Virgin Voyage: Our first Botswana trip





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  1. #1
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    Default Virgin Voyage: Our first Botswana trip

    Good afternoon everyone,

    My husband and I have booked our first trip to Botswana, our itinerary is as follows:

    22nd April 2018: Khama Rhino Sanctuary
    23rd & 24th April: Tiaan's Camp Campsite
    25th April: Maun Rest Camp campsite
    26th April: 1 hour Scenic Flight over the Delta
    26th & 27th April: Third Bridge Campsite, Moremi (MT4)
    28th & 29th & 30th April: Savuti Campsite, Chobe (CV1)
    1st & 2nd May: Senyati Safari Camp Campsite, Kasane
    3rd May: Woodlands Stopover, Francistown

    We have been keeping an eye on posts but as our travel date is getting closer I am starting to feel a bit nervous/unprepared.

    As such I would like to ask for advice on the following (apologies if I am being repetitive, I have browsed and could not find recent posts on the subjects):

    • Can we take any fresh/frozen meat, fruit and veg across the border? If not, what would you recommend we do for the first few nights until we reach Maun? We plan on entering Bots via Stockpoort
    • WRT to docs required when crossing the border, is a certified copy of our car registration paper acceptable? My husband is apprehensive about taking the original
    • Besides the usual border crossing docs, is there anything specific we would need to do/have with in our car?
    • We are not planning on taking a satellite phones and will connect when in Wi-Fi areas – is this alright?
    • Are the camp sites that have been allocated to us in Moremi and Chobe decent ones? I have read about the generator noise at Savuti and believe CV1 is a good site in this regard?
    • We originally planned on doing just a cruise through Chobe Safari Lodge during our stay at Kasane but have decided that we would also like to squeeze in a visit to Vic Falls and need extra advice on this:
      • Is crossing the border and driving to the falls with our own car worth it or should we look at getting a transfer? We would prefer to take our own car but worried about the admin
      • Specifically, what would we need to change on our car for this, would we need reflector strips etc? I did find a thread on the forum however the link to the specs was no longer working
      • Does anyone know +- what the day trip would cost with border/entry fees just so that we can budget for it
      • Is it easy enough to walk from Zimbabwe to Zambia to go to the Boiling Pot?


    We would appreciate any other advice for first timers (I did read the awesome thread on camping at an unfenced camp site, thank you!).

    We are travelling in a double cab 4x4 Isuzu KB250 with a RTT.

    Thanks in advance, we look forward to hearing from you.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Virgin Voyage: Our first Botswana trip

    Quote Originally Posted by Seagull88 View Post


    • Can we take any fresh/frozen meat, fruit and veg across the border? If not, what would you recommend we do for the first few nights until we reach Maun? We plan on entering Bots via Stockpoort - I'm not sure what the current situation is re foot and mouth and fruit fly, but if you can't, then Woodlands sell braai packs, book one in advance.




    • WRT to docs required when crossing the border, is a certified copy of our car registration paper acceptable? My husband is apprehensive about taking the original - Carry the original plus a copy. Hand over the copy, and if they are picky, give them the original: the original is very easy to replace if lost, just go to your local licencing department.
    • Besides the usual border crossing docs, is there anything specific we would need to do/have with in our car? - Fire extinguisher, warning triangle, reflective tape front and rear if you want to cross into Zim and Zambia.
    • We are not planning on taking a satellite phones and will connect when in Wi-Fi areas – is this alright - You should be fine, but a satphone will give you good backup if something goes pear-shaped.
    • .


    I'll leave the rest up to others to comment - don't stress, if you've forgotten anything, you can talk your way out of it.
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Virgin Voyage: Our first Botswana trip

    I think Tony got a bit confused in terms of provisions as you enter at Stockport and heading to Khama Rhino Sanctuary.

    You will pass Serowe which has a Superspar just before teh turn off where the Engen Filling station is located.
    They sell everything you need and possibly cheaper than in SA.

