Botswana / Namibia / Zambia





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  1. #1
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    Default Botswana / Namibia / Zambia

    Sorry guys for duplicating this :

    We have just returned from a stunning three weeks trip thru Botswana a bit of Namibia and southern Zambia up to Livingstone. We had two vehicles a 1998 Raider Double Cab & 2000 Prado Diesel with off road trailer.

    Some pointers and maybe useful info for someone planning to do so in the near future.

    Our trip started on Friday morning 18 June 2010.

    Day 1 & 2: Khutse

    Entered thru the border post at Tolokweng from Krugersdorp (left at 3am) and must say this was speedy and painless. Not more that 1/2 hour on both sides. Pay P160.00 for road tax and state that it must be valid for re-entry as we where planning to do. Thru Gabarone (lots of traffic keep it slow) up to Molepolole. Petrol & diesel available so better fill up as there is just 1 filling point before Central on this route at Letlhakeng and sometimes apparently they run low. Road between Molepolole & Lethlakeng is dicey with really no space to overtake on the shoddy narrow tar surface. Filled up at Lethlakeng again and took the first dust road to Khutse. Road ok but sandy in places. As with all camping in Botswana this has now been privatised. Payment to Camp owners and to Park owners are separate and better done before the time with the relevant formal conformation of all payments made....just to cut out a lot of grief. Our first camp was 26km from the gate at a lovely site Sekushwe pan. Saw a lot of antelope and smaller game and really spent 2 lovely days here. There are shower & long drop facilities (clean) at the camp sites relying really on the campers to keep it that way.

    Day 3: Khutse to Xade.

    If your are planning on doing this trip in one stretch ....think again. Going is extremely slow and average +- 20 km per hour. Sometimes challenging in deep sand but just keep momentum. Also the bush extremely close to the track and you will get your fear share of paint adjustment on the way. With the heavy going diesel & petrol usage is above average, so make sure you carry extra as your next filling point is at Mopipi or Motopi as Rakops no longer has any fuel. A good break may be the camp at Bibe or at least at Xhaka where we pulled in after dark at about 19:30. All tired and made quick camp to rest before the last stretch to Xade the following morning.
    This is heavy going and should be planned well and not done alone if anything should go wrong.

    Day 4: Thru Xade to Piper Pan.

    Last 54 odd km's to Xade the same as the previous day Heavy going. Be aware of the slight ridge some 5 km's before Xade and a left hand side track is a better option. Took a well deserved shower at Xade and then took the road to Piper Pan. First some 30Km's from Xade is still sandy but manageable although the going is still slow improving as you move north. Then the lovely experience of the FLAT COUNTRY driving on the pans felt like doing it on the N1. Some bad patches after the rain where some guys got stuck but the going is good and lots of herds of Gemsbok, Springbok Kudu etc. Lion met us about 5 Km's form Piper just walking down the track. Piper Pan a lovely camp site also with standard long drop & shower.

    Day 5: Deception Valley.

    After sleeping late (07:00) we broke camp and took the easy short road to Deception. No problems here, long drives over the pans and a lot of game. Deception Pan a must visit. We sort of lost the formal camp site and camped at the Tour operators site without any amenities. Lovely camp and we had a great overnight stay.

    Day 6: Xhumaga - Magadigadi National Park.

    Took the last stretch out of Central to Mangana gate and the some 45 Km's to Rakops. We got confirmation at the gate that Rakops did not have fuel so we took the extra 44 odd K's to Mopipi where I put in 149 L of my 150 L capacity. This after filling in Khutse with a 20L Jerry can as well. 170 Litres used thru the park dragging my off road trailer. Then back to Rakops and Xhumaga gate where the Bobeti river was +- 2m deep. The ranger came form the park side with a boat explaining the alternate route to get to our camp site that was now just 1.5 km away according to the GPS.

    Backtrack to the tar road; drive up to Motopi, turn right on the tar road to Nata 38 km's down is the new gate on the right. Then still 26 odd km's to our camp site, a round trip of +- 120 km for a camp site 1.5 km away. All worth it as we saw a lot of game on our way to the camp. The road is sandy as usual and somewhat sticky in places. Again just keep momentum in the right gear ratio. Had a wonderful camp site although there was no hot water in the new ablution blocks but this did not matter. Really a great camp and would have liked to stay there for a couple of days to explore. Maybe next time.

