First Botswana self drive




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  1. #1
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    Default First Botswana self drive

    Greetings folks,
    My wife and I are planning our first self-drive through Botswana for May 2022. We are being aided by a Maun-based company, and they have suggested the below itinerary.
    It sounds great first-off, but we would appreciate any constructive comments or suggestions.
    NOTE: I am driving up from Cape Town slowly to Maun and my wife will fly in on the 7th May. (My part of the trip is in grey). Likewise she departs from Maun on the 29th May. I am retired :-)
    Question: I wanted to include Baines Baobabs for the experience. How similar is this to Kubu island, which seems too far off our route to include?
    Thanks in advance

    May 2022

    05th – Mafikeng (then cross into Botswana at Ramatlabama border, just south of Lobatse)
    06th – Thakadu Bush Lodge (Ghanzi) - Camping
    07th – Crocodile Camp (Maun) - Accommodated
    08th- Fully Catered boat /Mokoro Excursion ( Okavango Delta)
    09th- Fully Catered boat /Mokoro Excursion ( Okavango Delta)
    10th- Crocodile Camp (Maun ) – Accommodated
    11th – Third Bridge (Moremi Game Reserve) - Camping
    12th – Third Bridge (Moremi Game Reserve) - Camping
    13th – Third Bridge (Moremi Game Reserve) - Camping
    14th – Moghoto Campsite (Khwai Community Area) - Camping
    15th – Moghoto Campsite (Khwai Community Area) - Camping
    16th – Moghoto Campsite (Khwai Community Area) - Camping
    17th – Savuti Campsite (Southern Chobe) - Camping
    18th – Savuti Campsite (Southern Chobe) - Camping
    19th – Ihaha Campsite (Northern Chobe) - Camping
    20th – Senyatti Safari Lodge (Kasane) - Accommodated
    21st – Senyatti Safari Lodge (Kasane) - Accommodated
    22nd – Elephant Sands (Nata area) - Camping
    23rd – Elephant Sands (Nata area) - Camping
    24th – Baines Baobabs (Nxai Pan National Park) - Camping
    25th – Baines Baobabs (Nxai Pan National Park) - Camping
    26th – Khumaga (Makgadikgadi Pans National Park) - Camping
    27th – Khumaga (Makgadikgadi Pans National Park) - Camping
    28th – Thamalakane River Lodge (Maun) - Accommodated
    29th – Thamalakane River Lodge (Maun) - Accommodated
    30th – Khama Rhino Sanctuary (Serowe) - Accommodated
    31st – Mokolodi Back Packers (Gaborone) - Accommodated
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: First Botswana self drive

    Nice trip.
    Why only a stopover in Ihaha? I would add a day and one less in Senyati. Do a river cruise on the Chobe from Kasane in the afternoon.
    From Thamalakane River Lodge we have good memories from dinner with local friends. Enjoy!.

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  4. #3
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    Default Re: First Botswana self drive

    "Fully Catered boat /Mokoro Excursion ( Okavango Delta) on the 8th and 9th".

    I would rather do that from Third Bridge where there is a nearby boat station. And I would rather do the trip on a motor boat. It is so disappointing how little you see from a mokoro because of your very restricted field of view. The mokoro rides very low in the water and the reeds and growth along the banks of the swamp are very high. I advise this motorboat despite the obvious romance and peaceful magic of exploring in a mokoro.

    Starting the boat trip from Mbomo Island near Third Bridge and in an engine-powered boat, means you can get far deeper into Moremi, even to Chief's Island and far into the swamps with far more rewarding birding and game viewing.

    The Maun-based booking company should definitely be able help to make those bookings otherwise search under Ngami Marine, also on this forum.
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  6. #4
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    Default Re: First Botswana self drive

    Quote Originally Posted by RobTee View Post
    24th – Baines Baobabs (Nxai Pan National Park) - Camping
    25th – Baines Baobabs (Nxai Pan National Park) - Camping
    Here I would spend one night at South Camp in Nxai Pan and the second night at Baines Baobabs on the way out of the park.
    Stanley Weakley.
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    “Great journeys are memorable not so much for what you saw, but for where you camped”.

    Trans East Africa 2015/2016 Trip report https://www.4x4community.co.za/forum...-6-SLOW-DONKEY
    OR
    http://www.4x4community.co.za/forum/...e16?highlight= from post 315.

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  8. #5
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    Default Re: First Botswana self drive

    I have not been up in that area for a few years now, so things could have changed. However, I have found Elephant Sands to be a nice stop over, so would spend one night there and the other somewhere else along the trip.
    Stan will however be better to advise on this.

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  10. #6
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    Default Re: First Botswana self drive

    Hi Rob, I think you have been given a few worthwhile suggestions so far, so here are a couple more, or confirmations.

    I am not keen on Thakadu, it was in a terrible state when we last used it (2018), preferred Tautona and plan to try Palm Afrique next year.

    I agree with Stan that a boat trip might be more worthwhile than the mokoro trip. You can also do a mokoro trip on Sable Alley River while you are at Moghoto.

