Track conditions in CKGR, Nxai Pan and Moremi in rainy season 2019/2020





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  1. #1
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    Default Track conditions in CKGR, Nxai Pan and Moremi in rainy season 2019/2020

    Dear all,

    After several trips to Botswana we are on a self-driving tour through CKGR, Nxai Pan and Moremi end of December/ first half of January.

    For sure track conditions can and will change very quick pending on precipitation.
    Nonetheless I would like to ask within this thread to post latest experiences (preferable with some pictures) for track conditions in the mentioned areas.

    Thank you!
    Last edited by Rookie2014; 2019/11/24 at 11:57 AM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Track conditions in CKGR, Nxai Pan and Moremi in rainy season 2019/2020

    Quote Originally Posted by Rookie2014 View Post
    Dear all,

    After several trips to Botswana we are on a self-driving tour through CKGR, Nxai Pan and Moremi end of December/ first half of January.

    For sure track conditions can and will change very quick pending on precipitation.
    Nonetheless I would like to ask within this thread to post latest experiences (preferable with some pictures) for track conditions in the mentioned areas.

    Thank you!

    My experience in the CKGR is not recent - winter - so much may have changed. However, i will say that the cut road heading directly west and then northwest to Motopi was most unpleasant. Narrow, hilly, with a combination of soft sand and corrugation that was pretty miserable. Everywhere else we went - Sunday pan, letiahu, passarge.... was absolutely wonderful. Best trip ever, and we look forward to returning in June July 2020. Wish you an excellent, safe, and mechanically trouble free trip!
    Last edited by heyyahhey; 2019/11/24 at 01:54 PM.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Track conditions in CKGR, Nxai Pan and Moremi in rainy season 2019/2020

    I'm afraid I can't help you, as I have never been to those places in the rainy season. But I will be heading to CKGR, Makgadikgadi, and Nxai in Feb 2020, so would really appreciate an update on tracks, sightings, etc. from you on your return. Thanks.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Track conditions in CKGR, Nxai Pan and Moremi in rainy season 2019/2020

    Quote Originally Posted by bobhof View Post
    I'm afraid I can't help you, as I have never been to those places in the rainy season. But I will be heading to CKGR, Makgadikgadi, and Nxai in Feb 2020, so would really appreciate an update on tracks, sightings, etc. from you on your return. Thanks.
    I will for sure post updates and what we will experience upon our return after Jan. 20th. If coverage and data is given I may provide a brief update while on travels when we will be passing Maun around Jan. 10th.

    I appreciate any update to the tracks and rainfall by then.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Track conditions in CKGR, Nxai Pan and Moremi in rainy season 2019/2020

    Nxai Pan - April 2015





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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Track conditions in CKGR, Nxai Pan and Moremi in rainy season 2019/2020

    Also April 2015


    Road to Baines Baobabs

    From Baines Baobabs
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    Last edited by pardus; 2019/11/26 at 04:59 PM.
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  7. #7
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    Default Track conditions in CKGR, Nxai Pan and Moremi in rainy season 2019/2020

    Thank you Pardus for these postings. I would rather prefer recent postings of this year as any previous year (and most likely even past weaks in the rainy season this year) are not reliable data points for a current evaluation or assumption what it looks like now.
    Last edited by Rookie2014; 2019/11/26 at 08:30 PM.

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    Default Re: Track conditions in CKGR, Nxai Pan and Moremi in rainy season 2019/2020

    Cool, just showing examples of what possibly to expect, as any "current" report/conditions can change literally overnight such as what happened to us in the photos, dry one day and wet the next.
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Track conditions in CKGR, Nxai Pan and Moremi in rainy season 2019/2020

    Your trip is out of the 'serious rain' window which is mid Feb to late April .. but the weather is as predictable as ...
    Whilst heyahey might dislike deep sand and corrugations, I relish them .. so one man's version of what condition the tracks are in maybe either a nightmare or a dream for others.
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Track conditions in CKGR, Nxai Pan and Moremi in rainy season 2019/2020

    Quote Originally Posted by Oreo View Post
    Your trip is out of the 'serious rain' window which is mid Feb to late April .. but the weather is as predictable as ...
    Whilst heyahey might dislike deep sand and corrugations, I relish them .. so one man's version of what condition the tracks are in maybe either a nightmare or a dream for others.
    Lol so true. We were however very heavily loaded and pulling an off-road caravan. So it was really hard on the gear. Had to stop every 30 and let things cool- you could feel the heat in the floorboards from the transmission.

    my son was behind in another D4 without the trailer. Ride was much better. Problem with towing in those conditions with a Conqueror Companion is it’s very heavy on the rear - no matter what you do to the load inside.
    Last edited by heyyahhey; 2019/11/26 at 09:50 PM.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Track conditions in CKGR, Nxai Pan and Moremi in rainy season 2019/2020

