg Wilderness
    Day 3 Khama Rhino Sanctuary
    Days 4-6: Makgadikgadi/ Nxai Pan National Park?
    Day 7: Maun (Restock and take scenic flight over the delta)
    Day 8: South Gate, Moremi
    Day 9-10 Third Bridge, Moremi
    Day 11-12 Xakanaxa, Moremi
    Day 13 Kwai North Gate, Moremi
    Day 14-16 Savuti, Chobe
    Day 17-19 Ihaha or Senyati? I read the very disturbing Thread “ Armed robbery in Ihaha campsite”. It is not the first time, so I am leaning towards Senyati.
    Day 20 Nata lodge
    Day 21 Johannesburg

    1.My doubts regarding this itinerary is that we move a lot. Maybe skip one campsite in Moremi and stay 4 nights in one place? Which one is the best? Third Bridge or Xakanaxa?

    2. What about distances between the sites, are they ok and doable?

    3. What about fuel when I leave Maun? Even if the car got double tanks(150L) it will probably not last 10 days. And I would not risk it. So I guess I have to backtrack to Maun.

    4. I would love to go to CKGR, but temperatures in july around -10 degrees is just to cold. And after that I would probably never be able to convince my wife to do another camping trip

    5. How about Makgadikgadi/ Nxai Pan:How cold will it get here in july? Is there still some game around in july? Or is it better to use some of the days in Chobe/Savuti??

    6. What about road conditions in Chobe/Savuti/Moremi, I guess a lot of sand, but what about water levels. Do we have to do a lot of water crossing in Moremi in july?


    Any input/ comments would be highly appreciated

  2. #2
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    Hi there,

    I did a December Trip similar to yours and we spent 4 nights in Xakanaxa, 2 nights Savuti and 2 nights Linyanti.

    I have to be honest and say I regret not staying longer in Savuti as it is a "one stop shop". it has everything and is absolutely gorgeous!!!

    Linyanti i wont return to. Didnt enjoy it at all.

    My advise is book some more time in Savuti if you can

    With regards to Fuel, Maun is ±150km from Xakanaxa. After our 4 nights we drove back to Maun to refuel and stock up supplies. bit of a nuisance but we mutually agreed to do that and it was well worth it! I have 4 x 20L Jerry Cans + 65L fuel tank and we had more than enough Fuel when filling up. Would have probably been ok with Just 2 Jerry Cans. Maybe take 2 Jerry cans and you will be fine
    Last edited by DETOUR-GP; 2015/04/16 at 01:21 PM.
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  3. #3
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    I think the 150L will give you close to 800 kms of driving distance which is enough to reach Kasane from Maun if you chose to leave out Linyanti.
    Temperatures in Nxai and Makgadikgadi will be similar to CKGR and not so much to worry about.
    Just take that extra blanket around the shoulders on the camp fire in the evenings.

    As for the -10degC, we never encountered such low readings, more around the 5-10 degC marks, but the odd exception might confirm the rule.
    We add a blanket to the standard sleeping arrangement (Sleeping bag, duvet) and then wear one of the K2 beanies to keep the ears from falling off.

    So,if CKGR is calling, answer that call and take enough fire wood.

    I would never return to Maun to refuel rather plan the game drives a bit in advance. Saying so, I did it once from Kaziikini as we were booking a game drive into the concession area which turned out to be an exploration and service trip for the guide and took us 150 kms off the route.

    But then Kaziikini is much closer to Maun than Xakanaxa.
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  4. #4
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    I will try and stay longer at one site. I also travel with 2 boys......packing and unpacking is a pain....

    CKGR is worth all the cold in the world..........a tough place to visit but special!

  5. #5
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    1- not sure ,I've never traveled with kids
    2-The distances are fine
    3- the Hilux has 160 l , take a couple of jerrycans along for peace of mind , we used about 140 l on the same route from Maun to Kasane
    4- three nights in CKGR en route to Maun is an option
    5- never been this time of year
    6- did this route in the Hilux and didn't have a problem , just lower tire pressure, I found 1.6 front and 1.8 rear worked well on this vehicle .

    Enjoy

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  7. #7
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    Thanks for all the above comments. Very useful.

