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Mana Pools 2013


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Cape Town to Molopo Lodge


A year after our first eventful venture into off-road travelling, we were given an opportunity to join my brother John and his family again, this time to Mana Pools in Zimbabwe - we didn't need a second invitation! Mana Pools was a place that we had both wanted to visit for many a long year.


We weren't keen on taking the direct route up to Zimbabwe through Johannesburg and going in through Beit Bridge, so we went the long way around...up through the Northern Cape, into Botswana at Bokspits and then east across Botswana to Plumtree. The benefits of less traffic and much easier border crossings easily made up for the extra 300 or so km that we travelled.




We set off from Cape Town feeling excited and really looking forward to our trip up to Zimbabwe and Mana Pools National Park.


Our first day on the road was an easy drive from Cape Town to Calvinia. We left mid-morning and travelled up the N7. It’s a really nice road and a comfortable drive once out of the city. There were a lot of roadworks and stop/go controls between Citrusdal and Clanwilliam but the scenery is so beautiful looking over the Olifants River to the Cederberg range that it was actually not a major issue. We had plenty of time which allowed us to soak it all in. Pippa was particularly interested in the canal system running alongside the road towards Clanwilliam and beyond...it was apparently built some 40 years ago.



Backed up traffic due to construction


We arrived at Die Blou Nartjie in Calvinia late that afternoon and settled in before having an early dinner and then to bed. All very pleasant and comfortable.



Die Blou Nartjie


After an early breakfast the following morning we were on the road by 8:00am to our next stop at Molopo Lodge in the Northern Cape. It was bitterly cold!



Yup...it was cold!



Calvinia NG Kerk


We both enjoyed the changing landscape and scenery heading north which we found as fascinating as ever. That route certainly has some long, straight roads though!



Long and straight road



Sociable Weavers nest...one of many!


Molopo Lodge was comfortable and we had a pleasant dinner but we both felt the lodge was starting to look a bit ‘tired’ and the staff didn’t seem quite as attentive as they were when we stayed there the previous year. Maybe just an off night?



Molopo Lodge reception area


...and on through Botswana


We had coffee and picked up a packed breakfast/lunch from the dining room before leaving Molopo to be at the Bokspits border post at the 8:00am opening time. We were the only travellers there and were through both sides with minimal fuss within half an hour. The South African authorities had a quick look in the back of the Landy and in the trailer but were polite and pleasant. What a pleasure!


The Molopo River road to Tsabong is fantastic. It’s in excellent condition and the drive is easy and pleasant. Can one ever get tired of that scenery? With the red Kalahari sands to the north and the lighter colours of the river bed and the calcrete cliffs on the southern side of the road, it really is a beautiful part of the country.



Calcrete cliffs


Tsabong certainly brought back some memories from our previous year's escapades! When we went past the Mabuasehube turn-off I jokingly suggested to Pippa that we turn off and take that route to Sekoma. She said she was game if I was...maybe next time.



Tsabong "metropolis"


For the first couple of hours the A20 from Tsabong towards Sekoma was a lot narrower and more bumpy than the Molopo River road. Being ever mindful of the trailer and the problems we had the previous year I took it easy and was never in danger of getting caught speeding!



Always a danger when driving in Botswana


We stopped for the night at the Cresta Jwaneng Hotel (used to be Cesars). Nothing much to look at and certainly not your bush type of lodge but it was comfortable and the food was fantastic...their oxtail is probably the best I’ve ever had!


The next day was a not so pleasant drive through Gaborone to Phokoje Bush Lodge outside Selebi Phikwe. The A1 highway is generally in good condition but it's very busy and I didn’t enjoy the traffic and trucks.


I hadn't really registered how far off the A1 Selebi Phikwe is when I did my trip planning and got quite a shock when we turned off onto the A15 and realised that we still had another 50km to travel. It was worth it though. Phokoje was a very nice stop-over with very friendly and attentive staff. The shower and toilet in our chalet were a bit cramped but were accessible in my chair...just! It was also clean and comfortable so we'd certainly go back again.



