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South Africa & Botswana, we had a blast!


MR1980

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Hi Michel

 

Your itinerary was simply awesome - you stayed in some spectacular places and I can't wait to read about all your adventures.

 

Glad you and your girlfriend had such a wonderful time. I think you have been bitten by the Africa Bug. Once it is in your blood, there is no getting rid of it. There is no greater holiday than one spent in the bush somewhere in Africa - yes, it can also be very expensive, if you choose, but it is worth it. No drink tastes as good as a sundowner in Africa, with the glorious colours of the African sun setting behind a landscape of thorn trees. No music sounds as good as the call of the fish eagle, the laughing, cackling sounds of hyenas, the loud grunts of hippos in a pool of water, the low growl of lions or the noisy tree frogs, while you are lying in your bed, listening to night's most sublime orchestra.

 

Love that you loved it all. I do, too.

 

From a South African, who once lived in The Netherlands (Den Haag), and loved it!

Groetjes!

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August 26th 2012   The drive from Khama Rhino Sanctuary to Kubu Island is long but with our Garmin GPS and Tracks4Africa installed on it, it wasn’t too difficult to find our way across the pans. I r

August 28th 2012   Today would be another adventurous day with several challenges concerning transport by boat, plane & car… The 1st challenge was to get to the other side of the Boteti river! C

And so it continuous... Finally...   August 29th 2012   After a good night sleep at Discovery Bed & Breakfast we got up at about 06.30AM, had breakfast and went to Maun to get some things don

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Ok @@Game Warden, good to hear! I've just started so don't worry... ;)

 

Thanks for the compliments @@Marks, nice to know you like my photography!

 

Hi @@Lorenda, spectacular it was definitively! We had such an amazing time, although we love staying in a lodge with some luxury every now and than, I believe nothing beats sitting in front of your 4x4 watching the sunset and hearing the animals all around you at for example Xakanaxa, Moremi. One of many stunning locations... :) In the airplane on the way back from our South Africa trip back in 2010 we were already planning our next trip, we were bitten already. This year with the Kgalagadi and Namibia was again very special. But that will have to wait until this trip report is finished.

 

We live pretty close to Den Haag so we visit it every once in a while, great city!

 

Groetjes/Cheers,

 

Michel

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xelas

Great report @@MR1980. And you have worked well on your camera skills!! Personally I would prefer if you just continue with the rest of your trip here. Looking forward with anticipation for more!

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Thank you very much @@xelas! I will just continue in this thread to keep it simple... ;)

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  • 3 weeks later...

Sorry everyone, it took a bit longer than expected but the story continues!

 

On August 23rd we leave Marakele early in the morning because we’re heading for Khama Rhino Sanctuary (KRS) in Botswana, it’s a pretty long drive and we also have to cross the border of course which can be a time consuming thing sometimes. We had opted for KRS as our next destination because it would be about our only realistic chance of seeing Black and White Rhino’s on this trip and because there’s not exactly another attractive option between Marakele and the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park… Again we chose to stay for 2 nights as we like to avoid 1 night stop-overs as much as possible as 1 night usually feels a bit rushed and hectic to say the least. 1 Night is fine when it’s purely a place to sleep with nothing else to do at the location but we more and more prefer to stay at least 2-3 nights at most places.

 

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The border crossing went fine without much hassle and time loss so we arrived at KRS early in the afternoon but still a bit tired after our longest drive yet of the trip and the roads in Botswana are quite boring as in strait and monotonous. Check-in at the reception was again very smooth and we were on our way to our campsite before we knew it. Getting to our campsite was already a bigger challenge because there were some stretches with “thick” sand but we managed it. If we knew at this point that this was a walk in the park in comparison to the sand in the Makgadikgadi Pans and Savuti we wouldn’t have complained about it at all… :)

 

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We wanted to have a relaxed afternoon so we decided we would setup camp and leave the driving for the days to come. There’s a beautiful big Mokongwa tree in the middle of the huge campsite, a watertap/bird bath and a place to braai. What worries us a little bit is that the campsites seem to be in typical Black Rhino habitat because there are bushes all around us and you can’t see very far. On top of that I’ve read before our departure that indeed Black Rhinos are seen around the campsites sometimes. We also seem to be one of the few campers so we decide to shower early and try to start a fire, with actual wood instead of coals for the first time and we seem to be very talented because it burns like hell! We eat mushrooms and Boerewors accompanied with Amarula and we simply enjoy being in the bush before going to bed. Tomorrow we’re going to find us some Rhinos!!

