Africa trips

Botswana Around the Delta December 08 - Dawie du Plessis

Overlanding Trips

Day 6:
Khwai Community Camp to Savute (128km Traveled)
We woke early and set of for Savute. I started the day nervous about the infamous mud works and the start of the Sand Ridge road. We got to the turn of to Savute quite quickly, and just before those mud works start, there was huge tree across the road….

There was however, a brand new surfaced road with a sigh pointing to Mababe gate. We cruised at 40km/h all the way to the gate with no mud at all! I almost felt cheated.

At the gate the guard told us that even the sand ridge road was really difficult, but there was also a new road to Savute to the West of the Sand ridge road.

This was the same idea. New, surfaced and easy to drive…. To a point. Although there was no serious mud to talk of, we crossed though pool after pool for about 7km at one stage, never getting faster that 10km/h. We still reached Savute camp by lunch.

Our lunch was interrupted by a little thunderstorm, but fortunately the awning is very quick to set up and very efficient… for 2 people. It’s a little crowded with 4 under it.

For an afternoon drive we decided to go south to Marabou pan and just hang out there. We saw lots of elephant and massive herds of impala and zebra. A truly relaxing afternoon. We got back to camp just before dark, set up and….

Ranting time:
There were 4 GP vehicles camped out by the ablution blocks. They elected to enjoy the noises from their iPod a lot more that the sounds of the bush and it seemed that they were quite drunk already. They had all the gear, the caravans, the trailers, the fancy vehicles, but no respect for their environment, or the people who had to share it with them.

Fortunately they got quiet by about 9PM and we could still manage a few hours of peace and quiet in the African bush.

Hyena and an elephant visited us during the night. They didn’t bother us at all though.

Zebra

Day 7:
Savute Camp to Ihaha (148km Traveled)
Wow! This was a seriously scary drive! We left Savute early (6:30am) our friends for GP were awake and already on the beer with the iPod blaring. We decided on the shortest way to Ihaha. The main road to Gcoha gate was incredibly flooded! Anyone who knows this road might remember that one little bit of cotton mud by the Gcotcha Hills. This made me worry. The whole road was pretty much a river. At some stage we traveled for 7km without leaving water once. It was only when someone passed us from the North that I started relaxing a bit. Surely they had to come from somewhere.

Elephants

The going was slow and hard and tiring and when we reached the cotton mud we selected a detour though the bush. There was no traction at all and we were slipping and sliding on the driest track we could find. We managed to negotiate this part without getting stuck though and happily made the gate in good time.

The road thorugh the forest reserve was easy because of the wet sand and the cut line road was much the same. The roads though the villages were in good condition apart from one or two places where the road was pretty much eroded away.
We made Ihaha camp at around 13:30. We once again had lunch under the awning, hiding from both thunderstorms, and mid day sun.

Ihaha is my other very favorite place in Botswana. Even with that amount of water in the veldt, the game viewing is simply out of this world! We took 4 hours to drive 20km that afternoon. We were “stuck” inside herds of elephant more than once, saw mega herds of impala, puku, Letchwe and Zebra. On the way back to camp we were held up by herds of elephant so much that we got back just after dark. Not ideal, but by this time we could pitch camp within 10 minutes.

Day 8:
Ihaha to Nambwa Community Camp. (218km Traveled)
For the previous 6 days I had noticed that the hilux’s engine wasn’t 100% happy. There was a slight lack in power and some pinging. I found this a little strange as I have an electronic dizzy now and shouldn’t have to re-set the timing all the time.
It was the first time we drove tar roads at reasonable speeds in about a week.

We crossed the border at Ngoma Bridge without any issues at all. The whole crossing took us less than 30 minutes. On the way to Katima I could hardy get the Hilux up to 100km/h and started to worry a little. We arrived in Katima without hassle, paid our cross border charges, filled up with fuel, and went on our merry way.

Suddenly the Hilux had oodles of power and we were cruising comfortably at the speed limit. We had a little giggle at the “Beware of elephants” signs next the road and the “open air butcheries” the locals had.

We reached Nambwa around midday. Now let me tell you… This place is paradise! Massive shady trees on an island with great ablutions and 100% privacy! What a great place! At R70 per person per night for camping, you cannot find better. It is slap bang in the middle of the Kaprivi and makes for a great stop over place.

We send the inlaws on an afternoon game drive. We didn’t even bother. They saw lots of game; we spotted lots of birds from our hammocks.

We will most definitely stay there again!

Camping

Day 9:
Nambwa to Drotsky’s Cabins. (265km Traveled)
We left Nambwa at around 9am after a well-deserved lie in and morning shower. The Hilux was happy as can be. We crossed back into Botswana just after 11AM and this was the very first time someone asked to look in our fridges. Fortunately we had no meat to confiscate. We headed for Shakawe where we shopped in a brand new Choppies supermarket that has everything! We filled up with fuel and made Drotsky’s well in time for lunch.

This was my first time at Drotsky’s and I have to say that I was a little disappointed. The lodge looks great and the huge shady trees are really nice, but we were cramped in-between two other campsites and after feeling like we were the only people around for a week or so, we felt just a little crowded.

We did take a boat out in the afternoon which is a very worthwhile experience and not too expensive. We spotted a Pearl’s fishing Owl that was a first for us, millions of other birds. We also saw ample crocks and some Hippo. Our cost for 4 people camping and 3 hours on a boat was about Pula 1 000 in total.

It is not a bad place at all, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to stay there again.

 

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This trip report was compiled by:
Dawie du Plessis
Visit his web sites at
www.photographersa.co.za
and
www.pictureafrica.co.uk