Outside our chalet






Pippa settling down to a well deserved sundowner



...then on to Zimbabwe!


The border crossing at Plumtree was a breeze and we were through both sides in less than an hour. We didn’t have far to travel to our next stop-over at Shashani Lodge between Plumtree and Bulawayo.


Shashani Lodge is off the A7 between Marula and Figtree. The access roads are dirt track but they were firm and dry so there was no problem driving on them. There’s quite a steep climb up a kopje to get to the lodge and because of the angle of the car once we crested the hill I had no idea which way we’d be turning. That got the heart pumping a bit but fortunately there were no surprises when we levelled off and I could eventually see the track again!


There was a problem with access to the lodge though and a fine example of the perils of relying on internet advertising and online booking. The website said that Shashani Lodge was wheelchair friendly. It wasn't...clearly evident by the difficult access to the lodge from the parking area. Anyway, Pippa went in with the caretaker who had met us to assess the situation. She came back to say that it was a difficult route to our chalet but once there it was lovely and that the room, bathroom and toilet would be accessible in a wheelchair. We decided to give it a go.


Well, with the caretaker giving a hand, off we went. We bumped our way over a bit of difficult terrain to get into the lodge (which was beautiful) and then went out the front to the pathway and a series of stairs leading to our chalet. It was a steep climb and difficult going with the stairs compounding the problem. We arrived in one piece but Pippa must have lost a few kg's and I certainly gained a few grey hairs. Pippa was right though...it was stunning!



The easier section of our route to the room



The not so easy section



Our bedroom



View from the lodge



The chalets


Then the next problem. We asked the caretaker if we could arrange to have dinner sent to the room. The poor guy. With eyes the size of saucers he told us that Shashani was totally self catering and that he was the only staff member on the premises. Oh dear...the website said meals could be arranged! I think the poor guy had visions of us leaving and having to help me back to the car so was very relieved when we said we'd manage with the cheese and biscuit's that we had in the car. Thank goodness we also had wine and whiskey which was sorely needed! He was saved from further exertions...at least until the following morning when we left.



The bar...closed unfortunately!






Swimming pool


Shashani is beautiful and the view towards the Matopos is stunning. Well worth the effort and we were both very pleased that we stayed.



View of the Western Motopos area



Another view from our room



Even a bit of wildlife way down below us


The manager of the lodge (who lived off site) arrived with her husband in the evening. She'd been contacted by the caretaker and told about the wheelchair and meal issues. She was full of apologies and offered to go and fetch some meat for a braai. We declined the offer and invited them to stay for a drink. They accepted and went to fetch beer from their car. We were glad they stayed. They were a really nice couple and it was great having some company...we were the only guests at the lodge that night! She was very surprised to hear about the information I saw on the internet. Apparently the website is run by a third party and she was unaware of it claiming wheelchair access and meals and assured us that she would have it corrected. It has been.



Pippa enjoying the beautiful sunset



She didn't enjoy this visitor to our room though!


So after what turned out to be a very pleasant evening and after a good night's rest we left early the next morning for Harare with a stop at the Railway Museum in Bulawayo. Pippa was keen to see some Bissett family history on display there. This included her Great grandfather’s letter of appointment as General Manager of the Bechuanaland Railways Company signed by Cecil John Rhodes in 1897.



The track out seemed a lot steeper on the way in ... must be the camera!


We struggled to find the museum and at one point I suggested that we skip it and carry on with our journey. A very bad mistake! One look at Pippa's face told me that I was in trouble thick for even considering that option, which was incentive enough for me to sharpen my navigation skills very quickly! We found it and I'm glad we did. Pippa was thrilled with her visit and came back with a couple of memorable photos.



