Jo'burg to Kasane Trip Report (July 2010)

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Jo'burg to Kasane Trip Report (July 2010)

Post by » Tue Aug 17, 2010 8:09 am

Our family of three (Mum, Dad and Beth aged 13) have recently returned from a fantastic trip from Joburg to Kasane. Although we had some experience of self drive in South Africa, we decided to up the stakes a little. With no previous camping experience, we set off from Joburg and headed North.....

We crossed the border at Martins Drift (no delays) and had a minor celebration as the T4 Africa kicked into life on the Garmin. Here in Scotland, we drive a Defender 90, so were delighted that our "home" for the next two weeks was a big brother 110, even the colour was the same !! The Landy behaved superbly as we headed to our fist stop at Khama Rhino Sanctuary. We arrived in time for an afternnon drive and saw plenty of game including several Rhinos. The only negative comment about KRS is the restaurant. Unhappy staff and terrible food.

Next morning we set off early as we had a long drive to Haina Kalahari Lodge. We stopped off at Rakops for fuel and then headed 80km due west on the sand track. This was our first real taste of "off roading" and the Landy performed superbly - even when a large Kudu almost jumped onto our bonnet. After two relaxing days, we retraced our tracks east and then headed 100kms north to Meno Kwena on the Boteti river. The water has been flowing past the camp now for some time and the setting will take your breath away. Within 10 mins of our arrival we had ellies and hundreds of zebras bathing and drinking at the waters edge below our camp. Meno Kwena is a magical place and we all wished we could have stayed a little longer....

Our next stop was at Thamalkane River Lodge after we stopped in Maun and loaded the Landy with supplies for the next six days. We enjoyed a superb "last supper" in the restaurant and headed off to bed full of excitment, tomorrow the trip begins in ernest as we head into Moremi....

We packed the last remaing space in the Landy with fire wood purchased at the road side and checked in at South Gate. Within 5 mins we came across a family of ellies at a water hole and it felt like the trip had finally began. We arrived at North Gate after exploring various loops en-route and were allocated our camp. Beth and set about the roof top tents and within an hour (not bad for a first attempt !!) we were good to go.

Then disaster struck.... As I climbed down from the Landy, all I could think about was the cold beer I was going to enjoy for my efforts. Imagine my horror as I opened the cool box only to discover I had left the beer behind in the car park in Maun !! After crying myself to sleep, we were suddenly wakened by snapping branches very near by. It was a full moon, and as we looked out from our tents we could see two ellies in camp. They stayed for around an hour and we all enjoyed the experience.

Next day was very eventful, we decided to drive east towards Xakanaxa and see how far we could get. Some of the tracks were very wet and we had to cross several flodded areas. We decided, that if we were unsure, we would not attept a crossing and simply turn back and try a differnt route. This area is stunningly beautiful and we saw lots of game as we explored the various game loops that take you down to and back from the delta.

Suddenly we came across a tree that was partly blocking the track. As the area was fairly open, I felt safe enough to get out of the Landy and move the smaller limbs out of the way. Job done, we were soon on our way and after minute or so I was aware of what looked like a large splinter on my right hand just below my pinkie. My wife had a look and said there was no splinter but there was a mark that looked like two small holes. Still not sure of what had happened, my daughter suggested the following - "Dad, it looks like a snake bite" I know now that it was not a snake bite, but those words will live with me for a very long time. I soon became very hot and was covered in beads of sweat (shock I think) my mouth was so dry I could hardly speak and I suggested we get to the gate at Xakanaxa ASAP !! At the camp site, there was a group of south Africans who had a look at my hand and confirmed that it was probably a sting from a scorpion and that I would certainly be ok....

Just to round the day off, around 8kms from North Gate we came across a large male lion fast asleep on the main track, we stopped around fifty yards from him and he seemed totally relaxed. After ten minutes, two safari vehicles approched from the other direction and almost ran the lion over. Needless to say he got up and vanished into the bush. In their efforts to get their clients a "better" sighting of the animal they scared the thing off. As we passed the vehicles we questioned them on their actions, after all they are supposed to be the experts. It was obvious that ther clients were very unhappy to as they had wasted what was potentially a fantastic experience. Lewis Safaris - Morons!!

As we were about to turn into North Gate we were aware of a vehicle in behind the garage to the left of the main gate. They had spotted a Leopard with an kill in a large tree - what a day.....

The staff at North gate advised us that the road to Savuti was passable with care. The option was to detour via South Gate which we did not really fancy doing. Our plan was to keep heading north, but if we were unsure about any cossings, we would turn around and make the detour. Once through Khwai village we soon we halted by a wide and deep water cossing. It looked like some structure was in the process of being built but there was no way over. As we turned around, one of the guys selling wood advised us to turn next right as we could make two easier crossings further down this track and eventually we would come to the new metal bridge and from there it was plain sailng all the way to Savuti. We followed his instructions and very soon we were confronted with an even wider section of water. We were just about to admit defeat when two vehicles approached and pulled up along side. A Dutch family was in one vehicle and their guide was in the other. Very soon he was down to his Jockeys and waist deep in the water. It was decided that we could cross and to follow his lead. Both their vehicles made it over and not fancying the long detour, we drove our Landy into a flooded river....

That night in Savuti, as we sat around the camp fire with a fist full of whisky, we toasted the dutch family and their mad South African guide.

More game drives followed in Savuti and eventually we made our way (via Three Baobabs Bush Camp - fantastic) to the campsite at Ihaha. Our last night was fabulous, Beth sorted out the tents on top of the Landy, Jan got the fire going, and I started preparing our last "bush supper". As the sun was going down, we had a breading herd crossing the river right in front of our camp - life was good. Beth soon retired after another action packed day and Jan and I sat around the fire with the last of the whisky, sorry that our trip was coming to and end.

Thanks must go to Andy @ Drive Botswana and Mike @ Explorer Safaris for putting this trip together. Thanks also to all you guys who contibute to the 4 x 4 community forum, it really did provide great information when researching this trip.

Source: Bryan, Jan & Beth Ferguson
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