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  • "jhcolclough" started this thread

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Wednesday, May 14th 2014, 12:21pm

Cape town - Richtersveldt - Namibia South - NAmibia Caprivi - Botswana - CT 6 weeks

Just returned from an amazing trip with my Robyn, my wife, in our trusted 2006 3D 4*4 Fortuner with 200 000km on clock - 8500km in 6 weeks, 26 campsites. In planning this trip I had to start from the basics - we had camped allot but never a long off-road trip. So if you are starting out here is some valuable information.

I searched the web and both this site and the 4*4 Community site had amazing information but often very confusing. Lists were made and research done on makes, models etc. We found Safari Center in N1 City CT very helpful and knowledgeable and gave options plus the reasons for the options. So if you are starting out with a standard Fortuner expect to spend close to R 100 000 on the goodies you need for an off-road holiday.

First up get a GPS with Tracks for Africa - We were given as a present a Garmin Nuvi 2497 but would definitely go for the larger 5" version. Without this we would have been lost often and wasted a huge amount of time. Had to help others with directions to camp sites which can be 6km apart.

Fridge - National Luna Weekender 52l with cover - we stocked for 6 to 7 days with meals, re stocked each day with beer etc, set between -3 and -2 degrees C and never had a problem - cold beers every day and good food. Dual battery system with Ctek DC/DC charger system worked perfectly and could run the fridge for 3 days without recharging the battery. Also removed back seat behind passenger and fitted a wooden bracket with fridge bracket - this was amazing as easy to get to from the side door and also the right height to look into the fridge to see what is there.

Tyres - Hankook Dynapro AT at R 2000 each was a definite plus - cheaper than BG etc but only 2 very small leaks from thorns during the whole trip

Tent vs Rooftop Tent - we went with a canvas 2,5*2,5 tent, stretchers, mattresses etc. Worked well but with hindsight for the type of trip we did we will definitively change to a RTT - we got tired of setting up the tent, stretchers, mattresses etc and the extra space without all these items will be worth it. Security was not an issue although when a lion roars 20m from your tent the car becomes a good bed.

Other items included - ammo boxes (4), air jack, roof rack Front runner, LED light with 8m cable from battery system, spade, small paraffin lamps, gas bottle and cooker top, fire extinguisher (used to kill fire when gas bottle ignited - always check for rubber washer on gas appliances), tow rope, snatch rope, 27l water bag and 20L plastic water container, 2 * 20l Diesel Jerry cans, 100 l air compressor for tyres, toilet chair, seed net, 3 UP Ammo box cover Howling Moon (definitely not waterproof) and a number of bits.

We left Cape Town in rain and travel to Eksteenfontein on the edge of the Richtersveldt. Overnight with a great cooked meal at Kom rus n bitjie. Permit office only opens at 9 then off to Tierhoek - beautiful campsite in at the base of large rocks with caves - well worth a climb up to the top overlooking the valley. Next stop De Hoep in the national park - check if Gariep river in flood as they had only open the access road the day we arrived - no tracks in the sand at times to direct us but a beautiful site on the river - drove back over the Domorogh Pass - stunning - also knew that the pont at Sedelings drift was not working as river flooded so had to go via Alexander Bay to cross border into Namibia - 250 odd Km round trip. Make sure you get the vehicle permit as we did not but luckily at Katima Malilo were able to but one before exiting Namibia - other got finer R 700.00 for the boarded inefficiency.

Namibia - first 2 day at Aus (Klein Aus Campsite) - beautiful camps site and well run. Visited Wild horses, Luderitz (give it a miss but needed provisions) and the deserted Kolmanskopp mine - desert has taken over the old houses with amazing beauty but hot - 50 degrees. On to Sesriem with animals aplenty in the veldt. Stayed at the Sesriem national parks camp - great sites but noisy with overlanders. This seems to be a problem at other places but you are in the reserve and get an extra hour in the dunes in morning and evening. What a stunning part of the world - had visited before but will still go back - Sesriem canyon, Sussiesvlei, Desolation Valley, Dune 45, gemsbok in dunes and the best thing of our whole trip - the morning balloon flight and breakfast in the dunes - bucket list tick.

See next episode as need some tea. :)

FoX

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Wednesday, May 14th 2014, 12:54pm

Sounds like a very nice trip, Namibia is a very nice place. Great report

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GROBBIES

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Wednesday, May 14th 2014, 12:56pm

Excellent Report..Thank you... Can't wait for the next page
'' SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO GET OFF TRACK TO DISCOVER A BETTER TRACK ''



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Wednesday, May 14th 2014, 1:25pm

Awesome stuff! Bucketlist, ive now got a couple more boxes to tick
:beer: WHY???? BECAUSE I CAN!!!! :beer:

  • "jhcolclough" started this thread

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Wednesday, May 14th 2014, 1:33pm

Sesriem to Caprivi and Botswana

One thing we learned is to listen to your Fortuner - if there is an odd squeak, rattle etc - stop and check it out. At Sesriem we had a squeak and found the Tie rod nut was loose on front left - next stop Windhoek. Indongo Toyota advised we were lucky as if it had come looses would have damaged the CV joint a well. They had no stock but went out and found a pirate part and fitted for us - great service. 3 Hours later back on the road in a huge thunder storm and an overnight stop at Otavi - worst steak ever in my life - defrosted in a microwave and then cooked to death. Still a good bed and hot shower.