Letter of appointment



Beautiful old steam engine



...and stately carriage


The drive from Bulawayo to Harare was uneventful and we arrived at Jill and Ant's house later that afternoon (Jill and Ant are Pippa's sister and brother-in-law by the way). It was great seeing them again and being on the receiving end of their wonderfully warm hospitality...although Jill can be a bit cheeky at times! :-)


We were in Harare for 2 days during which time we stocked up on provisions needed for Mana Pools. We also managed to source a back-up for the deep cycle battery powering our trailer fridge which was showing critical signs of terminal illness. A good thing that we did as it turned out.



Part 2 - Mana Pools to follow soon.

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A fascinating report, really interesting to read about the long way from Cape Town up to Mana. And I really do admire you for doing stuff like that in a wheelchair - Kudos! Good to see it´s feasible. Looking forward to Mana Pools.

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...and on to Mana at last!


We had an early start from Harare and arrived at the Zimbabwe National Parks office at Marongora later that morning to meet up with my brother John, his wife Judith and their 2 sons, Warren and Brett. Their friends, Pierre, Sarah and 2 daughters Samantha and Tess, had spent a couple of days on a houseboat on Kariba and were getting provisions there before meeting up with us in Mana.


After the tortuous and bone rattling corrugations getting to the reception office in Mana Pools it was a relief to finally get to our campsite (Mucheni #3) at about 3:00 that afternoon. The trailer jinx continued though. This time we’d lost our jockey wheel. Fortunately a strong plastic packing crate under the A-frame gave enough support while we were there so it wasn’t a major issue.




With tents finally up and a fire going it was time to settle down to a whiskey or 2 and to enjoy the view. And what a view it is! Photo’s can capture moments in time and show the beauty of those moments but they can’t capture the atmosphere and the tranquillity of the setting at Mucheni. Watching the flowing Zambezi with pods of hippo starting to move upstream to the grassy banks while the sun set was an unbelievable experience.



Awestruck by the view?



Fire burning, sun setting...time to enjoy the scenery



An upstream view



One more sunset...such a beautiful time of the evening!


'Harold' the hyena introduced himself after our braai on the first night we were there. We were getting ready to go to bed when we noticed him calmly walk into the camp just beyond the fire. Quite an introduction to Mucheni! Fortunately our 10 shinning torches were enough to convince him to move on. He and his friends were regular night time visitors on the fringes of the camp and everything had to be packed away before going to bed.


My first night was quite an experience. I woke in the early hours of the morning to what I thought was a desperately hungry 'Harold' outside our tent and right next to me. What sounded like a loud retching, growling noise had me convinced that I was about to enter the food chain and that the thin canvas tent wasn’t going to be much of a deterrent! I resorted to my childhood tactics to avoid the bogeyman and buried myself deeper in the sleeping bag and lay there with very wide eyes, hoping for the sun to come up! When it eventually did and the others started emerging from their tents I was amazed that nobody else had heard anything. Pippa added that she had gone through the gamut of - is it a lion or a leopard, could it be the bark of a baboon, is there a buffalo in our camp...?? The general consensus was that it must have been the hippo feeding around our camp. Sound does carry a long way at night but that sounded very close!



A beautiful morning - Mana from Heaven?


We were amazed at how comfortable the elephant were wandering around the camp site area. Our first encounter with them was on day one. Pippa and I had stayed at the camp to catch up after a week of being on the road while the others went off on a drive. There was a lot to see and it was really pleasant just sitting around and watching all the different animals browsing on the river bank and around the camp. We noticed an elephant steadily making his way down to the river. At some point he seemed to notice us which sparked some interest in him. He was still a couple of hundred meters away and I wasn’t concerned until he seemed to quicken his pace and came straight towards us. He wasn’t showing any sign of alarm or aggression but I have a very healthy respect for these large animals and suggested to Pippa that we get into the car. She didn’t argue! The young chap seemed almost disappointed. He kept coming but at a more leisurely pace and then made his way past us and around the tents to browse the fallen Acacia Albida Tree apple-rings in the area around of our camp. We got out the car and sat quietly in the camp and watched from there.



