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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Kloof, KZN
    Thanked: 1

    Default Botswana - Zambia Trip Report - July 2009

    Trip Report: Botswana – Zambia - 27 June to 18 July 2009

    The group consisted of 9 people, three from the UK, four from Durban and two from the Cape. We had two cars – both Discovery 3’s, diesel, automatic and fitted with roof racks plus one trailer, an ECHO Roadster, modified with a homemade roof rack. We were equipped with 3 x 40L Engel Fridge/freezers (the ladies made sure we ate like royalty!) – two were set on fridge and one on freezer. Two of the units were in the trailer and powered by an auxiliary battery system. The trailer was packed solid to avoid internal damages from the bumping around on bad roads.

    The objective of this trip was to explore Kafue National Park (KNP). As it is a long trip from SA we decided to stop in Chobe /Livingstone on the way out and in the Tuli Block on the way back. From all the reports we anticipated low volumes of game in KNP but that was ok as we wanted a wilderness experience away from crowds and away from tour operators! As most of the group are 50+ we decided some level of comfort (i.e. self-catering chalets) would be ok where affordable and to camp where they asked for too many US$. We pre-booked all the camps and chalets. Even though we had a reasonably tight schedule we planned a rather relaxed trip with a bit of slack so that we did not have to get up too early each day – in fact the ladies in the group decided to call it the “dilly-dally tour”!

    DAY 1 Durban to Pretoria
    630km with no hassles – stayed the night at Loeriepark Guest House near Roodeplaat Dam as it was conveniently close to the N1. The guest house is on a small holding and is very comfortable with secure parking. It is run by Barbara and Jack Marais who were very hospitable and included a very good dinner and excellent hot breakfast. Total cost was very good value at R1920 for 7 of us.

    DAY 2 Pretoria to Nata (Northgate Lodge) via Mokopane and Martin’s Drift
    A very long slog of 900km which took us 11,5 hours. Met our friends from Cape Town in the second Discovery and departed from the Petroport Kranskop just North of the Zambezi off-ramp on the N1 at 09:00 - should have left earlier! Uneventful drive to Martin’s Drift other than a speed trap in an 80km zone at Balmoral just short of the border in the middle of nowhere!

    South African border formalities took less than 10 minutes and we were not asked for any paperwork for the vehicles. The loo’s on the SA side were excellent and very clean!

    The Botswana passport control took a couple of minutes but unfortunately we then hit the queue at the till for the road/vehicle toll fees! There was only one counter for this and it took 1,5 hours in the queue for a 2 minute transaction.

    The bill was as follows:

    Short-term Permit for Car and Trailer: BWP 180

    NRF Road Fund (road safety token): BWP20 for car and BWP20 for trailer

    Insurance for 90 days: BWP50 (I guess we could have asked for 30days!)

    Total paid BWP270 for one car + trailer. The cost was for a “return” fee as we were going to re-enter Botswana after visiting Zambia.

    We came across a lot of traffic near Francistown (Sunday afternoon) and did the last 200km very carefully in the dark – something we said we would not do! We crossed a number of veterinary fence posts but were waved on every time – no problem going from South to North with meat etc.

    Arrived at Northgate lodge at 20:30. Northgate Lodge is in the centre of Nata on the main road next to the Caltex garage so is a bit noisy with all the trucks. Susan and Peter who manage the place are very helpful and have tried hard to make the place as hospitable and comfortable as possible but it lacks the charm and style that the Nata Lodge had before it burnt down. Latest news is that Nata Lodge will be up and running during August 2009.

    Cost for a two bed room was BWP642, the 3 course set-dinner was BWP125 pp and a hot buffet breakfast was BWP80pp – continental breakfast was BWP65pp

    DAY 3 Nata to Kasane (Lesoma Valley Lodge)
    Left Nata having been forewarned by many on the forum (especially Mfuwefarmer) of the very poor road ahead but nothing really prepared us for the shocking conditions! The first 48km out of Nata were fine but the next 30km were a nightmare and it is difficult to understand how a relatively well off country like Botswana can allow such an important road to deteriorate to a point where it is just one big mess! After a very bad 30km section the potholes ease off a little but are still bad until you get to Pandamatenga so in total it is about 145km of potholes and it took us 3,5 hours.

