1st Botswana trip plans(August 2011)





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  1. #1
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    Default 1st Botswana trip plans(August 2011)

    Well we're all booked for our first trip to Bots, August 2011
    I've been reading up from all the threads and hope we have all we need, got all the lists of stuff to take, where to go, what to expect..... .now the looooong wait for August
    We are three 4x4's going, LR Defender 100, Hardbody(Datsun) and a GWM Steed, 6 Adults and 2 Young adults(18)
    Our plans and bookings are:
    Thursday 4th JHB([email protected]:00) to Martins Drift - 450km Sleep over SA side Night 1
    Friday 5th Martins Drift to Woodlands(Francis Town) 286km Night 2
    Saturday 6th Woodlands to Maun(Audi Camp) (north via Nata) 487km Night 3
    Sunday 7th Audi Camp to South Gate - 79km Night 4
    Monday 8th South Gate to 3rd Bridge 53km Night 5
    Tuesday 9th 3rd Bridge to North Gate 52km Night 6(62km if going via South Gate)
    Wednesday 10th North Gate to Kasene(Thebe Safaris) 266km Night 7(357km if going via South Gate, Sankuyo and Mababe)
    Thursday 11th Thebe Safaris Night 8
    Friday 12th Thebe Safaris Night 9
    Saturday 13th Thebe Safaris to Elephant Sands 251km Night 10
    Sunday 14th Elephant sands to Martins Drift(Kwa Nokeng) 551km Night 11
    Monday 15th Martins Drift to JHB 450km - Home
    Back to work on 16th August 2011
    Any comments and up to date info on the water levels and routes are appreciated.
    Trip report will be handled by Shani, and she's been told, "Without Pics, it doesn't count"

  2. #2
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    Why 1 night in SA side? Try also Kwa Nokeng. We stay in SA at a place i think Fig tree, never ever in my life again. It was near the border.
    Elize
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    That's the pretty standard route through the area, and you'll be fine if you have the right equipment and fuel capacity. You'll have to wait to nearer the time to get a picture of water levels in Moremi.

    Mike
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    Quote Originally Posted by witklipbank View Post
    Why 1 night in SA side? Try also Kwa Nokeng. We stay in SA at a place i think Fig tree, never ever in my life again. It was near the border.
    Thanks,
    I see we should be meeting at the East Rand June function.
    Will be great to get more info and things to look out for.

    If we have a function each month, time to August will fly by

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    Default third bridge

    Hi there just got back from third bridge camp and found first and second bridge broken so you need to go around through deep water.I don't have a snorkel and made it but some other chaps were not so lucky so be prepared.Or do like i did on the way back and go the long way via xakana(spelling) camp less water or routes around the mud pools so made it back safely.Only 12km longer but worth it if you need to miss water.

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    Why not Big Fig?What was wrong?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by audie View Post
    Hi there just got back from third bridge camp and found first and second bridge broken so you need to go around through deep water.I don't have a snorkel and made it but some other chaps were not so lucky so be prepared.Or do like i did on the way back and go the long way via xakana(spelling) camp less water or routes around the mud pools so made it back safely.Only 12km longer but worth it if you need to miss water.
    Thanks for the feedback. I think we'll go around past Xakanaxa, it seems the safest, and we have all day to do the trip between South gate and 3rd Bridge. Its at the begining of our trip so we dont want to ruin it with problems on the first couple of days. Do you have any pics of your trip? what you saw? etc.

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    Raymond, just saw your post now.
    Just few remarks from my side:
    - route you stay two nights at Maun Audi Camp. Why not reduce to one you will make it to south gate the other day easely even if you need to shop and fill the other day first.
    - south to 3rd; 1st and 2nd are broken since two years, 2nd is driving a water spot -check first by walking.
    - direct north to kasane; night saved in maun I would spend to stop at savuti. If to much water it's a very long trip via south up to the north.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by borderpost View Post
    Why not Big Fig?What was wrong?
    Goed, ek antwoord jou in afrikaans. Ons het daar gekom, mooi plek, maar geen braaigeriewe nie. Ons was die enigste persone daar, net die dames kant is oop gesluit. Die middag het so vinnige buitjie uitgesak en my man het ordentlik die dame gevra of ons hul vuurdrom kon leen om vuur te maak. DIt het daar gestaan, gebruik, vol as.