Our first visitor



He's behind you Pippa!



John returning from one of his frequent photo shoots of the Ellies



Browsing outside our campsite



That's our tent just in front of him!


We had the pleasure of visits from various elephant every day and after our first introduction we were very comfortable sitting around watching them. I’m sure they were as curious about us as we were of them. John spent a lot of time during our stay there getting up close and personal and not once did they show any sign of irritation. An amazing experience.


Night two was the night of the lion! We’d finished eating and were sitting around the fire chatting when we heard a commotion upstream on the river bank. Sounded like a hippo splashing into the river. Brett shone his spotlight in that direction and picked up a whole bunch of tell tale yellow eyes moving towards our camp. John shouted an instruction “Davey get in your car!” There were a lot of Davey’s there because all 3 cars were filled very quickly. Pippa was the only one still outside. She was folding my chair to pack away in the back. I “politely” told her to leave the chair and get in! It’s not often that she responds positively to an instruction from me but she did that night thank goodness! We switched our headlights on and there they were, probably not much more than 30 meters away...7 lion calmly strolling past us. What a sight! We tidied up quickly after they'd passed by before going to bed. Very exciting!


Pierre and family were up early for a drive the next morning and the rest of us followed an hour or so later. We met them on their way back to camp and they told us that there was a lion kill near the turn-off to BBC camp.


It didn’t take us long to get there. They weren’t that far off the road and we had a reasonably good view of them feeding on the kill...an eland. There were 8 adults and 4 cubs. We wondered whether it was the same pride that had passed our camp the night before? Mother and cubs might have been trailing and only called in once the others had made the kill?



Feeding on the eland kill


They fed off the eland for 2 full days. We stopped off to watch them regularly during our morning and afternoon drives but getting decent photos was difficult because of the tall grass.



Keeping an eye out for potential danger


As always, there were plenty of elephant browsing around our camp over the next couple of days, including one that was feeding at the bottom of the river embankment next to our camp. Great excitement to be able to get so close! We got a bit of a fright though when he suddenly started climbing up the embankment. We didn't think he'd be able to manage that and we weren't slow getting out of his way to give him space!



Browsing next to the river



About to show his climbing skills!


The action hotted up a couple of mornings later. There were quite a few hyena and vultures that had gathered in the area of the lion kill to pick up the scraps and we were lucky enough to get there early and witness it.



Vultures patiently waiting their turn



...and Hyena starting to get impatient


The hyena were very eager to get their bit and were making repeated advances toward the kill only to be chased off again by the lion. Vultures too started taking up closer positions. Backwards and forwards with lots of yipping and yelping, the hyena kept trying to get to the carcass.


Eventually, after about an hour of this, we noticed the pride starting to move off into the bushes with their cubs. Two lionesses stayed behind to chase off any advancing hyena. It wasn’t long though before they both turned and followed the rest of the pride. Was their last stand just a diversionary tactic to give the rest of the pride time to get the cubs away?


And then the game was on! The scrambling and fighting amongst the hyena was incredible. They dragged the carcass across the veld and then across the track and it didn’t take them too long to devour what was left.



The first to get a taste






Dragging the carcass across the road



He didn't have it to himself for long!


A young bull elephant was by this time obviously fed up with all the noise and commotion and charged a couple of hyena that were close to him. They retreated at first and then turned on him. It was surprising and amusing to see him back off!



Fed up with all the commotion!


Pierre and family were only with us for the first few days before having to head home to Durban. It was great spending time with them and enjoying our evening drinks and braai (barbeque) while we shared stories of the day's drives and sightings. Nice though that Pippa and I were able to spend some quality time with John and Judith and the boys for the last 3 days. They live in Durban so we don't often have a chance to get together and catch up on family matters.