Now the adventure really started - into the Caprivi - masses of subsistence farms and then the bush - stayed at Ngepi for 4 nights to recover - beautiful area with a cage in the river for swimming, birds aplenty, WiFi. Visited the Mahongo reserve - lots of varied game in a small area and first Elephant. Stopped at Poppa Falls - disappointment as have been down bigger rapids on a canoe on the Orange river. Went into the Bwabwata Reserve across the river - beautiful drive, lots of mud but no animals - did see Roan and Sable so was not a complete write off. Boat trips and fishing on the river in the evening with beautiful sunsets. Rivers in flood so a number of areas are off limits as impassable.

Had another squeak on right rear wheel and found one of the bolts on the suspension rod had sheared and the rod jammed (luckily) into its bracket. Plans had to change so off to Katima Mulilo. It was a Saturday so only the local bush mechanic open - 3 hours later they had done the repair with who knows what but still works today. Bomac Auto gave great service and as we sat in the reception we felt like we were on the movie set of "No 1 Detective Agency" - kept us amused. we then went to Island River Lodge campsite as all the other lodges were under water. Great place and Robyn caught the first and only tiger fish. One thing to remember that this was the end of the rainy season so allot of places are still closed/flooded or inaccessible due to mud.

We back tracked to Nambwa - beautiful camp site with masses of elephants playing in the river at Horseshoe bend. Stunning part of the world but go soon as they are converting the camps site to a lodge. Moved on to Rupara which although probably the best camp site with your own shower and toilet, hot water from a donkey boiler - the area had no game and at time we were driving in the grass/reeds completely hiding the car.

Then on to Botswana

Vet fence at the boarder but not very efficient. Headed up to Kusane and camped at Chobe Safari Lodge - back in the real world, masses of people, boats, very expensive buffet dinner (not sure how they can offer that poor quality to paying guest). Now to book campsites - this we left too late as we had technology failures on emails and phones. Do buy a local sim card in each country. Went to SKL office as Chobe entrance and were able to get some site but as it was April and school holidays not what we wanted. Used all our cash to pay and then learnt a new lesson - when you can get money, food, beers, petrol do it - come Saturday the whole town had no internet - no ATM, Bank, Credit Card could be used and in Botswana no alcohol sold on Sundays. Spent the afternoon watching a movie on laptop in tent as had no money for beers or boat trips. Did do a boat trip on the Friday which was amazing - closest viewing of elephants.

On Sunday with no beer/wine headed off to Ihaha in Chobe - camp site situated on the river with stunning views and we were the only ones there. 100 plus Banded mongoose through the camp and baboons on tent. Will go back to here. The next day was a hard drive to Linyanti - heavy sand and mud. Beautiful campsites on river but the bush was thick and drives very narrow - closest I've been to an elephant bum. Lions roaring on either side at night but only found the tracks. Road down to Savuti was the worst we had - heavy sand in low range. Had no campsites available at Savuti but would definitely go back. Roller coaster drive down south to Khwai but had to detour to Moremi South Gate as roads into Khwai were flooded. There is a short cut via the Mankwe Camp road which although T$A says dead end at river there was none. The road was one of the best through the Moremi but thick bush. On arrival at Khwai 2 lions on a kill 500m from gate and camp site. Beautiful area and were able to get some beers across the river. Problem was most roads were flooded or had deep mud - almost got stuck following a lodge vehicle through the mud.

Off to Xakanaxer camp via detour roads to find an elephant in our camp. Apparently he is known for this but eventually moved off to eat amarula fruit outside the ablutions. Out of rainy season this place must be stunning but most tracks flooded - was a leopard on the runway but we missed this. Took a drive down to 3rd Bridge and luckily got a camp site as we were going back to Khwai (a long drive). 4th bridge is new but 3rd bridge was under water. We watched a group come over so decided to go and the Fortuner as usual was great. 3rd Bridge is a must stay area and although we did not see lions etc drove through about 100 buffalo.

It was now Easter weekend for us in Maun - Old Bridge Lodge - great vibe, food but camping cramped. Had booked some campsites over the phone in Central Kalahari but had to pay at the Wildlife offices - open every day but only for Maun area bookings. eventually Tuesday morning arrived and battery dead, jump started and off to get bookings done. Botswana must use the most paper I have ever seen to book a camp site. Got 3 nights in CK and 2 in Kgalagadi. Off to restaurant with WiFi to book SA camps in Kgalagadi only to find battery dead. Got a pull start and decided to head out as we had to stop at vet fence on way. Again battery dead at vet fence so had the police push start us through the chemical dip and back to Maun to Toyota for a new battery.

