New boswa, Botswana trip prep with children

Sardine

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Some good info here.
I skimmed over the other posts, so I apologise if I am repeating stuff.

This is based on my time living there from 2014 to 2018.

Converting Pula - at the border there is normally a little "Forex". The petrol station on the Botswana side will accept Rands, but they will mess you around. First they will say the card machine doesn't work, then whack you over R100-200 extra when you pay cash. Always ask to try the card machine.

Do. Not. Speed.
There are a lot of little villages where the speed limit drops to 40km/h for 3-5km. Drive 40km/h.
There is zero tolerance for speeding and they will whack you with a fine.
Don't even think about bribing the cops- the Motswana are proud people, and will take offense.

The road between Francistown and Nata was atrocious during my 4 years there. It was a smoother ride to drive on the side of the road, half in the bush. Take your time.
I think the A1 between Palapye and Francistown was redone and is now two lanes each way.

The People
Always greet them and ask how they are. Bonus points if you say "Dumela Rra (male) / Ma (female)". If you don't greet them (as any decent human being should) they will be difficult and rude.
Otherwise, they are generally a very friendly and helpful bunch.

Climate
Winter is the dry season, with that dry coldness similar to Gauteng in the mornings and evenings. Once the sun is up the temperature will rise to the mid-20ies. Take mosquito spray and Doom coils, and wear long sleeves to deter the mozzies. I never took malaria meds while living there.
Peaceful Sleep makes a child-friendly room spray which worked great for more confined spaces.
The vegetation should also be thinning out, which may help with sightings.

Game Reserve Etiquette
Chobe and Savuti - you may not go off the track. If you get caught, you will be fined.

At sightings, use common sense. If there are already 3 vehicles there, stay back until one moves, then move in closer.
Khwai was known for having upwards of 6 vehicles at a sighting. It stresses the animals. And as it is a common self-drive location, you get real idiots there.

Safety
Again, common sense.
Hyenas are curious animals, but very skittish.
Stay away from water, especially with the kids. Hippos and crocs run fast.
Buffalo are unpredictable.
When in the vehicle, driving with the windows down is ok, but don't hang out of the windows. Don't break the outline of the vehcile; animals see a car. Not people in the car. Until that car outline is broken.

Always have an escape route.

Around the camp, keep food locked up. Don't leave stuff lying around - the monkeys will steal it.
Always keep an eye on the little ones.

If you're going to use the lava-tree- check the ground for tracks. It is not unheard of for people to choose the bush with the male lion sleeping under it.

For the most part, these animals don't attack for no reason. Don't give them a reason.

Other
Have a well-stocked first aid kit, especially for bites and stings.
Plenty sun cream, hats, and water.
I personally struggled in winter as the wild sage caused my sinuses to clog up, but a saline nose spray quickly sorted that out.

Accommodation
Maun - plenty of places to choose from, but with the kids I would probably go for Sedia. The other places are more party spots, and they have smaller sites. Sedia is spacious, there is a pool, restaurant on site, and they had a big jungle gym.
Also plenty restuarants in Maun to go to if you don't want hotel prices - if you get there early enough, I highly recommend Hilary's Coffee Shop - she makes moer good coffee and amazing sandwiches. https://hilaryscoffeeshop.wordpress.com/
There's also a good curry place near the airport (Tandueri) that offers pretty much everything

Kasane - Chobe River Lodge has a nice setup, with camp sites available.
Taking a boat trip is definitely worth it!

Always ask for the SADC rate.

That's all I can think of for now.
Hope it helps!
 

Vis Arend

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Nou praat jy die man bang ;):D Was dit modder wat oor die teer pad gespoel het?

Not my pic but this is how we experienced the road between Gweta and Maun. Although just a bit greener.

Travelling from Gweta to Maun | Exploring Africa




Kannie onthou of ons met rande kon betaal nie maar ons kon wel met kredietkaart betaal. Die ry vir die kredietkaart was ook korter.
Nee man, dis deel van die sports. 🤣

Nee, daai teerpad het in modder verander, teer het opgebreek. Daai was omtrent 'n 3/4km strip wat onder water was. Daar was 'n toutrok wat voertuie opgelaai het en heen en weer gekarwei het, ek was dom en het self deurgery, amper nie deur gemaak nie.
IMG_7581.JPG

So het die pad gelyk oppad na daai waterstuk.

IMG_7496.JPG

IMG_7508.JPG
 

Xpat

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I do not have kids so that may play a role, but otherwise I think you are overthinking it - it is not like you are going to Antarctica and you practically live in Botswana. I wouldn't see this too different from a trip you might do in 4x4 in SA or Namibia (which you have done), except there is more sand and when in parks there are no fences around camp so when it gets dark you move inside to tent.