    I would take away 1 night from Elephant Sands and add that to Ihaha. I think it is probably better to do the 2 nights at Senyati if you want to do the Chobe River trip, otherwise it becomes a time constrained trip from Ihaha to Kasane.

    There is not much to do for 2 nights at Baines, so I am with Stan on that one too.

    I am not sure why you want to do 2 nights in Maun on the way south, if it is for an early morning flight you can probably still make Khama. An orientation flight at the start of the trip might make more sense.
    Last edited by mcowell; 2021/12/05 at 08:54 AM.
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  12. #7
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    Default Re: First Botswana self drive

    Quote Originally Posted by Stan Weakley View Post
    "Fully Catered boat /Mokoro Excursion ( Okavango Delta) on the 8th and 9th".

    I would rather do that from Third Bridge where there is a nearby boat station. And I would rather do the trip on a motor boat. It is so disappointing how little you see from a mokoro because of your very restricted field of view. The mokoro rides very low in the water and the reeds and growth along the banks of the swamp are very high. I advise this motorboat despite the obvious romance and peaceful magic of exploring in a mokoro.

    Starting the boat trip from Mbomo Island near Third Bridge and in an engine-powered boat, means you can get far deeper into Moremi, even to Chief's Island and far into the swamps with far more rewarding birding and game viewing.

    The Maun-based booking company should definitely be able help to make those bookings otherwise search under Ngami Marine, also on this forum.
    Great advice but I would like to add something. Mostly when I do Engine boat, I would be interested photography and sightseeing deep into the delta and move fast. BUT the MOKORO experience is definitely not for sightseeing very far areas, but for slow, calm interaction with animals like in the Sable Alley channel and even at Mboma. So I would definitely do both Boat and mokoro during the trip.
    The issue of where to start your boat will depends on you budget and time. Third bridge, Mboma, Xakanaxa all finally meet at a big channel and head to the heronary island of you want to visit it…

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  14. #8
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    Default Re: First Botswana self drive

    Quote Originally Posted by Stan Weakley View Post
    Here I would spend one night at South Camp in Nxai Pan and the second night at Baines Baobabs on the way out of the park.

    Couple comments on Baines:

    - When we were there late October, there was a serious bee issue. We were supposed to overnight there, but left and went north to the other camp - south camp.

    - The road to get up there is one of the worst I’ve ever driven.

    - the salt pans are cool to see at baines. The baobabs are, well, baobabs. I like baobabs. I’d not venture that road to see them.

    - The camp further in - South Camp - is very nice, and we had good game viewing g there. Eles every day right in camp.

    If in Maun, go to the Okavango brewery. Great beer and also good food.
    Last edited by heyyahhey; 2021/12/05 at 05:54 PM.

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  16. #9
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    Default Re: First Botswana self drive

    Definitely longer in Ihaha and 1 night at Elephant Sands. The close up of elephants at water you'll see aplenty in Ihaha and Senyati. In fact by the time you leave Mogotho you'll have had plenty close ups with Ele. Perhaps skip Elephant Sands, spend a day at the Nata Bird sanctuary, depending on water. Camp Nata Lodge.
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  18. #10
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    Default Re: First Botswana self drive

    Quote Originally Posted by mcowell View Post
    Hi Rob, I think you have been given a few worthwhile suggestions so far, so here are a couple more, or confirmations.

    I am not keen on Thakadu, it was in a terrible state when we last used it (2018), preferred Tautona and plan to try Palm Afrique next year.

    I agree with Stan that a boat trip might be more worthwhile than the mokoro trip. You can also do a mokoro trip on Sable Alley River while you are at Moghoto.

    I would take away 1 night from Elephant Sands and add that to Ihaha. I think it is probably better to do the 2 nights at Senyati if you want to do the Chobe River trip, otherwise it becomes a time constrained trip from Ihaha to Kasane.

    There is not much to do for 2 nights at Baines, so I am with Stan on that one too.

    I am not sure why you want to do 2 nights in Maun on the way south, if it is for an early morning flight you can probably still make Khama. An orientation flight at the start of the trip might make more sense.
    On the Ghanzi stay it's a big thumbs down for Tautona - had a horrible experience there on the way up in June, but found Palm Afrique brilliant and it'll be our regular from now on. Tautona has just been controversially sold to the Bots goverment. Can't see that ending well, it was devastated by the Covid lack of tourism when we were there, and the staff distinctly unhelpful. By contrast Palm Afrique is run brilliantly, everything immaculate, staff attentive.
    Last edited by Gungets Tuft; 2021/12/06 at 06:49 AM.
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  20. #11
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    Default Re: First Botswana self drive

    Places which I will cut out completely: Elephant sands, Khumaga.

    Places where I will definitely add a night or add more nights: Nxai pan South camp, Ihaha.

    Khumaga is ok, but in terms of wildlife experience Nxai South camp and Nxai pan as a whole is 100% better.
    Last edited by lekhubu943; 2021/12/06 at 10:37 AM.
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