A brief trip report - 2 week Bots trip

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graham1
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A brief trip report - 2 week Bots trip

Post by graham1 » 01 Aug 2017 10:57

We just returned from a two week trip through Bots, here's a brief summary of the trip:

Route:
JHB->Nata Lodge->Elephant Sands->Ihaha->Linyanti->Savuti->Dizhana->Planet Baobab->Kubu Island->Khama Rhino->JHB

JHB to Nata. Our original plan was to camp on the pans at the Nata Bird Sanctuary, but when we arrived we found out they unfortunately dont allow that anymore and you have to camp in their little campsite close to the road. There was alot more water around there than what we've seen in the past, so camping out there wouldn’t have actually been possible anyway.
We eventually camped at Nata Lodge which was the best idea in the end, we were absolutely stuffed from the long drive, and the excellent facilities they have there put a smile back on our faces.

Nata to Elephant Sands. We always knew the long drive the first day was going to be a killer, so we planned for a non-driving day, and really wanted to see Elephant sands again. Was very busy, but still an excellent stop over to relax a bit.

Elephant Sands to Ihaha: Easy drive, refuel and stockup in Kasane. Spent three nights at Ihaha. Still one of the best places on earth. Amazing amount of game, excellent lion sighting 2km from camp, lion roaring very close to camp each night, and hyena as well. One big male baboon was a real pain in camp though and made us look like fools on a couple occasions stealing our food.

Ihaha to Linyanti: A fun drive, but a little tiring, our first taste of very thick sand, but got the hang of it quite quickly. A nice camp, but the ablutions weren’t great - no hot water - seems they’re having big issues with the new gas geyser. Should have stuck to the old faithful donkey.

Linyanti to Savuti: Everyone we spoke to before this drive warned us of the very thick sand on this road between these two camps, and put the fear of death into us, so we tackled this road early in the morning with sweaty palms and minds racing of what to do when we get stuck out there. Yes, there are two sections of thick sand, the first not too bad, the second, about 6kms out of Savuti just being very long (maybe 1km or so), and uphill, but, it was the most fun I have ever ever had, klapped it at a pretty rapid rate and cruised all the way to the top, easy peasy, and a note to self that maybe my driving skills and car's abilities are much better than alot of the folk that scared us so much with their tales.

Savuti to me was a major let down. I think I had built it up in my head after years and years of watching documentary after documentary on the savuti area. The camp site is nothing special (worst one of the trip actually) with a huge generator running at the ablution from 8am to 8pm, it made the evening braai a really horrible experience. We had an amazing leopard sighting at Leopard hill, and good lion sightings, but that was basically it, I knew it would be nothing like the game at Ihaha, but it was still a disappointment.

Savuti to Dizhana: A very bumpy and sandy drive, but I enjoyed it, the others not so much, but Im not really sure why. Stayed at Dizhana for two nights. We all agreed that this was our favourite campsite by far. Excellent facilities (your own toilet, outdoor shower and donkey (with wood being supplied morning and night). Very helpful and friendly staff, and excellent game in and around the camp. Definitely want to get back to this one and spend at least a week there.

Dizhana to Planet Baobab: A horrible, very long stretch of corrugated gravel road between Dizhana and Maun, Arrived in Maun with zero sense of humour and rattled to pieces, we were all not happy campers! Easy tar road to Planet Baobab. A rather quirky place, but a reasonable stop over.

Planet Baobab to Kubu Island: Took the road just past Zoroga to Kubu, 91kms of terrible dust, bumps, and paint removal. Arrived at kubu all trying our best to smile, but not that successful. Another place that has been way too hyped up in my head, and found it a let down. Been there, done that, don’t need to go back.

Kubu to Khama: A much better drive, nice smooth sections across the pans, with just a bit of the dusty bumpy stuff. Nice campsite as usual, but ablutions werent great, zero water pressure, so little you can’t even get the soap off, maybe theyre just having an issue at the moment as Im sure I recall in the past they were very good. Excellent Rhino sightings as usual, and good birdlife.

All in all a great trip, the Patrol performed like a beaut, obviously had a thirst like you can’t believe, but I knew that going in.

Kit for next time - I will need to take a mouse trap or two – the mice around the camps at night was quite something and we got one or two in the car (and brought them back to JHB), I’ll need to put traps in the car overnight next time, as these things are chewing all they can find in there at night, and Im not getting stranded out there from a mouse chewing a wire.
Another interesting tip was after we were talking to a guy who was off to Ihaha about the irritating baboon there, he said he carries a whip with him that works really well to scare the baboons away (the crack of the whip, not physical contact), quite clever I thought.

Plans for next time: This trip had far too many stops, camping at a place for one night at a time is nice to be able to see so many places, but the packing and unpacking everyday is tiring in the end. Very grateful for the rooftop tent though as that at least makes that very easy compared to a ground tent!

Also a big thank you to Tara and Botswana Footprints – everything went so smoothly and made arriving at gates and campsites to check in a non-event, really helped so much!

Edit: And some pics, of the car only, cos thats the most beautiful thing to photograph still
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Peter Connan
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Re: A brief trip report - 2 week Bots trip

Post by Peter Connan » 01 Aug 2017 11:58

Thanks for the report.

Need to do it the other way around, because after Ihaha everything else is an anticlimax...

:biggrin:
:mytwocents:
Mag ons ons kenniskry met lekkerkry aanhoukry.

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offroadbiker
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Re: A brief trip report - 2 week Bots trip

Post by offroadbiker » 01 Aug 2017 12:54

Thanks for the feedback.

Agree with Peter, I did it the other way around last year, and for 2018 I will follow the same way/route.

Leaving Ihaha, the Chobe and Senyati for last. Elephant sands and Khama is just sleep overs on the way back.

I prefer the driving and moving on every day, Having to pack up the rooftop tent in anyway to do a game drive on 2nd day I just found a sjlep, Plus got it down to 30mins pack up including a quick breakfast, Rather make sure you setup is so that everything has its place, makes your life considerably easier.

But Bots is worth any hassle :oldtimer:
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Tinus lotz
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Re: A brief trip report - 2 week Bots trip

Post by Tinus lotz » 01 Aug 2017 13:24

Lekker man ....dit your takkies last?

graham1
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Re: A brief trip report - 2 week Bots trip

Post by graham1 » 01 Aug 2017 13:34

Tinus lotz wrote:Lekker man ....dit your takkies last?
For sure! :thumbup:

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Oetie
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Re: A brief trip report - 2 week Bots trip

Post by Oetie » 02 Aug 2017 15:50

Nice report, thanks for sharing!
One life, live it to the fullest!!
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HAM - ZS6LEF

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graham1
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Re: A brief trip report - 2 week Bots trip

Post by graham1 » 10 Sep 2017 19:04

My wife is starting to write her blog on this trip if you feel like reading:
http://bushbabyblog.com/index.php/2017/ ... re-part-1/

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Re: A brief trip report - 2 week Bots trip

Post by Mystical_Beast » 12 Sep 2017 19:47

Graham

Nice reading your concise trip report, and thank you for the link to the Bushbaby blog, Kelly has a fantastic way of getting emotions conveyed into words.
You have reason to be proud.

graham1
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Re: A brief trip report - 2 week Bots trip

Post by graham1 » 19 Sep 2017 07:00

Thanks Julian!

Here's the second installment if anyone is interested:

http://bushbabyblog.com/index.php/2017/ ... ant-sands/

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