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CT to Mabua and back in 10 days

Posted: Wed Jun 22, 2016 10:41 am
by ThysdJ
Plus lions... :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:
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Re: CT to Mabua and back in 10 days

Posted: Wed Jun 22, 2016 10:43 am
by ThysdJ
It was time for a little break away again. This year we decided to revisit Mabuasehube on the Botswana side of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. We managed to secure 2 nights at Bosobogolo 2 and 3 nights at Lesholoago 1. The central (more popular) pans were booked out, but we decided to go for it anyway, as it would afford us the peace and quiet we were after.

Cape Town is a wonderful place to live, but spending time in the Kalahari is only about 100 times better. The only pity is the distance to get there, but we made the journey part of the experience (as always) and that makes the travel time bearable. :thumbup: :thumbup:

Re: CT to Mabua and back in 10 days

Posted: Wed Jun 22, 2016 10:52 am
by ThysdJ
After a very successful Dust Challenge Series event at Atlantis Dunes on Saturday 4 June, we spent the Sunday packing and tweaking the Hilux for the trip to Mabua. By late afternoon everything was done, Hilux was packed to the rafters, rooftop tent was fitted, water containers strapped into place and extra spare wheel and fuel cans on the roof. The fridge was running on 220v and the deep cycle battery was on the last stages of a nice deeeeeep charge from the Benton. We were as ready as we would ever be. :clap: :clap:


Day 1
We left CT on Monday 6 June just after midday, destination, Karoo NP outside Beaufort West for a rendezvous with our traveling companions Piet and Wouter. The drive was uneventful, and once we arrived shortly before dark, we had a braai and a few drinks to get the show on the road. :twisted: :twisted:
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Re: CT to Mabua and back in 10 days

Posted: Wed Jun 22, 2016 10:29 pm
by 3 Blind Monkeys
Definitely one of our favourite trips. Waiting for the rest of your report.

Re: CT to Mabua and back in 10 days

Posted: Thu Jun 23, 2016 7:44 am
by ThysdJ
Day 2
The morning was equally uneventful until we got out of town and on the road. Our destination for today was Vosburg, about 250km away. I decided to take E to see where it is we go once a year to make the Bull Run happen. On our way there we drove over De Jager's Pass, for all the right reasons. We stopped in at Die Rooi Granaat in the town of Loxton for a quick coffee, and from there it was blacktop all the way to Vosburg, via Carnavon and the world famous Blikkies Bar, where we popped in for a quick refresher. Once we got to Vosburg the sun was low and after a nice braai in the courtyard of the hotel we went to bed.
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What good is having a pass and not driving it?
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Some fella sitting on the side of the road
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Fun with the animals
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Working some
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World famous Blikkies Bar
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Braai in the courtyard of the Vosburg Hotel

Re: CT to Mabua and back in 10 days

Posted: Thu Jun 23, 2016 7:50 am
by ThysdJ
Day3
We made an early start because we had a loong day ahead. We had to drive all the way up to McCarthy's Rest where we were planning to make camp for the night. Our journey took us past the Mierfontein Pan where the BullRun activities take place. After some rain it is under water, and it looks like this year's Bull Run will be a rubberduck race, rather than a car event. From there, we hit out for Prieska, Griekwastad, Postmasburg and Kathu. In Prieska we refuelled, and had a coffee and then we hit rocky dirt roads, all the way from there to Postmasburg. Between Postmasburg and Kathu is a stretch of tar, but it is filled with mining trucks carting around iron ore. We were happy to hit Kathu, and once we got out of there we were on dirt roads again past Debeng, Hotazel until we finally arrived at Cullinan Rest Farm about 17km shy of the border post.
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Die Vosburg Hotel
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Tannie Spyker
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Bull Run Campsite
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Bull Run Playground.. Wet
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Looks like at the beach
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On the N10
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Far out
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Kalahari Sunset No1
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We arrive..

Re: CT to Mabua and back in 10 days

Posted: Thu Jun 23, 2016 8:44 am
by ThysdJ
Day4
Today we crossed the border without any problems. On both sides of the border the immigration and customs personnel were friendly and helpful. We were back on tar... BW tar... and the going was slow as livestock and wildlife shared the road with us. In Tsabong we filled up all the jerry cans and fuel tanks with diesel. We also restocked on Pulas that we spent at the border crossing. The local Sefalana shop sold us some very nice rump steaks and some other odds and ends. Just outside of Tsabong we decided to do a lunch stop and to gather some firewood from fallen trees alongside the road.