Group photo - thanks to John for letting me use it.


For the next couple of days things were relatively quiet from a game viewing point of view. How do you top the spectacle of the lion kill and the aftermath? We spent quite a lot of time relaxing in the camp and to be honest I was quite happy doing that. There was always more than enough happening around there to keep us occupied. Lots of hippo and crocodile in the river and there were always impala and waterbuck browsing close by.



Plenty of these guys on the river banks



Midday siesta









We were lucky to have had a couple of kudu close to the camp as well.


Not to forget the regular elephant visits which are always special.



That's the campsite ablution block on the right!



It was fascinating watching some of them crossing the Zambezi to get to the Zambian side of the river.



On an island half way across the river


Warren and Brett did a fair bit of fishing from the river bank. The Zambezi is renown for it's tiger fish which put up a challenging fight. There was great excitement when they caught their first one!



Brett and Warren with their first catch



...and as always, catch and release!


We tried a few different routes on our drives over the last couple of days. The view from Mana Mouth was fantastic and we had a couple of nice bird sightings there.



A view from Mana Mouth



White-fronted Bee-eater



We also spotted a couple of buffalo that had come down from the escarpment.



Contemplating the meaning of life in the Zambezi Valley!



Looks like it tasted really bad!


We also went to New Ndungu to have a look at the camp site. Not a place that I’d like to camp in. It’s a very small camp site surrounded by dense bush. From what we could see even the view of the river was largely obstructed. Getting a trailer in there and having space to turn could be a challenge.


We’d heard that there’d been a sighting of wild dog on the Zebra loop so decided to get an early start on our final day in Mana and drive that route. We didn’t see the wild dog but Warren and Brett spotted another lion kill not far from the Hippo Pools. There weren’t any other vehicles around so I guess we were the first to see it?



Lion feeding on the buffalo kill while others have a break


This was a much bigger pride. We counted 14 lion and 3 or 4 cubs. We watched for an hour or so and in all that time the male lying in front hardly moved. He’d obviously had first go at the buffalo and had gorged himself into a stupor. Not the most dignified pose for the cameras!



With a full belly like that who cares about dignity?


Not a lot had changed when we went back later in the afternoon. The scavengers hadn’t even arrived yet. A pity we weren’t going to be there over the next few days to see the spectacle when they did.


We'd hoped to see the wild dogs on our way back to camp but no such luck. Next time maybe?



We stopped for a while to view this Marabou Stork. I'm sure his mother still loves him! :-)


And so back to camp for our final night in that magical setting. Nice to have a visitor waiting to see us!



A view of our camp


Well...after a fantastic week in Mana Pools our time there came to an end. We’d hoped to get away by about 8:00 in the morning but we were a bit slow getting ourselves organised and it was probably closer to 9:30 by the time we got going.



Iconic Baobab tree in the middle of the road to Mana Pools


Pippa and I got back to Jill and Ant in Harare at about 5:00pm. As sorry as I was to leave Mana I really enjoyed my first proper bath in over a week. The whiskey that Ant poured wasn’t too shabby either!


Pippa's brother, Roy, took us off the following morning to find a new jockey wheel for the trailer. We were lucky to find one quickly and Roy used his impressive new set of tools to fit it for us.



Replacing the jockey wheel...thank you Roy!


We spent 3 more very pleasant days in Harare. It was great seeing other members of our families but a pity that we weren’t able to see a couple of my old friends from way back when.



Up next: Mapungubwe and then home!

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@@Davesg Really liked reading your TR and seeing the beautiful scenery I love so much!!!

The picture of the hippo not liking his meal is great!

Mid June I will be back in Mana and your report is what I just need now to increase my anticipation!!!

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Thanks very much @@AfricanQueen. I'm glad you enjoyed the report. Enjoy your time there in June...I'm very envious! Mana is such a special place.

