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Zim - Bots - 2015
05-21-2015, 03:31 PM (This post was last modified: 05-21-2015 03:36 PM by BoetGert.)
Post: #21
RE: Zim - Bots - 2015
Day 8 Lekubu – Khama Rhino Santuary
04/29/15
Sadly my photographic skills are not up to snuff when it comes to capturing star trails but laying flat on our backs looking up we did get reacquainted with a couple of the constellations in the southern skies. Up before dawn to catch another stunning sunrise and you do not need much skill to capture those in Africa! Scrambling in the dark pre-dawn dusk just to sit and marvel at the beauty of it all is definitely the best way to start your day.
       
To say that the sunrise over the pans while perched on a high vantage point on Lekubu is a life changing experience maybe a bit much but it is definitely a memory that will stay with you for a very long time.
           
I wish we could spend more than just one day here since here because there are just too many a scenes you would like to capture and the experience of feeling like the only people on the planet is both disturbing and peaceful.
       
We would definitely like to come back in the rainy season to experience the flamingo migration. We are slow in packing up since there is just something about this place that makes you want to hang around just a bit longer and maybe it is also the fact that we are fast approaching the end of our adventure.
       
There is no rest for the weary so we slowly head out south across the pan towards Lethlakhane and onwards toward Khama Rhino Sanctuary outside of Serowe.
This community based wildlife project was established in 1992 as a safe haven for the country’s Rhino population which is currently being decimated across most of Southern- Africa. The reserve is not very big, just over 8500 hectares which almost guarantees that you will see a lot of Rhino.
We paid the Non Resident SADC entrance and vehicle fee of P231.00 plus a camp fee of P93.50 p.p.n. at the gate and headed to the restaurant/ bar for a quick bite to eat and to try another local brew, St Louis beer, light and crispy lager. Again we were the only people as we sat down to grab a salad and sandwich from the small menu but they definitely also cater to the steak and burger lovers, this is beef country after all.
The restaurant just reopened after a devastating kitchen fire that burnt it down to the ground and the lawn area around the pool area is coming along nicely. Watch out though, there is one particular black rhino that seems to have taken a liking to the swimming pool’s chlorine water.
The 22 campsites are pretty well shaded with each having it own braai area, water tap and dust bin but they are all without electricity. The 2 neat and clean ablution blocks are separate from the sites and some campers had to drive to do their ablutions.
Luckily we got Khama #4 which is the spot closest to one of the ablution blocks, whatever keeps your wife happy! There are also self-catering chalets available which are configured to sleep 2, 4 or 6 persons.
       
Campsite sorted we head to the Serewe pan and wouldn’t you guessed it but a crash (a herd) of white rhinos are relaxing under the acacia trees and man they are enormous!
           
Other than Black and White rhinos, there are also other big game species at Khama, such as the tamest Kudu we have ever seen, eland, zebra, wildebeest and even leopards.
   
However we had our fill on big game so we headed to the bird hide to marvel at the more than 230 species of birds found in the reserve, sadly we did not have a birding book but there was a tattered bird guide poster stuck on the back wall of the hide which was of some help in settling the arguments about what species of bird we really were looking at.
       
The hide’s water hole is frequented by other species of game, and a tower (a herd) of Giraffe snuck up on us causing us to almost jump out of our seats since they were only standing a couple of steps away from us!
The two spoor roads in the reserve are narrow in certain section with lots of thorny branches so a game drive catered by the reserve might be an option if you are sensitive about you vehicle’s paint job. You can also book a ranger for a guided walk and try to track a rhino for a close encounter with one being protected here.
       