    There are some drivers that push it hard but it is too dangerous to go faster than 30kph. One BMW X5 was on the side of the road with one tyre stripped and the rim almost worn away!

    The road is fine from Pandamatenga to Kasane - 1 hour’s drive.

    We planned for self-catering chalets and had hoped to stay at Chobe Safari Lodge as it is right on the river and not too expensive but when we tried to book a year ago they said they were full so we opted for Lesoma Valley Lodge as all the other places on the river have big US$ fees. When we actually checked a day after arriving and found Chobe Safari Loddge to be half empty! The only other affordable “chalet” accommodation on the river was at Toro Lodge but friends had advised against this. Lesoma Valley Lodge is 20km from Kasane in the Kasane Forest Reserve. It is run by a local businesswoman.

    The place was comfortable enough and very clean and the staff were very friendly. The kitchen facility could be better and the general attitude of the owner could do with a bit of hospitality training! Cost was BWP650 per night for a large 2 bed chalet which included a cooked breakfast.

    DAY 4 Game drive in Chobe
    True to our concept of “a dilly-dally tour” we only arrived at the Chobe NP gate at 10:00. Park entry costs were: BWP120pppd for adults and BWP60pppd for children under 18 plus BWP50pvpd for the vehicle. As usual Chobe delivered excellent game viewing and surprisingly few tour operators.

    We had an excellent leopard sighting within a few minutes of entering the park – this was most annoying as we spend many days in parks never even seeing the tail of a leopard and our UK friends see one posing in a tree within a few minutes of entering a park for the first time! We found a spot on the river away from everyone and unpacked our chairs and had lunch in the company of countless buck, giraffe’s, elephants and hippo’s – try doing that in Kruger and you will find yourself on their “mampara list”!

    DAY 5 Souvenir shopping and boat ride in Chobe
    Kasane still has a bit of a frontier town atmosphere to it and is fun to walk around and just observe what is going on. We did the obligatory boat trip from Chobe Safari Lodge with its guaranteed excellent game viewing - a bit "touristy" but should be done! Cost was BWP210pp which includes a discounted park entry fee. If we had been inside the park on our own on the same day as the boat trip then we would have had a cheaper price for the boat trip (BWP70 less).

    On the way out of Kasane heading back to Lesoma we were stopped for speeding (80kph in a 60kph zone). Fortunately for me, my wife was driving! After a few exchanges of pleasantries with the traffic officer we were allowed to proceed without a fine! Shortly afterwards the second Discovery was also stopped (95kph) and was also allowed to proceed without a fine. We clearly remembered the advice on the forum – don’t get uptight, be pleasant and try a few local greetings – I am not sure if that is what made the difference but it cannot have done any harm!

    Later in the day we stuck on all the red and white stickers as advised on the forum for Zambia and the T sticker for the trailer.

    DAY 6 The Ferry Crossing! Kasane to Kazungula to Livingstone
    We had dreaded this and it lived up to its reputation and it has got worse since our last crossing 9 years ago! Started off badly as there was no diesel in Kasane – we waited for the tanker to arrive at 10:30 so lost a couple of hours waiting as we were not sure of the fuel situation in Livingstone. Once fuelled up we headed for the border post. No problem on the Botswana side – all done in 10 minutes with no queue.

    We needed our car and trailer papers for a Temporary Exit Permit but this was quick and easy. Three ferries were running so it was quickly across to the chaos that awaited us on the Zambian side. To be fair there were no serious queues but we had to do seven transactions, each at a separate office and each painstakingly done by hand. One of the local "agents" offered his help to do all the paperwork but we followed the advice and appeals from the tourist authorities and did it ourselves. The following took us three hours:

    Pontoon/Ferry Fee US$20 per vehicle (no extra cost for trailer and no charge for passengers)

    Council Levy Fee (shows vehicle levy on receipt) ZMK 20 000 (US$4) which had to be paid in Kwacha which fortunately we had arranged.