    DIe volgende oomblik is die drom gehaal toegesluit, en vertel, nee, niemand gebruik dit nie8) So asof ons diewe is. Man, as ek wou het ek hom net gevat en gebruik.. Ons was ordentlik...........

    SO, waar moet ons vuur maak?? Ek het gekla per e-pos aan die eienaar en hy het my geld terug betaal. Ek het dit nie verwag nie, maar beslis ook nie die optrede van die dame nie.

    My ondervinding het 'n smaak in die mond gelaat. Ek sal die plek nie sommer weer aandoen nie. Dit is my opinie
    Elize
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    Default min days

    whoop whoop, only 4 weeks left to our trip.

    From the other posts, I see North Gate isn't too interesting right now with the game viewing roads closed.
    Does anyone know if it's possible to change a Booking for one night at North Gate to add the night to a booking at 3rd Bridge?
    If North Gate is too flooded, we're thinking that 2 nights at 3rd Bridge may be an option. 8th and 9th Aug, then we can go via South Gate to Kasene on 10th

    I'm following all the Botswana threads and the info you guys provide is fantastic.
    I see there are a whole bunch of forumites in Bots now, so I'll be looking out for the trip reports to help with knowing the conditions.

    Thanks to one and all

  11. #11
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    Enjoy your trip, I think there are many people stil wanting to do this so please please when you get back make us envy you and post a nice report with detail gps routes and pics if you can.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rayshep1207 View Post
    Well we're all booked for our first trip to Bots, August 2011
    I've been reading up from all the threads and hope we have all we need, got all the lists of stuff to take, where to go, what to expect..... .now the looooong wait for August
    We are three 4x4's going, LR Defender 100, Hardbody(Datsun) and a GWM Steed, 6 Adults and 2 Young adults(18)
    Our plans and bookings are:
    Thursday 4th JHB([email protected]:00) to Martins Drift - 450km Sleep over SA side Night 1
    Friday 5th Martins Drift to Woodlands(Francis Town) 286km Night 2
    Saturday 6th Woodlands to Maun(Audi Camp) (north via Nata) 487km Night 3
    Sunday 7th Audi Camp to South Gate - 79km Night 4
    Monday 8th South Gate to 3rd Bridge 53km Night 5
    Tuesday 9th 3rd Bridge to North Gate 52km Night 6(62km if going via South Gate)
    Wednesday 10th North Gate to Kasene(Thebe Safaris) 266km Night 7(357km if going via South Gate, Sankuyo and Mababe)
    Thursday 11th Thebe Safaris Night 8
    Friday 12th Thebe Safaris Night 9
    Saturday 13th Thebe Safaris to Elephant Sands 251km Night 10
    Sunday 14th Elephant sands to Martins Drift(Kwa Nokeng) 551km Night 11
    Monday 15th Martins Drift to JHB 450km - Home
    Back to work on 16th August 2011
    Any comments and up to date info on the water levels and routes are appreciated.
    Trip report will be handled by Shani, and she's been told, "Without Pics, it doesn't count"
    Hi. We're also setting off for first Bots trip. Think we'll overlap with your 3rd bridge section. Can't wait. 2 Fortuners and a Pajero will see you there!
    Stuart

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    Default Recent info Botswana!

    Just some recent info! Our trip is your's in reverse!

    In our preparation to visit Botswana we were concerned about old info on the net! As we have just returned some info that may help people planning!

    We left RSA via Bokspits north of Upington on 24/6 and stayed at Berry Bush just past Tshabong. Six vehicles with 5 towing 4X4 campers and 22 people in total. We decided not to take red meat from RSA as we heard of it being confiscated but at Bokspits we were helped by the police post and nothing was checked.

    Tshabong was -2 and very cold!

    Diesel was in pula 7,33 to 7,41 during our trip! They do not accept fuel cards but in most areas credit cards worked. Check before filling up if you do not have enough pula in cash!

    Everything in terms of food is available and cheaper than in the RSA. Spar, Shoprite, Woolworths all are present in Maun but you find Choppies in most centres and they are even cheaper with normal RSA brands. No need to stock up in RSA as you save buying there.

    All fees for Savute and Moremi needs to be settled in Maun including the park and vehicle fees as no payment is accepted in the park.