Have stuff in the car to get yourself unstuck like ropes, compressors, spare wheels and such (maybe high-jack), but i suspect that all that high tech (multiple batteries and solar pannels and shit will end up in more pain than enjoyment as it requires constant management and if you have too much of it and forget to switch something you might end up with dead car. But then I can survive on few cans of spam and sweetened milk for couple of days, which kids may not be so keen on (though I have seen 3 small Austrian kids living for 6 months out of van in Africa on exclusive fare of spaghetti and ketchup, so they might be even less maintenance).

Might be too long, but if time allows I would probably incorporate the following:
- drive through Transfrontier as it is quite different from other parks in Botswana.
- trip to Vic falls from Kasane - I wouldn't do it in my own car (too much hassle on the border) but rather pay travel agent in Kasane to take me on a day trip
- Hunters road from Kasane to Pandamatenga (you can go even further all the way to Elephant sands, but that southern section is considered dodgy because of poachers - I haven't seen any when I rode it, but I didn't have any kids with me on the bike).
-If you are heading to Thabazimbi as yoiu seem to, you might consider incorporting Tuli block.

It is probably too ambitious route if you want to stay somewhere day or two and for kids, but you can pick and choose. Here is the route on googlemaps - you can zoom in or out:

https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=1-j5AZbOXKbBZ10KiPkRD5sA_FN3ipEnx&usp=sharing
 

m0lt3n

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hehe, really appreciating all the feedback.

I wont be scared off, if I didnt get stuck once I will be a little disappointed. (famous last words)

Dont think I am overthinking it, I need to figure out a route to book. Seems like a lot of places are booked full well in advance. Also need to know where to get/pay Pulas (thanks for that) and other things to know (Do I need yellow fever vaccination?)
Other than that, I feel pretty fine, doing little things to make camping easier and make sure I dont miss stuff. (I almost typed now that car is ready...but forgot to arrange service)

Bigger challenge is to not have the rest of team members pack to much. One guy will be with a conqueror. I dont trust his new Ford or/with that heavy trailer.
Other positive from the thread is to help me motivate the others to stay committed. Life happens while we make plans...
I would prefer to not do this alone. But starting to think I will if I have to.

I feel guilty for my lack of updates, but havent had much time in afternoons to prep some more on the trailer. I am trying to keep it simple and organised. Big focus on organised. I hate searching for stuff.



I need to buy a spare tyre for land rover. I went up with one profile while spare is still smaller, not a good idea on AWD car. But my issue is I paid R4200 per tyre 3 years ago. That was the Cooper AT3 LT spec 265/65R18. Awesome tyres and the LT spec means its basically bullet proof.
Prices I am now getting is more than R5k for a much inferior Grabber non LT. Or R4k for something no name non LT.
And this for a spare.

guess I will just have to pay up
 

m0lt3n

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Some good info here.
I skimmed over the other posts, so I apologise if I am repeating stuff.

This is based on my time living there from 2014 to 2018.

Converting Pula - at the border there is normally a little "Forex". The petrol station on the Botswana side will accept Rands, but they will mess you around. First they will say the card machine doesn't work, then whack you over R100-200 extra when you pay cash. Always ask to try the card machine.

Do. Not. Speed.
There are a lot of little villages where the speed limit drops to 40km/h for 3-5km. Drive 40km/h.
There is zero tolerance for speeding and they will whack you with a fine.
Don't even think about bribing the cops- the Motswana are proud people, and will take offense.

The road between Francistown and Nata was atrocious during my 4 years there. It was a smoother ride to drive on the side of the road, half in the bush. Take your time.
I think the A1 between Palapye and Francistown was redone and is now two lanes each way.

The People
Always greet them and ask how they are. Bonus points if you say "Dumela Rra (male) / Ma (female)". If you don't greet them (as any decent human being should) they will be difficult and rude.
Otherwise, they are generally a very friendly and helpful bunch.

Climate
Winter is the dry season, with that dry coldness similar to Gauteng in the mornings and evenings. Once the sun is up the temperature will rise to the mid-20ies. Take mosquito spray and Doom coils, and wear long sleeves to deter the mozzies. I never took malaria meds while living there.
Peaceful Sleep makes a child-friendly room spray which worked great for more confined spaces.
The vegetation should also be thinning out, which may help with sightings.

Game Reserve Etiquette
Chobe and Savuti - you may not go off the track. If you get caught, you will be fined.

At sightings, use common sense. If there are already 3 vehicles there, stay back until one moves, then move in closer.
Khwai was known for having upwards of 6 vehicles at a sighting. It stresses the animals. And as it is a common self-drive location, you get real idiots there.