    Road Toll fee US$20 for one vehicle

    Insurance for car and trailer US$45 (ZMK 225 000)

    Carbon Tax US$30 (ZMK 150 000) for a 2,8L diesel engine

    Temporary Import Permit for Vehicle – free, but it took 20 minutes – the official takes your paperwork and disappears for what seems an eternity!

    Passport Control stamp – free for South Africans but US$50 pp visa needed for EU citizens

    After all the above we still had to get through the gate where all the paperwork receipts were thoroughly checked by different officials.

    Total entry cost (no visa’s) for one vehicle was US$119.

    Despite the hassle and clear waste of time we never encountered one surly official – in fact everyone tried to make the best of things and everyone was in good humour.

    We stayed overnight in chalets at Natural Mystic Lodge, 20km short of Livingstone – an excellent stopover right on the Zambezi (you cannot get any closer!). The staff was exceptionally friendly and accommodating. We had an excellent 3 course set dinner and an equally excellent hot breakfast.

    Cost was US$79 pppn which included a full breakfast. Dinner was US$18pp

    DAY 7 Livingstone to Kafue National Park (Nanzhila Plains Camp)
    Did some last minute shopping in Livingstone plus helicopter trip over the falls – expensive but in the “once in lifetime” (OIL) expense category! Cost was US$130pp from Batoka Air – it was worth it!

    We came across a number of police road-blocks but were always waved on with a smile.

    Lot’s of roadworks in Livingstone so there were a few traffic jams! Headed out of Livingstone towards Kalomo at 10:00. About 20km after Livingstone we were detoured for 33km on a dirt road as the main road is under construction (lots of Chinese workers around!). I guess the new road has about 6 months to completion. The condition of the dirt track is not too bad but it has some speed bumps (yes, speed bumps on a gravel road!) which are quite severe and difficult to see so the average speed was around 30kph. After that the road was very good tar to Kalomo.

    Refuelled at Kalomo and headed for Dundumwezi gate 70km away. The first 20km of this road is under construction – it seems they are building a new gravel road and not tar. After that the road is very rough and very sandy in places. We took it easy as we had been warned by Mfuwefarmer about his trailer accident at 30kph.

    We arrived at the gate at 16:00. The gate area is rather dilapidated and one wanders what they do with the park fees they collect. Entry cost was US$15pppd and US$15per vehicle per day.

    Once through the gate the roads were significantly better, deep sand in places but very manageable. We occasionally used low range just so that we had plenty of traction for the trailer and we could keep the speed down to a safe pace. Steve Smith from Nanzhila had advised us not to take the shorter river/plains road as it was still too wet so we took the cordon/boundary road which was easy and signposted.

    Arrived at Nanzhila just after 18:30 – a trip of 8,5 hours including a 20 minute stop for fuel at Kalomo and a 40 minute stop for lunch before the gate. The last few kilometres were in the dark and we came across the first animals, Impala, Kudu and Roan as we had not seen anything up to then.

    DAY 8 & 9 Nanzhila Plains Camp
    The camp is run by Andre and his wife Lara who were very helpful. The main camp is situated on a river with patchy water but a nice small “lake/swamp” in front of the main deck – ideal for sunset viewing. We had a private campsite for our group and there is another camp site closer to the water. The campsites are about 1km from the main camp. Water is provided in 200L drums and there was a bucket shower and long drop for our exclusive use. This is what we loved – we were relatively on our own and hardly another soul around!

    Camping cost was US$10 pppn which included the service of a camp assistant and plenty of excellent firewood.

    On the first day we did nothing but relax and soak up the wilderness atmosphere. On the second day we did a short (30km) drive on tracks recommended by Andre and had lunch close to a dambo. We did not see many animals but there were many birds in the dambo’s and overall it was great to be in the bush without anyone around. We did see a herd of Roan antelope which was great as I had not seen them in SA for many years.

