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  1. #1
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    Default Advice for Khwai

    Hi there,

    In about 3 months we will travel to Namibia and Botswana for hopefully the trip of a lifetime. We have our 1-month itinerary fully planned and booked. Part of the trip will be 1 night camping in Savuti, and 3 nights camping in Khwai/North Gate. We are aware of the extra park fees (already paid) by staying at North Gate instead of at fi. Magotho but we valued booking at the same organization (SKL).

    I am preparing the routes that we should take when driving in Chobe and Moremi. Obviously we will have Tracks4Africa with us, but I canít find that much info on specific routes to take for optimal wildlife viewing. I understand it will come down to luck whether we encounter any wildlife, but I am looking for some insider tips on best routes in the Savuti and Khwai region. Can anyone recommend any books/maps with detailed route information in the two areas? Since we already have paid for Moremi park fees, we might also do a day trip to Xaxanaxa. Would this be worth the journey? Campsites at Xaxanaxa were unfortunately fully booked when we are there.

    Please let me know your tips & tricks to get the most out of our trip I have some guiding experience in SA but that was approx 15 years ago and I have never been north of Mashatu.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Advice for Khwai

    What we do is speak to the rangers at the gate and ask advice of where the best sighting were the previous day. Also feel free to ask the drivers of the safari vehicles although some of them are a bit rude and do not like self drivers. Also remember that there are no fences so some of our best sightings ever were actually outside the park. Kwai area all the way to Mababe are well known for Lion and Wild Dog sightings. Some nice Hyena dens in the area as well. Have a wonderful trip.

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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Advice for Khwai

    We really liked the Tinkers Moremi Game Reserve Tourist Map. They have one for Chobe as well.
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  6. #4
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    Default Re: Advice for Khwai

    Quote Originally Posted by qvr1991 View Post
    Hi there,

    In about 3 months we will travel to Namibia and Botswana for hopefully the trip of a lifetime. We have our 1-month itinerary fully planned and booked. Part of the trip will be 1 night camping in Savuti, and 3 nights camping in Khwai/North Gate. We are aware of the extra park fees (already paid) by staying at North Gate instead of at fi. Magotho but we valued booking at the same organization (SKL).

    I am preparing the routes that we should take when driving in Chobe and Moremi. Obviously we will have Tracks4Africa with us, but I canít find that much info on specific routes to take for optimal wildlife viewing. I understand it will come down to luck whether we encounter any wildlife, but I am looking for some insider tips on best routes in the Savuti and Khwai region. Can anyone recommend any books/maps with detailed route information in the two areas? Since we already have paid for Moremi park fees, we might also do a day trip to Xaxanaxa. Would this be worth the journey? Campsites at Xaxanaxa were unfortunately fully booked when we are there.

    Please let me know your tips & tricks to get the most out of our trip I have some guiding experience in SA but that was approx 15 years ago and I have never been north of Mashatu.
    The trip up to Xakanaxa from Khwai is not worth the while, basically 40 kms through forest area with a few glimpses into some water channels and mini lagoons unless|:

    - you visit Paradise pools about 8kms south of Xakanaxa
    - you stop by at Hippo pools

    but otherwise I would drive the loops along the Khwai river from North Gate, both side of the river.

    From Khwai village follow the river at close proximity and you have a day's worth of good scenery.

    Savuti area, Rhino Vlei and Marabou pan are two nice spots as well as the loop behind the hills along the channel.
    Often you have lions and leopard closer to the bushman paintings parking area.
    Walter Rene Gygax
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  8. #5
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    Default Re: Advice for Khwai

    When you leave from Savuti for Khwai, go to the northern pumped pan first. If there is not much going on, you can go to Harvey's Pans and from there go south back to the main camp. Follow the main road to the areas where the Kopjes are into the general direction of Rhinovlei, which is also pumped. After that head for Marabou pan, the third pumped pan in Savuti. Don't take the direct route, which takes you into the plains, but keep the trees and bushes on your right. That area has a lot of tree 'islands', liked by predators to hide in. When you hit the main road, just take that to Marabou pan. Savuti has two very healthy lion prides, one to the north and the other to the south. And a healthy leopard population.