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@@Davesg great report and some beautiful photos. I fell in love with Mana Pools in 2014 and we are finally heading back there this year. We aren't brave enough to self drive, but we are in mobile camps and your report remind me just how fabulous that is.

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Harare to Mapungubwe

And so it was time to head south on our journey home. We’d booked 3 nights at the Mazhou campsite in Mapungubwe and had originally planned to go via Bulawayo and then through the Plumtree border post into Botswana and then cross into South Africa at the Zanzibar border post. It would have meant 2 long days on the road though and I was worried about delays on the Harare/Bulawayo stretch due to extensive road works. In the end we decided to bite the bullet and go via Beit Bridge with an over night stop at the Lion and Elephant Motel.


The road from Harare is not in a good state and that, combined with heavy traffic and especially buses and large trucks, meant a fairly stressful day's driving. It was a good decision to take that route though. We both loved the views of the granite kopjes which dot the landscape.



Typical view on the road to Beit Bridge


The Lion and Elephant is still a great place to stop. Very basic but comfortable rooms, good food and friendly staff. We thoroughly enjoyed our night there which brought back very pleasant memories, for both of us, of previous visits at different times in our lives.



Time for a cold one after a long and tiring day on the road


We left the Lion and Elephant at about 8:00 in the morning for Beit Bridge, both of us worried about what we would encounter at the border. Our experience there last year was terrible and it took us well over 3 hours to get through then. This year was a different story though and we were through both sides within an hour.


We did have a bit of drama on the bridge crossing the Limpopo River between the 2 border posts though. At the end of the bridge there's an intersection with a feeder road for traffic travelling to Zimbabwe.There were a few cars waiting at the police gate so I stopped before the intersection to let a waiting truck and trailer cross onto the bridge. The driver tried to cut the corner too closely and didn't leave enough turning room for the trailer. He was within inches of us before he finally realised that he’d cut it too fine and wouldn’t be able to make the turn without crunching our car. I’d tried to pull in closer to the kerb to get away from him but there still wasn’t enough room. A scary moment!


Well...traffic going both ways came to a grinding halt. A policemen from the gate came over to try and sort things out. He asked me to reverse but that wasn’t an option. My reversing skills with a trailer in those days were hopeless at the best of times. Being sandwiched between the trailer and kerb certainly didn’t inspire me with the confidence to try. The driver of the truck was obviously as unskilled as me because he wasn’t going to try and reverse either. Stalemate! It eventually ended up with the policeman guiding me up onto the kerb (within inches of the barrier on that side) so that I could move forward and finally out of the jam. A close call.


We got to Mazhou campsite in the early afternoon after stopping off in Musina to pick up provisions needed for our 3 nights there. There was a detour through some farmlands to get to Mapungubwe main gate because of flood damage to a bridge on the main road. We both enjoyed the detour and the views of the working farm.


The road to the Mazhou turn-off near Pont Drif is a mess, full of potholes, but we had plenty of time so we could afford to take it easy.



Maintenance of the roads clearly isn't a priority in that part of the country!


We spent the afternoon setting up camp and settling in. We had a brief moment of embarrassment when we unhitched the trailer. I hadn't tightened the jockey wheel coupling properly and as soon as Pippa moved the car forward the front of the trailer dropped. Oops! I didn't have enough leverage sitting in my chair to lift the front of the trailer so that we could get the jockey wheel back in place and Pippa didn't have the strength either. There was another camper sitting outside his tent a little distance away he but didn't make any move to offer to help. I guess we were providing a bit of entertainment to break his boredom or maybe he was just interested to see how we'd cope? So, after applying my rattled brain for a while, it finally dawned on me that we could use the Land Rover jack to lift the trailer and position the jockey wheel properly! I was very proud of my problem solving ability and gave our neighbour a big smile once the job was successfully completed. A celebratory beer was definitely deserved!



Clearly a head scratching moment and the little bushbuck was not as impressed with my skills as I was!



