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  1. #21
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    Default Re: Botswana not how it used to be..

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Betts View Post
    I stayed in Moremi in 1966 ..it had just been proclaimed ..No campsites like 3rd Bridge ..You camped where you felt like ..Cost per night = NIL and other vehicles seen in the week = Nil magic then ..dont go there anymore ..I have my memories
    Yes I remember those days very well!
    From 1998 we went every year. Picked up an armed guard at the gate and could camp about anywhere. Cant remember many people sleeping in tents those days.
    Yes obviously things have changed a lot, those were wonderful times.

  2. #22
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    Smile Re: Botswana not how it used to be..

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Betts View Post
    I stayed in Moremi in 1966 ..it had just been proclaimed ..No campsites like 3rd Bridge ..You camped where you felt like ..Cost per night = NIL and other vehicles seen in the week = Nil magic then ..dont go there anymore ..I have my memories
    I thought that the first time I "did" Botswana in 1985 was pioneering but 1966 must have been a league of its own! It was the days in which one's vehicles were not kitted out, everything was basic but that was the way it was. Some fond memories include getting lost in the mopane bush tracks south of the Makgadikgadi, driving all day and, to our dismay, ending up passing where we'd camped the pervious night! The next day, eventually finding a local and asking him where we were and being told "you are here". Jostling with cattle to fill up our water containers at a well in Letlhakane which just a settlement of huts at the time. Reaching the main Nata / Maun gravel road which was then 300kms of pure hell. Stopping next to a Unimog on the side of the road to ask if the guys needed assistance, only to be told that no problem, they had just been catching crocs for breeding purposes. We didn't believe them until they opened the back of the vehicle. It was like a morgue van with about six live crocs stacked on layered trays with their limbs tied, tape around their snouts and cloths over their eyes! Maun was so small there hardly anything to it. I got stuck in deep sand outside the agency bank and had to engage 4x4 to get out. There was only one tea room sized "supermarket" attached to the one pub / stop-over (I think the name was Riley's) where I recall us buying the one and only block of cheese that they had. On the track out of Maun, leading north to Moremi, there was a young New Zealand couple hitching and we ended up them a lift all the way through to Vic Falls! A highlight on the way was at Savuti where a French couple had come out on "safari" without being told not to keep fruit in their tent. We were woken up in the middle of the night with the Frenchman bravely clapping a pair of slops together shouting "Allez, Allez" at an elephant that was flattening everything to get to the fruit. The next morning, they pack up what was left of their camp, saying that were go straight back to Joburg and the next flight home! Apart from the nostalgia, where am I going with this? The camp sites in the Moremi and Chobe were proper bush camps, just places where you were allowed to pitch tents. Absolutely no facilities and thus, somehow I don't get this whinging about toilets, running water (let alone hot water), braai grids, etc. Our vehicles were bog standard Toyota 4x4s (say no more), we carried the only the very basic in equipment and supplies which, compared today's standards, would be judged as a disaster waiting to happen. You hardly ever saw another vehicle or other campers and, if you did, you stopped and shared a beer. One thing we managed to pride ourselves on was always having cold beers, even though camping fridges and freezers were unheard of and we only had the old polystyrene cooler boxes. Bottom line, we always made a plan and the experience nurtured the seed of future over landing ever since.That said, I have to pass comment on the expectations with some of the views that have been expressed. Firstly, who broke or abused the facilities that were originally installed? The problem is not Botswana, the problem is modern day expectations, there now being too many 4x4 vehicles and too many people. More especially, the people who do not respect the sanctity of the camp sites, the bush and what Botswana or the rest of Africa has to offer, believing it is their right and not a privilege. Once the perceptions change, then maybe, just maybe, it might be worth upgrading the facilities. Personally, facilities are things don't worry me but I'm old school.Here endth the lesson

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  4. #23
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    Default Re: Botswana not how it used to be..

    Yep Sharpie,

    Good old times indeed.
    But today when you pay the fees or travel with international visitors (or both) you expect the facilities to function and the camps to be cleaned.

    If I want to rough it a bit I go elsewhere - the Namib or Skeleton coast comes to mind.

    No, no, not the tourist tracks 8)
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  5. #24
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    Default Re: Botswana not how it used to be..