    For the vehicle you don't need anything in terms of reflectors or similar for Botswana and as your trip is not crossing into ZIm or ZAM you don't have to worry about.
    Car documents are seldom (or never) checked as long as you have the license disk valid you are okay.
    You will have to pay the road tax thingy when entering with a SA registered vehicle.

    I would NOT recommend to take the vehicle across, just to much of a schlep. As mentioned by Tony, the fire extinguisher, sticky tapes etc will apply, so does a special 3rd party insurance cover. IMHO not worth the trouble.
    Normally operators charge about USD 75 - 80.00 /p for the return trip and peace of mind.

    As you are on a well beaten track you will be okay when something happens, as for a sat phone you would need some local contacts, there is only intermittent cell coverage between Mababe and Kachikau, best option for that area would be "be Mobile" from Botswana Telecoms SIM card.

    To your additional questions:
    Any camp site in Savuti or Chobe s a good site, keep what you have, normally all is booked out and one has to make a plan. In Savuti you can't escape the generator noise.
    As for walking from Zim VFalls to the boiling pot, it would be a loooong walk across the bridge and up to the Mosy-O-Tuna entry gate. I would say you can see that from the Zim side just as well, right from above the cliff.
    Saying that, you can get a permit to cross the bridge so it is doable but then you pay the park entry fees on the Zam side again.

    Hope that helps, enjoy, loads of mud as plenty of rains right now 8)
    Last edited by Kalahari Safari; 2018/02/27 at 05:41 PM.
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Virgin Voyage: Our first Botswana trip

    I would phone the Stockpoort border post to enquire about meat as the meat at Serowe Spar is not great. (Unless you can get a fillet)

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    Default Re: Virgin Voyage: Our first Botswana trip

    No restrictions on taking meat over at the moment. Buy vegetables there.

    Your original registration document will be completely save, it is rarely asked for and if it is, is just a cursory glance and then returned. They will not take it from you!

    Nothing else needed for the car.

    You will not have a Wi-fi connection in Moremi and Savuti, but it is extremely well travelled routes. If trouble strikes help will be on hand soon.

    If it is the first time you will be using your bank card across borders, just notify your bank that you will be travelling.

    Do take malaria prophylaxis.
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Virgin Voyage: Our first Botswana trip

    Since its a confirmed trip, we cant comment on the number of days to be spent at a location, but I believe between 23rd to 26th, you could have just shot from KRS to Maun, do a morning scenic flight next day and leave. That being said, you have the right campsites, Third bridge and Savuti are always interesting campgrounds and rewarding in terms of game viewing. In my December TR, I made an update on Wifi at Third Bridge Campground and its available ONLY around the Tuck Shop and available for FREE from Xomae. There was an incidence of the generator by the Wildlife officer's recidential house, which went up to 2300, and we talked to her but Im not sure if they stopped using the generator.

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  8. #7
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    Default Re: Virgin Voyage: Our first Botswana trip

    Quote Originally Posted by PAT n WOLF View Post
    ..... but I believe between 23rd to 26th, you could have just shot from KRS to Maun, do a morning scenic flight next day and leave.


    In my December TR, I made an update on Wifi at Third Bridge Campground and its available ONLY around the Tuck Shop and available for FREE from Xomae.
    I was thinking the exact same thing, but as you say it is a confirmed trip. Two nights at Tiaans is way, way too much. If that part is not confirmed or paid, I would shoot straight through to Maun from KRS. Spend one night to do shopping and the scenic flight and then rather drive to South Gate and spend it there with the time gained. SG is very rarely fully booked.

    You are right about the Wi-fi at 3rdB, I forgot about it completely! And we used it ourselves, old age
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  10. #8
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    Default Re: Virgin Voyage: Our first Botswana trip

    Thank you everyone for your feedback and advice so far

    WRT Tiaan's camp unfortunately we have already confirmed and paid in full via Botswana Footprints. We had thought to explore the Makgadikgadi or CKGR areas while here, are there any other suggestions for things to do in the area? I have read briefly about Meerkat encounters but not sure if we will be in the right place for this?