    There were also plenty of Defassa Waterbuck and many birds including wattled cranes near the camp. All the game was very skittish and disappeared quickly – not sure if it has anything to do with poaching. Back at the camp Lara reported that one of their vehicles had spotted 3 Cheetahs on the road near the camp.

    On the second day Leonie (Skrikvirniks on the forum) arrived with her party and took up one of the campsites close to the river – nice to meet someone from the forum!

    To add to the experience we had an elephant (the only one we saw in the Southern part) take a stroll through our camp.

    DAY 10 Nanzhila to Kaingu via Itezhi-Tezhi Dam (150km)
    We left Nanzhila at 09:00 and headed North on a very rough track. Because of the trailer we averaged 30kph until we were out of KNP. Game viewing was poor until we reached the vicinity of the parks headquarters at Ngoma where we found a few herds of Wildebeest, Zebra and Lichtenstein’s Hartebeest. We exited the park at the Musa gate and had lunch in a pleasant spot on the lake.

    No fuel was available at the dam as it was a public holiday. We continued over the dam wall and headed North East on the D769 which still has a few bits of tar from the days of the British! The road was rough and slow but manageable. There were lots of charcoal sellers on the road and many bicycles all heavily loaded with charcoal - I hope the trees survive! The last 46km are in a southwesterly direction through a heavily wooded forest and we came across a lone Sable antelope 20m from the road.

    We eventually reached Kaingu Lodge at 16:00 a pleasant drive of 7 hours.

    Kaingu must be one of the most idyllic spots on earth. It is on the Kafue River at a spot where the river is broken up into many channels by islands covered with giant round rocks – it is absolutely stunning. The Lodge is on the East side of the river and therefore not in KNP and therefore no park fees. We had our own private campsite set slightly back from the river with our very own ablution block with hot water (donkey) and a flush loo! There are two other camp-sites on the river itself which are well grassed and also have their own ablutions.

    Camping is relatively expensive at US$25pp (including firewood) but is well worth it as the camp is very comfortable. The camp is managed by Tom Heineken who gives his personal attention to all the guests. US$3 of the fees goes to a community fund to assist with schooling and Tom is very passionate on this and the environment. The whole concept is well worth supporting.

    DAY 11 and 12 Kaingu Safari Lodge
    We relaxed for two days and never used our vehicles – other than to boost the auxiliary battery to keep the fridge/freezers going. We did a river walk and boat trip and a walk to a hide plus just relaxed next to the river. The river walk and boat trip cost US$10pp in total and the guide to the hide was free. We had lunch in a beautiful spot at the rapids downstream of the camp sites.

    While at the camp we witnessed a Giant Eagle Owl take a Vervet monkey with the ensuing performance by the remainder of the troop.

    Overall an excellent experience.

    DAY 13 Kaingu to Lufupa
    Tom gave us advice on the river road to Mukambi Lodge where Linda van Heerden (Thirstie on the 4x4 forum) had organised some fuel for us. We were advised not to do the entire river road as the last stream crossing would be difficult with the trailer. We left Kaingu at 09:00 and followed the river road past Puku Pan Lodge and up to the “hunters lodge” and then did a loop heading North East and then back North West to the river road. This last section was a very unused track through a forest and we had to “slalom” though the trees. Leonie (Skrikvirniks) came through a couple of days later and did the entire river road with no difficulty so the last crossing would have been manageable with the trailer.

    We reached Mukambi at approximately 12:00 and met up with Linda who had very kindly organised some diesel for us. Linda is one of those bush superstars that actively tries to help and we would have been in difficulty with fuel had it not been for her kindness. Mukambi Lodge is in an excellent spot on the river but without the “round boulders” of Kaingu. It is only 2km from the tarred main Mongu-Lusaka road so is easily accessible. It is easy to get into the KNP from here and there are numerous options and the game viewing is reported to be excellent. We refuelled and had some lunch before moving on. I am sorry we could not spend more time at Mukambi and it would definitely be on my list on a future visit.

    Our target was Lufupa and the reason for this was that we wanted to get to the Busanga Plains and Lufupa is the closest camping site from which to do a drive into the plains. There are a few camps in the Busanga Plains but these are all big US$ camps and beyond our budget.