    I still go every year, and yes there are more tourists. My big issue is the fact that some folk do not book camp sites and just camp on a site if it is empty. Also tour operators who drive a trail without a permit! Yes one operator who has lots to say on the forums. I think the biggest issue for us self drivers is that we are being seen as a pest by the tour operators who know it all. And then why are so many camp sites empty and they tell you they are full when you try to book. It still a great place to visit.

  6. #25
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    Default Re: Botswana not how it used to be..

    Quote Originally Posted by Kalahari Safari View Post
    Yep Sharpie,

    Good old times indeed.
    But today when you pay the fees or travel with international visitors (or both) you expect the facilities to function and the camps to be cleaned.

    If I want to rough it a bit I go elsewhere - the Namib or Skeleton coast comes to mind.

    No, no, not the tourist tracks 8)
    Not long till those are up to international tourist standards where you can expect the facilities to function and the camps to be cleaned.
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  7. #26
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    Default Re: Botswana not how it used to be..

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike N View Post
    To some extent I agree with you. Between my first Botswana camping experience in the early 90's and nowadays it has become a much more commercial and less of a wilderness / wildlife experience. In the early 90s it was dead cheap, and very few (self-drive) tourists. But as SAfricans started going there it quickly became too busy, and Botswana pushed up prices to try the low volume - high income tourism route. Did not seem to help much, as the parks and places stays fuller than one would ideally like, and more and more accommodations opened up. E.g., normally no one in his right mind went to delta in November, last year November it seemed like hundreds of people were not in their right minds :-)
    Here we go - the old song about South Africans being to blame for things going wrong. I found the article interesting and accurate. Botswana is my favourite place but prices have gone up drastically - especially with campsites in all of the beautiful places being given over to private companies who multiply the prices and do nothing (or very little) to improve or maintain the sites (see Mpayatutlwa and Khutse for example). But, unfortunately, things do change. I grew up in the Kalahari and certainly dont expect to find things the same now as they were when I was a boy with a gun and a horse in the dunes. Botswana is still a wonderful place; as are South Africa and Namibia.

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  9. #27
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    Default Re: Botswana not how it used to be..

    Well, if you really want to know how Botswana has changed, here's an extract from an unpublished manuscript by Dr Graham Child, former director of Zimbabwe's National Parks and Wildlife Service, on his 1964 posting to Chobe to do an ecological survey of the newly-proclaimed game reserve:

    "Travelling informally in my Austin A55 sedan car, we had to use the reasonable gravel road from the Victoria Falls via Livingstone and the north bank of the Zambezi to reach Kazungula where we crossed back over the river into Bechuanaland on a pontoon. The tracks on the south bank were just too rough and sandy for a sedan car.... Kasane is about eight miles from Kazungula on the Chobe River where it is the international border between Botswana, and the Caprivi Strip of Namibia. In those days Kasane was a rather untidy dusty village with a single corrugated road down its length and a wonderful aspect through a fringe of magnificent evergreen riparian trees to the river and the extensive swamp in the Caprivi beyond. It boasted a small police station with jail, a D.Cs and two other offices for the Forest Officer and Game Warden. There were three senior staff and about a dozen junior staff government houses, a Witwatersrand Native Labour Association (known throughout Southern Africa as just WNLA) barge station, an hotel with a store behind it, a few scruffy huts and little else.

    "The Chobe river Hotel, owned by Ala and Lolly Sussens, who quickly became lasting friends, was the centre of commercial and social life in the village. It offered locals and visitors alike a drink or a meal, and locals could order their bread and beer for delivery from Livingstone or make a ‘phone call. Calls seldom took less than two or three days to Gaborone or Bulawayo and often the better part of a day to a number in Livingstone, the nearest exchange Meat, provided it was beef, was delivered to Kasane by the weekly plane from Maun, at a shilling a pound or one shilling and three pence for fillet. We bought our groceries from Bulawayo for three to five months at a time, including powdered milk for the children, and had the order railed to Victoria Falls for collection 50 miles and three hours hard driving away in a Land Rover."
    Last edited by Tony Weaver; 2019/08/27 at 04:09 PM.
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  11. #28
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    Default Re: Botswana not how it used to be..