We arrive at the Mabua Gate after a long slow journey on the sand road. Sometimes 30km/h is as fast as we can go, and sometimes we can get it up to about 50km/h. The sand is firm, but very rutted and corrugations rattle the fillings out of our teeth.

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Sunrise at Cullinan
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Wood
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Re: CT to Mabua and back in 10 days

Posted: Sun Jun 26, 2016 12:25 pm
by Dadz Toy
Awesome!
You write good Ingrish Mnr!


Rich :cooldude:

Re: CT to Mabua and back in 10 days

Posted: Mon Jun 27, 2016 8:27 am
by ThysdJ
Day4 (continued)

So we arrive at our first campsite, Bosobogolo 2, our home for the next 2 nights. This is unfenced "wild" camping so we get everything ready, set up camp and have a braai before dusk, just to be sure we are ready to dash to the tents at a moment's notice. We spot a brown Hyena circling the camp, but thats it. We have a great night's sleep..

Day5
Our time at Bosobogolo was quiet in terms of predator sightings, but thats not the only reason we decided to come here. Wildlife in general was quite scarce, probably because of the availability of water in all the water holes. Besides the hyena and the hornbills we didnt see much. During the morning we drive out to Mpayatultwa Pan to see if we can get hold of some water for washing purposes. The taps at Mpaya 1 works and I fill 2 x 20l papsak waterbags with water. On the drive we spot a few buck, some meerkats and bateleurs. Back at our camp we use some of the water to wash dishes, and we have a shower later in the afternoon in our own home made shower cubicle under a Kameeldoringboom. Aaaaahhh this is the life!! Every now and then a few sprinbok, red hartbees or gemsbok would wander across the pan. Life is peaceful in the Kalahari sun. The second night was equally uneventful, except that the hyena came around in the early hours of the morning, grabbed an empty water bottle and ran off across the pan with it.

Re: CT to Mabua and back in 10 days

Posted: Mon Jun 27, 2016 8:30 am
by ThysdJ
Dadz Toy wrote:Awesome!
You write good Ingrish Mnr!


Rich :cooldude:
Dankie Richard. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesnt.. :twisted: :twisted:

Re: CT to Mabua and back in 10 days

Posted: Mon Jun 27, 2016 8:52 am
by ThysdJ
Day6
Today we pack up and shift camp to Lesholoago 1. after all the packing is done we take a long slow drive past Mpaya, Khiding and Mabua pans to our new home for the next 3 nights. At Lesholoago we have a luxury we didnt enjoy at Bosobogolo. A long drop toilet. No shower or running water yet, but at least we had a loo. We felt like royalty!! Unfortunately the last person who used it was a little messy, so we decided to spend some time to disinfect and clean it up for our own use. We pitched camp and familiarised ourselves with our surroundings. Lesholoago 2 across the pan had running water for washing, so we filled our papsaks again. This second filling lasted us until we left. As dusk fell we noticed a jackal lurking just outside the campsite, looking for an opportunity to come an scavange some food. We didnt give him anything. Our first night was quiet, and we woke with Kalahari sounds early the next morning.

Day7
Just a quiet day. We drove out to Manamodi Pans, Mpaya pan and Mabua pan to scout for some wildlife and to do a bit of sight seeing. We also decided to have a look at each camp site and make notes of the ones we would like to visit in future. Or at least the ones we would want to avoid. There aren't many of those... Back at camp in the late afternoon we bake a loaf of bread and have a braai. Life is great!! As soon as the sun goes down it gets cold, so we end up in bed shortly after dark as it gets uncomfortable outside and we dont have endless supplies of firewood to keep us warm.

It must be mentioned, that at this stage the levels of nervousness in the group had almost disappeared, as no predators were spotted or heard. Things were getting pretty relaxed in the group.... This was about to change..

Re: CT to Mabua and back in 10 days

Posted: Mon Jun 27, 2016 2:18 pm
by Family_Dog
>> .... This was about to change..

No man Thys - don't keep us in suspense like this! Gripping stuff :)

-F_D

Re: CT to Mabua and back in 10 days

Posted: Mon Jun 27, 2016 2:50 pm
by ThysdJ
To be continued next week this time.. :laugh2: :laugh2: :laugh2:

Re: CT to Mabua and back in 10 days

Posted: Mon Jun 27, 2016 4:53 pm
by Family_Dog
"We interrupt this apology with a short programming break"...