 

Cheers,

 

Michel

 

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Edited by MR1980
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@@MR1980

I have come to this late as I was away when you started it. I am enjoying your report very much, interesting writing gives a feel for the experience. Your photos are very good (and worth displaying in the large size!)

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The campsite looks quite nice. The Amarula photo deserves special mention. :)

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the bottle looks to be unopened!

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Thank you so much @@TonyQ! I really appreciate your compliments and it encourages me to continue, although not as fast as I would like... I will listen to you and post my images in the larger size! ;)

 

Thx @@Marks!! Yes the campsite is great, really enjoyed our stay, especially because of the Rhino's but you will see them later.

 

@@marg don't worry, after I took that image I opened it! And that was surely not the only bottle that trip... ;)

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Peter Connan

A parrot in the birdbath, you lucky fish!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Rhino Day!! Today was the day that would bring us some great Rhino sightings, at least that was what we hoped… Luckily the reserve delivered with several great encounters but I will tell you about that later. We had a good night sleep but I am under the impression that the campsites are situated close to the parks boundaries because whenever we were relaxing at the campsite we could hear the sound of cattle bells. Not a very big problem but it does make you feel you’re not really in the bush. I wonder if anyone can confirm this? Maybe we were just unlucky.

 

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Rather than chronologically walking you through our day I would like to have the images do the talking this time and keep it short. We spent our day driving around the reserve for most of the day and spent some time at one of the hides in the morning and afternoon. During this time we saw Oryx, Springbok, Eland, White Rhino, Ostrich, Burchell’s Zebra, Blue Wildebeest, Kudu, Impala, Red Hartebeest and a Verraux’s Eagle-owl which was very special for us because we had never seen such a big Owl before.

 

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The best sighting of the day however was the one we experienced late in the afternoon close to Serwe Pan. When we drove towards the pan in the distance we saw 4 White Rhino’s (probably females) walking away from the waterhole in the opposite direction but we knew there should be a road across the pan so we hoped we could intercept them before they would be out of reach. Luckily for us there were not in a hurry, they just crossed the pan while slowly grazing so we could catch up on them and get some nice shots. But then all of a sudden a male White Rhino came from the opposite direction and was looking for trouble. What followed was a game of cat and mouse with the male circling the females several times and every once in a while there was a standoff between the male and the females. The females were definitively not interested in the male, that’s for sure… In the end the male got the point and just put himself to rest and the females left. The whole thing lasted for about half an hour and all that time the Rhino’s didn’t show any interest or were bothered by our presence. We had a great time observing them and Khama Rhino Sanctuary definitively lived up to our expectations. I will now stop talking and simply show you my images… :)

 

Cheers,

 

Michel

 

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Edited by MR1980
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Awesome rhino photos. Obviously they are enormous animals, but this doesn't always come across in photos the way it does here. Such impressive animals.

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Awesome rhino photos. Obviously they are enormous animals, but this doesn't always come across in photos the way it does here. Such impressive animals.

 

Thanks @@Marks! They were really big indeed. Khama Rhino Sanctuary is a great reserve for observing Rhino's up close.

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Morkel Erasmus

@@MR1980 nice Trip Report, good to see you on here.

I'm along for the ride!

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Atravelynn

You certainly did find yourselves some rhinos, among other creatures. Great report!

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August 25th 2012

 

Rise and shine!! Tonight we will sleep under the stars at magical Kubu Island and because of the stories we have read and pictures we have seen we’re looking forward to it very much. But we still have a whole day ahead of us and as usual the day starts with my favourite breakfast, fried eggs (sunny side up), some slices of bacon, mushrooms and Rooibos tea. As there are no ablutions at Kubu Island we made sure we had time for a shower after we broke down the rooftop tent and checked if the car was still in a good condition. Luckily this was still the case so after a nice long shower we were fresh and ready for another day of adventure.

