Botswana 2009 Trip report





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  1. #1
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    Default Botswana 2009 Trip report

    This time I am not doing an Afrikaans as well as an English version of the TR, so sorry to the Afr guys, at least all of you (sort of) understand English.

    We left from work in Sandton at 12 on 3 April. I left SWAMBO to do the final packing and come and fetch me. The first time towed something, and unfortunatly for her the Conqueror is not light. Luckily I have on of the best towing vehicles on our roads ... She had some help though, as always our daughter is a helping hand.



    From Sandton we drove via Brits and Thabazimbi to Ellisras. Here I was caught for not stopping at a T-junction by a copper sitting about 600m away from it. This was after SWAMBO said it was a good thing that I stopped because it looks like a dangerous crossing. I tried to argue with him, but when he called me a "arrogant white male" I decide to let it go and not spoil the start of my holiday! Anyway, R500 later we were on our way to cross the border at Stockpoort, and what a pleasure. We were the only vehicle at the border post, and the personel was very efficient on both sides. Took us 20 minutes to clear both posts.



    Leaving SA:



    ONce through the Bots side, you get onto a decent gravel road to Malapye which joins a excellent tar road about 20 km before Malapye, and then on to Palapye, Serowe where we joined up with David Maritz's freinds at Khama Rhino Sanctuary. We only got there at about 9h30, and this made me realise the need for spot lights to light the sides of the road.



    We left Khama very early the following morning, and we did get to see anything but the gate. The vehicles in the group below. The 70 is turboed, and the 2.8 Colt is runnning with a 3.2l Did engine.



    From there we drove through to Maun. On our way two of the vehicles in the convoy ran over this snake. We turned around and saw that it's back was broken. We decided to decapitate it and threw it into the ong grass next to the road. We diedn't know what it was and the lady in the pic even piced it up by its tail, turned out to be a black Mamba when we got the book


    Since nobody had bookings in any of the national park we headed straight for the Park Board's office and sweet talked ourselves into Moremi. It was 16h00 and we decide that we wouldn't make it to 3rd Bridge, so we bought supplies and headed for Kazikini. This is a really good camp site at an affordable price. Facilities is good and some showers even had warm water! Ellies visited the site before we were there, but the evidance ramained:



    We left the next morning for Moremi. Myself and Jolandie didn't were we where headed next, so we didn't buy any additional permits, something we regreted later on. We drove from South gate to Xakanaka and like I was told, this is quite a boring drive. At Xakanak we booked a boat trip into the Okovango delta for the next day, and left for Third bridge. This is a stunning drive, and we saw plenty of game. Lots of Elephants, Impala, Letchwes, Lion, Hippo, Crocs, Kude, Girrafe, all in 20km! There was some serioous mud along the way, and pretty deep water crossings.





    Crossing Forth Bridge, check the driver:



    We slept at Third bridge both night. The wasn't any water and we had to help the park official with a portable centrifugal pump to pump water from the Delta. The carburator was very dirty and we cleaned it he fueled it with BLUE petrol - apparently all state fuel is coloured blue in Bots to prevent theft! Next time I will definatly take 5 l petrol along, as the enige ran out and they didn't have any more, and all our vehicles were diesel! Luckily we had enough water for the two days. I also met a community member, Tigerfish, here.

    They Hyenas were terribleat Trid Bridge stealing eveything they could get hold of - edible or not. Specially the second night, as they smelt our rubish that we left there during the day. They even went into our tent, but luckily didn't take anything. If you camp here, make sure the children is watched, never leave them alone! These were the largest Hyenas I've seen in my life!

    The next day we did the mboma north loop from the camp, but I wouldn't recommend it. It is grossly over grown, very dense with virtually no game. We planned the South loop as well, but decided to leave that and drive back to Xakanaka fir the boat trip - which is a must! Althoug we din't see much animals on the trip you get a much clearer pictureof the delta and its workings. On our way to the boat trip we went throught he same area as yesterday, which was one again full of game:









    This fellow got a bit aggrevated with me when I got to close to him, and I decided to look up the safety of the boat:






    On the boat trip:

















    On our way I decided to attemp a mud hole, without walking it first ( you can crusify my at the GTG) and prompty got stuck about 5m in. The muddy water filled the right side of the vehicle so that the pedals were submerged before I was recovered. When I opened my door, my shoes washed out and drifted to the middle of the puddle, where I fell when recovering it. I guess small sins gets punished immediately:




    We left Moremi and went back to Maun. The Vet line gate wanted to take our meat (I forgot that the gate was there) but suggested that we drive 7km back to Kazikini and leav it in their fridges, since we planned to sleep there again that night. I drove 2km back, stoppeed and hid it in my folded jump seat and we went through (you don't take my meat away!).