    I have just been through Nxai pan over the weekend, still pretty dry but rain has started falling, so conditions will change pretty fast.

    the ground is very dry, so the first rains are just being soaked up, nothing serious yet. We will be heading to Chapmanís baobab area on Friday and then back to Gweta. I will report back as soon as I am in WiFi range

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Track conditions in CKGR, Nxai Pan and Moremi in rainy season 2019/2020

    Quote Originally Posted by heyyahhey View Post
    Lol so true. We were however very heavily loaded and pulling an off-road caravan. So it was really hard on the gear. Had to stop every 30 and let things cool- you could feel the heat in the floorboards from the transmission.

    my son was behind in another D4 without the trailer. Ride was much better. Problem with towing in those conditions with a Conqueror Companion is itís very heavy on the rear - no matter what you do to the load inside.
    IMHO, and I realise this will be a very unpopular opinion, off-road trailers/caravans shouldnít be allowed in the CKGR..... same for Chobe/Savuti/Linyanti etc. but ya, it will probably never happen.

    my opinion is if you suffer towing an unescesarrilly heavy rig through those places, it is self induced punishment. When I see 2 up vehicle, towing a conqueror on the savuti sand ridge, my mind boggles. How much stuff could 2 people possibly need to carry that canít fit in a double cabe with a roof rack......

    yes, the vans may be convenient, but if you are after convenience, stick to the main routes, or take the money you spend on a off-road caravan and book into a nice lodge. Part of the fun of an overland trip, actually, most of the fun, is in enjoying the drive though the wilderness..... when you hook up a 1.5 ton camping trailer behind you and decide to go to CKGR, the enjoyment of the drive fades very fast.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Track conditions in CKGR, Nxai Pan and Moremi in rainy season 2019/2020

    Quote Originally Posted by RPiet View Post
    IMHO, and I realise this will be a very unpopular opinion, off-road trailers/caravans shouldn’t be allowed in the CKGR..... same for Chobe/Savuti/Linyanti etc. but ya, it will probably never happen.

    my opinion is if you suffer towing an unescesarrilly heavy rig through those places, it is self induced punishment. When I see 2 up vehicle, towing a conqueror on the savuti sand ridge, my mind boggles. How much stuff could 2 people possibly need to carry that can’t fit in a double cabe with a roof rack......

    yes, the vans may be convenient, but if you are after convenience, stick to the main routes, or take the money you spend on a off-road caravan and book into a nice lodge. Part of the fun of an overland trip, actually, most of the fun, is in enjoying the drive though the wilderness..... when you hook up a 1.5 ton camping trailer behind you and decide to go to CKGR, the enjoyment of the drive fades very fast.
    well as there were 6 of us it was not unreasonable. Aired down, and driving conservative to take care of my equipment Have just as much business there as anyone else.

    in fact - the only people I encountered there who were problems were a couple in a white Fortuner, with zero Equipment. It was like they parachuted in.

    and in fact - we enjoyed the trip immensely, had a great trip, and no problems. That particular section was not pleasant. It was 3 hours out of 8 days.

    i agree that most of the fun is enjoying the drive out there. I enjoy it immensely - and when I’m done for the day, I enjoy a gre deal of comfort, a full bar, ice, and 2 very comfortable beds which I set in 8 minutes.

    oh - and as to a double cab... there is no comparison in ride comfort in a double cab and a D4. Not on the same planet.
    Last edited by heyyahhey; 2019/11/26 at 10:34 PM.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Track conditions in CKGR, Nxai Pan and Moremi in rainy season 2019/2020

    Quote Originally Posted by heyyahhey View Post
    well as there were 6 of us it was not unreasonable. Aired down, and driving conservative to take care of my equipment Have just as much business there as anyone else.in fact - the only people I encountered there who were problems were a couple in a white Fortuner, with zero Equipment. It was like they parachuted in.and in fact - we enjoyed the trip immensely, had a great trip, and no problems. That particular section was not pleasant. It was 3 hours out of 8 days.i agree that most of the fun is enjoying the drive out there. I enjoy it immensely - and when I’m done for the day, I enjoy a great deal of comfort, a full bar, ice, and 2 very comfortable beds which I set in 8 minutes.
    I am glad you enjoyed it, and yes, being 6 up would change things a little.

    I was being more than a little dramatic in suggesting caravans be banned from these places. I don’t really believe that is the answer.

    i personally have a great aversion to towing trailers off-road, especially in sand and mud. I only do it if it’s required for work purposes, and normally involves a utility trailer carrying some bulky equipment or machinery around.

    I tend to only travel alone or at most 2 up when on holiday, so have never seen the need to tow an off-road trailer or caravan when going off the beaten track. I can fit all my creature comforts on board.

    but we should probably get back on topic now....

    ps: I still wonder what 2 people in a double cab are carrying then they cant fit it all in or on top of their car.
    Last edited by RPiet; 2019/11/26 at 10:38 PM.

