Drotsky’s cabins to Tsodillo Hills. (70km Traveled)
This was a nice relaxing day for us… Or that was the plan.
Also our first time to Tsodillo Hills, we were pleasantly surprised
by the surfaced road from the tar road. We arrived at the office,
requested a guide for the afternoon and made our way to the most
remote campsite, Malatso. After a relaxing mid day under big shady
trees, we drove back to the office to meet our guide.
She was a
young San woman who informed us that the cost of the guide is
a MAXIMUM of 50 Pula. We followed her on the rhino trail and very
quickly discovered why the fee was so little. I don’t think
these people really have any training of guiding experience. She
didn’t tell us anything that the guidebooks didn’t,
but it is always nice to support community projects.
our walk the heavens opened! An I don’t mean little English
raindrops; I mean the biggest baddest thunderstorm you can imagine!
The footpaths turned into torrents and the rain was so heavy that
the visibility was no more that 15 meters. We asked the guide
if we could hide out in a cave and wait for the storm to pass.
She told us that the storm of the previous day lasted 8 hours,
and we should definitely move on.
the walk in the rain, got in our vehicles, made it back to our
campsite and managed to make a “dry camp” with the
help of the awning and an old tarpaulin. We decided to not pitch
the tents until the rain subsided… Which it didn’t…
Our camp help
up well and we managed to cook dinner and eat without getting
wet. We pitched the tents at 9pm and went to bed in the rain.
By this time we were 100% comfortable with the rain proofness
of our new Featherlite tent and had a good night’s rest
despite the rain.
I have to
say that one should plan at least 2 nights at Tsodillo Hills to
be bale to fit in all the walks. I definitely will go back there
and explore more.
Tsodillo Hills to Sitanguga Camp (377km Traveled)
We awoke to a glorious summers day. We drove to in-between the
two hills and did parts of the rhino walk again, this time being
able to see where we were going.
We had a shower
at their ample ablution facilities and headed out for Maun.
always hard for me to turn back home. This was particularly hard
as we had limited time and lots of miles to do it in. We had lunch
on the way by the roadside and reached Sitatunga Camp around 15:30.
When I booked the campsite, I also booked a table in their restaurant
for that evening, as it was Christmas day. Because of the Vet
fences, we had no meat with us, so no plan B.
At the camp
were told that the restaurant was closed for the season. We were
put in a campsite between 4 overland trucks I was not a happy
camper. We drove into Maun, found many of the supermarkets open,
and so had no trouble getting hold of food for dinner. Strangely
enough, we could find no bottle store open and was told that they
were all closed until after New Year. Strange that you would close
a bottle store between Christmas and New Years….
We had a great
dinner and relaxing evening. Problem was… The overlanders
(we call them the noisies) decided to kick of their party just
after 10PM. I was really pleased when I heard the guide turn the
music down at 12:00, only to erupt again with what can only be
described as a competition between trucks to see who could make
the loudest noise. This was “enhanced” by a bunch
of fireworks. We could do very little but dive into our wine supply
until it was finished.
I will simply say this:
We have to have a little tolerance for other kinds of travelers.
I’ve heard that many campsites in Africa now split up overland
trucks and “normal” people. However… Sitatunga
camp will never see me again. I experienced it as a hole for drunken
overlanders with zero respect for nature or other people, the
staff was unfriendly and inefficient and when looking at my receipt,
I saw that we were charged for fire wood which we never received.
The ablutions were atrociously dirty and there was no hot water
Sitatunga to Khama (536km Traveled)
We were all a bit tired when we left Sitatunga camp. We stopped
at Riley’s for fuel and then left for Khama for our last
night in Botswana. It was overcast and cool and the going was
pretty easy. 40km out of Maun I noticed that the Hilux was pinging
again and had less power than it should have had. Driving west
and South we had to open fridges at every Vet fence, as we are
all used to doing.
into Lethakane in search of wine and found a brand new Super Spar
with everything you can possibly need. It had a Spar Topps bottle
store…. Closed until after New Year. It is however something
to remember for future travels to this area.
After a well-deserved
lunch by the roadside, we reached Khama at about 15:00. We managed
to get some wine in their restaurant… at restaurant prices.
camp, but decided to go for a drive in the Colt late in the afternoon.
We have stayed at Khama many times before, and have done many
drives. We have however never actually seen Rhino there.
not expecting to see any, we saw 5 Rhino in 3 groups. NICE!!!
it got very cold and we were reminded that Africa can through
surprises at you all the time. We were all in long trousers, warm
jackets and wooly hats. We had a great dinner with nice wine and
fell sound sleep in yet another rainstorm.
Khama to Pretoria (551 km Traveled)
Last days are always a little sad. This was quite an efficient
day for us though. We stopped in Serowe for fuel and headed for
Martin’s Drift. I noticed that the Hilux was 100% happy
again. It suddenly hit me that the only times I had problems was
after fuelling at Riley’s. So now the question is: Do they
have contaminated fuel, or do they water it down? Before this
trip I always refueled at the garage by the Spar and never had
a problem. I’ll obviously do that again from now on.
the border early, crossed without incident and in about 35 minutes.
We reached Warm Baths for lunch and spoiled ourselves with O’Hagan’s
and reached home by 15:00
Before this trip I bought a new Featherlite tent from Frontrunner.
I also got a table that slides in underneath the roof rack. I
have to say, that apart from my trusty Engel 60l Combi, these
are now my favorite bits of camping equipment. The tent is super
comfortable and 100% waterproof even in torrential downpours.
We had it completely closed on 1 or 2 nights and experienced no
condensation inside it at all! It seems very easy to put up and
down and definitely saves a little time.
is an absolute pleasure! Takes no space, takes 20 seconds to put
up and 20 seconds to put down. It is big enough for 4 people to
eat at and a really comfortable height.
This was my
first trip with the VW carburetor in my 4Y. My average fuel consumption
over the whole trip was 7.2km/l, which is almost 2km/l better
than what I was used to. It should have been even better if it
wasn’t for the bad fuel from Riley’s.
You have to
have a little sense of humor and be well equipped to go to Botswana
in the rainy season. We saw rain every single day and was in it
probably half the days. We were ready and prepared for it, which
made it fairly easy to cope with. However… If you’re
not prepared, I think it can be a very unpleasant experience.
I am really
pleased that I managed to experience Botswana for the past five
years. The changes between July 2003 and April 2008 were not significant
at all, however the changes from April 2008 and December 2008
were incredibly noticeable and sad. It used to be a country reserved
for adventurers and nature lovers and it had many challenges of
simply making your way to the next place.
and disrespectful people from South Africa marked this trip mostly.
No wonder they don’t want us there any more. I was mostly
ashamed of being South African. Botswana have built new roads
which I think makes it a little too easy for non adventurers to
get access to this place which once was paradise.
I wonder where
next we could go without being disturbed by these hooligans! Wherever
it is, I think I might keep it to myself.