Getting to Mana Pools over Easter Weekend





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  1. #1
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    Default Getting to Mana Pools over Easter Weekend

    Hi All,

    I have booked a trip with some close friends to Mana Pools and Hwange utilising all of the holidays at the end of April. While we are excited that we only have to take 8 days off of work and get 18 days of leave, that means we have to travel on Good Friday. This means that we'll have to cross at least one boarder on Good Friday.

    What is the best way to get there? Is Beitbridge that bad that we should completely avoid it? (We were thinking of leaving after work on Thursday and reaching the boarder around 1 or 2 am and staying at the Holiday Inn just on the other side in Zim). If it is, should we go through Botswana instead even though that means we'll have to cross two boarders, pay for two sets of 3rd party insurance and vehicle import permits etc?

    On another note, we will need to stock up on food for the trip. Will any stores like Pick n' Pay or Spar in Zim be open on Good Friday to stock up?

    I'd love to hear any recommendations on the best way to get up there, especially given the time of year.

    Thanks!

    Josh

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    Default Re: Getting to Mana Pools over Easter Weekend

    Would love to know if anyone has any thoughts on the best route from Joburg to Mana Pools over the Easter weekend. Thanks!

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    Default Re: Getting to Mana Pools over Easter Weekend

    Josh, I reckon all borders will be a nightmare on Good Friday. Zim Tourism had people stationed at BB to assist tourists through, which will certainly help if you can arrange beforehand. I found this on another website and can't vouch for its accuracy, or if the scheme is still operational - that you'll have to do.

    “The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority have staff stationed at the Beitbridge border specifically to assist any visitors or tourists coming into Zimbabwe.
    They are positioned at the end of the bridge in the car park as you cross into Zimbabwe, and will assist you right through the border, sorting out all the formalities, road tolls, customs, road tax, immigration, visas, Interpol, etc. and then see you right through to the exit gate. They will handle everything for you at absolutely no charge whatsoever.
    That is their job and they are very proud of it, and it is to show visitors that you can enter Zimbabwe without any problems and at no unforeseen costs.
    The Area Manager is Bertha Mutowembwa on +263 286 23640/1 office, or +263 772 344317 or +263 712 320428. Email: [email protected]
    The Marketing Executive is Lindarose Ntuli on +263 772 409373 or the above office number. Email: [email protected]

    All you have to do is drop them a mail the day before you expect to cross and then phone them before you cross over and they will meet you at the bridge to sort you out.”

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    Default Re: Getting to Mana Pools over Easter Weekend

    Thanks Rob. I will definitely reach out and see if that is still a viable option. Would certainly be great to have that lined up.

    Any thoughts on availability of food in Zim that weekend? Will all the shops be closed?

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    Default Re: Getting to Mana Pools over Easter Weekend

    Can't you take from here for those days just in case? They are not worried at the border about how much you bring in, they are concerned about what the traders are bringing back.

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    Default Re: Getting to Mana Pools over Easter Weekend

    Quote Originally Posted by RobH View Post
    Can't you take from here for those days just in case? They are not worried at the border about how much you bring in, they are concerned about what the traders are bringing back.
    Oh great! I thought they would check on things like meat at the boarder. If we can bring it across then there are no issues. Thanks!

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    Default Re: Getting to Mana Pools over Easter Weekend

    Bear in mind that it is the ZCC (Zionist Church) big weekend at Zion City at Moria outside Polokwane which is attended by a couple of million worshippers from all over southern Africa, so traffic on the N1 is horrible. I've been caught in it once on my way back from northern Kruger, and we ended up heading across to the Botswana border and travelling that way south just to avoid it. You may want to rather go through Botswana and enter Zim at Plumtree.
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    Default Re: Getting to Mana Pools over Easter Weekend

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Weaver View Post
    Bear in mind that it is the ZCC (Zionist Church) big weekend at Zion City at Moria outside Polokwane which is attended by a couple of million worshippers from all over southern Africa, so traffic on the N1 is horrible.
    We were planning on leaving Thursday evening. Will the roads already be horrible? Going through Botswana makes it difficult for us to get through 2 boarder posts and up past Harare the next day while it's still light out. Might have to happen though. In fact, Martins Drift might not be an option either if the N1 is backed up. We'd have to go through Gabs.