    From Marabou, take the Marsh road towards Mababe gate. It's pretty boring until about 10 km from the gate. Lots of water around Mababe, which means lots of wildlife. From Mababe you can directly head for Khwai, but you can also take a left on the transit road direction Magotho and drive along the river for a while. Lots of wildlife in there too. And a chance to see the Mababe pride.

    At North Gate campsite and inside the park, you two options are to drive upriver direction Hippo Pools or downriver direction of Mababe. If you drive in the direction of Mababe, you have the flood plains with many tracks. Just follow downriver as much as possible. Sometimes you are forced inland because of the lodges (they are on the other side, but don't like tourist spoiling the view of the guests), but you always have a track that leads to the river again. You can actually drive a long way towards Mababe (you can see Magotho on the other side), but at some stage the track will be very hard to follow and you have to take the same track back. Before you are there, some hours will have gone. Along the river is ideal for wild dogs.

    Going into the direction of Hippo Pools, just do the same thing, follow the river as much as possible driving to Hippo Pools and on the way back, just drive as many tracks between the river and the main road as possible. And there are many. Keep in mind that the wildlife situation changes all the time and one day can be 'boring', while the next is full of excitement. We used to stay for at least a full week at North Gate just to visit 'our' leopard. A female leopard famous with all the guides, as she actually enjoyed posing. Only issue with Khwai that we have is that even after all the years that KM1&2 (Khwai Male 1 and 2, after a study that was done in the area) died, there is still no pride structure. Sure, there are lions, but there is no pride, like you have in Xinii or Bodumatau.

    As far as wildlife goes, there are few places better than Savuti and Moremi. I'm sure you'll get your share of exciting things to see.

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  10. #6
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    Default Re: Advice for Khwai

    Thanks for the great advice everyone! I have bought the Tourist maps that were recommended and will make sure to check the pans & pools you all recommended. Really looking forward to our trip.

    Another question: driving down from Khwai, we have the option of driving through Moremi or driving on the cutline. What would you recommend?

  11. #7
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    Default Re: Advice for Khwai

    Best wildlife experience of a lifetime was Khwai riverfront at Magotha for 5 days in Nov 2018. And I've been everywhere in SA, Nam, Bots and Zim.
    Last edited by Mike N; 2024/06/25 at 09:03 AM.
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  13. #8
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    Default Re: Advice for Khwai

    Quote Originally Posted by malana View Post
    We really liked the Tinkers Moremi Game Reserve Tourist Map. They have one for Chobe as well.
    Where one can buy Tinkers Moremi Tourist Map.

    Thanks

  14. #9
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    Default Re: Advice for Khwai

    Quote Originally Posted by Rustic Camp View Post
    Where one can buy Tinkers Moremi Tourist Map.

    Thanks
    Hi,
    Download "Maps.me" and upload the Botswana map
    You can use this GPS tracker offline so its great !!
    You can also transfer all your POI and track routes to it as well.

    has a lot more tracks on it than T4A
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  15. #10
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    Default Re: Advice for Khwai

    Quote Originally Posted by Rustic Camp View Post
    Where one can buy Tinkers Moremi Tourist Map.

    Thanks
    Outdoor Warehouse has them

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  17. #11
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    Default Re: Advice for Khwai

    Quote Originally Posted by SANZ View Post
    Outdoor Warehouse has them
    Dankie SANZ

  18. #12
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    Default Re: Advice for Khwai

    Quote Originally Posted by Rustic Camp View Post
    Where one can buy Tinkers Moremi Tourist Map.

    Thanks
    I bought them at Muchenje Campsite, but also the gates we visited has them.

  19. #13
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    Default Re: Advice for Khwai

    Just back. We did 2 nights Savuti and 3 nights Magotho. If you can I would as an extra day at Savuti. We had some of our best sightings and experiences there. Lions, Leopards, diving up Quarry Hill, Baobabs. Just lots of sand... especially at Savuti camp. The middle of each site is deep sand.