    Day 7: Maun.

    Slept late again made brunch and left the park at about 11 am. Got to Maun at 14:00 and went to the national parks office to get originals of all the camping conformations for Moremi as we only had faxes. Filled up (even bought a extra plastic jerry can) and replenished with all required stock at the Spar etc. Then booked into Alpha Lodge. Neat reasonable priced secure lodge. Had a great supper at the Sports Bar just a kilo or what down the road from the lodge. A must call if you are in Maun. Our next point of getting any fuel would be Ngoma so some planning needed here as this would only be in about a weeks time.

    Day 8: Xakanaxa.

    Somehow we had got our trip schedule screwed up and we where a day early entering Moremi. The road from Maun ok and had the meat inspection just prior to the turn off to South Gate. We came thru at about 6:45 am and didnít have any problems and just showed thru. South Gate staff where helpful and we got a extra night although on a different camp site and also told us that the road north of North gate was closed due to water and we had to leave the park on the same way as we where entering and then take the road north.. The road from South Gate to Xakanaxa was reasonable but well trodden in places with deep dry holes after the rain. Closer to camp they where systematically grading the road so this should be ok in a couple of weeks. Put up camp early (on the site we where allocated for the next 4 days) as there was no one camping there at the time. Thought we would just swap if the rightful owners did arrive but no one came. First night in the Moremi was stunning and saw a lot of game in and around camp and on our first short game drive.

    Days 9 Ė 11: Xakanaxa - 3rd Bridge and Delta.

    Had regular game drives and went down to Fourth & Third bridge. A lot of water and some deep crossings at 4th bridge. Sad to say that they have started building a new bridge at 4th and will apparently do so at all the others as well as they have done at North gate. Followed a leopard track one morning and on our way back found ourselves in the middle of a huge herd of not so happy Elephant. Main reason was a lot of old cows with very, very small calves. One teenage bull was very agro and stormed and we had to retreat in haste. Still stuck in the herd we sat quit for a long time waiting for them to pass. At the end we made a dash for it with a huge chorus of Elephant Vuvuzelas accompanying our departure. Saw lion at Third Bridge camp with a whole herd of elephant moving directly thru the camping area and destroying one complete camp site with tents and all. Took a Sunset cruise on the delta at P450.00 per hour and enjoyed this stunning experience that we booked another 2 hours for our last night in Xakanaxa. Also had our regular visit from the resident Hyena so never left anything outside. Had some discussion with fellow campers who had come in from North gate saying that there was a lot of water but they made it thru from the north ...so we planned to give it a try.

    Day 12: North Gate.

    Travelled to North Gate on the top road from Xakanaxa and got to the water crossing some 5 km's before Hippo pool. Some congestion here as a guy pulling an Escape caravan with a Mitsubishi bakkie got stuck in the middle. Not happy chappies as the vehicle & Escape where now flooded in the +- 1 meter deep water. We got thru easily though and had a great brunch at Hippo pools. Set up camp at North Gate early and just spent a relaxing afternoon in camp. Lot of activity with a herd of baboons sleeping in the trees nearly above our camp and the visit from a Hyena that just walk into camp while we where having a braai caused a bit of a stir.

    Day 13: Ngoma Border - Katima.

