Friday, September 30, 2011

Our first Self-Drive in Botswana, part 1

With this post, I will try to describe our wonderful first Africa experience day by day, along with some photo material. As this takes quite some time to produce, I will be posting seperate parts over the next couple of days/weeks.

August 27, 2011
Flight from Amsterdam to Johannesburg with KLM KL591 in a Boeing 777-200. Uncomfortable seats in economy, sober catering and the old entertainment system made it a long long flight.

Spend the night at a Protea hotel near the airport. What a fantastic first experience. Very friendly staff, nice atmosphere and the waiter came to our table with champagne for breakfast! Cost appr. ZAR 750 p.p. sharing.

August 28, 2011
Flight from Johannesburg to Kasane with Air Botswana in an Aerospatiale/Alenia ATR42-500 turboprop 42-74. First time in my life that I flew backwards! (not the plane, just my seat was opposite to my wife's ;-) Cost ZAR 4,072.00 for our 2 return tickets.

Friendly guy from Bushlore who told us he had been driving all day and night to deliver our car in time.
It's a Toyota Hilux 2.5TD DC 4x4, fully equipped with rooftent, camping gear, fridge, gas & water. Marco de Lange from Tongasabi had arranged this car for me. The guy gave detailed instructions, and spend a lot of effort on correctly filling in the paperwork. We dropped him off down-town and bought him some drinks for his return trip.

Did our first shopping at Choppies. Great to experience a supermarket in Botswana for the first time. Trying my best to drive on the left side of the road...

Off to Chobe Safari Lodge, to discover its already full. (you cannot book a campsite in advance, first-come-first-serve only) Hmm, I had not planned to already having to improvise on day one. Especially because the diesel-tank appears rather empty and it's 2 hours before it gets dark.

Used the wonderful Garmin GPS that Come-Along-Safaries had borrowed us for this trip. Loaded with Tracks4Africa maps and details, it was simple to find an alternative camp site: Senyati Camp, some 14 kilometers south-west of Kasane. (S17 52.362 E25 14.138, email) Rather deep sand road! Elephants! Me nervous! Don't wanna get stuck in the sand! Pff.... we made it :)

The owner is named Lou, a very friendly host. Honesty bar on the deck with a fantastic view on the waterpool some 10 meters away where elephants, baboons and others come to drink. What a great place to be in! Setting up the tent for the first time was easy. 5 Minutes and we were done.

Getting dark, lots of noises. Loud sounds from the elephants at the pool, kind of sounds you never heard in the zoo.

Cooked a lovely diner on the campfire, drank a couple of beers, went to bed at 20.00. Wow, what a first day!

August 29, 2011
Woke up by the sounds of ground hornbills at 6am. Thought it was people marching and singing in the distance! Black man came to make a fire so we will have warm water. Hmm, my wife had a cold shower.Guess that didn't work to well. I'll skip the shower for today... It is so nice here, that we quickly decided to stay a second night. The bread for breakfast is not as nice as I had hoped.

Went off to Kasane to look around, exhange 1,000 of our ZAR's into BWP's and get our 160 liter diesel tank filled. Surprise! We meet the same guy from Bushlore again, chatting with some locals. Seriously wonder if our car ever got driven all the way from Johannesburg. More likely, the previous driver had handed it in in Kasane too... (11 days later this proved to be true... Shame on you Bushlore...)

To be continued (soon)...


  1. Looking forward to the rest of your experiences.
    Great pictures too.

  2. Working on it, and on the 2500 photos(!)

  3. What a great post! Can't wait for part 2.. :-). Senyati Camp looks great,i haven't been there but now its definitely on my 'must-visit' list. How much did you pay for camping at senyati?

  4. Thank you Zina. Senyati was remarkably cheap, but don't remember exactly.


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