    I used Tracks4Africa and the book "Botswana Self-drive: Routes, Roads and Ratings". I used a Garmin Tread Overland for Tracks4Africa. I downloaded the satellite images for each area we visited and found the ability to see the terrain very helpful. At some places, it was good to mark GPS coordinates of a water crossing. Getting back to it was sometimes difficult as you had to traverse a lagoon, etc.... With the satellite images you could see the lagoon and better figure out how to get around it and back to a water crossing that wouldn't submerge your vehicle.

    I mostly used the Tinker's books as guides for animals rather than routes. They have some nice pictures in the back. The Tinker's road maps give you a general idea of where things are, but I wouldn't rely on them.

    My 2 cents...

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  21. #14
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    Default Re: Advice for Khwai

    Hi people:

    We are camping at Magotho Khwai.
    Leaving Saturday for 8 days. I just have a few questions as it has been 14 years since I have visited this region:
    1. Is there running water at Makgotho ablutions? Ie separate tap at the ablution blocks?
    2. We are spending 5 nights there and would like to do a day trip to Xakanaka tondo a boating trip; what is the condition of the road from Magotho to Xakanaka and average time it will take? Any water crossings?
    3. Any hassles with meat being taken south to north and border post going in to bots( martins drift)
    4. The best place to fill up diesel after the SA border? Martins drift or Palapye?

    TIA

    Wouter
    Wouter

    Me:2019 Amarok V6😁😁
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    Imagine trailvan( Ufudu) in tow

  22. #15
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    Default Re: Advice for Khwai

    Quote Originally Posted by propofol View Post
    Hi people:

    We are camping at Magotho Khwai.
    Leaving Saturday for 8 days. I just have a few questions as it has been 14 years since I have visited this region:
    1. Is there running water at Makgotho ablutions? Ie separate tap at the ablution blocks? Correct yes. I would not drink it though.
    2. We are spending 5 nights there and would like to do a day trip to Xakanaka tondo a boating trip; what is the condition of the road from Magotho to Xakanaka and average time it will take? Any water crossings? No serious water crossing this time of the year normally. Leave early though. Boat trips at Xakanaka the best. Take cash.
    3. Any hassles with meat being taken south to north and border post going in to bots( martins drift) Not advised to take meat over the border but travelling South to North no issue. Buy best meet at Beef Boys in Maun.
    4. The best place to fill up diesel after the SA border? Martins drift or Palapye? Sorry I always use another border post so cannot comment here.

    TIA

    Wouter

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  24. #16
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    Default Re: Advice for Khwai

    Wouter fill up all you water stock at Aquarite in Maun. They give brilliant service and cheap as well. South African owner. Great guy. They also service the 5 star lodges and have various options.

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  26. #17
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    Default Re: Advice for Khwai

    Quote Originally Posted by propofol View Post
    Hi people:

    We are camping at Magotho Khwai.
    Leaving Saturday for 8 days. I just have a few questions as it has been 14 years since I have visited this region:
    1. Is there running water at Makgotho ablutions? Ie separate tap at the ablution blocks?
    2. We are spending 5 nights there and would like to do a day trip to Xakanaka tondo a boating trip; what is the condition of the road from Magotho to Xakanaka and average time it will take? Any water crossings?
    3. Any hassles with meat being taken south to north and border post going in to bots( martins drift)
    4. The best place to fill up diesel after the SA border? Martins drift or Palapye?

    TIA

    Wouter


    See you there !! I'm going tomorrow...
    White Everest with Alu Roof carrier GP numberplate

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  28. #18
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    Default Re: Advice for Khwai

    Quote Originally Posted by mikealan View Post
    See you there !! I'm going tomorrow...
    White Everest with Alu Roof carrier GP numberplate
    will look out for you.

    White amarok with canopy and alu roofrack also GP
    Wouter

    Me:2019 Amarok V6😁😁
    Swambo: 2021 Ford Everest specialist pavement hopper
    Imagine trailvan( Ufudu) in tow

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