Safety
Again, common sense.
Hyenas are curious animals, but very skittish.
Stay away from water, especially with the kids. Hippos and crocs run fast.
Buffalo are unpredictable.
When in the vehicle, driving with the windows down is ok, but don't hang out of the windows. Don't break the outline of the vehcile; animals see a car. Not people in the car. Until that car outline is broken.

Always have an escape route.

Around the camp, keep food locked up. Don't leave stuff lying around - the monkeys will steal it.
Always keep an eye on the little ones.

If you're going to use the lava-tree- check the ground for tracks. It is not unheard of for people to choose the bush with the male lion sleeping under it.

For the most part, these animals don't attack for no reason. Don't give them a reason.

Other
Have a well-stocked first aid kit, especially for bites and stings.
Plenty sun cream, hats, and water.
I personally struggled in winter as the wild sage caused my sinuses to clog up, but a saline nose spray quickly sorted that out.

Accommodation
Maun - plenty of places to choose from, but with the kids I would probably go for Sedia. The other places are more party spots, and they have smaller sites. Sedia is spacious, there is a pool, restaurant on site, and they had a big jungle gym.
Also plenty restuarants in Maun to go to if you don't want hotel prices - if you get there early enough, I highly recommend Hilary's Coffee Shop - she makes moer good coffee and amazing sandwiches. https://hilaryscoffeeshop.wordpress.com/
There's also a good curry place near the airport (Tandueri) that offers pretty much everything

Kasane - Chobe River Lodge has a nice setup, with camp sites available.
Taking a boat trip is definitely worth it!

Always ask for the SADC rate.

That's all I can think of for now.
Hope it helps!

I have to say extra thanks for this. The tips for swimming pool and restaurant will help a lot. Its still a family trip, and days in the car will make for some very cranky children. We are not real avid game watchers, so while enjoying it there will be limits and some off days will be appreciated.
(will there be policing in the parks? while typing I am thinking-if I can convince wifey- to drop rear seats in car and give children more freedom to move or play inside car while on game drives)
 

Slainte Mhaith

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I wrote a pretty long trip report of our adventure. First time doing this, so mistakes were made haha but it was loads of fun
(also, fuck photobucket.)

Nice report. Must be hectic in a tent at night with big animals close to you?

T4A also dumped us in the mud. Followed the line not noticing an alternative route and promptly got all 4 vehicles bogged.
The track was probably done in winter when all is fine but in summer the surface looked fine but underneath was a mud bath.
 

m0lt3n

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Slainte Mhaith

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We did not do yellow fever vaccination and no one asked us for anything.

Information seems a bit contradicting.

Map: Africa showing areas at risk for Yellow Fever Transmision in Angola, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Central African Republic, Cameroon, Nigeria, Benin, Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Buinea-Bissau, The Gambia, Senegai, Burkina Faso, Togo, and parts of Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad, and Sudan.
 

Roadhawg

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please feel free to share some random pics if you still have some


I am about to fail a safety course at work...will read trip report a bit later
Do the pics show up at all for you? I dont think I can log into Photobucket because I refuse to pay for an account.
 

m0lt3n

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Do the pics show up at all for you? I dont think I can log into Photobucket because I refuse to pay for an account.
I enjoyed that now! Good read!
Pics dont show on my work browser (edge) but do show on my phone (chrome)


in your 2009 report:
'Some campsites are getting to the R300 pp per night'
I will report later what we will be charged. Namibia was R600 a night at the nicer places, 3 years ago.
 

Sardine

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I have to say extra thanks for this. The tips for swimming pool and restaurant will help a lot. Its still a family trip, and days in the car will make for some very cranky children. We are not real avid game watchers, so while enjoying it there will be limits and some off days will be appreciated.
(will there be policing in the parks? while typing I am thinking-if I can convince wifey- to drop rear seats in car and give children more freedom to move or play inside car while on game drives)
Happy to help :)

You might come across the BDF (Botswana Defence Force), but I'm sure having the seats flat while in the parks will be fine. You'll only be doing 10-20km/h.

Yellow fever, I got it for Zambia, but never got asked. Asking a travel agent might be best.
 

m0lt3n

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Anyone know anything about travel agencies in Bots?
First place we trying to book says they are full, Khama Rhino sanctuary. Seems like its a lot easier through a travel agency as they reserve spots for them.

Or know of any alternative lodgings close by?

Second night should be Khumaga, dont think we wll make it in one go and skip Khama
 

Slainte Mhaith

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Don't know much but think our team used these folk:

1652762221052.png

I think matching accommodation with your route might be the difficult part of your trip.

PS Ask on the forum for places around the places you want to stay. At Khama you might only have one option but around Khwai there might be a few options as example.
 
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