 

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We decided to check out some of the parks hot spots for the last time as we still hoped to see a Black Rhino. We first went to the hide but after hanging out there for a while it was time to leave the park. Our time in the hide didn’t bring us anything new by the way, only the usual suspects. On our way out we made some nice panorama shots at Malemas Pan and we spotted our only 3 Gemsbok/Oryx of the entire trip but unfortunately the Black Rhino was nowhere to be seen. We would have to wait for this year’s trip to the Kgalagadi and Namibia for some quality time with these two species… :)

 

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After we checked out we were ready for a long day of driving. Kubu Island, here we come!!

 

Cheers,

 

Michel

 

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Edited by MR1980
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That breakfast sounds especially wonderful to me at the moment. It looks like the 25th was a gorgeous day to be out and about on safari, even without the black rhino.

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That breakfast sounds especially wonderful to me at the moment. It looks like the 25th was a gorgeous day to be out and about on safari, even without the black rhino.

 

It was a great day @@Marks! It's very important to start your day with a good meal don't you think? ;)

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Some lovely landscapes in this TR.

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Some lovely landscapes in this TR.

 

Thank you very much @@Geoff!!

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August 26th 2012

 

The drive from Khama Rhino Sanctuary to Kubu Island is long but with our Garmin GPS and Tracks4Africa installed on it, it wasn’t too difficult to find our way across the pans. I remember the most difficult part we experienced was just before we reached the pans. The road was going downhill and was full of big sharp rocks and branches so we were very carefull but we managed it without a flat tyre. Once driving on the pans we were amazed by the endless vistas and the sometimes moonlike landscapes. At one point we even had a couple of Ostriches running next to our car, very impressive to see them outrun us. We weren’t driving full speed of course, but still… :) We occasionally stopped to enjoy the scenery and to take some images and shoot a video or 2.

 

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Around three in the afternoon we finally saw Kubu Island waiting for us in the distance so we stopped again to admire the view and to take some images of ourselves with the empty salt pans in the background. When we were finished we drove the final stretch to the island, went to the “reception” and were appointed a campsite along the edge of the island. Campsites at Kubu Island only have a longdrop toilet and no ablutions whatsoever, so it really is back to basics. Even the campsites in Moremi are better equipped but we weren’t complaining of course, we knew this upfront. Our campsite is big and has views across the pans and on the island. We love the Baobab trees which are dotted all over the island and after we have erected our rooftop tent we decide to explore the island on foot. We had already planned to do this but the presence of the most annoying flies ever (until our stay at Mowani Mountain Camp in Namibia this year) forces us to keep moving because when you sit still you’re an even more easy target for these fellas… They just want access to your ears, nose and mouth no matter what so this was obviously something we didn’t like about our stay on the island. Fortunately when the sun goes down they aren’t a problem anymore so at least we could enjoy our braai in the evening and the tremendous amount of stars at night. This was definitively the most magical night we had during this whole trip as we have never seen the milky way more impressive than this night. Kubu Islands reputation for stargazing surely lived up to our expectations! We went to bed feeling very fortunate to be able to visit a place like this and slept like a baby.

 

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We’re out early the next morning to enjoy the sunrise and after a short breakfast we decide to pack our things and leave for our next destination, the Makdagikgadi Pans National Park (MPNP). We have enjoyed our stay very much and wouldn’t want to have missed it but we think we have a long and difficult drive ahead of us again so saying goodbye to Kubu Island is not very hard. The flies have returned as well by the way so we can’t wait to be in the car. After we have left we realise this was the last night in relative safety for a while because from now on we’ll be sleeping in hostile territory with Lions, Leopards and Hyena’s lurking behind every rock or tree, at least we hope so… ;)

 

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Till next time!

 

Cheers,

 

Michel

 

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Edited by MR1980
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FlyTraveler

Excellent trip report which I have somehow managed to miss so far @@MR1980 ! Really enjoying your photos and writing (will be back for more detailed reading), keep up the good work (posting) or with other words - thank you for sharing this wonderful experience with us! :)

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Game Warden

@@MR1980 More great panos which realy give a sense of the expansive scenery!

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Thank you very much @@FlyTraveler & @@Game Warden! Glad you guys enjoy my writing and images!! :)

 

I still have lots more to come, including more panos so I will try to keep you entertained...

 

Cheers,

 

Michel

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