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Self-drive in Botswana

Self-drive in Botswana

Old Dec 15th 2004, 11:13 am
  #1  
Prcek
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Posts: n/a
Default Self-drive in Botswana

Myself, my wife and my brother have booked flights to Johannesburg for
next August, and we're now working on the details of the trip. Me and
my SO will arrive earlier and we plan to go see Kruger / Sabi Sand,
after my brother joins us 5 days later we'll all have about 9 days to
see other places. We're currently thinking about visiting Botswana
and Vic Falls (and maybe Namibia if we can squeeze it in). My brother
visited Kruger / Sabi a few months ago, and he says that after 4-5 days
of the "standard" safari stuff he'd had enough and really wanted
to do something different. Thus we're looking into renting a 4x4 and
driving around a bit (we've driven in India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and
other less developed places in the past and we go 4-wheeling regularly
in AZ / NV / UT, so we do have at least some basic experience). When we
asked our travel agent (based in SA) about this, though, they strongly
discouraged it - basically they're saying that self-driving around
Botswana is too difficult / dangerous for the limited benefit. We've
had a report from folks who drove through SA / Namibia / Botswana
fairly recently and their opinion was less clear-cut, though they also
cautioned about the many dangers and difficulties. Another issue seems
to be the availability of 4x4 rentals - from what we can tell, Britz
only rents for a minimum of 10 days in Botswana, and we really just
want to drive around for maybe 3-5 days so paying for a 10-day rental
would be extremely expensive.

Getting more specific, apparently the road between Maun and Savuti is
horrendous so our original plan of driving from Kasane to Maun is
likely impractical. Perhaps we could fly into Maun, though, rent a Land
Rover there and drive around a bit before dropping off the car and
flying off to see Moremi / Chobe / Vic Falls. Another scenario might be
to fly to Livingstone (and see the falls), then transfer to Kasane and
rent a car and drive it around there for a few days (maybe go over to
Lianshulu Lodge in Namibia and/or Savuti - those roads are supposedly
pretty decent), then return the rental in Kasane and go see Chobe
and/or Moremi before flying back to JNB.

The basic questions we have are - does anyone know of a 4x4 rental
place either in Kasane or Maun that would rent for a couple of days for
a reasonable price ? Paying Britz for 10 days (at $200+ per day) when
we only need the vehicle for maybe 3 - 5 days would be prohibitive.
Also, does anyone have any recent experience / news about the roads in
Botswana / Namibia in the areas mentioned above (i.e. around Kasane /
Savuti or Maun) ?

Thank you very much!

PeterK
 
Old Dec 15th 2004, 7:36 pm
  #2  
Hans Martens
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Default Re: Self-drive in Botswana

prcek wrote:
    > We've
    > had a report from folks who drove through SA / Namibia / Botswana
    > fairly recently and their opinion was less clear-cut, though they also
    > cautioned about the many dangers and difficulties.

Yes, it can be done. But you need to have at least some experience and
be aware of the possible dangers. Basically Botswana is big and empty
and if you get into trouble it may take a long time before help comes
along, if any at all!

> Another issue seems
    > to be the availability of 4x4 rentals - from what we can tell, Britz
    > only rents for a minimum of 10 days in Botswana, and we really just
    > want to drive around for maybe 3-5 days so paying for a 10-day rental
    > would be extremely expensive.

Well, this is for a good reason. You can not expect to drive to Botswana
and visit the parks and then drive back in five days. That is just
impossible.

From Johannesburg to Maun will take two days if you drive normally and
allow time for the necessary shopping. First day South Africa - Nata and
second day Nata - Maun.

    > Getting more specific, apparently the road between Maun and Savuti is
    > horrendous so our original plan of driving from Kasane to Maun is
    > likely impractical.

The road is bad but also the distance is huge. The worst part is the
Sand Ridge between Savuti and Moremi. It is just about 200km but it will
take you all day!

    > Perhaps we could fly into Maun, though, rent a Land
    > Rover there and drive around a bit before dropping off the car and
    > flying off to see Moremi / Chobe / Vic Falls.

Please study your maps a bit. From Maun you can drive to Moremi easily
and visit Moremi for a few days. Then you could drive back to Maun and
fly to Chobe and Vic Falls. But in Chobe you would need another
car/driver to get around there and drive to Vic Falls. Kasane - Vic is
about 80km but with ll the african style customs and time to see the
falls, you will need a full day.

    > Another scenario might be
    > to fly to Livingstone (and see the falls), then transfer to Kasane and
    > rent a car and drive it around there for a few days (maybe go over to
    > Lianshulu Lodge in Namibia and/or Savuti - those roads are supposedly
    > pretty decent), then return the rental in Kasane and go see Chobe
    > and/or Moremi before flying back to JNB.

I am not sure if you have an idea of the distances over there. They are
HUGE and "roads" (better trails) are often very bad. Inside parks you
can of course drive only around 30kmh and if you stop for viewing your
averag speed is even much lower!

    > The basic questions we have are - does anyone know of a 4x4 rental
    > place either in Kasane or Maun that would rent for a couple of days for
    > a reasonable price ? Paying Britz for 10 days (at $200+ per day) when
    > we only need the vehicle for maybe 3 - 5 days would be prohibitive.
    > Also, does anyone have any recent experience / news about the roads in
    > Botswana / Namibia in the areas mentioned above (i.e. around Kasane /
    > Savuti or Maun) ?

If you only have these three days, I would think the only real option is
to fly in and out from South Africa (either to Maun or Kasane) and to
book a safari there, with car and driver etc. I know self drive is a
completely different experience (I have done several myself) but you
would at least the 10 days, better even a bit more. And you need some
experience and skills. And no fear of wild elephant, hyena and lion
wlaking around your tents at night! :-)

Regards,
Hans


==================================
Hans Martens

Wildlife & Nature Photography
http://www.wildpicture.com
==================================
 
Old Dec 16th 2004, 7:25 am
  #3  
Philip
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Posts: n/a
Default Re: Self-drive in Botswana

    >
    > The basic questions we have are - does anyone know of a 4x4 rental
    > place either in Kasane or Maun that would rent for a couple of days for
    > a reasonable price ? Paying Britz for 10 days (at $200+ per day) when
    > we only need the vehicle for maybe 3 - 5 days would be prohibitive.
    > Also, does anyone have any recent experience / news about the roads in
    > Botswana / Namibia in the areas mentioned above (i.e. around Kasane /
    > Savuti or Maun) ?
    >
    > Thank you very much!
    >
    > PeterK
    >
To answer some of your questions briefly.

The roads in Botswana and Namibia are excellent; mostly tar or good gravel.

The road between Maun and Kasane has been quoted to me as 'The Worst
Road In Africa' It is slow going and mostly deep sand. There are also
clay sections so if you plan to go in the rains....up until April....
you should forget it. Otherwise it is easy enough, although slow with a
4x4. I am just back from towing a caravan through there via Savuti.
Full report http://www.touchthewild.com

You would need to start that part from Maun as I don't think you can get
the neccessary permit from Kasane.

I will stand corrected but I don't think you can hire 4x4's in either
Maun or Kasane. Britz are probably the best hire company there is; I
have used them several times before buying my own, and unless you are a
rally driver, you can't possibly drive from Jo,burg around Botswana and
back in much under 10 days. If you want to include Namibia, minimum 14
days, and that would be a 'rush'

I don't want to put you off, both Namibia and Botswana are wonderful and
relatively safe countries....Botswana in particularly game rich.

.......just read your post again, August.......can't get much of a
better time than that!

Phil
 

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