-F_D

Re: CT to Mabua and back in 10 days

Posted: Tue Jun 28, 2016 12:05 am
by Dadz Toy
You've got me hooked!

Better than Drive Out!



Rich :cooldude:

Re: CT to Mabua and back in 10 days

Posted: Tue Jun 28, 2016 11:00 am
by ThysdJ
There are very few things in this world that is more beautiful than a Kalahari sunrise or sunset.... Here are a few..

Re: CT to Mabua and back in 10 days

Posted: Fri Jul 01, 2016 9:02 am
by ThysdJ
Day8
During the early morning hours it happened. That what we came here for. We hear lions roaring close to our camp. It is dead quiet, we dont talk, we listen, the King is speaking. As soon as it is light we are out of bed, and we have a quick cup of coffee while continually scanning the fringes of the campsite for yellow eyes. We get Piet's Fortuner ready so that it can seat 4 people and armed with cameras we take off looking for them.

We find spoor at the waterhole and follow it along the road. Close to Mabua Pan we find them, a male and female pair, sneaking away from the pride for a some "private" time. They block the road, which suits us just fine, and we stop and take photographs. Both lions are in good condition, and we could see some blood around her face indicating that they had a kill and a feed the night before. Our presence didn't seem to bother them at all, they just went about their business of lying around in the road doing nothing. Every now and then she got up and walked along the road a bit and then promptly laid down again with him following close behind.

As we near Mabua campsite 4 we see people up in the road ahead looking our way, but the moment the saw the lions approaching they made a duck for their vehicle. The lions enter the campsite nonchalantly and lie down next to the A-frame. By now we are 4 vehicles following the pair and all the vehicles get into position for the show. She decides to find a spot in the shade and moves along and he goes and lies in the sun on the edge of the camp site. She must be hot blooded because it is 5°C outside and there is a wind blowing.

After a little while he gets thirsty and notices a blue cooler box next to the A-frame. He walks closer, tries to open it but smells only Lion Lager inside, not his brand. He settles for a seed net lying a few yard away and carries it off to the side of campsite where he tears it apart. We follow them along the road again, all the way to Mabua3 where they lie around the campsite for a while and then all of a sudden get up and disappear into the bush, never to be seen or heard of again. What an awesome sight and an unforgettable experience to see them so close up and to share a couple of hours of their lives with them.

Back at camp the level of nervousness among the campers is tangible. We came here with the expectation of seeing lions, but as time went by and we didn't see or hear any we became more and more complacent. Now we were jerked back into reality, knowing that they are around the area.

Re: CT to Mabua and back in 10 days

Posted: Fri Jul 01, 2016 9:13 am
by ThysdJ
Inside Mabua4 Campsite.
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Re: CT to Mabua and back in 10 days

Posted: Fri Jul 01, 2016 9:16 am
by ThysdJ
Amazing how people favour the male when taking pictures? I realised that when we got home and we looked at the pictures for the first time. Lots of pics of Harry, but almost none of Sally.. :silent: :silent:

Even though she was a magnificent specimen, and there must have been some poses where I could have gotten some half decent shots of her.


Maybe the PC youth of today will get that right.. :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:

Re: CT to Mabua and back in 10 days

Posted: Sun Jul 03, 2016 7:06 am
by george
Excellent Stuff :thumbup: Thanks Thys

Re: CT to Mabua and back in 10 days

Posted: Sun Jul 03, 2016 4:17 pm
by Dadz Toy
Gripping descriptive text Thys and lekker story telling photos!



Rich :cooldude:

Re: CT to Mabua and back in 10 days

Posted: Thu Jul 07, 2016 8:52 am
by ThysdJ
The rest of Day 8

It was an anti climax to be honest. We were entertained by some lions all morning long and by 11h30 when we got back to camp everybody was excited and expected a lion to jumpo out from every bush.

For the rest of the day we went about normal lazing around the camp activities. As this was our last day in Mabua, we decided to start breaking up camp before we retired for the night, in order for us to get an early start the next morning. After all the dirty work was done, we took all the water we collected in the park for showering purposes, and took off to the toilet cubicle for a warm and luxurious shower. Best Kalahari shower in ages.

Just as we lit the fire to cook our late afternoon/evening meal we had another visitor to the camp. Black backed jackal. She was very sneaky and tried her damnedest to get hold of the Joey's Boerewors in the bowl on the table. We tolerated her, unfortunately she is used to being fed at the campsites, but we didnt give her anything.