    We re-entered KNP at Hook Bridge. Here we were charged as per the Dundumwezi gate but with an extra US$5pppd camping fee even though we were not using the ZAWA campsites. We decided not to argue and just paid.
    We arrived at Lufupa at 16:00 i.e. an easy going 7 hour drive from Kaingu with a long lunch stop at Mukambi.

    Lufupa is run by Wilderness Safaris and is situated on the confluence of the Lufupa and Kafue rivers. It is a very large campsite and also caters for overlanders on trucks which we try to avoid. There were only a few campers so it was ok but I can imagine that it would be very unpleasant if it was crowded. In fairness to Wilderness Safaris they have put a lot of effort in providing a good facility with a decked area over the river which also has a very nice deck/restaurant/reception etc. for the use of the campers. The ablution blocks are plentiful and are kept clean and tidy on an ongoing basis. The camp is being grassed but is still quite dusty. The camp is a bit impersonal because of its size but the staff were exceptional helpful and friendly. Someone from the “office” constantly came over to us to make sure we were ok and comfortable. My youngest daughter turned 14 during our stay and it was no trouble for the staff to bake a cake and make a fuss over her so I can only praise the service we received.

    DAY 14 & 15 Lufupa Camp and Busanga Plains
    On the 1st full day at Lufupa we decided to try to get to the Busanga Plains approximately 80km away. The advice was that there was still plenty of water on the plains and that we should restrict ourselves to the “tree-line” track. We did this and it was very much worth it. We did not see many animals but had a good view of the plains and had a feel for how striking they are.

    We had lunch on the edge of the plains and watched staff from one of the camps “portaging” goods by hand from the “tree-line” through the swamps to the camp presumably on dry ground. The line of porters with boxes and drums on their heads looked like a scene from a movie on David Livingstone! We had an excellent sighting of a magnificent male lion and two females on the way back to camp. Also on the way back we think we "nicked a giant 2m black mamba as it crossed the track - we saw it too late and it curled up in the middle of the track after we rode past it. We tried to see if it was seriously injured but it is not the type of creature you easily give first aid to, so we took a couple of pictures and moved on. Clearly the snakes in Zambia do not have the winter slow-down that happens in SA and are still very active. The round trip to the plains was approximately 160km and we took it easy and did it in 7hours.

    On the second day we relaxed and did a boat trip up the Kafue and also up the Lufupa – stunning scenery and birdlife. Game viewing was noticeably better than anywhere else in KNP so the Northern section is clearly the place to go if you want to see game.

    Costs: Camping US$15pppd (firewood/charcoal is extra). Boat trip is expensive at US$35pp but as we were nine we negotiated a price of US$210 for all nine of us.

    DAY 16 Lufupa to Moorings Farm Camp
    We started our return trip and left Lufupa at 09:00. We headed for the Hook Bridge Gate and onto the tar road to Lusaka. After Lusaka we headed South to Moorings camp 11km North of Monze where we arrived at 18:00. The camp is very well grassed, spacious and with good ablutions. Cost is US$5pppd (firewood/charcoal is extra). There is a bar available and a large undercover dining area with tables for those that want to use it.

    Total distance was 530km and it took us 9hrs at a gentle pace with a lunch stop and a number of loo stops!

    DAY 17 Visit to Lochinvar NP and Choma Market
    The reason for stopping at Moorings was so that we could visit Lochinvar NP and see the Kafue Lechwe. We split into two groups – one heading for Lochinvar and the other for Choma which has a very busy market and a craft museum.

    The first 30km of route to Lochinvar is very easy on a good graded road. The remaining 20km is very rough and there are many tracks going in different directions so a GPS is useful. The park itself was a disappointment as it is very run down. There is work in progress to grade the roads so I guess there is some hope. There are two hot springs which are touted as tourist spots and when we got to the first one it is was overgrown and the road construction workers were washing their clothes in the hot water pool with papers and other junk lying all over the place – not very nice! We did find some Kafue Lechwe and that was one of the highlights of the trip as they are magnificent animals with very impressive headgear!

