Looking for advice: Botswana with a Kia Sorento - April 2017





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  1. #1
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    Default Looking for advice: Botswana with a Kia Sorento - April 2017

    Hi,

    My friends and i are planning a 15 days trip to Botswana for the second half of April 2017 and are doing our research to make sure that we're ready! I am new here and already found a lot of info on this awesome community for self-drive trips in Bots.

    I am now trying to decide if I should go with my Kia Sorento (2.5 CRDI 4WD with low range, 2006) and my own equipment or if I should instead rent a better 4x4 with higher clearance and maybe a snorkel. What would you guys recommend?

    My main concern is that the Kia doesn't have a high ground clearance and that self-driving Moremi, Chobe and the Pans in April after all the rains will be very tricky if not impossible.

    We will be 2 or 3 cars minimum, but for the first part of the trip (Chobe and Savuti) it might only be my vehicle and only meeting my friends at Khwai. We are amateur 4x4 drivers and do not have much experience or expertise to fix a car if we end up breaking down in the middle of nowhere.

    The places we would like to visit:

    Kasane / Chobe River River Front
    Savuti
    Khwai
    Third bridge/ Xakanaxa / South gate or camp outside moremi
    Pans / Kubu Island
    Deception valley / CKGR

    I love my Kia and it performed very well on some light and medium 4x4 trails in SA, but I am not sure that it can handle what this trip will throw at her, especially in April. Do you think that I will be able to do most of the trip with the Sorento? Or should I spend extra money on renting a fully equiped rental 4x4 (Toyota Hilux Double cab) for peace of mind?

    Thanks a lot for your help!

    Olivier

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Looking for advice: Botswana with a Kia Sorento - April 2017

    I'm not familiar with the Sorento, but the latest Drive Out has an article on them taking four vehicles to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, one of them a Sorento (the others were a Jeep Wrangler, Merc G-Class, Pajero and a Jimny). Although all who took part were very impressed by the Kia, it sounds as if it suffered a lot of damage - shredded tyres, undercarriage damage, and they lost the spare wheel at one point (ripped off from underneath).
    The route you are planning is a lot tougher than the one they did, which only had the offroad section between SA and Mabua to deal with, the rest was gravel.
    I would think twice (again stressing that I am not familiar with the vehicle or its specs).
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    Default Re: Looking for advice: Botswana with a Kia Sorento - April 2017

    As Tony points out.
    You said you love your Sorento, so better keep it safe, meaning parked in a garage whilst you are out in mud and deep sand.

    No need for a snorkel as you won't do any extreme crossings and any rentals will show you the limitations in their contract.
    Look for a Hilux or Navara, if you cant resit a Defender then you are safe in April.

    I would recommend to look into alternatives to Kubu Island, just in case the pans are to wet, so don't try, it could lead to some memories for the next generation
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    Default Re: Looking for advice: Botswana with a Kia Sorento - April 2017

    From my experience Savuti would be my only concern if I was to take my own vehicle. I found the sand was pretty thick in and around camp compared to other campsites. Having said that we saw an all wheel drive Volvo XC60 in Savuti this past September. A quick Google search tells me that the ground clearance of a Sorento is 185mm and the XC60 is 230mm.

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    Default Re: Looking for advice: Botswana with a Kia Sorento - April 2017

    Hire a 4x4.

    Arrive in the CKGR and the roads look like below, you are going to wish you were in somebody else's car. That was late April 2015.
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    BushLapa 78 Now a Boskruier but with the same Zambia and CKGR bush stripes


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Looking for advice: Botswana with a Kia Sorento - April 2017

    I was in Moremi in April,staying at Third bridge and I can promise you, you will meet some of the biggest challenges of muddy,dip holes along the routes to Third bridge. It was raining daily and some roads very slippery....Im not familiar with the Sorento's performance.....but you really need a 4x4 with good clearance and gread offroad capabilities.
    Last edited by PAT n WOLF; 2016/11/09 at 07:26 AM.

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    Default Re: Looking for advice: Botswana with a Kia Sorento - April 2017

    My Buddie has one of those Sorento's
    Has rear diff lock as well

    Ground clearence is good , power excelent. We have done some beach and sand around kosi together and he never looked like battling anywhere.

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    Default Re: Looking for advice: Botswana with a Kia Sorento - April 2017

    My experience.
    In May (Very important with reference to the density of the sand) 2008 we went to Khutze, through CKGR to Deception and back home. Navara, Pajero with trailer and 2006 Sorento with low range.
    The Sorento chickened out going South to North through CKGR and met up with us in Deception 2 days later. All three vehicles travelled extensively in Khutse and Deception in heavy sand without a problem.
    The Sorento is a strong spacious car and is only lacking ground clearance.
    Recommendation: Lift your Sorento (If it is like you said the one with low range. A few of them came without low range: In general dont go there in any vehicle without low range) and fit higher profile tyres with the money you are prepared to rent another car with.