Even the little one needed some sustenance



Time for an evening braai


We’d both been looking forward to visiting Mapungubwe again. The Mazhou campsite is really nice and with the added bonus for me of having an accessible ablution block. We were both quite happy to spend some time relaxing at the campsite and watching various birds and animals moving about close by.



Southern Red-billed Hornbill



Ground squirrel





We did spend some time over the 2 full days that we were in the park driving around and visiting various sights and enjoying the scenery. Unfortunately there had been a lot of flood damage earlier in the year so the Maloutswa Hide was all but washed away and totally inaccessible, which was a pity.



What was left of the Moloutswa Hide






Ever present Zebra


We also took a drive through to the tree walk on the Limpopo. Most of it is still intact but the final viewing point was damaged and closed to the public. Once again very little game to be seen but still an enjoyable drive through the park.



Easily accessible and some nice views up there



Looking down at the Limpopo river



Another view



Our 3 nights at Mapungubwe were soon over and it was time to head back home. We both enjoyed our time there. Sad to see all the damage from the floods though.


Finally...the long road home via Johannesburg and Karoo National Park


Our first stop after Mapungubwe was an overnight stay with Pippa’s brother Neil in Johannesburg. It was great seeing Neil and Liz again. We travelled with them through Chobe and Zimbabwe and to Mapungubwe on our first trip the previous year so I think they were quite interested to hear about our Mana Pools trip.


Jo’burg isn’t a place that I’ve driven in much and I was a bit unsure about the roads and traffic getting onto the N1 and heading south when we left Neil. I was pleasantly surprised though. Even at 8:00 in the morning the traffic moved quickly and freely and the roads were well sign-posted so we had no problem finding our way out.


We hadn’t planned or booked a stop-over between Jo’burg and Cape Town and planned to keep going until we got tired. We made good time (in spite of all the trucks) and only had one brief scare. About an hour out of Bloemfontein I looked in the rear view mirror and noticed that our Oz tent was missing from the top of the trailer. My first thought was ....oh hell there goes R 8 000! My second thought was that I hoped it hadn’t caused any damage to whoever was behind us when it fell off. No doubt my thoughts should have been the other way around!! Anyway, while I was pulling off the road Pippa looked behind from her side of the car and saw that the tent had slipped down the side of the trailer but was still being held by the straps. Phew! We stopped and strapped it tightly back in place and checked on it regularly for the rest of the trip home. We've since learned to tie the ratchet straps correctly!


We eventually stopped for the night at the Karoo National Park outside Beaufort West. Good going and it meant an easy last day home to Cape Town.



Karoo National Park view of some chalets


It was our first visit there and we were both impressed with the facilities and the park. The Karoo really is a special place. I do feel that their prices are a bit steep though. We’d like to go back and spend more time there sometime but maybe when the weather is warmer and we can camp?



Bleary eyed in the early morning



A view from the reception and restaurant parking area



Mountain Zebra


We left Karoo National Park fairly early the next morning for an easy and uneventful drive back home. We'd been away a day short of 4 weeks and had driven about 6 500kms. Nice to be back in the comfort of one’s own home but we didn’t enjoy the change in temperature from the warmer weather up north!



Hex River Valley


It was a fantastic holiday and Mana Pools is truly an amazing place and well worth visiting. We were determined to go back sometime in the future...and did just that in 2016.

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Really enjoyed reading this report @@Davesg

Mana Pools is my favourite place in Africa.

Looking forward to hearing about the 2016 trip.

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Thank you very much @@Zim Girl. I share your feelings about Mana Pools.

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I zeroed in on the Mana Pools part, but I have to give credit to the balancing dik diks.


Good thing the bogeyman was just vegetarian hippos, so you were not welcomed into the food chain. They hyena were strutting around with their carcass, presenting some good shots.


You had the beauty and action of Mana Pools!

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Peter Connan

Thank you Dave, I really enjoyed this report. Mana is definately still top of my bucket list!

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