    Tony, that sounds like a hundred years ago somewhere in Europe, but agree, it was during our lifetime.

    Do I want to go back if I could - probably not - or I would be a pirate in the 18th century 8)
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  12. #29
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    Default Re: Botswana not how it used to be..

    Fantastic Tony, thanks for posting this.

  13. #30
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    Default Re: Botswana not how it used to be..

    Pity this thread was highjacked by the trolls. I thought the OP made a valid point... but a trolling we will go.

    Afraid to say - this forum is not as good as it used to be!!

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  15. #31
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    Default Re: Botswana not how it used to be..

    Quote Originally Posted by glassman View Post
    Pity this thread was highjacked by the trolls. I thought the OP made a valid point... but a trolling we will go.

    Afraid to say - this forum is not as good as it used to be!!
    So how is it in Slaapschstad

  16. #32
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    Default Re: Botswana not how it used to be..

    Quote Originally Posted by Zac View Post
    Here we go - the old song about South Africans being to blame for things going wrong. .......
    You read it wrong Zac, as I wrote it it has to do with the numbers of SAfricans that started going to what was previously a difficult destination because of politics and roads.
    But if you want to read blame for bad behaviour in it, please do so because that is unfortunately characteristic of a good number of SAfricans I saw in Botswana over the years.
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  17. #33
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    Default Re: Botswana not how it used to be..

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike N View Post
    You read it wrong Zac, as I wrote it it has to do with the numbers of SAfricans that started going to what was previously a difficult destination because of politics and roads.
    But if you want to read blame for bad behaviour in it, please do so because that is unfortunately characteristic of a good number of SAfricans I saw in Botswana over the years.
    I see huge numbers of overseas tourists that camp in Botswana compared to the previous decade. Most have no idea about camping in the bush, why it is not acceptable to drive off the tracks, they don't bury their poop or burn the toilet paper etc. If you travel out of school holidays these are the guys you will meet not South Africans.

  18. #34
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    Default Re: Botswana not how it used to be..

    As far as my recent experiences concern (keep visiting botswana since three years now) I've found facilities and ablutions fine in makgadigadi and nxai NP as well as in chobe and moremi (although i can only speak for SKL campsites and tented accomodations in third bridge). Clean ablutions and hot water was always found (you need to consider showering in the afternoon rather than late evening or early morning). But then, I guess bad experiences can still happen, which is understandable but should not be taken as a given.
    All in all, of the southern african countries i've visited (mainly namibia, SA botswana) Botswana still keeps than charm of wilderness and lonelyness for now, that said on such trips one should anyways not expect luxury. Clean ablutions is fine, and that is what i could see. Was I lucky? Or do my expectations differ too much from others?
    Sure the old days were better but it's the old nostalgia talking that sometimes is true and sometimes is not. As for botswanas old days, i do believe you in terms of authentic wilderness experience.

  19. #35
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    Default Re: Botswana not how it used to be..

    This is what my Botswana trip looked like last week.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PsCq5kM7hc&t=56s

    Regards

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  21. #36
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    Default Re: Botswana not how it used to be..

    Andre dit is mooi man dankie

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  23. #37
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    Default Re: Botswana not how it used to be..

    Quote Originally Posted by Fourie110 View Post
    This is what my Botswana trip looked like last week.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PsCq5kM7hc&t=56s

    Regards

    Andre
    You were at the very same campsite in kubu where I was! I was there the last 19th august 😀
    Thanks for your nice video.

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  25. #38
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    Default Re: Botswana not how it used to be..

    Quote Originally Posted by Fourie110 View Post
    This is what my Botswana trip looked like last week.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PsCq5kM7hc&t=56s

    Regards

    Andre
    Hoe lus het ek nou om sommer 2 weke verlof te neem vir so 'n trippie! On second thoughts ...maak dit 3 weke.

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  27. #39
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    Default Re: Botswana not how it used to be..

    Did I see wild animals being fed . Or was that my imagination.

  28. #40
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    Default Re: Botswana not how it used to be..

    Quote Originally Posted by ernie-zn View Post
    Did I see wild animals being fed . Or was that my imagination.
    Seems we imagined the same thing.
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