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  1. #1
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    Default Botswana Trip - Odd Questions

    I'm busy planning my first trip to Botswana and as such I have been spending quite a lot of time in the Botswana section reading up on all the threads. But even so I have a couple of questions of my own, so I will try and not ask questions that has been asked to death.

    My plan is to travel up to kasane and come back down to Maun via Ihaha,Linyanti,Savuti,Northgate and then from Maun shoot back home via Baines and Kubu. I'm pulling away here on Saturday the 25th of April (Hopefully after the Easter crowds are gone) and will be back whenever I'm finished.

    Now onto the Questions:

    How far will the Rand get me. Not meaning exchange rate but rather how far/places I can use it. And if not very far where is the best place to exchange money ?

    Shuttle service at Kasane. I understand there is a shuttle/tour service at kasane that takes you to the falls. Now what I want to know is what time do they Departure and what time do they get back and what do they do with you ie: Do they just drop you off some where and you walk around, or do they actually go and show you points of interest.

    Micro-Light flights over the falls. Does anyone know what the flight times is. I know they only fly in the mornings and afternoons but what times ie: from 6:00 - 8:00 and then again from 15:00-17:00 or . . . ?

    Thats it for now, as I get more info and Ideas so will my questions and plans be updated/changed.

  2. #2
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    Hey Andre,

    Exchange Rand to Pula before you go. You can't use Rand in Botswana, and if you can, the exchange rate won't be good. I always go to forex in Menlyn. All you need is proof of address, car reg papers and passport. For 2 people I budget R1000 per day and that will include park fees, accomodation and fuel.

    Batoka Air is the people in Zambia flying over the falls. The Microlights do not allow you to take your own camera and charge US$95 for a 20 minute flip. You can also do it by Helicopter at US$100 per person for 15 minutes. Both are a rip off, really worth it, and with the helicopter you can take your own camera. Both will fly as long as the weather is suitable.

    The two comments I'll make about your intended route are:
    At Baines, take the Northern road of the two, as the Southern one closses the pans and you might not be bale to do that in April.

    To get to Khubu you also need to cross the pans. Don't be a hero and be the first person to do this. If you get there and there are LOTS of fresh tyre tracks to the island, then go for it. If there are not, be aware that parts of the pans can be like quick sand and you can quite litterally loose your vehicle in there. I have never been able to get to Khubu in before late May...

  3. #3
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    Freeflyd, thanks for the replies.

    So the best place for Exchange rate is in S.A. ? I really don't like changing money in S.A. as you need to take all the papers with and they ask questions that's got nothing to do with them, whereas in all the other countries I have ever travelled to, you just put your money on the table and they give you what you want. No questions no nothing. Heck, in Jordan and Egypt they have a machines right next to the ATM's where you just put your foreign money in and it chucks out money for you.

    So is there a place in Bots to exchange or should I rather got through the hassle and exchange in S.A. ?

    On the flying, So the flying is during the whole day, I thought it's only with sunset and sun-up ? I really want to go and do the Microlight flip, years ago my father did it and he said it's a must do (He can't remember all the details so that's why I'm asking here).

    I might even skip Baines and Kubu all together. I will only go there when I'm finished at Maun and there's time left and/or it is to wet. I heard from a lot of people that this year is exceptionally wet and that Kubu is a no-no.

  4. #4
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    I find the exchange rate (both ways) to be better in BW than ZA. At most of the border posts you will find a "Bureau de Change", as you enter.

    Almost all the ATMs accept VISA cards.... usually a good rate if you withdraw bigger amounts.
    Kobus

  5. #5
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    Microlights will only fly early in the morning and late in the afternoon if weather permits. They will take you to Zambia side off the falls were you will take off. Low level over a few game next to the strip and then over the falls. I agree with you father , I would highly recommend this !

  6. #6
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    The border exchanges in Botswana are actually OK: quite official. Not the sharks that you find at other borders.
    Last week I got stuck in Gabs because they dont accept Master Card, only Visa. at the ATMS or even inside the bank The hotel charged me R1.65 for cash (instead of the R1.30).

    The best rate is when you pay with a credit card (even master card). But for fuel they add 5% on the price when using a credit card (not petrol card).
    Last edited by stalmaat; 2009/02/24 at 11:32 AM.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by stalmaat View Post

    The best rate is when you pay with a credit card (even master card). But for fuel they add 5% on the price when using a credit card (not petrol card).

    Don't ever remember being charged extra when using either credit or debit cards in Botswana.

