Polentswa Trail - avoid it if you value your paint job




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  1. #1
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    Default Polentswa Trail - avoid it if you value your paint job

    Our long planned Kgalagadi tour finally happened during the last 10 days of Sept 2018.
    Our vehicles were:
    Pajero 3.2 D LWB auto and Jurgens XT 140
    Ford Ranger 3.0 Auto and Wilderness trailer
    LR Disco 3 diesel


    We camped at TR, MM and Nossob. The roads connecting these camps were badly corrugated. As a result there was no pleasure in game viewing drives from the camps.

    We anticipated that the highlight of the tour would be the Polentswa Trail in the Botswana part of the park.
    What we actually found was:
    - the camp sites were fine
    - the road is 2-spoor sandy tracks - soft on the vehicles and trailers and a pleasure to drive on.
    - nice scenery
    - heard a lion roar at Polentswa 1 - otherwise no cat sightings
    - some interesting dune challenges - seems that previous users had made escape routes when the existing tracks were too badly worn.
    THE BAD NEWS:
    It appears that the route is not often used - no old tyre tracks visible.
    There are thorn bushes/trees either side of the trail and these have not been cut back. Often it was not possible to dodge the thorns as the trees are on both sides of the trail.
    On the last leg of the trip (southerly direction) there were 2 instances where bushes formed 100 meter long lanes too narrow for the vehicles. These are unavoidable obstacles resulting in badly scratched paint and plastic.
    Clearly the route is not maintained. It is a 4x4 route and as such I expect and welcome difficult sections but damaged bodywork is not to be expected.
    Imagine a tourist returning his rented 4x4 with damaged paint.
    I paid R700 for a comprehensive polish. Most of the paint scratches are gone at the cost of a layer of paint.
    However the snorkel and wing mirror covers are permanently scratched.

    Overall it was an enjoyable experience

    I have informed the Botswana Park Manager via their booking office of the condition of the trail.
    I have not received a response, perhaps because I said I will submit a bill for the repairs.
    2012 Mitsubishi Pajero Legend 3.2 Auto
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Polentswa Trail - avoid it if you value your paint job

    Quote Originally Posted by Afdak View Post
    Our long planned Kgalagadi tour finally happened during the last 10 days of Sept 2018.
    Our vehicles were:
    Pajero 3.2 D LWB auto and Jurgens XT 140
    Ford Ranger 3.0 Auto and Wilderness trailer
    LR Disco 3 diesel


    We camped at TR, MM and Nossob. The roads connecting these camps were badly corrugated. As a result there was no pleasure in game viewing drives from the camps.

    We anticipated that the highlight of the tour would be the Polentswa Trail in the Botswana part of the park.
    What we actually found was:
    - the camp sites were fine
    - the road is 2-spoor sandy tracks - soft on the vehicles and trailers and a pleasure to drive on.
    - nice scenery
    - heard a lion roar at Polentswa 1 - otherwise no cat sightings
    - some interesting dune challenges - seems that previous users had made escape routes when the existing tracks were too badly worn.
    THE BAD NEWS:
    It appears that the route is not often used - no old tyre tracks visible.
    There are thorn bushes/trees either side of the trail and these have not been cut back. Often it was not possible to dodge the thorns as the trees are on both sides of the trail.
    On the last leg of the trip (southerly direction) there were 2 instances where bushes formed 100 meter long lanes too narrow for the vehicles. These are unavoidable obstacles resulting in badly scratched paint and plastic.
    Clearly the route is not maintained. It is a 4x4 route and as such I expect and welcome difficult sections but damaged bodywork is not to be expected.
    Imagine a tourist returning his rented 4x4 with damaged paint.
    I paid R700 for a comprehensive polish. Most of the paint scratches are gone at the cost of a layer of paint.
    However the snorkel and wing mirror covers are permanently scratched.

    Overall it was an enjoyable experience

    I have informed the Botswana Park Manager via their booking office of the condition of the trail.
    I have not received a response, perhaps because I said I will submit a bill for the repairs.
    Those camp managers and rangers are do lazy.. they rely on the public for ALL their info especially if you have been too far out of your vehicle and other guests have photographed you ... They are more interested in getting their R1000 fines. I think I've been on the wall of shame for a year now... The place was so overgrown we could only see the lion kill if we looked over out roof tops by sitting on our open windows... At Polenswa the lion's walked right thru our camp while having supper.... no rangers around if we needed assistance.... actually dont get me started bit late I know... and yes I know there are some of you righteous and pious going to try klap me for this .... but go for it it will be interesting... they stopped all the ND cars asking if they knew us .... yes you have read all this before.....

