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  1. #1
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    Default Towing Bushlapa or Rooftop Tent

    Hi

    My wife and i are heading to Nxai Pan for 4 days and then to Khwai (Mbudi Camp) 5 nights and then to drive to Chobe Safari Lodge via Savuti and Thobolos Bush Lodge. Unfortunately, we could not get a booking at Savuti, so have to drive directly from Khwai to Thobolos. We are fortunate to be able to have a choice between towing or leaving the Bushlapa at home and just roughing it in the rooftop tent. I have a Land Cruiser 76 SW, however i have been told that towing the Bushlapa through that sand is like dragging an anchor and that i should leave it at home. Others say take it, its not that bad and that the camping experience would be far better with the caravan as its very cold at night towards the end of June.

    For those who have done this route before and taking into consideration it's only the two of us, what would you suggest. I believe the road to Nxai Pan has very deep sand and would also be difficult.

    Regards

    Siggie

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Towing Bushlapa or Rooftop Tent

    Quote Originally Posted by siggieandhislandcruiser View Post
    Hi

    My wife and i are heading to Nxai Pan for 4 days and then to Khwai (Mbudi Camp) 5 nights and then to drive to Chobe Safari Lodge via Savuti and Thobolos Bush Lodge. Unfortunately, we could not get a booking at Savuti, so have to drive directly from Khwai to Thobolos. We are fortunate to be able to have a choice between towing or leaving the Bushlapa at home and just roughing it in the rooftop tent. I have a Land Cruiser 76 SW, however i have been told that towing the Bushlapa through that sand is like dragging an anchor and that i should leave it at home. Others say take it, its not that bad and that the camping experience would be far better with the caravan as its very cold at night towards the end of June.

    For those who have done this route before and taking into consideration it's only the two of us, what would you suggest. I believe the road to Nxai Pan has very deep sand and would also be difficult.

    Regards

    Siggie

    Take the bushlapa.

    Done that road many times dragging the van behind a D4D with no issues. As usual, keep your tyre pressures down.

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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Towing Bushlapa or Rooftop Tent

    Quote Originally Posted by siggieandhislandcruiser View Post
    ...that towing the Bushlapa through that sand is like dragging an anchor and that i should leave it at home...
    That is funny. Ai

    No it is not like dragging an anchor.

    You don't mention the time of year you are going.

    Make no mistake, the sand to Nxai pan is THICK. But we towed our Bushlapa there in August with a lowly Fortuner. Many other have taken their Bushlapas, and other caravans, there.

    Just make sure you take the western most route almost next to the park boundary. Not the middle more direct track. This applies with and without the caravan.

    Deflate tyres enough, including the caravan's.

    Try to arrive as early as possible when the sand is still cool. This applies with and without the caravan.
    Last edited by lekhubu943; 2024/05/15 at 06:31 PM.
    Christa

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  6. #4
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    Default Re: Towing Bushlapa or Rooftop Tent

    Quote Originally Posted by lekhubu943 View Post
    That is funny. Ai

    No it is not like dragging an anchor.

    You don't mention the time of year you are going.

    Make no mistake, the sand to Nxai pan is THICK. But we towed our Bushlapa there in August with a lowly Fortuner. Many other have taken their Bushlapas, and other caravans, there.

    Just make sure you take the western most route almost next to the park boundary. Not the middle more direct track. This applies with and without the caravan.

    Deflate tyres enough, including the caravan's.

    Try to arrive as early as possible when the sand is still cool. This applies with and without the caravan.
    He mentions towards end of June

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  8. #5
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    Default Re: Towing Bushlapa or Rooftop Tent

    Quote Originally Posted by siggieandhislandcruiser View Post
    Hi

    My wife and i are heading to Nxai Pan for 4 days and then to Khwai (Mbudi Camp) 5 nights and then to drive to Chobe Safari Lodge via Savuti and Thobolos Bush Lodge. Unfortunately, we could not get a booking at Savuti, so have to drive directly from Khwai to Thobolos. We are fortunate to be able to have a choice between towing or leaving the Bushlapa at home and just roughing it in the rooftop tent. I have a Land Cruiser 76 SW, however i have been told that towing the Bushlapa through that sand is like dragging an anchor and that i should leave it at home. Others say take it, its not that bad and that the camping experience would be far better with the caravan as its very cold at night towards the end of June.

    For those who have done this route before and taking into consideration it's only the two of us, what would you suggest. I believe the road to Nxai Pan has very deep sand and would also be difficult.

    Regards

    Siggie
    Thats a well travelled route. If you get stuck, you will be pulled out. June is very busy, every 10 minutes you will encounter and on coming traffic. Enjoy your trip. Sorry about finding space in Savuti, BUT I would advise you to DAY TRIP to Mababe from Mbudi, and enjoy the Mababe Depression . Soo much activity there, you will not be disappointed.

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  10. #6
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    Default Re: Towing Bushlapa or Rooftop Tent

    Did similar route last year towing a Ratel. Not that bad. Just avoid wet season
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Gert Grobler

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  12. #7
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    Default Re: Towing Bushlapa or Rooftop Tent

    I would say that time of the year towing is not a problem. I prefer the RTT but that is just my preference.

    I have done both with a vlooi and a bosluis . The section from Savuti to Muchenje is worse than the section up to Suvuti. Sand is thicker.

    If you are doing stays at camps for more than a day bushlapa otherwise moving daily the RTT.