    In maun we decided that we will head on to Savuti and then Chobe, while the rest of the group wanted to go to Popa Falls. We would then meet up with them in Kasane again. We bought our premits and went back to Kazikini. O yes, BTW, the park officials wouldn't sell us accomodation at either Xakanaka or Third Bridge, and we sweet talked them into allowing us to sleep over. When we got there our group and Tigerfish's group were the only two groups at Third Bridge and one other group used Xakanaka. We used this as an argument to get into Savuti and Choeb, where it wasn't much fuller either way.

    We went back to Kazikini and we were the only people that used it that night. At about 3 I heard something in the bushes, and the next moment the king of the jungle roared about 2m from us. There was 2 Lions and they did a thorough investigation of the exterior of the tent for about an hour before they left and I could breathe again! At this point I realised the value of the trailer and tent, if we were sleeping on the ground in our dome I would have needed a dry set of clothes.

    We left Kazikini the next day to Mababe village looking for a way to cross the Kwhai river, other than going through Kwhai village were the water levels were very high. On our way there we found these Wild dog along the road and sat there watching them for almost an hour:






    We got to the new bridge that is currently being assembled about 300m from the river, and had to turn around. One rumor said that the contractor dies, the other, that they were busy figuring out hou to get the bridge across the river .



    We saw a lady at the local clinic and went in to talk to her. Much to my surpirse it was an Afrikaans lady that stayed close by and knew of a little bridge at Mghoto lodge. We went there and the manager gave us premission to use his bridge. The Fortuner used the two outer poles to cross, so anything much wider would have had a problem. The Khwai is almost 2m deep at this point. Later on we heard from other Saffers that they had to pay 100 Pula to use the bridge, but we went over for free. Lesson learnt: Friendlyness alone will get you a long long way in Africa.




    We entered Mababe gate at about 12 and then we stumbled onto serious Savuti sand.



    The sand was very loose, and even at 0.7 bar, traction was little. I had to stay in 2nd LR for enough power, and between 0.8 and 1.5 bar on the trailer I couldn't feel any difference. We saw this little trailer along the way, and by the looks of it, it has been lying there for quite some time. Later on we saw another one with the same problem.



    The Savuti camp site was massive and very far from the (dirtiest we've encountered on this trip) ablutions. But, it was very close to nature with elephants passing less than 15m from us.



    We stayed here for just the one night and left at about 11h00 the next day for Chobe. Savuti plains was really good for game viewing and we saw large heards of everything. The elephants si quite agressive i this area, but we only saw lione bulls or a maximum of three together. The middel mannetjie was very high with the Fortuner just clearing in some areas and rubbing in others:




    The road from Savuti to Chobe keeps one busy with lots of deep sand and water puddles up to 800mm deep in the road. I walked the first one, and the second, and the third and then I relaised that i'll eb walking pretty much the rest of the day, so I just went in slowly, acclerated when in and prayed that I was smooth going.




    My first glimpse of the Chobe river: This is why you need a roofrack with Jerry cans on top:




    Chobe was also very good for game viewing with large herds coming to drink water. This was the first time we saw a large herd of Elephant and because of the large amount of small ones the mothers was very protective and agressive with frequent mock charges.

    Our campsite was right on the river with the trailer about 5m away from the river.



    We pitched the tent and then went to collect firewood in the reserve -something this is apparently allowed here - we confirmed with three officials:



    On our way back we saw this Kudu calf drinking on the cow:



    We arrived back at the campsite at sunset:



    About 5 minutes after arriving back, a hippo got out of the water right next to the Tuna and tried to walk through our camp. swambo kept cool and got our daughter into the car for safety, but when the hippo saw us, it turned around swam 50m down river and got out there. This caused us to move the trailer and tent to form a safe(r) camp for when the Hippos return. I also hurried the fire now. Later that even we heard a sound a saw this little snake fall out of one of the logs I loaded onto th RR earlier that after noon.



    I don't know the English name, but in the direct translation would be "Striped sand snake"

    We left the following morning, taking the senic route, to Kasane, where all camping accomodation was fully booked. We found a open room at Movana Ldge and decided to stay there. the nice thick matrass was a welcome change, as was the warm water in the shower.

    We did the Chobe river trip from here and this definatly a must for any vistor.

    From there we went to Vic Falls which was absolutly awsome. The thunder is amazing to hear, and the mist caused a full blown shower. It is raining like I haven't experienced in the longest time. You don't see much of the falls, but this is a must experience! We went throught the Zim side of customs onto the bridge between Zimbabwe and Zambia, along with thousands of other visitors and some locals. The locals walks from Zimbabwe to Livingstone, Zambia, they buy as much bread as they can get, and then walk back to sell it. Some claim that they repeat this up to six times per day.



    Last edited by Uys; 2009/04/20 at 02:24 PM.
    Everything is a hammer.
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  2. #2
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    Uys, good to see you enjoyed it. Somewhat somewhere I see you lost your number plate? Why did you take off your side steps as it helps a lot for stones from the wheels and side valance? Sien die FT se gat sak ook maar lekker. Thought you had air helpers in.
    Surely you can post some more photos too.

  3. #3
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    Hannes.

    Ek blaas maar die sakke so opdat die kar nog gemaklik ry.