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Polentswa Trail - avoid it if you value your paint job

    Quote Originally Posted by Afdak View Post
    Our long planned Kgalagadi tour finally happened during the last 10 days of Sept 2018.
    Our vehicles were:
    Pajero 3.2 D LWB auto and Jurgens XT 140
    Ford Ranger 3.0 Auto and Wilderness trailer
    LR Disco 3 diesel


    We camped at TR, MM and Nossob. The roads connecting these camps were badly corrugated. As a result there was no pleasure in game viewing drives from the camps.

    We anticipated that the highlight of the tour would be the Polentswa Trail in the Botswana part of the park.
    What we actually found was:
    - the camp sites were fine
    - the road is 2-spoor sandy tracks - soft on the vehicles and trailers and a pleasure to drive on.
    - nice scenery
    - heard a lion roar at Polentswa 1 - otherwise no cat sightings
    - some interesting dune challenges - seems that previous users had made escape routes when the existing tracks were too badly worn.
    THE BAD NEWS:
    It appears that the route is not often used - no old tyre tracks visible.
    There are thorn bushes/trees either side of the trail and these have not been cut back. Often it was not possible to dodge the thorns as the trees are on both sides of the trail.
    On the last leg of the trip (southerly direction) there were 2 instances where bushes formed 100 meter long lanes too narrow for the vehicles. These are unavoidable obstacles resulting in badly scratched paint and plastic.
    Clearly the route is not maintained. It is a 4x4 route and as such I expect and welcome difficult sections but damaged bodywork is not to be expected.
    Imagine a tourist returning his rented 4x4 with damaged paint.
    I paid R700 for a comprehensive polish. Most of the paint scratches are gone at the cost of a layer of paint.
    However the snorkel and wing mirror covers are permanently scratched.

    Overall it was an enjoyable experience

    I have informed the Botswana Park Manager via their booking office of the condition of the trail.
    I have not received a response, perhaps because I said I will submit a bill for the repairs.
    My Defender never got scratched ...Thats what Botswana is all about Thorn trees etc ...Ja you never will get a response from Gaberone if you threaten them ..it just spoils it for everyone afterwards as they resnt 'The typical SA Attitude ' ..I have just paid R 1600 for Buffalo horn scratches to be removed from an encounter in N Kruger ..Its part of Bush Life and you should take the rough with the smooth

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Polentswa Trail - avoid it if you value your paint job

    Quote Originally Posted by Dudleytheplumber View Post
    Those camp managers and rangers are do lazy.. they rely on the public for ALL their info especially if you have been too far out of your vehicle and other guests have photographed you ... They are more interested in getting their R1000 fines. I think I've been on the wall of shame for a year now... The place was so overgrown we could only see the lion kill if we looked over out roof tops by sitting on our open windows... At Polenswa the lion's walked right thru our camp while having supper.... no rangers around if we needed assistance.... actually dont get me started bit late I know... and yes I know there are some of you righteous and pious going to try klap me for this .... but go for it it will be interesting... they stopped all the ND cars asking if they knew us .... yes you have read all this before.....
    Rather stay on SA side if you need Rangers ..We often have Lions in camp at Rooiputs and Polentswa ..Thats why we GO there ! You never have to get out your car at a Decent sighting ..Glad you had your pic taken and handed in ...Rules are there not to be broken ..
    Last edited by Peter Betts; 2018/10/08 at 08:23 PM.

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  6. #5
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    Default Re: Polentswa Trail - avoid it if you value your paint job

    We did not stay at any SA camps but they do control, not patrol the entire Kgalagadi road network,
    Glad you may be.. I paid my fine and sorted all my scratches .. still does not make the SA rangers get off their arses

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    Default Re: Polentswa Trail - avoid it if you value your paint job

    Car scratches are a Botswana thing. We were in Moremi (BlackPools area) and CKGR (Passarge Valley) this year, lots of scratches.
    Malcolm
    2015 Pajero 3.2 LWB
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    Default Re: Polentswa Trail - avoid it if you value your paint job

    Quote Originally Posted by Dudleytheplumber View Post
    We did not stay at any SA camps but they do control, not patrol the entire Kgalagadi road network,
    Glad you may be.. I paid my fine and sorted all my scratches .. still does not make the SA 'rangers get off their arses
    The SA side Park staff have NOTHING To do with the Botswana side ..There are only 3 Rangers in Kgalagadi SA side ..Nossob , Mata Mata and Twee Rivieren ..Been going there since 1961 ..my 2nd home ..Botswana side is managed from 2 Rivers and no staff at Polentswa or Rooiputs
    Last edited by Peter Betts; 2018/10/08 at 09:24 PM.

  10. #8
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    Default Re: Polentswa Trail - avoid it if you value your paint job

    Going to the bush and complaining about scratches...