    If all else fails, we will indulge in a good book and some rest.

    I see Senyati offers transfers at P450 pp to Vic Falls, will keep this in mind.

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    Default Re: Virgin Voyage: Our first Botswana trip

    I think you trip is good as is. It is a long drive to Savuti from 3rd Bridge and you could encounter some water and mud around the Mababe area, ask for advice en route. You have two routes from 3rd Bridge. One via South Gate (either via Xakanaka or SG directly) to North Gate or back towards Maun and then Mababe to Savuti. Both roads are busy and if you have any problem some help will be on the way soon.

    There are some restrictions on veggies ie tomatoes, patatoes check the sticky in this regard. Meat across the border is no problem. Fillet in Bots are great but lamb and mutton not so. Take as much as you can from SA and you will save some time on shopping.

    Visit Vic Falls via Senyanti is your best option.
    Last edited by TRON; 2018/02/28 at 11:19 PM.

  12. #10
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    Default Re: Virgin Voyage: Our first Botswana trip

    No fruit and veg allowed , crossed border on Friday last week and they checked everything. Buy here and support our locals .Fillet is dirt cheap here too at Safari Spar Maun .P85.95 per kg by BMC .

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    Default Re: Virgin Voyage: Our first Botswana trip

    Quote Originally Posted by Puma 130 ADJ View Post
    ..... Buy here and support our locals.....
    Yeah...True Puma 130 ADJ

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    Default Re: Virgin Voyage: Our first Botswana trip

    Quote Originally Posted by Puma 130 ADJ View Post
    No fruit and veg allowed , crossed border on Friday last week and they checked everything. Buy here and support our locals .Fillet is dirt cheap here too at Safari Spar Maun .P85.95 per kg by BMC .
    Frozen veg
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    Default Re: Virgin Voyage: Our first Botswana trip

    Quote Originally Posted by offroadbiker View Post
    Frozen veg
    Probably allowed, but why?

    The fresh vegetables in Botswana is mostly quite acceptable quality and you will find everything that we get in SA.
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  17. #14
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    Default Re: Virgin Voyage: Our first Botswana trip

    Quote Originally Posted by Seagull88 View Post
    Thank you everyone for your feedback and advice so far

    WRT Tiaan's camp unfortunately we have already confirmed and paid in full via Botswana Footprints. We had thought to explore the Makgadikgadi or CKGR areas while here, are there any other suggestions for things to do in the area? I have read briefly about Meerkat encounters but not sure if we will be in the right place for this?

    If all else fails, we will indulge in a good book and some rest.

    I see Senyati offers transfers at P450 pp to Vic Falls, will keep this in mind.
    From Tiaans camp take the ferry across the Boteti and enter Khumaga Gate into the park.
    Drive along the river bank as far as you can go, it's like the Okavango delta, but accessible by car.
    Well worth the while and plenty to see you can easily spend half day on this small loop.
    Then drive the straight track into the pan like going to Tree Island, complete change of scenery and more like CKGR.

    The Meerkat project is however on the other side of the pan, more accessible from Gweta.
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    Default Re: Virgin Voyage: Our first Botswana trip

    Thanks again guys

    More than happy to buy local fruit and veg, just a tad fussy when it comes to meat. Will definitely plan on getting some fillet when we are in Maun, thanks Puma.

    With regards to vet fences, am I right in saying the only fence we will cross where we cant take meat over is when we go down to Woodlands in Francistown?

    Thanks Kalahari Safari, we will take some time to explore the area during our stay at Tiaan's camp. Pity about the Meerkat project but I thought as much.

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    Default Re: Virgin Voyage: Our first Botswana trip

    Quote Originally Posted by Seagull88 View Post
    More than happy to buy local fruit and veg, just a tad fussy when it comes to meat.