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    Default Re: Getting to Mana Pools over Easter Weekend

    If you deviate through Bots go via Zanzibar border post

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    Default Re: Getting to Mana Pools over Easter Weekend

    Quote Originally Posted by RobH View Post
    If you deviate through Bots go via Zanzibar border post
    Why is that Rob? Is that the fastest way? Won't we still have to deal with the ZCC traffic on the way north from Pretoria in the N1?

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    Default Re: Getting to Mana Pools over Easter Weekend

    Quote Originally Posted by SirPipes View Post
    We were planning on leaving Thursday evening. Will the roads already be horrible?
    I'm afraid I don't know - we just had that one experience with the traffic - perhaps post a new thread with ZCC and Easter in the heading and see if any locals can advise you.
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    Default Re: Getting to Mana Pools over Easter Weekend

    The N1 between Pretoria and Polokwane is chaotic, even on on the Thursday before Good Friday as a result of the ZCC gathering. You are talking Putco bus after Putco bus as far as the eye can see. The toll gates are all at least 30-45 min waiting.

    I have never done Zim over Easter but I would suggest going into Botswana through a quiet post such as Stockpoort or Zanzibar (just make sure beforehand Zanzibar is open as it will be closed if the Limpopo is flooded - low water bridge) or Pontdrift and then going into Zim at Pandamatenga or Francistown.

    Others might disagree but I was once stuck in the ZCC traffic early on Good Friday and vowed never again. Remember that most of their members will leave on the Thursday after work and drive through the night.
    Stephan
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    Default Re: Getting to Mana Pools over Easter Weekend

    https://www.google.co.za/maps/dir/Jo...3827!3e0?hl=en

    This is the route that I would suggest.

    It will not just be the BB border post that will be chaos, but the whole route up north.

    I would also go via Selebi Pikwe and Warmley.
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    Default Re: Getting to Mana Pools over Easter Weekend

    Quote Originally Posted by Henris View Post
    https://www.google.co.za/maps/dir/Jo...3827!3e0?hl=en

    This is the route that I would suggest.

    It will not just be the BB border post that will be chaos, but the whole route up north.

    I would also go via Selebi Pikwe and Warmley.
    Hi Henris, what is the border post like at Warmley? Also, out of curiosity, why Martins Drift and not Stockpoort / Zanzibar?
    Stephan
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    Default Re: Getting to Mana Pools over Easter Weekend

    Quote Originally Posted by Groenman View Post
    Hi Henris, what is the border post like at Warmley? Also, out of curiosity, why Martins Drift and not Stockpoort / Zanzibar?
    Personally I love both Warmley and Zanzibar.

    https://www.google.co.za/maps/@-21.2...!3m1!1e3?hl=en (Satelite image)

    Warmley is a relatively new border post.

    https://www.google.co.za/maps/@-22.5...!3m1!1e3?hl=en (Satelite image)

    What I like about Zanzibar, is that the hi-way starts at Zanzibar, on the Bots side. 35km gravel on the ZA side.
    Zanzibar, Platjan, Pontdrift are all dependant on the season. Is the Limpopo flowing or not?
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    Default Re: Getting to Mana Pools over Easter Weekend

    Hi Josh
    EasterHolidays are all about avoiding high holiday traffic.
    1.Don’t go via Beit Bridge
    2.Avoid the N1
    3.Avoid Martins Drift
    4.May I suggest that you look at thefollowing
    a.Drive from Randburg to Brits R 511
    b.Brits to Thabazimbi R511
    c.Thabazimbi to Stockport via EllisRas(Lephalale) – R510
    d.Stockport border post.
    e.Stockport to Mahalape B147
    f.Mahalapeto Francistown A1
    g.Francistown to Matsiloje(Warmley)B162
    h.Matsiloje / Warmley Border post.Will be a lot quicker than the Ramokwebane / Plumtree border post. The road isa bit longer and you have about 50 odd kms of gravel road on the Zim sidestraight after the border post. About 10 kms from border post you get a “T”junction. Take left hand leg and make your way to Plumtree. I have somepictures of the road the last time I went up so PM if you wish to have moreinfo. You may have traffic returning to Zim for Easter but I am of the opinion that it will be less than other borders.
    i.Makeyour way to Bulawayo. They have a Spar there. You also have an option toovernight in Matopas – Matobo. There is a link road from Figtree to Matobo.