    Wow
    Always think: Could this be sarcasm?

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    Default Re: Polentswa Trail - avoid it if you value your paint job

    Quote Originally Posted by Oppies3800 View Post
    Going to the bush and complaining about scratches...

    Wow
    For when you want a wilderness experience, but just not too wild please.

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    Default Re: Polentswa Trail - avoid it if you value your paint job

    Quote Originally Posted by Afdak View Post
    Our long planned Kgalagadi tour finally happened during the last 10 days of Sept 2018.
    Our vehicles were:
    Pajero 3.2 D LWB auto and Jurgens XT 140
    Ford Ranger 3.0 Auto and Wilderness trailer
    LR Disco 3 diesel


    We camped at TR, MM and Nossob. The roads connecting these camps were badly corrugated. As a result there was no pleasure in game viewing drives from the camps.

    We anticipated that the highlight of the tour would be the Polentswa Trail in the Botswana part of the park.
    What we actually found was:
    - the camp sites were fine
    - the road is 2-spoor sandy tracks - soft on the vehicles and trailers and a pleasure to drive on.
    - nice scenery
    - heard a lion roar at Polentswa 1 - otherwise no cat sightings
    - some interesting dune challenges - seems that previous users had made escape routes when the existing tracks were too badly worn.
    THE BAD NEWS:
    It appears that the route is not often used - no old tyre tracks visible.
    There are thorn bushes/trees either side of the trail and these have not been cut back. Often it was not possible to dodge the thorns as the trees are on both sides of the trail.
    On the last leg of the trip (southerly direction) there were 2 instances where bushes formed 100 meter long lanes too narrow for the vehicles. These are unavoidable obstacles resulting in badly scratched paint and plastic.
    Clearly the route is not maintained. It is a 4x4 route and as such I expect and welcome difficult sections but damaged bodywork is not to be expected.
    Imagine a tourist returning his rented 4x4 with damaged paint.
    I paid R700 for a comprehensive polish. Most of the paint scratches are gone at the cost of a layer of paint.
    However the snorkel and wing mirror covers are permanently scratched.

    Overall it was an enjoyable experience

    I have informed the Botswana Park Manager via their booking office of the condition of the trail.
    I have not received a response, perhaps because I said I will submit a bill for the repairs.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dudleytheplumber View Post
    Those camp managers and rangers are do lazy.. they rely on the public for ALL their info especially if you have been too far out of your vehicle and other guests have photographed you ... They are more interested in getting their R1000 fines. I think I've been on the wall of shame for a year now... The place was so overgrown we could only see the lion kill if we looked over out roof tops by sitting on our open windows... At Polenswa the lion's walked right thru our camp while having supper.... no rangers around if we needed assistance.... actually dont get me started bit late I know... and yes I know there are some of you righteous and pious going to try klap me for this .... but go for it it will be interesting... they stopped all the ND cars asking if they knew us .... yes you have read all this before.....
    Are you guys for real?

    You want them to cutback bushes on all their trails? And you want rangers available at all the camps at any given moment?

    Guys, surely you are not that naive? (there is another word for it)

    If you venture into the bush, you will get thorns scratching your car!
    If you venture into the wild parks, you will get lions walking around ffs..

    If you do not like it, dont freaking go there!

    Please!
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    With a mild case of "Camping Personality Disorder" or CPD

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    Default Re: Polentswa Trail - avoid it if you value your paint job

    When I visit the un-fenced campsites in Southern Africa's Kalahari Desert, the last thing I want to see are teams of park's board staff out everywhere maintaining the campsites, removing rubbish, bush cutting and maintaining the roads.

    There might be too many soft-cars and people with soft-attitudes as it is and this would only increase if their requirements for convenient visits are met.

    Sorry, but just the way I feel.
    Landcruiser 76SW.

    “Great journeys are memorable not so much for what you saw, but for where you camped”.

    At least "Once a year go someplace you have never been before" Delai Lama.

    TransAfrica 2015/2016 blog www.slowdonkey.com OR http://www.4x4community.co.za/forum/...e16?highlight= from post 315.

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    Default Re: Polentswa Trail - avoid it if you value your paint job

    Quote Originally Posted by Hedgehog View Post
    Are you guys for real?

    You want them to cutback bushes on all their trails? And you want rangers available at all the camps at any given moment?

    Guys, surely you are not that naive? (there is another word for it)

    If you venture into the bush, you will get thorns scratching your car!
    If you venture into the wild parks, you will get lions walking around ffs..

    If you do not like it, dont freaking go there!