    Whilst in Lochinvar we had an interesting interaction with locals who are apparently allowed to fish inside the park on Mondays and Tuesdays. They call it "harbour day" and are accompanied by game rangers who monitor the catch. It was an interesting experience to see how they fill the sacks with fish and then load them on the trucks and everyone sits on top of the sacks! They were a bit sensitive to our presence and not keen on us taking any photographs but some of them were quite happy to interact with us.

    The trip to Lochinvar and back was 130km and it took us 7hrs with lunch in the park.

    Entry into Lochinvar was US$10pppd and US$15pvpd for the vehicle.

    The group that went to Choma also had a good day wandering through the very busy and colourful market, buying straw baskets and other souvenirs. Feedback was that the Museum was not really worth the US$2 entry fee but the shop which is part of the museum is very good and well priced. Another good souvenir shop is the Tazimani Handicrafts center about 10km North of Choma. Good quality craft work is available at fair prices.

    DAY 18 Moorings Farm Camp to Nata (Northgate Lodge)
    This was always going to be a big challenge, 655km plus the ferry crossing and the bad road to Nata! We left at 06:30 and made good progress to Livingstone where we had some lunch.

    On the way out of Livingstone we were asked to pay a ZMK 20 000 (US$4) exit council levy. One group of South Africans in front of us refused but we had been advised to pay it as long as we obtained a receipt. At the Kazungula Ferry the formalities were easy and we had to pay the ferry cost (US$20) and they accepted our receipt for the council levy paid just outside Livingstone. The other group had to pay the levy at the border post as they were stopped from entering the ferry area.

    Two ferries were running and we were quickly across the Zambezi. The formalities on the Botswana side were equally easy as we had already paid the road fees when we first entered Botswana. The total crossing took 45minutes and we were in Kasane by 13:00 only to find that there was no diesel again! Fortunately the tanker arrived and we were on our way South by 14:00 which was our deadline as we did not want to do the bad road in the dark.

    The stretch of bad road into Nata was again a nightmare and very slow going. One small truck shot past us ignoring the danger but we found him later off the road with the vehicle smashed as he had hit a Lichtenstein’s Hartebeest. We also noted two dead elephants on the side of the road – we assume they were victims of accidents with trucks – one carcass was quite old but the second was less than a few days old. There were many elephants on this section of road so in addition to the potholes you have to watch out for the elephants. I would strongly advice against driving this section of road in the dark - in fact any road in Botswana is extra dangerous after dark!

    DAY 19 Nata to Nokalodi Camp (Tuli Safari Lodge)
    We planned to finish the holiday on a bit of a high with some luxury and had booked out the Nokalodi Bush Camp (four permanent tents with a kitchen) which is part of Tuli Safari Lodge in the Tuli Block in Northeastern Botswana.

    The distance from Nata was 600km all tarred except the last 48km. We had to cross a number of veterinary fences on the way South and were searched for meat – the officials were friendly but insisted on inspecting the fridges – I guess they have a job to do so we obliged as we had used up everything by then!

    We had never been to the Tuli Block and were pleasantly surprised at the rugged scenery and “away-from-it-all” feel of the place. The camp is right on the Limpopo River and is very secluded and private. The permanent tents are very comfortable and the bush kitchen has all you need including a fridge and gas stove. The camp is serviced and we were also allocated a “caretaker/guide” to ensure we were ok.

    Cost was BWP 385 pppn self catering and includes one game drive per day.
    We also did a guided walk for BWP 65pp

    DAY 20 Nokalodi Bush Camp
    Game viewing was quite good - mainly buck, giraffe (plenty), zebra, eland and wildebeest but we did not see the Tuli elephants! It was also very, very nice to just sit and loaf in such a pleasant private setting on the river. On the last evening we took an organised game drive with the lodge vehicle and stopped at a waterhole/hide for a fully catered bush dinner (with choir!) at BWP100pp. This was a magnificent way to end our trip under the stars.

    Overall a very pleasant experience at a good/fair price which I can strongly recommend.

