Self drive Kgalagadi & Mabuasehube July/August 2013 – South Africa & Botswana

Polentswa, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Botswana
Polentswa, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Botswana

 

I love nice surprises and last April I was over the moon when I managed to get 2 weeks of unexpected extra holiday from work.  Now what to do with them?  Silly question, Africa of course! Within 2 days I had a new self drive trip organized for July to visit the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.  I had spent a week there in July 2008 and have been itching to go back ever since.  I vowed I will never ever under any circumstance do it in July again though – too cold.  But the extra holiday from work came with strings attached – it had to be in July or early August.  Being cold is a reasonable price to pay to be in Africa instead of the office.  Moremi was already fully booked and all other options were simply too far or expensive for a 2 week trip.

 

I was very lucky at finding some spaces open for the South Africa side of the KTP – July was almost booked solid.  But nothing at the camps I wanted.  Luckily the Botswana side still had space though some campsites were fully booked too.  The real problem was that our favourite car rental company, Bushlore, had already booked all of their Toyota Hilux, our favourite car model.  So after revising our budget we decided to hire one of their Land Cruisers – the very last one they had available.  The only reason I never rented one of these beauties is that they are expensive to rent and honestly the cheaper Hilux are perfectly capable for these kind of trips  at a more reasonable price.  Now I am hooked on Land Cruisers – they are incredible cars!  Love it, love it, love it!  My only complaints?  It is a thirsty beast – for almost 3400km we spent about 400 euros in fuel.  The other complaint?  I want one … so bad.  And it will take huge self discipline to go for the more sensible option to rent a Hilux next time.  Oh these first world problems …

 

We had a great time in the Kgalagadi, but at that time of the year the animal sightings are not the best due to the cold.  It was very hard work to find the animals and it took us a whole 6 days to come across our first lions.  But even with the sparse sightings, and the bitter cold we had an amazing time, so get yourself comfortable so that you can read about tales of leopards on termite mounts, cheetahs in trees and lions in showers!  Here is a 100-second video teaser:

 

 

Itinerary (click on the dates to get to the Trip Report Entry)

 

 

GPS tracks from the actual trip, plotted on Google Maps:
Kgalagadi Trip Map - South Africa & Botswana

Kgalagadi Trip Map – South Africa & Botswana

 

And here are some helpful links

Car Hire

Bushlore: http://www.bushlore.com

Accommodation

Rockridge Manor: http://www.rockridgemanor.co.za/

Campsites in the KTP on the SA side: http://www.sanparks.org

Campsites on the Botswana side booked through http://botswanaselfdrive4x4.com/botswana.htm (they do charge a hefty $100 commission for this service + additional fee for courier delivery of the papers, and there are alternative ways of booking hassle-free and for free (except for the courier of course), but they got me out of a pickle in 2010 & the least I could do is book through them this time).  Campsites used in the Botswana side of the KTP are still owned by DWNP and can also be booked by following the contacts on this page: http://www.mewt.gov.bw/DWNP/

Van Zylsrus: http://www.vanzylsrushotel.com/

Phuduhudu Lodge: http://www.lobatseaccommodation.co.za/p/298365/lobatse-accommodation

Other Information + GPS Maps

Tracks4Africa: http://tracks4africa.co.za/ - the best GPS maps to use on a self-drive safari, with all campsites and park tracks included.  However, parks in South Africa have very good maps that be downloaded from the SanParks website, and a GPS is usually not required.

4×4 Community ZA Forum : http://4x4community.co.za/forum/ - the best resource on the internet for up to date information about self-driving in Africa.  This forum really rocks!

SanParks forum: http://www.sanparks.org/forums/ - lots of helpful info about the SA side of the KTP.  More oriented towards the animal sightings.

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