    Please!
    I honestly can't argue with this or add anything.
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    Default Re: Polentswa Trail - avoid it if you value your paint job

    I am disappointed at the general tone of the responses.
    The thread was started to warn of serious unavoidable thorn scratches.
    Now I notice that the thread is going somewhat off-topic. I did not complain about the lack of rangers and also not about lions in the camps ( I might complain about the lack of lions).

    I notice responses about not wanting to see rangers cutting back bushes in the wild.
    If the Polentswa trail is not frequently used it will become fully overgrown. Are you proposing that we just barge through with our expensive vehicles with no consideration for the damage.

    When going on a trail I expect to be faced with challenges that can be overcome without damaging my equipment. That does not make my vehicle or my attitude soft.

    So please take the warning in the spirit it was given and avoid the innuendo and off-topic comments.
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    Default Re: Polentswa Trail - avoid it if you value your paint job

    Quote Originally Posted by mcowell View Post
    Car scratches are a Botswana thing. We were in Moremi (BlackPools area) and CKGR (Passarge Valley) this year, lots of scratches.
    Car scratches are a BUSH thing!
    Last edited by Ellie2; 2018/10/09 at 08:54 AM.
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    Default Re: Polentswa Trail - avoid it if you value your paint job

    Quote Originally Posted by Afdak View Post
    I am disappointed at the general tone of the responses.
    The thread was started to warn of serious unavoidable thorn scratches.
    Now I notice that the thread is going somewhat off-topic. I did not complain about the lack of rangers and also not about lions in the camps ( I might complain about the lack of lions).

    I notice responses about not wanting to see rangers cutting back bushes in the wild.
    If the Polentswa trail is not frequently used it will become fully overgrown. Are you proposing that we just barge through with our expensive vehicles with no consideration for the damage.

    When going on a trail I expect to be faced with challenges that can be overcome without damaging my equipment. That does not make my vehicle or my attitude soft.

    So please take the warning in the spirit it was given and avoid the innuendo and off-topic comments.
    Thanks for the warning . Your info actually makes the trail more appealing to me as scratches are not a huge concern of mine when going to Botswana and having done the trail 3 times I can visualise what you are talking about. I would never take an expensive paint job on a lot of Botswana tracks. For me the appeal is the fact that the trail is not often used and not maintained.
    If an off topic comment is passed about camping at the beginning of the trail and horror of horrors a lion walks through the unfenced camp without a ranger around it is difficult not to respond.

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    Default Re: Polentswa Trail - avoid it if you value your paint job

    This type of thread is why I am growing dis illusioned with the forum.

    This type of thing is exactly what overlanding is about, especially north of the border. Rough corrugated roads are pretty normal, and overgrown sand tracks also are. Getting scratches builds character. And why on earth would anyone want more from the rangers. The less people I need to see, official or otherwise on trips, the happier I am.

    If I haven't had lions in camp on a Botswana trip, I feel done in.

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    Default Re: Polentswa Trail - avoid it if you value your paint job

    Quote Originally Posted by Ellie2 View Post
    Car scratches are a BUSH thing!
    Well, its also actually a 4x4 thing...thats why we come here.

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    Default Re: Polentswa Trail - avoid it if you value your paint job

    Quote Originally Posted by Afdak View Post
    I have informed the Botswana Park Manager via their booking office of the condition of the trail.
    I have not received a response, perhaps because I said I will submit a bill for the repairs.
    Afdak, I do in fact have a degree of sympathy for some of your point of view and I would not worry too much about the responses. However the above quoted sentence gave me a less than favorable impression.
    Landcruiser 76SW.

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    At least "Once a year go someplace you have never been before" Delai Lama.

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    Default Re: Polentswa Trail - avoid it if you value your paint job

    Quote Originally Posted by Afdak View Post

    When going on a trail I expect to be faced with challenges that can be overcome without damaging my equipment. That does not make my vehicle or my attitude soft.
    In my opinion it shows that you would like a softer version of the trail, thus yes, it does
    _______________________________________

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    Default Re: Polentswa Trail - avoid it if you value your paint job

    Quote Originally Posted by RPiet View Post
    This type of thread is why I am growing dis illusioned with the forum.

    This type of thing is exactly what overlanding is about, especially north of the border. Rough corrugated roads are pretty normal, and overgrown sand tracks also are. Getting scratches builds character. And why on earth would anyone want more from the rangers. The less people I need to see, official or otherwise on trips, the happier I am.

    If I haven't had lions in camp on a Botswana trip, I feel done in.
    I am growing disillusioned too - but for a different reason.

    I believe the OP was really trying to offer well-meaning advice, and for this he virtually gets attacked.

    If you disagree, leave it alone.
    If you like your vehicle being scratched and believe it builds character, go out there and do it.
    Some may be grateful for his observations and advice.
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