    We new when leaving North Gate we had a long days work ahead as we wanted to sleep in Katima before our crossing into Zambia. Had to do three quite deep river crossings that covered the Prados bonnet but no problems again. Donít try this without a snorkel though as you will not make it. Got on the road with first stop at Mababe Gate and paid for a day trip thru Chobe & Savuti. The road was ok and took the Sand Ridge road to save some time. After learning how to handle sand in Central this was a breeze with only one or two spots with real sticky stuff but again just keep the momentum. Got to Savuti Gate at about 12 and immediately carried on to Chobe Forest reserve after river crossing the Savuti. See that they are in process of also building a bridge here as well. The going here was slow again and even more sandy than the Sand Ridge portion. Thru Chobe Forest reserve gate the road become worse with thick sand and slow going. Got trapped behind 2 women drivers who had really dug themselves into a pit with a Toyota Raider automatic with an off road trailer. Not happy ladies as the husbands apparently swapped vehicles just a couple of clicks prior and did not see them get stuck. So we checked and deflated the tyres and soon got them out activating diff lock etc. Just as they started moving the Hubbies returned from the front causing somewhat of a congestion with two groups of vehicles now in opposite directions in the sand. Somehow they got sorted and we where on our way and the group pulled off to let us thru as they could see that we where wanting to get out of there ASAP. They are busy re making the road all the way from Nogoma to Seriba with a lot of deviations and slow going again. Made the Ngoma Border post at 17:15 and 1/2 hour later we where thru the Namibia side as well and well on our way to Katima. The first time of driving on tar for about a week. Slept at Namwi Island Lodge and a must stay if you ever go this route. Neat camping available but we opted for a self catering house and had a great nights rest after a long dayís trip.

    Day 14: Livingstone.

    Better to pay Namibia road tax in town although they do this at the border post but just extra delay if you do it that way. Small office clearly marked at the Total Garage 4 km's before the border. R250.00 per vehicle & R 250.00 per trailer. Border crossing at Namibia was a breeze but then the nightmare started. ZAMBIE BORDER CROSSING IS A NIGHTMARE. Disorganised dirty and each guy you meet wantís money & more money. Spent nearly 3 hours here and some R950.00 later, paid in rand as they donít even take there own currency. Useful tip if you plan on getting into Zambia ....Take randís and a lot of small notes such as R10 & R20 denominations. No one has any change (A lie of course and just a further way to rob you of you cash) and this just prolongs your agony. After spending a frustrating time here we went over the new bridge into Zambia and took the reasonability well maintained road to Livingstone some 190km's away. Got to our camp site at Maramba River Lodge at about 4 and set up camp next to what would become our lekker neighbours from Malmesbury.

    Day 15 -17: Livingstone.

    Did the normal stuff - Helicopter flips and a walk visit to the falls that was wet but great. Zambezi is very high and a spectacular memorable view. No problems at the border at Zambia or Zim but a long walk though. You can scrounge a taxi for up to as little as R40 with a bit of negotiation, well worth is as it as a long walk. Spent the next couple of days relaxing and doing the normal Booze cruise etc. Livingstone has all the local shops such as Spar Shoprite Steers etc. Vuma fuel available but much more expensive than Botswana. Had great speedy and helpful foreign exchange session at the Barclays Bank in town as I need to exchange Pula for Rand obviously the preferred currency in this region.

    Day 18: Nata.

    Packed most of our stuff the previous day and left Livingstone at about 7 in the morning. Stopped at the Vuma filling station and got rid of all the Kwacha accumulated in change paying with your Randís....Rip off. Was stopped just outside of town and had to pay another R40 local levy or road tax. A huge row of trucks on the Zambia side to get the Ferry to Kasane. Later realised that they where stuck pending custom inspections etc. Did not have a lot of hassle on the Zambia side again just a bit of disorganization. Had to wait about an hour for our turn on the ferry but was really happy to be back in Botswana and the friendly people at the border.
    On the road down to Nata at last, our stop for the night. Road is not in good shape and badly potholed and large portions are being re done with deviations. Slow but reasonable going and reached Nata lodge at about 3 that afternoon. Great stay and happy to be on our way home at last. Consensus that we would make a dash for home early the next morning.

    Day 19: Nata to Leeupoort.

    Left Nata at about 6:30 with reasonable going to Franicistown. Keep to the speed limit at all times as the uniformed guys will pull you off if you barley exceed the limit. Got to Martins Drift at about 13:00 and got the best welcome back to SA from one of our SAPS guys at the gate. 1/2 hour both sides of the border and on our way to Ellisras. Roads also potholed but reasonable going...

    Day 20: Krugersdorp

    Back in Krugersdorp...at last.

    Lessons Learnt.