    We stayed at Nata Lodge in Nata with basic camping facilities with deep loose sand in camping area and only 8 electrical points, but beautiful ablution facilities.

    In Kazungula close to Kasane we used Louw Barnard's Senyati Lodge with every site with electricity and own private ablution facility. Also at the bar area there is a waterhole with elephant within 50m all day. This area should not disappoint.

    When moving north or east from Maun you should obtain a permit to move red meat as foot and mouth is a concern. A permit allows meat in this direction but will be confiscated on return.

    We were concerned about the water situation in Moremi and were able to get recent info from tourists traveling in the other direction. The rangers were always able to give us accurate info.

    We were told there is a way of reaching Khwai North Gate without having to travel via South Gate. We were directed to Khwai River Lodge and their rangers gave us directions to avoid the deep water.

    You have to accept the hyenas at Savute and Moremi and one should be very vigilant as they are constantly checking for weaknesses, a rechargeable strong light is a must and while we were there a man sitting alone at the fire was attacked by the hyena with only one eye on the day before our arrival.

    The rangers asked us to avoid the marsh route and the other more sandy road was acceptable from Chobe to Savute. Please check that your tow-bar is proper as the up and down with the dunes puts excessive pressure on the tow-bar and the Hilux lost it's ability but the 4X4 Condor did a superior job towing the Echo 4 from there!

    We also had a GL Merc with an Explorer behind with no problems during this 6000km journey!

    Everything was as planned but the animals were scarce!
    Last edited by Roy Spammer; 2011/07/14 at 12:07 PM. Reason: Wrong direction

  14. #14
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    Default thanks

    Thanks guys.
    It's great to hear things are available, we may have to fill up there and bring some diesel back if the strike carries on much longer
    We're planning to take the minimum, no trailers so thats one relief. Have been watching some videos on uTube about the Elephants coming into the camps, scary stuff hahahaha
    We'll get our supplies in Maun and Kasane. We like to support the locals anyway.
    Still trying to find out if we can stay for 2 nights in 3rd Bridge........
    Will be gr8 to see other forumites while on our trip.
    only 3 weeks to go whoop whoop

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    Hi Rayshep,

    We got back two weeks ago from our dream trip of 3 months going up to Malawi via Moz and back through Zambia and Botswana. I am still busy with my trip reports. Finished 3 of the 6 click here for the link which has some general info that may be relevant to you, but Botswana report (no. 5) is still to come.

    For now, my feedback/advice is as follows:
    - you are definitely trying to cover too much ground from North Gate to Kasane in 1 day. We took a full day (10+ hours) to get from Linyanti via Savuti to South Gate i.e. coming the opposite direction to you. The going from the Mababe gate (as you enter Chobe) to Savuti and all the way up to the Chobe Forest Reserve and Kachikau is very slow and very sandy and bumpy at times. We got stuck in the sand on the road to Linyanti (very deep sand and long). The sand is not as deep before and after Savuti but its slow. Try see if you can move one of those Maun nights to a Savuti night. It is a bit of a schlep changing your dates since there are 3 different companies that manage the different campsites now, but it is possible and worth it. (SKL manages Savuti, Khwai/North Gate, and Linyanti, so they will let you even swop North gate for a Savuti if they have the dates avail).
    - the good news (depending on which way you look at it) is that the road from Kachikau to Ngoma is now brand new tar (good news for fuel consumption, bad news for driving action). We met some guys who were very tight on fuel, and one who was very relieved to know that the tar started as early as this, since there is no fuel between Maun and Kasane.
    - make sure you have extra fuel, jerry cans, long-range tank, otherwise you will be restricted in leisurely game drives.
    - we had a hyena visit us at South Gate, despite us sitting around a roaring fire and it still being fairly early in the evening; they are quite brazen; I hurried the family into the tent, and packe things away while she watched me from 30 metres. Once I was in the tent, she waltzed through the camp looking for anything (we had only had hotdogs for supper with boiled viennas) but she was scavenging for anything she could find; she proceeded to puncture our 20l water bottle (why on earth did she think there would be something to eat in the water bottle?) - I think it is just the nuisance factor. RTT's will be better than ground tents, but strictly no food in your tent, and lock the food and the pots and everything else to be safe in the car/trailer when you go to bed.
    - we checked out all the best/recommended campsites in Maun (about 5 or 6 of them) and definitely chose Okavango River Lodge as our favourite; its only downside like Audi camp is that it is a little bit close to the main road and light sleepers complain about the trucks that come past, but the road isn't that busy. I think ORL might have been a bit more expensive than the others (+/-P50 pppn) but their nice grassy riverfront campsites are the best. This time of year and this year in particular (and probably even more so in Aug), the water level is very high, so it is right up to the edge of the higher campsites. Their lower campsites have been under water for the last 2 years now.
    - the highlight for us was the game driving along the Chobe river and the sunset boat cruise from Kasane on the Chobe river as well; the water levels are really high and the elephants & hippos are in abundance. We saw 14 lions in two different lion prides on our game drive, with two lionesses & two cubs up close crossing the road right by us. Therefore the Ihaha camp is well worth a visit, or allow time from you base at Thebe Safaris to explore this whole area. If you have time and fuel, don't take the tar road back to Kasane from Ngoma, rather take the sand track along the Chobe river - brilliant game viewing. But all the more reason not to do the 266km on Day 7.
    - the supermarket in Tshabong sells the cheapest steaks we have ever bought, and good. It is run by a SA couple who also run Springbokpan guest house in McCarthy's Rest. (As said by others, no problem taking the red meat from south to north).
    - meat is also much cheaper at the butchers in Maun than at the supermarkets. Look out for the "Ka Ra Nama" signs (butcher).