    I think i will get a coupe of Jerry cans just to be sure.

    I will try to include more days at Savuti (at least 4 nights)

    CKGR maybe we will go there for 3 nights instead of Makgadakgadi/Nxai Pan. We like predators, so where will we be most likely to see these?

    Kevh I browsed you website a lot, very useful.....

  8. #8
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    I would recommend Sunday pan 3 or 4 and Passarge 2 in CKGR

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by JayRon View Post
    Thanks for all the above comments. Very useful.

    I think i will get a coupe of Jerry cans just to be sure.

    I will try to include more days at Savuti (at least 4 nights)

    CKGR maybe we will go there for 3 nights instead of Makgadakgadi/Nxai Pan. We like predators, so where will we be most likely to see these?

    Kevh I browsed you website a lot, very useful.....
    Velkommen til websiden! Jeg synes også at din tidsplan er ganske rimelig - for at være helt ærlige, er jeg fyldte med misundelse....

    Driving in sand is completely different to snow: in snow you'll loose traction and slide if you give too much pedal, whereas in sand you'll just end up burning more fuel than necessary, plowing through the sand rather than pushing your way through it. The trick with driving in deep sand is to deflate your tyres to about 1.2 bar and to maintain your momentum; if you come to a halt, put the car in reverse, back up 3 or 4 meters, and then move off again in your trye tracks - you've already cleared them of sand up to the point that you stopped, so by using the same track you avoid the resistance you must overcome when breaking spor and can get your speed up to overcome the obstacle that stopped you.

    Most tracks in the parks here are fairly well driven, and it's usually best to follow the spor rather than trying to break a new one, as the existing spor will tend to be firm from all of the traffic that's been over it. You may also find you may better headway if you are in deep sand if you use a high low-range gear should you rent the Hilux (their engines aren't all that powerful) - try starting off in 2nd low and moving up to 4 or even 5 low.

    Seeing predators is simply "the luck of the draw": we've camped in Khutse around 10 times and have NEVER seen lion there, but have both heard them and seen their spor on several of tose trips, and have seen both in the Tuli block as well as in Chobe Park. I would think however that you're more likely to see lion or cheetah in CKGR than Makadikadi. Both parks however have their charms - Makadikadi's rolling grass savanah, and the many pans in the CKGR - so either way you'll likely have a lovely time.

    Håber alt går vel med turen in 2016!

  10. #10
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    I think our final itineray will end up looking something like this.

    I tried not move to much. I included 4 days at Third Bridge and 4 days at Savuti. And maybe I will also just stay at one campsite in CKGR.



    Day
    1 Wateberg Wilderness Reserve Luxury Tents - Self catering
    2 Serowe - Khama Rhino Sanctuary Campsite - Self-catering
    3 CKGR - Sunday Pan Campsite - Self-catering
    4 CKGR - Passarge Pan Campsite - Self-catering
    5 CKGR - Deception Pan Campsite - Self-catering
    6 Makgadikgadi Pans - Khumaga Campsite - Self-catering
    7 Maun - Thamalkane River Lodge Family Chalet - B&B
    Air Shakawe 1 Hour Scenic Flight over the delta
    8 Moremi - Third Bridge Campsite - Self-catering
    9 Moremi - Third Bridge Campsite - Self-catering
    10 Moremi - Third Bridge Campsite - Self-catering
    11 Moremi - Third Bridge Campsite - Self-catering
    12 Moremi - Khwai Northgate Campsite - Self-catering
    13 Chobe National Park - Savuti Camp Campsite - Self-catering
    14 Chobe National Park - Savuti Camp Campsite - Self-catering
    15 Chobe National Park - Savuti Camp Campsite - Self-catering
    16 Chobe National Park - Savuti Camp Campsite - Self-catering
    17 Chobe National Park - Ihaha Camp Campsite - Self-catering
    18 Chobe National Park - Ihaha Camp Campsite - Self-catering
    19 Chobe National Park - Ihaha Camp Campsite - Self-catering
    20 Nata - Nata Lodge Campsite - Self-catering

    Just a last question, what road conditions can we expect in Moremi and Chobe in july? Lots of sand I guess But again what about water levels in july? Are we going to do some "bad" river crossings?

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