    DAY 21 Tuli Safari Lodge to Johannesburg
    We left Tuli Safari Lodge at 08:15 and travelled 5km to the Pont Drift border post. Border formalities were very easy as we were the only persons crossing.

    We had a bit of a shock when we entered no-man’s land and saw where we had to cross the Limpopo as there was quite a bit of water and it looked fairly deep. Anyway we made it across with a bit of trepidation as we did not have snorkels on the vehicles and we were at the limit in terms of depth.

    From the border it was another 503km of easy driving to OR Tambo where we said good-bye to our UK and Cape Town friends.

    Day 22 Johannesburg to Durban
    An easy trip back home – even had time to stop to buy some cheese and pickles in Nottingham Road!

    Total trip - 6000km.

    Diesel at Francistown BWP 5.89 / L
    Diesel in Kasane BWP 5.99 / L
    Diesel in Zambia varied between ZMK 5300 to ZMK 5880 / L – there were no problems with availability other than at Itezhi Tezhi and that was because of the public holiday.

    Weather: Dry throughout as expected. Day time temperatures were in the low 20’s ⁰C with the odd day reaching 28/29 ⁰C. Night time temperatures were colder than expected, dropping to +4/5 ⁰C at times but mostly around the +8/9 ⁰C - that's cold if you come from Durban! It was light enough to move around by 06:15 and dark by 18:00.

    Tsetse Flies: they were a nuisance in the forest areas and it is amazing how they fly next to the car, watch you through the window and lick their lips waiting for you to stop! Overall they were not a problem and a bit of Doom sorted them out.

    We went through numerous police check points in Zambia and veterinary fences in Botswana. In all cases the people were friendly and helpful. We were never asked for our vehicle papers and we had minimal delay at each point.

    The Discovery’s are very impressive vehicles to drive – you always feel you have total control of the situation and they have enough power to get you out of anything you throw at them. They are very tough plus they have the extra comfort and luxury which is a nice bonus. On the long sections we had 7 people in one Discovery and it was never overly cramped. In all fairness most of the roads we did were just tough gravel or sand roads which needed some high clearance and a careful approach so as not to break anything. Some dry stream crossings were a challenge with the trailer because of the steep slopes but it was never difficult. We only had one headache and that was a puncture on tar near Nata – other than that no trouble at all.

    Overall we absolutely loved the trip and even our two teenage daughters were sad when the trip was over! The Zambian and Botswana people are very friendly, look happy and always willing to help with a smile. We never had any concerns for our safety and were glad that we never saw any car guards! We did not see enormous numbers of animals – but we did have some spectacular sightings of Leopard, Lion and Elephant. We also saw animals that we do not often see in South Africa such as Roan and Sable plus some that are not present in SA such as Puku, Sitatunga, Defassa Waterbuck and of course the Kafue Lechwe which were special. Bird life was also very interesting and plentiful but I am not an expert birder so could not identify all the species. We did not fish but the few fishermen we came across on the Kafue had big smiles. We thoroughly enjoyed the wilderness and being the only people around for many kilometres and also not seeing one single tour operator vehicle for days on end! So if you want to see lots of animals you best head for Kruger but if you want a taste of the real Africa then head for Zambia (and beyond I guess!)

    Finally thanks to all on the 4x4 Community Forum for the invaluable advice and information, in particular thanks to Mfuwefarmer, Tony Weaver and a very special thanks to Linda (Thirstie).

  2. The Following User Says Thank You to Paolo Candotti For This Useful Post:

  3. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Suffolk, UK
    Thanked: 37


    Great report Paolo......thanks for posting it! I'm licking my lips at the prospect already. Its only just over a fortnight 'til we set off. We'll be longer in the Kafue area than you were, and your report on Kaingu backs up what Tony Weaver said. It sounds great (albeit a bit pricey)! I should be with Linda & Jacques at Mukambi for a while, too

    Where are your photos??!! You know the photos = it didn't happen!!

