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Self drive in 2012?

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So did anyone do any self drives this year?


If so, where did you go, in what 4x4 and what resources did you you, from planning, to logistics, maps etc?


What's your advice for future self drivers?

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Kruger National Park and Kgalagadi National Park, no 4x4 needed


recources: SANParks.org and past experiences


advice: not sure we have a lot of self drivers amongst us ;-)

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Our first ever self drive on the continent took place in Namibia. We rented a camping equipped 4x4 Nissan double cab with a roof top tent.


Resources we used for planning


- lots of Web searching, especially for descriptions of campsites

- safaritalk.net (of course!)

- Namibia wildlife resorts (http://www.nwr.com.na)

- guide books

- the car hire company (everybody knows everybody in the Namibian travel industry...)

- experience from past trips



Planning & logistics:


* First we made a list of the “must sees” and plotted them in on the map (we used Globetrotter’s). Then we spaced out reasonable driving distances on a circuit covering the things we wanted to see, and plotted in candidate campsites in those areas (at least two sites in each area). We tried not to plan for more than 250 km of driving per day, and less if at all possible.


* We printed out descriptions of all the sights we wanted to see, and all the campsites we had picked (including how to get there), and made our own (not so little) guide book.


* Making a food shopping list was also very helpful, especially when shopping after a long night on the plane! We based ours on the list in “The 4x4 Cookbook” (Rita van Dyk) as well as on personal preferences.



What's your advice for future self drivers?


* Don’t plan for a long drive the first day if you arrive on a night flight! It was sooo good to have only an hour’s drive to our first stop.


* Apart from going to Sossusvlei, and also for reaching the Ongongo campsite, we never really needed a 4x4, but having a roomy car with good ground clearance made life more comfortable.


* Also, having an extended fuel tank (80+60 litres) gave us a good driving range without having to worry about running out of fuel. Having double tanks makes for long filling stops, though. Plan for half an hour to get full tanks.


* I’d not recommend a single cab even for two people - it’s good to have all the everyday stuff within easy reach from the front seats.


* Almost as an afterthought we brought a GPS equipped with maps from Tracks4Africa. We were very happy we did, as our paper maps turned out to be not too accurate, especially in the north. The T4A GPS maps were amazingly accurate, though. Don’t go without!


* The roof top tent was very comfortable and also very quick to put up/take down. The only small downside was that we had to take it down for every little excursion even when staying several nights in one place. But I’d still recommend it over a ground tent.


* As well as keeping each day's driving distance short, we found that starting the day early was a strategy that worked well for us. Then we would arrive at our destination fairly early as well, and could establish camp in daylight and actually have time to look around a bit.

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armchair bushman

I self drive almost everywhere in Kenya for a few reasons.

1. I'm a terrible passenger and there are very few people who I trust to drive me around.

2. I like the freedom to stop where I want or to NOT stop where I don't want (aka Rift Valley View Point curio shops).

3. It's generally cheaper and more of an adventure for me and my friends.


Essentials for self drive CAMPING in Kenya:

- 4x4 - Partly because of mud and bad roads, partly because high clearance is best for game-viewing

- Plenty of jerry cans of water for both personal use and for vehicle (radiator etc)

- Plenty of DRINKING water

- Working jack

- Well-equipped tool kit

- Extra engine oil and radiator coolant (I drive an old beat-up Pajero with 350,000 km on the clock)

- Safaricom (best coverage) Cell phone with car charger and enough airtime

- Necessary maps (yes I still don't have a GPS and many areas are not well covered anyway)

- Cooler boxes

- Dry ice if going to hot locations for longer than 2 nights

- Tent in good knick

- axe, panga, mallet

- Warm sleeping bag

- good mattress or camp cot

- Headlamp

- Powerful torch

- kerosene lanterns

- LED lanterns

- Gas cooker/meko

- charcoal and charcoal jiko

- Firewood

- Pots and pans, spatulas and spoons, plates, cups, knives, forks, spoons

- Dhania! (corriander/cilantro)

- Beer. Always bring more than enough. Enough or less than enough are never enough.

- Binoculars

- Camera

- Notebook

- Pens (plenty - they have a habit of getting lost or handed out to kids on the side of the road).

- valid ID or passport

- valid drivers license

- plenty of cash for any eventualities (including a little "chai" for the local constabulary)


My dad has a roof-tent. He has a Maggiolina from Italy, which is like the mercedes of roof tents. It's super nice and super easy to put up. Pretty easy to put down as well. But its very frustrating that you have to pack up all of your clothes and bedding and everything else and put it all away and climb up and down the ladder a million times getting it all stowed and the tent down just to go on a game drive. and then you have to put it all back again when you get back - and someone else has taken your carefully picked spot because you left no trace of being there.

So my personal preference for going on self driving wildlife safaris is to have a ground tent. You don't have to leave anything in there - although no one is going to steal your dirty clothes and sleeping bag. - but at least you keep your spot at the campsite if anyone else comes around while you're out.

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I agree with all the above, as I also only selfdrive and don't want to be bound to a camp rule and have a time factor hanging over my head all the time.Also like to go where I want and camp where I want.


3rd Bridge Moremi


Edited by A&M
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My name is Rob and I'm a self-driver. And I don't want to give up the habit.


I'm putting together a small document with a lot of the above in it as well as contact details for the car hire people that have responded to me (only 2 so far).


I agree with AB's list and the comment about having your great spot occupied during the day because you took everything with you and the daily pack/unpack cycle gets pretty tedious after a while.


That said I am not too keen to leave my $600 1.6kg tent alone, so I'm thinking to take that as a backup but hire a tent from the car people and use that. If it gets shredded by baboons or stolen no great loss and I start using my good tent (but pack it up every day).


I would also suggest two jacks (or a normal jack and a hi-lift if you vehicle has suitable jacking points) and some blocks of wood plus a snatch strap or tow rope.


There is another thread started by GW for this stuff so I'll post my findings there soon.



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