    Yes, if you want prime lamb chops or ribs rather bring from home. Also if you want to be assured of well hung rump, T-bone or sirloin. The Bots guys will perhaps have a go at me but I have on occasion been disappointed with their meat other than fillet, boerie, mince and chicken. The best bet in Maun is the butcher at Riley's Garage, Delta-deli if I remember correctly. If you want specials such as spare ribs, pork, marinated sosaties and the like also best from home.

    With regards to vet fences, am I right in saying the only fence we will cross where we cant take meat over is when we go down to Woodlands in Francistown? Correct.
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    Default Re: Virgin Voyage: Our first Botswana trip

    [QUOTE=lekhubu943;3833184]I was thinking the exact same thing, but as you say it is a confirmed trip. Two nights at Tiaans is way, way too much. If that part is not confirmed or paid, I would shoot straight through to Maun from KRS. Spend one night to do shopping and the scenic flight and then rather drive to South Gate and spend it there with the time gained. SG is very rarely fully booked.

    Agreed there is not much to do at Tiaans its self but as a base and given that the ferry is running or that you can drive across, the Makgadikgadi is a really lovely park to visit. As has been said drive along the river its really beautiful.

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  21. #18
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    Default Re: Virgin Voyage: Our first Botswana trip

    Quote Originally Posted by Kalahari Safari View Post
    From Tiaans camp take the ferry across the Boteti and enter Khumaga Gate into the park.
    Drive along the river bank as far as you can go, it's like the Okavango delta, but accessible by car.
    Well worth the while and plenty to see you can easily spend half day on this small loop.
    Then drive the straight track into the pan like going to Tree Island, complete change of scenery and more like CKGR.

    The Meerkat project is however on the other side of the pan, more accessible from Gweta.

    Can someone point out the coordinates for the Meerkat Project or where it is on T4A. I am in Khumaga and then Tree Island and hope to see the Meerkat's if possible.

    Also, I see on T4A there is an exit gate from Makgadikgadi pans at a gate called Xirexara. I was hoping to exit from here after staying at Tree Island Camp and make my way to Chapman's baobao, time permitting make a stop at Kubu and then onto KRS. Is tis do'able in May - I see on T4A that it could be a 11 hour drive. Advice appreciated.

    thanks

  22. #19
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    Default Re: Virgin Voyage: Our first Botswana trip

    Quote Originally Posted by Katanga View Post
    Can someone point out the coordinates for the Meerkat Project or where it is on T4A. I am in Khumaga and then Tree Island and hope to see the Meerkat's if possible.

    Also, I see on T4A there is an exit gate from Makgadikgadi pans at a gate called Xirexara. I was hoping to exit from here after staying at Tree Island Camp and make my way to Chapman's baobao, time permitting make a stop at Kubu and then onto KRS. Is tis do'able in May - I see on T4A that it could be a 11 hour drive. Advice appreciated.

    thanks
    It is possible to exit at that gate, but normally it is not attended so you just walk through.
    From there I would recommend to go to Gweta Lodge or Planet Baobab as they do overnight visits into the pan and visit the Meerkats.

    I guess if you just try yourselves you might get lost and waste the time.
    Mind that at this stage the pans are very wet and it might be July/August when you can confidently access them again.
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  24. #20
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    Default Re: Virgin Voyage: Our first Botswana trip

    Quote Originally Posted by Kalahari Safari View Post
    It is possible to exit at that gate, but normally it is not attended so you just walk through.
    From there I would recommend to go to Gweta Lodge or Planet Baobab as they do overnight visits into the pan and visit the Meerkats.

    I guess if you just try yourselves you might get lost and waste the time.
    Mind that at this stage the pans are very wet and it might be July/August when you can confidently access them again.

    Thanks for the advice. I will see what the weather plays out like for May when I am in Bots and get some local insider knowledge before I travel that route. It will be towards the end of May that I am at Makgadikgadi pans. IF required I will exit from Kumaga and just take the B300 and A14 down to KRS.

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