    Die runnig boards is so stukkend dat hulle ons sny aan die kante waneer jy uitklim. En ek kon nie my rock sliders klaar kry voor ons ry nie. Gelukkig is die meeste van die pad sand, so nie veel meer skade as wat ek reeds gehad het nie.

    Die nomme rplaat het ek in moremi verloor, sal volgende keer defnitief 'n spaar nommer plaat saamry. Die polisie was orals baie moeilik daaroor, en ek moes elke keer baie mooi praat om weg te kom sonder 'n boete.

    Ek hoop daar is nou genoeg fotos!

    Uys
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    Then it it a chisel.

  4. #4
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    Baie nice Uys, lyk ontsettend lekker!!!
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  5. #5
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    Nice piccies Uys! I'll read this carefully later.......

    ..............but great sighting of Wild Dogs!!!
    Last edited by MikeAG; 2009/04/20 at 03:41 PM.
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  6. #6
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    Great report, Uys. Interesting to read about your tyre pressures. What pressures did you lower them to in Moremi? Where else did you have to lower them or did you keep them low all the time?
    Those lions had better be far away when I get to Kazikkini otherwise Swambo might have a heart seizure.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by 50something View Post
    Great report, Uys. Interesting to read about your tyre pressures. What pressures did you lower them to in Moremi? Where else did you have to lower them or did you keep them low all the time?
    Those lions had better be far away when I get to Kazikkini otherwise Swambo might have a heart seizure.
    I lowered to 0.8 when we went into Moremi, and kept it there. Then inflated back to 2.1 when we went back to Maun, lowered to 0.8 when we left the gravel road at Mababe, just before we crossed the log bridge.

    I may have been a bit low, but since we drove through Savuti on our own I didn't feel like using my shovel .....
    Everything is a hammer.
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    Then it it a chisel.

  8. #8
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    Thanks Uys, that is really useful to know. I hadn't realized that one would need to drop pressures that much in Moremi. I assume you never had a tyre come off the rim at those low pressures?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by 50something View Post
    I assume you never had a tyre come off the rim at those low pressures?
    It is only in patches that you need to go that low. One of our group got stuck at 1.4 bar but when he went down to 0.8bar he got out by himself.

    No, never came off!
    Everything is a hammer.
    Unless it is a screw driver.

    Then it it a chisel.

  10. #10
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    Baie Nice Uys, maar kan jy dit dalk in Afrikaans vertaal? "arrogant white male"
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  11. #11
    jldb Guest

    Default Uys's Trip Report-Kazinkini

    Hi Uys

    Nice report, thanks very much. We're going similar route in two weeks.
    I don't know Kazikini Camp. Where is it?

    JLDB

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    Great report Uys!
    We spent three nights Third Bridge , and spent our last night on our own, but were told at Maun that the camp was fully booked!
    Thanks to Andyrag for the co-ordinates to cross the Khwai river log bridge (same at the one Uys used). We only found three elephants guarding the bridge, but they obliged and let us through after a short while, with out charging!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by jldb View Post
    Hi Uys

    Nice report, thanks very much. We're going similar route in two weeks.
    I don't know Kazikini Camp. Where is it?

    JLDB
    JLDB.

    Kazikini is more or less 35km before South Gate, Moremi. It is located at S19 35.387 E23 48.175. Not much to see, but a very well placed stop over before entering Moremi.

    Uys
    Everything is a hammer.
    Unless it is a screw driver.

    Then it it a chisel.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tiger Fish View Post
    Great report Uys!
    We spent three nights Third Bridge , and spent our last night on our own, but were told at Maun that the camp was fully booked!
    Thanks to Andyrag for the co-ordinates to cross the Khwai river log bridge (same at the one Uys used). We only found three elephants guarding the bridge, but they obliged and let us through after a short while, with out charging!
    Did they charge you to cross the bridge. We met people at Savuti who had to pay 100 Pulas to cross the bridge. We crossed for free.

    Uys
    Everything is a hammer.
    Unless it is a screw driver.

    Then it it a chisel.

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    was daai R500 a bribe of n fine?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Engel View Post
    was daai R500 a bribe of n fine?
    Klink vir my ook maar suspect, veral die dat hy op die spot betaal het.

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    When we reached the bridge there was nobody in attendance, and no sign board to state the terms for using the bridge. So we crossed and went on our way with out paying any toll fee.

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    Jou report bring goeie memories terug, omtrent presies dieselfde roete as wat ons 3 jaar (heeltemal te lank!) gedoen het, met dieselfde kampe ook. (En ek dink nogal ons tent het by dieselfde boom gestaan in die Khama kamp!)

    Hoekom het julle die panne geskip?

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirk View Post

    Hoekom het julle die panne geskip?
    Tyd! Dis 'n rede om terug te gaan!
    Everything is a hammer.
    Unless it is a screw driver.

    Then it it a chisel.

  20. #20
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    Nice report Uys
    Verlang nou baie na daai plek..........
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