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    Default Re: Track conditions in CKGR, Nxai Pan and Moremi in rainy season 2019/2020

    Quote Originally Posted by RPiet View Post
    I am glad you enjoyed it, and yes, being 6 up would change things a little.

    I was being more than a little dramatic in suggesting caravans be banned from these places. I don’t really believe that is the answer.

    i personally have a great aversion to towing trailers off-road, especially in sand and mud. I only do it if it’s required for work purposes, and normally involves a utility trailer carrying some bulky equipment or machinery around.

    I tend to only travel alone or at most 2 up when on holiday, so have never seen the need to tow an off-road trailer or caravan when going off the beaten track. I can fit all my creature comforts on board.

    but we should probably get back on topic now....

    ps: I still wonder what 2 people in a double cab are carrying then they cant fit it all in or on top of their car.

    cool - so we will ban 2 ups in double cabs towing trailers. Works for me! They should have bought a proper vehicle like a Land Rover...
    Last edited by heyyahhey; 2019/11/26 at 10:41 PM.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Track conditions in CKGR, Nxai Pan and Moremi in rainy season 2019/2020

    Quote Originally Posted by Oreo View Post
    Your trip is out of the 'serious rain' window which is mid Feb to late April .. but the weather is as predictable as ...
    Whilst heyahey might dislike deep sand and corrugations, I relish them .. so one man's version of what condition the tracks are in maybe either a nightmare or a dream for others.
    So true, I enjoy that cutline, that I always stop by some dunes just to admire them. I once saw a leopard in September 2017 in that cutline just after turn off to Sunday Pan.

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  17. #17
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    Default Re: Track conditions in CKGR, Nxai Pan and Moremi in rainy season 2019/2020

    Well, not December/January, but I was in the CKGR a week ago after the first rains there. Here is what we observed:

    We entered at Matswere and on our way to Passarge No. 2 encountered a couple in a Britz rental that said they had just been stuck for a while and recently were towed up. They were stressed, tired and headed late to their campsite. We had not seen anything but small puddles between the gate and some kms west of Sunday/Leopard Pan. They warned us that the track was very wet further east into Passarge. Indeed it was, and for a few stretches we were driving in 10-20cm of water for a 100 meters or more in some sections, but the track surface was hard and we had no struggles.

    We could see where they had driven alongside the track, around the wet spots, no doubt traumatized from their recent stuggles getting stuck in the mud. What we saw further along is this is what had caused them to get stuck. They were driving 10m or so parallel to the proper track, mostly on the valley side, and the surface there is quite soft. They broke through with all four wheels, as we saw the hole they were stuck in. Turns out they had been driving parallel to the actual road the whole way along to avoid what they thought the worst of it was, and we a saw a few other places that they must have had close calls getting stuck.

    I say they should have stuck to the actual road, first to minimize ecological impact, and second because the compacted road still had good traction despite the water on it. The next day we saw others had followed their example and were driving off track, and thus begins more damage to the environment. Sad to see.

    Also the next day 90% of the water had evaporated in 24 hrs. I'm sure things are different in the heavy rains. Rest of the time it was usual CKGR stuff, sand, some corrugations on the way to Piper and a wonderful place to visit.

  18. #18
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    Default Track conditions in CKGR, Nxai Pan and Moremi in rainy season 2019/2020

    I push this thread again as we will enter CKGR in two weeks.
    The reported rainfalls between 05.-08.12. might have helped a bit to the nature - I hope grass, flowers etc. are growing now.
    I am curious if anybody from this forum knows and can report about recently track conditions, maybe even how it turned out to have been after these rainfalls.

    Thank you guys!
    Last edited by Rookie2014; 2019/12/17 at 03:07 AM.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Track conditions in CKGR, Nxai Pan and Moremi in rainy season 2019/2020

    Quote Originally Posted by Rookie2014 View Post
    I push this thread again as we will enter CKGR in two weeks.
    The reported rainfalls between 05.-08.12. might have helped a bit to the nature - I hope grass, flowers etc. are growing now.
    I am curious if anybody from this forum knows and can report about recently track conditions, maybe even how it turned out to have been after these rainfalls.

    Thank you guys!
    Will update you probably Monday, going there Friday till Monday morning.

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  20. #20
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    Default Track conditions in CKGR, Nxai Pan and Moremi in rainy season 2019/2020

    Quote Originally Posted by PAT n WOLF View Post
    Will update you probably Monday, going there Friday till Monday morning.
    Great PatnWolf,

    I would even be interested in pictures.

    Thanks!
    Last edited by Rookie2014; 2019/12/17 at 07:57 PM.

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