Gannaga Adventures

Tanqua Karoo National Park Panorama

Trips to the lesser known parts of Southern Africa

 

Kgalagadi Trans Frontier Park, Mabuasehube, Khutse, Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Kubu Island, Makgadadi Pans National Park - July - August 2009:


25/07/2009
Left Ceres with Land Cruiser 70 Series Diesel bakkie and heavily laden Nissan X-Trail with 4 passengers.

Tanqua Karoo - R355

Popped in at Stonehenge in the Tanqua Karoo (turn off at
S32 18.950 E19 39.137)
There are a fairly new tented camp and camping facilities.

Got my one and only puncture of the whole trip.

Slept over at the Brandvlei Hotel. Experienced a comedy of errors of lights on and lights off, missing blankets and toilet paper.
Still, we had a good night's rest. This is the first time in a long while that they had 9 people at the same time.

The other members of our party, consisting of 3 ladies in a Hilux Diesel double cab, joined us here.

Had a lovely meal at Die Windpomp Restaurant ("die Beste Pomp in Brandvlei")

26/07/2009
Went to Twee Rivieren via Upington - tar all the way.
As you enter the building there is the SA KTFNP official first on the left, then the SA Customs desk followed by the SA passport control.
First on the right is the Botswana KTFNP official, followed by the Botswana Passport control.

Border procedures, if camping on the Botswana side only:
Go to the SA Passport control first, then SA Customs, then Botswana KTFNP official, then Botswana passport control.
The SA guys checked my vehicle papers and vehicle details.

Note that you cannot pay Botswana Road Tax or 3rd party insurance at this border post.
We tried to pay elsewhere in Botswana without luck and left the country without paying.

There is a detour to Nossob. On the SA side one will have to go towards Mata Mata and take one of the dune roads to get to Nossob.
Otherwise follow the detour signposted just past the second gate from Twee Rivieren to Rooiputs.
This detour eventually joins up where the first dune road meets the Twee Rivieren to Nossob road.

Camped at Rooiputs.
Saw a brown hyena cross in front of us on the track to Rooiputs.

Brown Hyena
There is no water at Rooiputs.

27/07/2009
Rooiputs - Mata Mata - Twee Rivieren - Rooiputs
Saw 26 giraffes.
Camped at Rooiputs.

28/07/2009
Rooiputs to Motopi 2 camp. (KTMOT02)
About 10km from Nossob there is a dune where the Hilux got stuck up to its axle. We dug it out and used sand ladders and manpower to get it over the dune.
The Nissan X-Trail only had enough power to get up 2/3 of the dune. I used the Cruiser with a snatch rope and tow rope to get it over the top.
There are signs that other people had camped here, probably because they could not get over the dune.
The rest of the stretch was easy with only a few sandy spots.

29/07/2009
Motopi 2 camp to Mabuasehube Pan site 3 (GMA3 / KTMAB03)
This site has the famous dripping shower. Water ice cold. Bird life excellent.

Hornbills
Visits by black backed jackals and cape foxes.
Saw white backed and lappet faced vultures at a nearby waterhole.
None of the famous lions.

30/07/2009
Stayed in camp watching birds and washed some clothes.
No sign or sound of lions.

31/07/2009
Mabuasehube to Jwaneng via the Northern cut line
Hilux wrote off a tyre on the cut line road because of driving with too low tyre pressure and lots of sticks protruding from the sand.

Tyre change

Note: There is a new turnoff to Kokotsha at S24 55.325 E22 57.393
There is no signpost. The road is blocked further on by a fence at S24 55.276 E23 00.184

The Nissan party leaves us for SA via Makopong.
Now its just me and 4 vegetarians.
Tar reached at S24 51.206 E23 16.073
From there it was good tar all the way to Jwaneng.
Note: There was no petrol/diesel at Sekoma
Slept at Cezar Hotel. (S24 35.528 E24 43.593)
There are no camping facilities in town.

1/08/2009
Jwaneng to Khutse
Tar up to Letlhakeng, where we filled up for the last time.
The road from here to the Khutse Lodge turnoff, about 5km before the Khutse gate, is hard surface. The last bit to the gate is very heavy sand.
Camped at Khutse Pan camp

2/08/2009
Khutse Pan camp to Xaxa waterhole (CKWIL04). Very thick sand.
No facilities.
The actual waterhole is at S22 17.376 E23 35.249
There are 2 lovely campsites right opposite the waterhole, although they may interfere with the animal activity.

3/08/2009
Xaxa camp to Xade Game Scout Camp, where we had to sign in and had a nice hot shower.
This was a long day in very heavy sand.
The Game Scout there said he had never seen a 4x4 vehicle with only 3 women in it.
On to Piper Pan camp 2 (CKP2 / CKPIP02)
The road up to 30km of this camp is very, very thick sand.
There is a waterhole at S21 46.685 E23 12.508

4/08/2009
Stayed at pan, went on game drive, saw 3 aardwolves.

