Chobe and Vic Falls Trip Report - Soft Roader trip

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Sydney but 110 in Joburg
    Thanked: 0

    Thumbs up Chobe and Vic Falls Trip Report - Soft Roader trip

    Just bought the Landy 110 on the Internet from the UK so wasn't sure of the reliability of the vehicle as it was the first trip. Turned out it was in incredible shape and could have taken on the most difficult of trails... but here's the trip report in any case:

    Trip detail as follows:

    Johannesburg to Francistown (Woodlands)
    Francistown to Kasane (Toro Lodge)
    Kasane to Livingstone (Maramba Lodge)
    Kazangula Ferry crossing
    Vic Falls and Zambezi river cruise
    Livingstone to Kasane (Toro Lodge)
    Chobe River front
    Kasane to Francistown (Woodlands)
    Francistown to Johannesburg

    Border Posts:
    Martins Drift 8 out of 10
    Kazangula Ferry - Botswana 9 out of 10
    Kazangula Ferry - Zambia side -1 out of 10

    Woodlands, Francistown 10 out of 10
    Brilliant accom with proper houses then chalets then bush camping suiting all budgets. Pool and great braai facilities. River doesn't flow in dry season.
    Toro Lodge, Kasane 6 out of 10
    Chalets riverfront, chalets a little bit back and then Bushcamp
    Was an OK stay. No vehicle access to the chalets and no braai facilities at each chalet. They encourage you to use the restaurant but this was too pricey for us. They allowed us and another party to braai around the swimming pool and we managed to get the vehicle alongside, so it worked out fine. Rubbish was piled up on designated rubbish dump in full view of all visitors and looked like it hadn't been cleared for weeks.
    There is a local disco in the area that went on until 4am with real doef doef music, which kinda spoilt the atmosphere. I would stay there again but would know what to expect.

    Maramba Lodge, Livinstone 9 out of 10
    Brilliant. Staff were friendly and the location was great. Vehicles next to chalet and braai facilities in front of chalet. Nag-apies came and visited in the evening. No complaints at all!

    Vic Falls 5 out of 10
    Went over to Vic Falls from the Zambian side to avoid Zim. Its dry season, which we knew, but honestly there was no water going over the falls on the Zambian side, which was disappointing. With the hassle and cost of getting the vehicle over Kazangula Ferry, and the lack of water would not have visited Vic Falls in hindsight. But been there now and got the T shirt and wooden giraffe.

    Zambezi River Cruise 9 out of 10
    Booked aboard a 10 seater small motorboat cruise on the Zambezi for sundowners. Absolutely brilliant. We could get in close to elephants / crocs / hippos where the big booze cruise river boats had to keep their distance.

    Roads / Potholes 7 out of 10
    The roads all the way through the trip were fantastic except a 100 km stretch about 40km's North of Nata towards Kasane. I couldn't understand why the oncoming vehicles were throwing up so much dust on the horison, then realised its them driving off the road to avoid the "kimberley hole" potholes. Eventually, you could spot the really bad sections by the amount of white sand on the side of the road exposed by vehicles driving offroad. They were busily patching the road but its clear it needs to be completely re-tarred. The patchwork further up the road was breaking up again.

    Chobe Game Reserve Riverfront (Serondela) Kasane 10 out of 10
    Its only a 50km strip of riverfront from Kasane to Ngoma but in the dry season it was spectacular. Only needed to use low range for the last few km's because of thick sand but could probably have got through in High. We entered the park at about 07:00am and made it out the far gate (Nongoma side) at about 17:00. We took it slowly and stopped for a braai at Serondela Picnic Site. Toilets were rubbish but it didn't matter.

    Diesel was available throughout and definitely more expensive in Botswana than SA.

    Cash is king / VISA is queen. Ran into a problem in Livingstone where the SPARs credit machine was down and the TAM wouldn't accept anything other than VISA but the manager at the SPAR was really helpful and we managed to pay in Rands.

    Took all our drinks along with us but stuck to the rules on meat. Had no problems buying food along the way and the Steaks at the Spar in Kasane were fantastic and about half the price of equivalent in SA.

    Kazangula Ferry
    My only advice is don't do it. They could have built a bridge over the river 20 years ago but they haven't for some reason You arrive on the Zambian side, you pay the following:
    Ferry cost $20 US
    District Council K10,000 kwacha
    Visa Cost (British Passport) $140 US
    3rd Party Insurance K150,000 kwacha
    Carbon emissions Tax K150,000 kwacha

    On the way back, you had "only" to pay:
    Ferry Cost $20 US
    District Council fee K10,000 kwacha (they stop you on the road back from Livinstone and charge you this. You can't board the ferry back without this.

    Remeber that I only went over for a one night stay in Livingstone.

    I was provided with receipts for all payments but man, couldn't understand why they didn't just ask for a single amount for everything and for them then to divvy it up amongst themselves.

    My advice on taking your vehicle across to Zambia for a short trip is don't....

    But, the trip itself was a 8 out of 10 despite having very little offroading. But that will happen next year......

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Reebok, Kleinbrakrivier
    Thanked: 27


    Great report and I agree with a lot of your ratings.
    We crossed into Zambia via the Kazangulu Ferry and enjoyed the experience - not the cost.
    On our way back from Kariba via Zambia, we came through Zim via Vic Falls to Kazangulu Road Border Post. It was a breeze and we experienced no problems in Vic Falls or the Zim Border posts.
    Brian Coleman
    2002 Hilux Raider 2,7i S/C 4x4 + Canopy Caravan
    2014 Suzuki Grand Vitara Dune 2,4 M/T + Challenger Nomad 4x4 Trailer

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Thanked: 0


    I agree, for one night or just to have a look around Livingstone is not worth the effort and cost to take your vehicle over. Rather take a transfer with one of the lodges.

    Or go to Zim, we were pleasantly surprised (for SA resident anyway, not sure about the Brits though) your allowed to take food and drinks up to R1250 per person (keep the slips). We just walked over the bridge to Zambian side, no cost. From there you can take a taxi to Livingstone R50.00 (this was in April '08)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Port Elizabeth
    Thanked: 0


    Hi Picks,

    I'm doing a trip up to Bots in Sept/Oct 2011. Looking for a nice camp in or around Polokwane on the way back. Any sggestions please?

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