    This is a long trip so you will need to leave early on Thursday. at least 12.5 hours driving time plus borders. I would consider leaving on Wednesday and drive to Francistown. Overnight there and then tackle Francistown to Warmley / Matsiloje early. Get through to Bulawayo before midday on Thursday. BYo has a good Spar.
    Then drive up through Gweru etc to Mana. Do not go via Harare if you can avoid.
    Last edited by MikevR; 2017/02/01 at 03:24 PM.
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  21. #17
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    Default Re: Getting to Mana Pools over Easter Weekend

    Thank you to everyone for your responses. We know it's not the ideal day to travel but we'll take what holidays we can get and make the most of them!

    We will have to leave on Thursday after work though. Do you know if any of the Bots boarder posts are open 24/7 that time of year? Would be great to get across the boarder that first day if possible so we can make it into the park for Saturday.

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    Default Re: Getting to Mana Pools over Easter Weekend

    See ttps://www.aa.co.za/services/travel-services/into-africa/border-post-hours.html
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    Default Re: Getting to Mana Pools over Easter Weekend

    I travel to Zimbabwe every year. The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority is still present on the Zimbabwe side and they will assist you in avoiding all the queues at no cost.

    I have driven through Botswana twice and found that it is extremely time consuming as there are four border posts. However with Moria on that weekend you should consider this route as the road is not just very busy, but prone to accidents.

    To avoid the N1 completely you should go through Gaborone and spend the night in Francistown. The road is completely tarred and hence will be quicker than taking gravel options. The km are only 100km more had you gone directly through Zimbabwe.

    You should note that Zimbabwe has plenty roadblocks and police are determined to fine you. Make sure each car has reflectors,a fire extinguisher, two red triangles. they are adamant in checking this and will make you empty your boot to get it out so rather keep it on hand. also wear seatbelts on the backseats as they will fine you for this. Make sure you abide by he low speed limits even though they may seem ridiculous at times. also stop before the line at the robots even if the line is faint. you may pass through Gweru and they will fine you even if you a centimeter over.

    AA will provide info on taxes on entering Botswana, if any. Zimbabwe Border crossing is pricey so make sure you have made adequate provisions.

    You should stock up in Bulawayo or Gweru, these towns have OK and TM supermarkets which are very much like our local supermarkets, just more pricey. make sure you fuel up at a garage on a town outside Mana Pools as I believe there is no fuel available in the park. Also Petrol is almost R20 a liter in Zimbabwe so fuel up before entering.


    Do not rely on google maps for your trip as often roads used are not tarred or even driveable on when there are tarred alternatives.

    Also carry USD, even though rands is legal tender the exchange rate offered is extremely unfavourable and often rands are not accepted. You can carry some rands though.


    Quote Originally Posted by SirPipes View Post
    Hi All,

    I have booked a trip with some close friends to Mana Pools and Hwange utilising all of the holidays at the end of April. While we are excited that we only have to take 8 days off of work and get 18 days of leave, that means we have to travel on Good Friday. This means that we'll have to cross at least one boarder on Good Friday.

    What is the best way to get there? Is Beitbridge that bad that we should completely avoid it? (We were thinking of leaving after work on Thursday and reaching the boarder around 1 or 2 am and staying at the Holiday Inn just on the other side in Zim). If it is, should we go through Botswana instead even though that means we'll have to cross two boarders, pay for two sets of 3rd party insurance and vehicle import permits etc?

    On another note, we will need to stock up on food for the trip. Will any stores like Pick n' Pay or Spar in Zim be open on Good Friday to stock up?

    I'd love to hear any recommendations on the best way to get up there, especially given the time of year.

    Thanks!

    Josh

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