    During our visits we simply use ATM's with our debit cards and find the rate of exchange far better than any of the banks/forex etc etc.

    With regard to shuttles from Kasane to the Falls - we went with one organised by Kubu Lodge where we were camping. We were the only people in the car,we left the lodge around 8am and returned in time for dinner. We were taken firstly to the falls in Victoria Falls, then across the bridge to Zambian side and after lunch we visited the town and the craft market.

    Margaret
    Last edited by gemini; 2009/02/24 at 04:22 PM. Reason: added information
    Margaret

  8. #8
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    Bureau de change you will find every where, but you still need some pulla to pay at the border. The shuttle service at Torro Lodges (they should pay me for advertising so much) will take you to seen everything at the falls including to the airstrip, hotel for lunch and curio shops. You wont be back for the sun downer cruse on the Chobe, but in time for dinner. The bus driver also handles all formalities at the border for you.

    There is actually (ala ANC) three roads from the North to Kubu island as in:
    1.From Gweta trough the pans;
    2.From the Botswana defense force shooting range, also known as Zoroga and
    3.The last starts 28km from Nata the Shoreline road which runs along the side of Sowa pan. The last option give you the feeling that you drive on a gravel road that was build up high give you a nice outlook over the pan. It is very grassy and thus you must be extremely careful and look regularly for grass clogging around your cars exhaust.
    The last two options are the wet season roads.
    I have drive all three of them.

  9. #9
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    Dawid S, Thanks for that info, I did not know that.

    Andre, If you go to a bank in SA to change money, they ask lots of questions. Forex in Menlyn does not ask anything. Changing money at the border is easy and so is changing money at any bank in Botswana. I prefer to be prepared before I leave, but I don't think it makes much difference.

    http://www.afrizim.com/Activities/Li.../Air_Flips.asp

    Google is your friend... really

  10. #10
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    KobusDJ ,Bantam , Stalmaat. Thank You, that's exactly what I wanted to hear.

    Gemini, Dawid S. The bus tours to the falls, what did it cost you and how long ago did you use them ? Also, I assume the Hotel/Lodge that organise it, takes credit cards ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dawid S View Post
    There is actually (ala ANC) three roads from the North to Kubu island as in:
    1.From Gweta trough the pans;
    2.From the Botswana defense force shooting range, also known as Zoroga and
    3.The last starts 28km from Nata the Shoreline road which runs along the side of Sowa pan.
    Wich one of the three would you recommend for end April ? My plan was to stop at Gweta lodge on the way back and ask them about the condition of the Road/Pan as I would really like to use that road but I don't want to go off and mess with mud.

    Eina! 3K vir 30Min! Well there goes Meat and White bread for the next month or two, only Water and Brown bread, but fly on that Mosquito is one thing I will do.

    Quote Originally Posted by freeflyd View Post
    Google is your friend... really
    Ya, but why Google when I can help you guys pad your post counts.

    Now onto some new Questions :

    Does any of the following camps have electricity: Ihaha,Linyanti,Savute,North Gate or is this where you start laughing hysterically at me ? What I want to know is if I should bother to pack in 220v Lights and the 3-Stage Charger to every now and then give the batteries a decent charge.

    And I'm throwing this dead horse out there just for Freeflyd : What's the web address again for the Bookings/Prices of all the camps again ?

  11. #11
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    What's the web address again for the Bookings/Prices of all the camps again ?
    http://maunselfdrive4x4.webs.com/bot...servations.htm

  12. #12
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    No electricity in Botswana Parks...

    http://www.pictureafrica.org/Picture...ampers....html

  13. #13
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    Contact Torro Lodge at http://www.torolodge.co.bw/index_files/Home.html
    We did use them.

    The road to Le Kubu depends on how wet the pans are, the more rain the more east road.
    220 power only Maun and Kasane.
    Try to get Mike Main's book African Adventurer's Guide to Botswana ISBN 1 86872 576 6
    A very good guide.