    Beware when driving in this region of donkeys cattle & goat crossing the road at random. Nearly had a nasty experience outside of Mopipi with a bull being chased over the road deliberately.
    If you plan to visit Central Kalahari Park take the easy way in on the Orapa Road at Rakops. Best views and sites in the northern part. If you feel like it take the road from Piper Pan down to Xade for some sand driving.
    We had no problems at any of the veterinary inspection points that are all over.
    If you plan to go to Zambia take Randís and enough in small denominations to handle the funny amounts. They never have any change.
    All the camp sites in Central have a Long Drop & Bucket showers per camp site but no water.
    All the camps in the northern part Moremi & Savuti have newly built ablution blocks with hot water sometimes depending on the number of campers as this is all solar powered.
    There is more than the usual amount of water up North but this should run down over the next couple of weeks.

    Toyota.

    Just to rattle the cage a bit. If you want to do this trip you will have to get a Toyota 4X4, preferably a white one. No Joke guys, 90% of all the 4X4 guys we met in Botswana drove them Ė Pradoís Land Cruisers, Raiders & Fortuners. Land Rover (the older box type) was second and then the rest of the guys that got stuck.

    Hope you guys enjoy this and that it may assist someone planning on going to Bots shortly.
    __________________
    When good cheer is lacking, our friends will be packing

  2. #2
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    Junkie,

    Thank you for posting a very informative trip report.

    Mike.

  3. #3
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    Junkie
    Dankie vir die report. Ons is die solo Hilux (ja, dit was 'n witte) wat tussen Khutse en Babe by julle verby is. Bly julle het die stuk tussen Khutze en Xaka veilig gemaak. Moet erken julle het nie die beste van paaie gehad deur omtrent die hele route op die bree spoor van 'n F250 te moes ry nie.
    Paul

  4. #4
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    Nice report. Thanks for sharing. We are off to Bots tomorrow. Can't wait to get going. Last hours in the office are dragging!
    I notice you mention vet gate near South Gate turnoff. Surely one is allowed to take meat purchased in Maun into Moremi?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by 50something View Post
    Nice report. Thanks for sharing. We are off to Bots tomorrow. Can't wait to get going. Last hours in the office are dragging!
    I notice you mention vet gate near South Gate turnoff. Surely one is allowed to take meat purchased in Maun into Moremi?
    Yes you are allowed, sometimes they check what you are bringing out from Moremi.
    Walter Rene Gygax
    Kalahari Safari
    ORRA Call:‚Äč‚Äč WB58 | ICASA ZRF430
    Nissan Patrol GU TB45
    | Nissan Safari GU TD42 | B'rakah 4x4 Trailer
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    E39 - 540i for the open roads

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kalahari Safari View Post
    Yes you are allowed, sometimes they check what you are bringing out from Moremi.
    Thanks. Glad to hear that.

  7. #7
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    Junkie, ek het al mos so gese oor CKGR se Kutsi deel. Ons het verlede jaar daar begin, nooit bo uitgekom nie, en sal nooit weeer kutse deur ckgr toe gaan nie, die boonste deel is die mooiste, hoekom P355 per 2 mense per dag betaal. niks sien nie, daardie vreeslike sand pad met die baie bosse ry wat jou voertuig so krap en net frustreer. Moet se, ons was Mei net Kori en Sunday pan naby Deception pan en valey, ongelooflik maar ongelooflik mooi. sal enige dag weer in vanaf rakops en dit geniet,
    Mooi verslag en is bly jy het jou vakansie geniet.
    Elize
    en ry saam met SarelF in
    4x4 Isuzu NPS 300 met kamper
    Kyk gerus by www.blinkgatproducts.com
    Vir enige aluminium produkte,canopy's, campers kontak gerus
    Sarel 0828209413

  8. #8
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    Yada: Dit was nag...maar ons het dit gemaak en was een ongelooflike vakansie. Bly julle is veilig terug by die huis.

    Witklipbank: Stem saam, maar wou dit so doen - Kutse sal my nie weer sien nie, Deception en op is elke sent werd.
    When good cheer is lacking, our friends will be packing

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