    "A poxy, feral, Brit architect who drinks bad beer and supports the wrong rugby team." Tony Weaver

    "Mike for President" Freeflyd

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Kloof, KZN
    Thanked: 1


    Hi Mike, I am sure you will also have a great time - I have no idea on how to add photo's on this web-site but will gladly do when I work it out or someone gives me an idiot's guide! - Paolo

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Gaborone, Botswana
    Thanked: 1597


    Nice report Paolo. I saw a picture of that X5.... apparently the guy had to stop when the shock mount started to drag on the road surface.

    Here is some help with the pictures

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    North of Zambezi
    Thanked: 356


    Paolo, you captured my attention throughout your report and it was as if I traveled with you whilst reading.

    We spent 3 days over the long weekend (just before your visit) at Mukambi, and its highly recommended, for me definite go back too if I don't want to rough it a bit. Yes it could get busy over long weekends but the food and hospitality makes up for it. Well run by Jacques & Linda!

    Personally I prefer the Central and Northern sections of Kafue NP ie Mukambi and McBrides. Visiting KNP, neither of them can be excluded from your itinerary. Pity the Busanga plains are so expensive with no private camping.
    Last edited by mfuwefarmer; 2009/07/23 at 04:26 PM.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Kloof, KZN
    Thanked: 1


    Everyone that has been there recommends McBrides but we just did not have the time as I was really keen to see the Lechwe in Lochinvar - a must for next time! I have tried to attach a few pic's
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  8. #7
    Leana.Tuli Guest

    Thumbs up tuli choir

    Hi Paolo

    Your trip sounds great, glad you enjoyed the Tuli - choir they are something!
    Great Pictures!

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Thanked: 6


    Paulo, (and Mfuwe) thanks for the kind words, it was wonderful to meet you and we look forward to your next visit!

    With regards pics, why don't you try loading them on to Picasa? If you google search Picasa it will come up with the option to set up a Picasa web album much like mine I posted some months back. The beauty of it is you can send it to everyone with out the burden on your bandwidth (not sure what you have at home). All you do is once "upload" the pics to this album and then send "invites" to everyone to view it off the web. VERY nifty! Shout if you want further info.

    Great trip report! Just the sort we need - detailed, factual but clearly shows your enjoyment!

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Thanked: 483


    Great report... brings back many memories.
    2005 Nissan X-Trail 2.5 4x4 (SOLD)
    2006 Honda Civic 1.8 VXI (It's complicated)
    2005 Mitsubishi Pajero 3.2 Di-D GLX LWB (Yay!)

    4x4 Action Group GP0114

    What would you do if you knew you could not fail

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Suffolk, UK
    Thanked: 37


    Hey Paolo, you can't get away with just 6 pictures, you know! Come on, another batch please!

    "A poxy, feral, Brit architect who drinks bad beer and supports the wrong rugby team." Tony Weaver

    "Mike for President" Freeflyd

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Kloof, KZN
    Thanked: 1


    More pic's to keep Mike happy!!
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  13. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Suffolk, UK
    Thanked: 37


    Thanks Paolo.Brilliant!

    Now, the next ten please.........!!
    "A poxy, feral, Brit architect who drinks bad beer and supports the wrong rugby team." Tony Weaver

    "Mike for President" Freeflyd

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Thanked: 0

    Default Botswana-Zambia

    Paolo nice pics...yes Lochinvar was disappointing...sad to hear nothing changed....flies were a problem due to the fishing...better to do Lower Zamb and Lake the north Kapisha Hot Springs, Kasanka and South Luangwa a must....

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Thanked: 0


    Sounds like a good trip. We're planning a trip next year April through Bots - Kafue - South Luanga - Malawi and back through Zim. There seems to be little info on Kafue w.r.t. camp and driving conditions as well as fuel availability. Where did you do your research. Can you recommednd a book or website?

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Suffolk, UK
    Thanked: 37



    I beg to differ! There is loads of stuff in here on all that.......but ask way, in a new thread, and we'll answer all your queries.

    "A poxy, feral, Brit architect who drinks bad beer and supports the wrong rugby team." Tony Weaver

    "Mike for President" Freeflyd

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