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Trip Report Part 2 - Savuti, Chobe, Kubu

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Trip Report Part 2 - Savuti, Chobe, Kubu

Postby Chris Skinner » 10 Jun 2017 11:44

As mentioned previously, we added Bots part of the trip at very short notice, but believe me, even though we had only 6 days and could not get into many of the places we wanted to visit due to late booking attempt, it was worth every penny and km travelled. Northern Bots is special and I hope some of my photos do credit to the quality of this region as a 4x4 destination of choice. We saw no cats unfortunately but the quality of all other sightings and the birdlife was more than satisfying for us. To start off, though, what is more appropriate than to show a few fish eagle pics to set the scene....
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Re: Trip Report Part 2 - Savuti, Chobe, Kubu

Postby Chris Skinner » 10 Jun 2017 22:29

Saturday 20 May: Walvis Bay to Buitepos Border post (Zelda Game Farm)
So, we left Walvis Bay on Saturday morning at 0730 and got to Swakopmund at 08h00. We popped into a small bakery to buy some nice fresh goodies and strangely as we entered we experienced a long queue of people snaking around inside waiting patiently for service – must have been very popular bakery – we could not wait, so we left there feeling rather disappointed. We then headed west towards Windhoek. The aim was to get as far as Gobabis where we had booked a camp site for the night. In Windhoek we bought meat and drinks for the next couple of days – not a good move because the meat in Bots is excellent and vastly cheaper than Namibia. When we got to Gobabis earlier than expected, and the camping area looked a bit dreary, we decided to drive the extra hour closer to Buitepos border post and find accommodation there. We had heard about a place called Zelda Game Farm that is about 25kms from the border, that has excellent camp sites camp sites and chalets etc. We phoned them while on the road and confirmed they had place for us. It was a really good move and I can recommend Zelda to anyone travelling this route. Our camp site was 5 meters from a small game camp that contained 2 young leopards. Lynne got some really nice photo’s (unfortunately though, not completely in the wild). We had a serious headwind most of the way and my consumption was around 4kms/L..
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Leopard at Zelda Game Farm
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Re: Trip Report Part 2 - Savuti, Chobe, Kubu

Postby Chris Skinner » 10 Jun 2017 22:56

Sunday 21 May: Buitepos to Maun (Drifters)
We left early the next morning and arrived at a very quiet border post and were through both sides in 20 minutes. About 30 minutes later I was caught in a speed trap doing 110kmh in a 80 zone… For the life of me, I did not see the 80 board but did get numerous flashes from the front warning of pending cops, that why reduced speed to 110. I can only assume I was overtaking one of the many big trucks and missed the 80 board. I will say no more except - ja, kak en betaal is wet van Transvaal! From then on I was very careful during the rest of my stay in Bots.
The road condition all the way through to Maun was very good and we made good time. At Maun we turned south-east as we had booked a night at a place called Drifters Maun Lodge that is 30 kms out of town. We’d booked a tented chalet and had dinner in the open dining area overlooking the lake in the late evening. The place was okay but nothing to write home about, next time I will certainly try find accommodation closer to Maun or more towards the north on road to South gate.
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Evening sunset at Drifters
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Re: Trip Report Part 2 - Savuti, Chobe, Kubu

Postby Peter Connan » 11 Jun 2017 08:02

Beautiful sunset and fish eagle!

I think we got caught in the same speed trap, but going the other way.

Also didn't see the sign.
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Re: Trip Report Part 2 - Savuti, Chobe, Kubu