See next episode

Tal

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Wednesday, May 14th 2014, 1:58pm

Bliksem! Lekker
:beer: WHY???? BECAUSE I CAN!!!! :beer:

HERRIE

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Wednesday, May 14th 2014, 2:44pm

A picture can say a lot of words.................... :search:

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Wednesday, May 14th 2014, 4:02pm

sounds awesome....

  • "jhcolclough" started this thread

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Wednesday, May 14th 2014, 4:37pm

Maun into Central Kalahari, Kgalahadi and back to Cape Town

Being honest and not wanting to take meat across the vet fence, we found out that we could get good meat at Motopi on other side of vet fence on way to Rakops - well this was an experience - the butchery/general dealer had beautiful meat and after a bit of misunderstanding on how much we wanted went away with a fresh 2kg of fillet at 42 pulla (R50.00) - six meals. Filled up with fuel at Rakops and got some wood - poor quality so get stocked up on wood in Maun. Back to off road and into the Central Kalahari - had heard so much about this area we went in with trepidation but what a visit. Stayed 2 nights at Korie 4 (not as bad as I had heard) saw lots of general game and lions mating, 3 female lions drinking at Sundays pan. Then on to Motopi. This was the only camp we could get at the time but turned out to be the highlight of the trip. Out of the way in the North West of the CKNP. Although the drive from Kori is long and with the high grass did not see much this changed as we drove onto the pan - the water hole was crowded with Gemsbok, Giraffe, Kudu, Springbok and birds. The campsite are not easy to find no. 1 is 6km down to the end of teh road but on the way you pass No. 2 (probably the best) and then no.3 The view from the campsite was great. Went back to the waterhole for sundowners and as we were leaving saw 3 lionesses and some cubs in the distance starting to hunt. Too dark to see so we decided to get up very early. In the morning still dark we set off on the 6km to the waterhole. Just before we got there a huge male lion leapt out of the bush next to the road and chased us for a short way before turning back - heart stopping as we must have given him a fright. At the water hole were 3 lionesses and 6 cubs (2 from each female). What a morning, only us for 1 1/2 hours with the family playing. As we were about to eave a vehicle from the other campsites arrived following a different male. Seems the males were in a contest and we got in the way. The family then moved off into the bush so we moved back and packed up camp. On the way out on the 6km road a leapord crossed in fromt of us (9am in morning) and then sat and looked at s for awhile. Wow what a day. We then headed out via the Tsau gate to Ghanzi (another place to miss if possible). Stayed at Tautona Lodge - expensive, deserted and food average. Not sure if there is anything better in town but had to stock up for next 6 days. No Wifi at any hotel so did some booking on the internet at the post office.

Off to Kang (brilliant road) then to Kaa gate and the only campsite we could get Sizatwse for 2 nights. Heavy road to get there and very sparse game to non. This was expected but we had to do what we could. That night we were very relaxed - nothing here, when we were awoken by a lion roaring 10m from out tent (there were 2 lions as we saw the tracks the next day). This got us stressed and spent the rest of the night in the car.

Now we had no accommodation for one night but the guys at the Kaa gate organised a site for us and then it was back to luxury after a long bumpy rutted road to Gharagab, hut in Nossob and last camping site in Mata Mata - excellent trip.

From there an overnight in Keimos and then back to CT. Nice back road after Calvinia to Clanwilliam R364 - shorter than main road but dust.

If you need any info please get hold of me as we welcomed comments and suggestions from other whilst planning and during the trip. Off to Zimbabwe/Zambia in August.

FoX

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Wednesday, May 14th 2014, 5:24pm

Jis ek is nou baie jaloers

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Wednesday, May 14th 2014, 5:55pm

What a trip.
Wens ek kon dit doen.
Nothing is forever..... good or bad.

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Wednesday, May 14th 2014, 7:18pm

Ma se hare maar ek sal altwee by balle gee vir so n trip

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Wednesday, May 14th 2014, 7:57pm

Riaan
Ek ook... my krieket bal en my rugby bal.
Het lankal al my sokker bal weg gegee.
Nothing is forever..... good or bad.

  • "jhcolclough" started this thread

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Wednesday, May 14th 2014, 8:14pm

Some photos of trip - look at my profile on Facebook John Colclough

:rolleyes:

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Thursday, May 15th 2014, 5:08am

Thanks for the brilliant trip report.
I had planed similar trip for the July school holiday, but my leave was canceled last month, big changes at my work.

I am definitely doing this trip next June school holiday!!




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FoX

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Thursday, May 15th 2014, 7:30am

Quoted

Riaan
Ek ook... my krieket bal en my rugby bal.
Het lankal al my sokker bal weg gegee.


Hahaha

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