  14. #14
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    I am not sure why you want to do a guided tour to Vic Falls. I was there recently. It is 72km from Kasane to Vic Falls on a very good tar road. We left at 6.00am, 20 minutes at the border and less than an hour you are at vic falls, remember there is a 3rd party road tax in Zim about US$30 and Carbon Tax which is quit heavy if driving a v8 like mine. I also travel on a British passport and for this I had to pay serious US$, but for south africans it is not much. To enter vic falls for a couple was also quite steep, I think about R350.00. At the border post and vic falls they accept US$, rands and Pula. When in Vic falls go to a lodge for lunch, or take some pad kos and sit under a tree. (Do not try the Whimpy it is the worst place I have ever eaten) There are also good camp sites within the Vic falls area. Once you have seen the falls (you will spend 3 to 4 hours there max) there is not much else except the Big Boabab which is 2 minutes from the falls gate. (Remember to take an umbrella into the falls with you as depending on the season it "rains" from all the spray.)
    But at the end of the day the trip was worth it.

    While in Kasane look up some people who are doing an amazing project Mike Chase and Kelly, I have just finished their web site, www.elephantswithoutborders.org they track elephant across 5 countries.
    Last edited by Chakarinet; 2009/03/02 at 08:46 AM.
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  15. #15
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    Andre, hope you dont mind if i ask a question ?

    I have read lots about the vet fences in Bots. No Meat south and east.. What do you do if you are planning to do 11 days between Maun and Kasane. The route is east. Are there any vet gates between Maun and Kasane? If you buy meat in Maun, is it allowed through the gates ?

    Thanks
    Robert
    Last edited by RTM; 2009/03/03 at 10:13 AM. Reason: Direction
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  16. #16
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    Luangwablondes and Dawid S, thank you


    Quote Originally Posted by freeflyd View Post
    No electricity in Botswana Parks...

    http://www.pictureafrica.org/Picture...ampers....html
    Now that Sir ! is some very good reading, Thank You.

    Chakarinet, I have seen the falls before (And white water rafted 3 of the seasons there as well ) but that was 9 years ago and my Wife has never seen the falls, so now I'm just looking at the easiest way to see the falls whilst on our Botswana Trip. I have played with the Idea of crossing via the ferry and camp in Livingstone but that way I will lose a day or two, because as you say 3 to 4 hours is more than enough to see the falls, so if there is a shuttle service from Kasane then I think that will be the fastest hassle free way to see the falls.


    Tell me more about the Elephants. Friends of yours ? Do they have tours or something ? What can we do/see there ? Or is it just a nice place to stop off and say Hi and have a chat or . . . .

    RTM, Touchy subject that one. Yes, I think we will be crossing two vet fences. Currently there isn't any reports of foot and mouth so the vet fences isn't to strict (or so I understand) but if any sickness scare than a big No-no. My plan is to buy meat in Kasane and to take my chances. I will pack the meat at the bottom of the freezer then my ice ontop of that and then the rest off the stuff like viennas and cooked mince or whatever, that way if they stop me and ask if I have meat then I will say Yes and show them the cooked/processed stuff and they will let me go on my merry way (Worked for me once on the road between Francis Town and Kasane) but if they dig deeper and find the raw meat then atleast I haven't lied to them. Also they don't just confiscate the meat outright, if you tell them you are going to cook it right there in front of them then it's also fine (Happened to my father once on the road between Maun and Nata, they just Browned the packet of meat they had with them on the scottle braai and the guards let them go with it.) But no, I'm not worried about the vet fences.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by RTM View Post
    Andre, hope you dont mind if i ask a question ?

    I have read lots about the vet fences in Bots. No Meat south and east.. What do you do if you are planning to do 11 days between Maun and Kasane. The route is east. Are there any vet gates between Maun and Kasane? If you buy meat in Maun, is it allowed through the gates ?

    Thanks
    Robert
    AFAIK there are no vet fences between Maun and Kasane. But check T4A - it show all the vet lines.
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  18. #18
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    To confirm...

    Buying meat in Maun, and driving North through the parks, you will not be stopped at any fences. There is one fence just by the Chobe National Park Gate right up North. We have been stopped there many times, and even had the vehicle sprayed with anti foot and mouth stuff. No one has ever looked into our fridge though.

  19. #19
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    Can anyone comment on the possibility of me towing a normal trailer with 14 inch tyres into Moremi ? Is it imperative to have the height clearance of a 4x4 trailer ? I am towing with a diesel Pajero

  20. #20
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    Meat.
    RTM you will have no problems traveling Kasane - Maun or Maun - Kasane. That is traveling trough Moremi and Chobe. The problem is traveling Maun - Nata - Kasane that is east. Or Kasane - Nata - Maun that is south. Go and enjoy you time in Bots. Some word of advice do not park, pitch your tent under the marula trees at Xakanaxa the elephant there do not like you to obstruct his dinner. You will recognize him he is the one with five legs.

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