    Hope this helps.

    Regards
    RSG
    Cape Town to Cape Maclear and back in 3 months (click here for trip reports)
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    Quote Originally Posted by rayshep1207 View Post
    Thanks guys.
    It's great to hear things are available, we may have to fill up there and bring some diesel back if the strike carries on much longer
    We're planning to take the minimum, no trailers so thats one relief. Have been watching some videos on uTube about the Elephants coming into the camps, scary stuff hahahaha
    We'll get our supplies in Maun and Kasane. We like to support the locals anyway.
    Still trying to find out if we can stay for 2 nights in 3rd Bridge........
    Will be gr8 to see other forumites while on our trip.
    only 3 weeks to go whoop whoop
    Hi

    We returned a week ago, we did Moremi, Khwai, Savuti and Chobe. We did the water crossing at 2nd Bridge. We helped some guys that got stuck at 2nd bridge (They had to leave a Prado and Conquerer caravan overnight in the river) We were 6 vehicles (5 trailers). We also had an encounter with the 1 eye Hyena in Savuti. We had Elephants in our camp at Khwai (Amazimg experience) and Savuti. I can only advise you to try and spend more than 1 night in each spot otherwise travelling and breaking camp can become a tedious job)

    We saw lots of animals in all areas. It was a very special and unbelievable trip.

  17. #17
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    Hi,

    We returned on Wednesday from a two week trip. 1st, 2nd and 3rd bridge water crossings were all ok, just make sure to walk before driving through, we didn't have problems and in our group there were 3 trailers/caravans and they all made it.

    The road going from North Gate to Chobe/Savuti had one deep crossing, but there is local routes that crosses the water at wheel depth, make sure to talk to the guys at North Gate. On this section the levels were dropping.

    There are lots of water on a number of seasonal roads, make sure you only drive through water you are comfortable with, we heard of at least two vehicles that got damaged by water.

    Enjoy and take care!
    Jan

  18. #18
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    We're leaving thursday for a 5 week trip to Bots & Zambia. Thanks for all the great up to date tips!

  19. #19
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    Default South Gate to 3de Bridge

    1st Bridge drive through water to the left of bridge.

    2nd Bridge drive through water to the right of bridge but keep to the right. Left section straight through water too deep. Mud way to the right also not the way to go.

    Khwai to North Gate

    Use the White Transit Road.
    Travel over the new concrete bridge.
    Before you get to the big water - where the normal road goes - keep to your left. You will get a smaller water crossing. Two Small Mopanie trees. You can go through them or just to the right of them - I took that route.
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  20. #20
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    Default question of power

    Thanks for all the comments so far.
    I have been reading the other trip reports and hear of groups running generators, can someone confirm if the camp sites at South Gate, 3rd Bridge and North Gate have power points?
    Thanks again

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