Postby Chris Skinner » 11 Jun 2017 12:32

Monday 22 May: Maun to Savuti
We left Drifters early and stopped at Riley’s Shell garage in Maun to top up fuel and take on drinking water. Full internal fuel tanks 130 ltr, and 50 ltr in cans, plus 60 ltr water. At 08h00 were the first ones into the SKL offices as we had not yet paid for our campsite at Linyanti for Tuesday night. Staff were very friendly and helpful. We still had no camp booking for today (Monday) but decided to chance it to Savuti – SKL said the camp was fully booked and our only option was to chance it and just arrive there and see if they could assist us. A very helpful lady, Tsepi, could not get phone comms with the camp so she wrote a little note for us to give the guys at Savuti to help us if at all possible.
We left Maun at 08h30, arrived at Mababe Gate at 11h15, approx. 125 kms. Road condition to Mababe gate was the worst we had experienced so far in our trip with severe corrugations (dropped tyres to 1,5 bar which helped a lot). The road surface was at least dry, but we did have to negotiate around a lake that happened to be over the main road close to Mababe. The staff at Mababe were very good and friendly. (You can buy wood, maps, etc., at the gate, but cheaper in Maun). The road to Savuti was in fairly good condition. After the gate, no wet conditions at all.
En-route Savuti we saw the usual plains type game incl buffalo, lots of elephant, zebra, wildebeest, warthog, steenbok and impala, plus quite a few different birds of prey incl Tawny eagle, Bateleur (by far the most most prevalent), Marshall eagles, and Fish eagles.
It took approx 3 hours from Gate to Savuti with comfortable driving with stops at a few sightings (total distance Maun to Savuti was 192kms and took close to 6 hrs in all..). At Savuti, the guy in the office was very friendly and arranged that we share a campsite (Paradise) with one other vehicle, a couple from the UK on their first Africa trip. They had been quite lucky to see a lion kill in action that morning – can you believe the beginners-luck! They though it was a normal everyday experience… They also told us that while at Third Bridge Camp, two large male lions had strolled right into their camp a few meters from where they sat in their folding chairs… needless to say I think they needed an ‘onnie’ change right away.
In the evening, a large male elephant browsed nearby our camp and that night we had a wonderful chorus of lion and some more elephant sounds close to our camp.
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Road closed - not too keen to tackle this on my own!
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The Camp site in Savuti
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Not too sure ...maybe Brown Snake Eagle?
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Immature Marshall Eagle
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Dark Chanting Goshawk
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Last edited by Chris Skinner on 11 Jun 2017 12:41, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Trip Report Part 2 - Savuti, Chobe, Kubu

Postby Chris Skinner » 11 Jun 2017 12:37

After seeing Peter's bird pics, I realise we got a bit of work to do to get ourselves up to standard.
Its the first time I've taken hold of the wifes camera and clicked off a few shots... now I'm thinking of getting a camera myself.
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Re: Trip Report Part 2 - Savuti, Chobe, Kubu

Postby Chris Skinner » 11 Jun 2017 13:31

Monday 22 May: Savuti to Linyanti
The following morning we did a relaxed drive to Linyanti camp in the north. Took the direct route even though staff at Savuti recommended via Ghoha gate. When I enquired why, they said due to very sandy patches and definitely not for trailers etc. I looked at him and thought .. “hey dude, I drive a Patrol and we have just driven through the entire Namib desert, where’s the problem…”. While on the road we stopped often and took photos of birds mainly, as there are not many animals on this route. One of those hired 4x4 vehicles came bustling past us with hardly an acknowledgement and I wondered what the reason for the hurry was. Later we came across the vehicle and its occupants once more - an Aussie couple stuck in the sand and they seemed pretty shaken up – they had been struggling for the past hour or so to get through a particularly sandy patch. The guy’s wife was in a huge state of unhappiness, and almost in tears, told me that she was not coping very well and just wanted to go home! I helped him drop his pressures to around 0.8 bar and then he sailed through the rest of the route no problem. After assisting them, showing them the ropes, and sharing a friendly cup of coffee, their spirits rose considerably and we now have a new friend in Aussie land.
The camp at Linyanti is well sited and looks over a body of water with hippo’s and crocs visible in the water and on the opposite banks. Our camp site was number RSV1 which was not too bad but had little shade in the afternoon. There are better camp sites, and I learned that when arriving early at a camp, and if you can, take some time and pick your preferred one if the office staff will allow you.
The views over the water are good with a fair amount of animal life around, even a kudu walking down to the water and some extremely tame little squirrels and birds running around. Some sites are less private with neighbouring camp sites quite close by.
The hippo’s came right up to our camp site in the late evening and chomped loudly on the long grass and reeds all night long. We saw no elephant unfortunately but much sign around that they visit this site often. Surprisingly there were very few insects around including mosquitos.
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Re: Trip Report Part 2 - Savuti, Chobe, Kubu

Postby Peter Connan » 12 Jun 2017 05:15

Chris Skinner wrote:After seeing Peter's bird pics, I realise we got a bit of work to do to get ourselves up to standard.
Its the first time I've taken hold of the wifes camera and clicked off a few shots... now I'm thinking of getting a camera myself.


Careful now! This is a bottomless moneypit!

Really enjoying your pictures, and missing the Delta now Chris!
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Re: Trip Report Part 2 - Savuti, Chobe, Kubu

Postby Chris Skinner » 12 Jun 2017 08:51

Thanks Peter - and I know whats coming regarding the costs and time required to get proficient with the camera.... but, hey, I've decided to retire end this month and start doing all the good things in life (more often :biggrin: ), so the time part is not a problem. WWW
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Re: Trip Report Part 2 - Savuti, Chobe, Kubu

Postby Jules » 12 Jun 2017 09:05

Great Pics Chris, a bit advice from my side regarding photography is buy the best possible lens you can afford, rather have a R50-R80K lens on a R15-R20K camera than the other way. I do not know what you currently have but that is my advice

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