5/08/2009
Piper Pan camp to Kgokong Pan (CKA2 / CKPAS02)
There is a wreck of a burnt out Mercedes station wagon at S21 40.453 E23 17.756

Burnt Wreck
Hard road all the way.

6/08/2009
Kgokong Pan to Lekhubu campsite (CKL2 / CKWIL07)
Good hard roads.
Most of the trees have been hacked down and there is very little shade.

Lekhubu Camp Site
No facilities.

7/08/2009
Lekhubu campsite to Matswere Gate Rest camp, where we booked out of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve.
The road from here to the Rakops tar road is in the process of being graded and has very thick sand and protruding sticks.
Stayed at the Xere Motel at Rakops (S21 02.835 E24 24.006)

8/08/2009
Rakops to Khubu Island

Sally meditating
Filled up at Letlhakane. (The first time after Letlhakeng - 945km)
There is a brand new Spar here at S21 24.791 E25 34.990
The shortest route had only been safe to use for the last 7 days. There were lots of signs of people having got bogged down and some had camped right there.
Have a look at this YouTube video
We advise you to go on a guided hike around the island with Nectar, the Man.

Nectar the Man

9/08/2009
Khubu Island to Njuca Hills camp (PNMKN02) - Makgadigadi Pans National Park
The road which we followed to the tar does not appear on Veronica Roodt's map.
The tar is reached at S20 10.491 E26 00.805. There is no signpost at this point.
The turnoff to the Makgadigadi Pans NP off the A3 is at S20 14.635 E24 51.993
There is no signpost.
There apparently is an entry point on the Eastern boundary of the park but I do not have those co-ordinates.
The Game Scout camp at S20 16.972 E24 54.375 was deserted and we could not sign in. There are flush toilets and water there.
The hills are a gross exaggeration for us Bolanders as the heights do not exceed 20m above the surroundings.
Note: Njuca camp #1 on the T4A map should be #2 (PNMKN02) and Njuca camp #2 should be #1 (PNMKN01)

Njuca Hills Camp #1

10/08/2009
Njuca Hills to Khumaga campsite
The road from Tsoe to the campsite follows a game fence on the eastern bank of the Boteti River.
The Game Scout Camp at Khumaga was deserted because the Boteti was in flood.

Boteti River in flood
Saw first real game on the whole trip (crocodiles, kudus, impalas, hippo, elephants, giraffe, zebras)
Apparently there were huge herds of zebras a few days before our arrival.
There are hot and cold showers and toilet and washing facilities there.

11/08/2009
Khumaga to Maun to Ghanzi.
There is a new, in parts very sandy, road to the tar with a gate and signpost at S20 12.426 E24 33.350
Left the Hilux party of 3 women in Maun from where they went on to explore the Delta for 5 days in mokoros.
Overnighted at Thakadu Lodge. There are luxury tents, ordinary tents and camp sites.

12/08/2009
Ghanzi to Khatu via McCarthy's Rest.
There were no hassles about us not having 3rd Party insurance or a road tax receipt - nobody asked about or checked the vehicle.
The SA guys again checked my vehicle papers and details.

13/08/2009
Khatu to Ceres via Tankwa Karoo.
The flowers were still great.

Notes:

1. Tour operators and locals seem to prefer cross-ply tyres with split rims even for thick sand driving. They say that the narrow tyres handle the tracks better and the sidewalls are tougher for the protruding tree roots.

2. Generally I found that, off-road, the expected times of arrival given by the T4A GPS data were based on an average speed of about 40 km/h whereas we travelled through the thick sand at the speed of about 25-30 km/h. Make allowance for this to avoid night driving.

3. I created a MapSource file (BotswanaFinal.gdb) which contains all the Veronica Roodt Map 3rd Edition 2006 GPS co-ordinates and some of my own which can be downloaded.

4. I used the Garmin nüvi 610 with the T4A maps Botswana 8.10.8 and the Garmap Africa Series 2009 (Topographical and Recreational) installed.
At times the unit would lose its place and no amount of "recalculating, recalculating" could re-initialise it. I found that switching maps and then switching back, solved the problem.
I really believe that venturing on a trip like we did without a GPS is a very bad idea.

5. We saw virtually no animals. The nights were very cold, but the days were pleasant. The tranquillity is what did it for me.
I prefer this way to travelling in the heat or in the rainy season, especially if it is only myself and 4 ladies.

6. The price of diesel was P5,99 - P6,02

7. I have a GRTraveltop canopy fixed permanently on my vehicle and found it to be perfect for my purposes.