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  14. #8
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    Default Re: Towing Bushlapa or Rooftop Tent

    We did the Kasane to Magotho wth a Prado and a big Conqueror Trailer, 4 people and a full load - we did the Marsh road and had no issues.

    The only time I got stuck was "Rooky Error" after having stopped in the deep sand and trying to do a sharp left turn on pulling off...making the wheels dig in..and we were stuck !!
    The other time going to Nxai, the vehicle in front of me lost its load of firewood and i had to stop quickly in the deep san.. Another "Error"

    So if you careful and and and dont drive up one's ass and keep a distance and choose where you stop etc, you will be fine.

    The Vehicle is more than capable , and its sooo nice to leave the camp set up and return at will withouth having to up/down the RTT all the time.

    Enjoy

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  16. #9
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    Default Re: Towing Bushlapa or Rooftop Tent

    Just remember if you tow you cannot expect opposing non-towing vehicles to alone clear a single lane sand track just so that you can pass them. After losing two tyres on two trips due to being "nice" to towing vehicles, I will only go halfway out tracks, the towing vehicle must do their part of clearing half the track.
    Mike Nieuwoudt
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  18. #10
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    Default Re: Towing Bushlapa or Rooftop Tent

    I tend to agree with most above - you obviously prefer the trailer, have experience towing it, so take it, and take care.

    I'm not a fan of trailers (higher fuel consumption, double the fees for ferries and secure car parks, less convenient if you have to reverse, more tyres to puncture, and perhaps more importantly, the more space you have the more stuff you'll take), however appreciate the benefits for many.

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  20. #11
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    Default Re: Towing Bushlapa or Rooftop Tent

    Quote Originally Posted by PAT n WOLF View Post
    Thats a well travelled route. If you get stuck, you will be pulled out. June is very busy, every 10 minutes you will encounter and on coming traffic. Enjoy your trip. Sorry about finding space in Savuti, BUT I would advise you to DAY TRIP to Mababe from Mbudi, and enjoy the Mababe Depression . Soo much activity there, you will not be disappointed.
    Sorry for hijacking the thread, but can you elaborate a bit? We noticed the last couple of years that there we're lots of animals there, but we're always on our way to Savuti or back and never actually went into the depression. What's the best way to get there? From Mababe direction Savuti directly after the bridge to the right, where the new lodge/site is?

  21. #12
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    Default Re: Towing Bushlapa or Rooftop Tent

    Hi there

    We've done it both with a RTT and then more recently with the Bushlapa Ratel (last year August) to those areas. Preference is with the Bushlapa as it simply made life very convenient, and we could simply pack up and go for game drives whenever we wanted, and return to an already setup base. Towing wasn't a significant burden, and the pros outweighed the cons.

    Nxai Pans (and Baines) - yes the sand is thick but as per others heading to / from South Camp take the western boundary road. Lower tyre pressures (I had mine at 1.4 on the BL no issues).

    We did Thabolos down to Kwai via the marsh road - again no issues. Just watch for the middelmannetjie and bumps - take it slow but otherwise no problem. I would agree with others on the forum the more difficult section (at least when towing) would be the Muchenje to Savuti section as parts of it are just two tracks with a big middelmannetjie and with passing traffic it can be difficult to maneuver with a caravan. Getting stuck on the sides could be an issue if you're not careful choosing your spot to pull over.

    Otherwise go for it and enjoy!
    2022 Landcruiser 300 GXR
    Bushlapa Ratel 4i

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  23. #13
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    Default Re: Towing Bushlapa or Rooftop Tent

    Quote Originally Posted by AlexB View Post
    Sorry for hijacking the thread, but can you elaborate a bit? We noticed the last couple of years that there we're lots of animals there, but we're always on our way to Savuti or back and never actually went into the depression. What's the best way to get there? From Mababe direction Savuti directly after the bridge to the right, where the new lodge/site is?
    To go through the depression:
    1. Just 100 meters from entrance, there will be a fork, the left route takes you to the sand ridge route, the right route takes you straight into the the Mababe Depression. Itís visible by being an open area, more like the salt pans but with lot of grass and termites short mounts. The route will take you on the edge of the Mopane forest till you reach another fork. The left fork will take you back to the sand ridge route and you will join the sand ridge route along the way. The right route takes you through the Marsh route.

    2. Coming from Savuti, if you want to travel through Marsh road, just near the leopard rock, turn left to Marabou Pan(signage available). From Marabou Pan, there is a route and signage indicating where to go. This route will take you through Marsh route and you will end up at the Mababe Depression.

    3. Even when using the Sand Ridge route, there is a small portion along the way, that you can view the Mababe Depression and the route then divert back into the Mopane forest.
    Between December and March, the depression will be filled with Zebras and Elephants and if you lucky even large buffalo herds.
    Just to note that there are Campsites for Tour Operators around Mababe Depression and the Wildlife department will soon open up the Mababe Depression and there will be routes going deep into the depression.

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  25. #14
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    Default Re: Towing Bushlapa or Rooftop Tent

    Thanks for that! I was hoping for routes that go into the depression tbh. Last year we saw the largest herd of buffalo we ever saw crossing the road from Savuti to the Mababe gate. Literally thousands. And for several years we have seen a lot of wildlife there. Must be a lot of water in that area, making it attractive to wildlife. We tried to followed the buffalo and there we some tracks, but at some stage we just gave up as you couldn't see a thing because of the dust.

    The interesting area seems to be divided between Chobe and the Mababe concession. Looks like they are implementing some rules for the concession. Would be nice if they followed the same rules as Khwai, but that's probably wishful thinking.

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