    By the way: That same Sorento now has 130 000 odd km, new engine and turbo. Engine was fittted by someone in KZN, back here the turbo blew. Kia fitted the new turbo but could not get the turbo to"match" with the engine. The car is stationary for more than a year. I think my son in law (He bought a Prado in the mean time) will exchange it for R70 000. If you interested PM me

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    Default Re: Looking for advice: Botswana with a Kia Sorento - April 2017

    Quote Originally Posted by Roberto Betta View Post
    From my experience Savuti would be my only concern if I was to take my own vehicle. I found the sand was pretty thick in and around camp compared to other campsites. Having said that we saw an all wheel drive Volvo XC60 in Savuti this past September. A quick Google search tells me that the ground clearance of a Sorento is 185mm and the XC60 is 230mm.
    Just out of interest but I found the ground clearance to be 208mm but anyway. Your car should be able to make the trip without hassle, but if you dont feel safe doing so then rather go the hired route.
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    Default Re: Looking for advice: Botswana with a Kia Sorento - April 2017

    In 2008 we were a convoy of 4 vehicles including a Sorento with low range towing a small off road caravan Jurgen Oryx and did the delta and Savuti to Kasane trip.
    The trip was in October and very little water crossing but extreme thick sand with high middelmannetjies and the Sorento was plowing them down with the low ground clearance.
    The trip was still a success and no major damage was experienced.
    I cannot comment on wet conditions
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    Default Re: Looking for advice: Botswana with a Kia Sorento - April 2017

    I believe that ground clearance measurements are taken with the vehicle unloaded, so be careful with those figures. If you can load your Sorento with approximately the load you would carry to Botswana, people included, then re-measure. I believe that you'll agree that its not designed for over-landing as such.

    If were in your shoes, I'd hire the appropriate vehicle for your trip.

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    Default Re: Looking for advice: Botswana with a Kia Sorento - April 2017

    I went there in September with an Audi Q5. The Kia will make it but with it's low ground clearance all the tupperware underneath will stay in Bots. Audi clearance is 200mm and all the covers tore off. Regards, Kobus

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    Default Re: Looking for advice: Botswana with a Kia Sorento - April 2017

    Thanks a lot for all the advice and suggestions, really appreciate it! I think that I will play it safe and hire a hilux or similar to get the most of the trip without the stress.
    Aside from maun4x4 and Bushtrackers in Joburg, do you have some recommendations for good value 4x4 rental companies?

    Well noted for CKGR, Savuti and Kubu at this time of the year, we will monitor the rains and road conditions closely before going there!

    Thanks
    Oli

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    Default Re: Looking for advice: Botswana with a Kia Sorento - April 2017

    Quote Originally Posted by Kobusve View Post
    I went there in September with an Audi Q5. The Kia will make it but with it's low ground clearance all the tupperware underneath will stay in Bots. Audi clearance is 200mm and all the covers tore off. Regards, Kobus
    How much did that cost you ? Got a Quote on a cover (plastic) off course that got a tear between the screws that holds it in place where you hit a dune crest in the middle of the vehicle ( read poor break over angle ) , was shocked at stealers price . Took it off myself and plasti welded it for n$ 50 bucks , works a treat .

    Bmw do have a steel plate aftermarket replacement (covers the whole belly of the vehicle) they use on their x5's they use for their off road experience vehicles. wish I could get hold of that.

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    Default Re: Looking for advice: Botswana with a Kia Sorento - April 2017

    Quote Originally Posted by Olivier Mauritius View Post
    Thanks a lot for all the advice and suggestions, really appreciate it! I think that I will play it safe and hire a hilux or similar to get the most of the trip without the stress.
    Aside from maun4x4 and Bushtrackers in Joburg, do you have some recommendations for good value 4x4 rental companies?

    Well noted for CKGR, Savuti and Kubu at this time of the year, we will monitor the rains and road conditions closely before going there!

    Thanks
    Oli
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    Default Re: Looking for advice: Botswana with a Kia Sorento - April 2017

    We were the in June 2015, my Ranger T6 had no issues, but my father in law's Navara had ground clearance issues in the parks with high middelmannetjies, no damage but the bash plates scraped them.

    If you stay on tar and gravel roads and take game drives with your friends or safari vehicle you should be fine.

    Enjoy, we will also be in Bots end of April, beginning of May.

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