As the sun was setting we headed back to camp for a bit of bush-veld tv, a hot shower and an early night.
Tomorrow is sadly last day of our trip, it should be a short drive to the border.
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05-22-2015, 03:50 PM (This post was last modified: 05-22-2015 04:38 PM by syncromad.)
Post: #22
RE: Zim - Bots - 2015
Day 8 Khama Rhino Santuary – Serowe – Martin’s Drift Border Post – Polokwane - Summary
04/30/15
All things must come to an end…..
It is still early in the morning as we reach Serowe to fill the up one last time, and the commuters are off to work during morning rush hour.
Serowe is a biggish town and there are plenty of opportunities to fill the petrol tanks with the cheaper Botswana petrol do shopping and banking.
The local drivers heading off to work during the morning rush hours make the drive a bit nerve wracking since we got used to two spoor dirt track with not another person in sight rather than this hectic stop and go traffic on the road. Luckily the cops are everywhere and they seem more interested in the local drivers.
We head towards Palapye unscathed but the road deteriorates as you get closer to the border due to the high truck traffic volume so not only do you have to dodge a couple of potholes but also pay close attention to the speed limit which seems to change without any rhyme or reason.
The last section of road before the border is under construction and since this is the middle of the week there are a lot of trucks driving and kicking up dust, I slowly start to feel the knots in my shoulders returning…..
The Syncro’s starter is acting up again and we decide to keep the motor running while going through the border but keep an eagle eye out. The border formalities are a breeze even if it is a bit confusing on the South-African side, you actually walk through the empty border building to a wooden Wendy hut up on the hill to get your passport stamped.
A final gate pass and check by a friendly member of the SAP and we are back in in good old SA!
Now I have heard stories of how notorious the donkey were in Botswana. I did not see a single dead one while travelling through that country, however we counted 4 dead ones, 2 dead cows and a rolled over Hilux pick up on our way to Polokwane.
Summary and Thanks
Stuart Stirling for the info and help in getting us and the Syncro ready for this awesome trip. Also thanks to “Dr” Paul at Syncro Hospital who worked long hours to tighten up the last bolts and nuts and running down a couple of electric gremlins in the Syncro before departure, that ensured that we had a relatively trouble free trip.
On the subject of preparations, I tend to over think the matter and invariable I feel on the first couple days of a trip that I forgot some critical item or spare part. I have realized that you cannot prepare for every eventuality, and that you do not have to pack more stuff just because there is an open spot in your car.
We were still pretty anxious beforehand since we were travelling solo and having heard of or read the horror stories about corrupt officials, bribes, unrest etc. in especially Zimbabwe.
This trip does not make me an expert on the situation in either of our neighboring countries but no one we dealt with ever hinted at a bribe nor were we asked for anything other than documents and required safety equipment. Everyone we met were friendly or at least courteous and the only annoyance was explaining to the Zimbabweans that we were not xenophobic!
I don’t know if I would want to travel solo again especially if our time is as limited as it was this time because it can put you in a spot where you do things such as drive till too late in the day and what should one do if something such as a calamitous breakdown or accident should happen? Should both of us leave the car and look for help, or should one stay with the vehicle, most likely the former?
These were the choices that bothered me in the beginning of the trip, but as we got more into the Africa rhythm we found that most of the people we dealt with were friendly and helpfully so I guess you should go with your best instinct.
It is also good to have additional company since there are only two “channels” on bushveld-TV, Stars or Flames!
If have to do it all over again and with the same kind of time constraints we would probably do it in reverse order and exit Hwange at the Padamatenga border post and skip Matabo National Park, but only because of time, an additional 3 or 4 days would definitely entice us to try for Moremi or Savuti, there is always next time…….
This is hopefully not the last of our adventures, Namibia, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania and Kenia next, anybody?
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05-22-2015, 04:39 PM
Post: #23
RE: Zim - Bots - 2015
thanks Gert best trip report ever,

think it is time for a solo trip, we always do the group thing.

think i will plan a trip to Zim and Chobe for April/May next year,

stuart

I may be a mechanic, but i can't fix stupid
Bad planning on your part does not make your issue an crisis to me
Bad workmanship by other garages does not entiltle you to better rates at me
Syncro, syncro , syncro and more syncro, this is the syncro way of life
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05-22-2015, 05:12 PM (This post was last modified: 05-22-2015 05:13 PM by BoetGert.)
Post: #24
RE: Zim - Bots - 2015
(05-22-2015 04:39 PM)syncromad Wrote:  thanks Gert best trip report ever,

think it is time for a solo trip, we always do the group thing.

think i will plan a trip to Zim and Chobe for April/May next year,

stuart

Stuart;
I agree that a too large a group is not ideal due to different personalities, and expectations of a trip and if someone is a GP then it sucks, but if you and your traveling companions are on the same page,it is magic.
I need to become a bit more familiar with the mechanics of the Syncro to feel truly at ease driving alone, but I have no doubts in the Syncro's its capabilities even with the "skilpad dop" on.
We are playing it by ear but the next trip is down the wild coast up the west coast up through Namibia and maybe all the way up to Zambia to see the place of my birth? Who knows maybe just keep on going all the way to see my boet in Nairobi?
Lotto don't fail me now Tongue

Have a great weekend, I will PM next week as to the progress on the starter etc.

Gerrie
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05-30-2015, 08:53 AM
Post: #25
RE: Zim - Bots - 2015
Brilliant trip report Gerrie. I only got a chance to read it now and thoroughly enjoyed it.

I definitely think a trip to the Maun area is on the cards in the not too distant future.Smile

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05-31-2015, 12:52 AM
Post: #26
RE: Zim - Bots - 2015
(05-30-2015 08:53 AM)BHM Wrote:  Brilliant trip report Gerrie. I only got a chance to read it now and thoroughly enjoyed it.

I definitely think a trip to the Maun area is on the cards in the not too distant future.Smile

Thanks
Next year we are definitely doing another trip where to only knows....

Gerrie
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