In the end she managed to grab our last tomato, the one that was supposed to go on MY braaibroodjies, when E was looking away, and took off with it. So we had braaibroodjies with no tomatoes. Disaster.

After dinner we decided that as long as the jackal was hanging around the camp the lions would not be near. So with that sense of security, we hovered around the fire a bit after dark. At about 21h00 the jackal all of a sudden took off. So did we, in a very "normal" fashion...

We slept well, after a day of great excitement.... At least we saw lions, we didnt come all this way to see a few Gemsbok, Blou Wildebees and a Jackal. :twisted: :twisted:
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Re: CT to Mabua and back in 10 days

Posted: Thu Jul 07, 2016 9:03 am
by ThysdJ
Day 9

We awoke to a spectacular sight. It was cold, and the Kalahari was covered in mist. Something you really dont see every day, or even every year!!

It was just before sunrise and it was dead quiet. All the birds were still sleeping or hiding from the cold.

After coffee and rusks, we broke up the last bits of our camp and before long we bid Leshaloago goodbye. It was a 22km trek to the main gate where we saw lion tracks just outside the main reception and alerted the manager.

From Mabua it was the sand road to Tsabong and the border post. At the border things went quick, no problems. We learned from the lady who stamped our passports in BW that the word Mabuasehube means "the land of the red earth".

From McCarthy's Rest it was dirt road to Kathu, tar to Postmasburg with lots of mining trucks and then dirt again to Witsand Kalahari Reserve. We met up with Petrus again, after 5 years. It was a long trek but we made it and we had a braai (the first one in 5 nights where nobody was watching the bushes) a hot indoor shower, and a good night sleep.
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Re: CT to Mabua and back in 10 days

Posted: Thu Jul 07, 2016 2:30 pm
by Haboob
Lovely pictures and well written Thys.
Thanks for sharing.

Re: CT to Mabua and back in 10 days

Posted: Tue Jul 12, 2016 2:10 pm
by ThysdJ
Day 10
Our last day, and we needed to make it all the way to Cape Town today. We woke up early and had coffee and rusks for breakfast. It was going to be a long day, but we had plenty of left overs from the night before to have a picnic on the side of the road somewhere.

After packing up the RTT, and saying our good byes to Piet and Wouter, who stayed on for another day, we hit the road at about 08h00. We crossed the Gariep at Grobleshoop and after a brief spell on the N10 we turned off towards Putsonderwater and Kenhardt.

We stopped in at Putsonderwater. Once a railway station for the local farmers that won Station of the Year a few times in the past. I also have fond childhood memories of visiting the Putsonderwater station with my grampa to collect supplies for his General Dealer shop in the nearby town of Marydale. That is where I was taught the finer art of "vingertrek" by the Station Master. There's not much left of the station, the station buildings were demolished, and besides a few empty houses and ruines there are only the tracks. Some of the palm trees are still alive but in a sorry state. Pity. We took a few pictures and left for Kenhardt. Once we got to Kenhardt I stopped at the petrol station to have the tyres inflated to highway pressures and E went to hunt for coffee.

From here, there is nothing much more to report, except that we drove in rain all the way from Calvinia to Cape Town, and that the N7 is completed, and is a real pleasure to drive!!

We arrived home at about 21h00 that evening after collecting the dog at Ouma, and having dinner there. Unpacking had to wait til the morning, as everything was pretty messy and wet anyway. :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:
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Re: CT to Mabua and back in 10 days

Posted: Tue Jul 12, 2016 2:25 pm
by ThysdJ
Where did we sleep?

Karoo National Park in the Caravan Park. Campsite 9
Vosburg Hotel Room 8
Cullinan Guest Farm Campsite just outside McCarthy's Rest
Bosobogolo 2
Leshaloago 1
Witsand Kalahari Reserve Campsite 11

We got super service at all these places. The people we dealt with were hospitable, friendly and accommodating. Except for Vosburg we were rooftop-tenting. We sort of decided that this will be the last time. Pitching our ground tent setup is not such a big deal even for 1 night. Also our vehicle is now rigged in such a way that we can access all the necessities without unpacking everything every time. At last.. after almost 5 years.. :thumbup: :thumbup:

Re: CT to Mabua and back in 10 days

Posted: Thu Jul 14, 2016 7:55 am
by ThysdJ
Our bookings were mainly done on the internet. except Mabua. :shock2:

To determine availability and to make the final booking for Mabua took countless emails from my desk to dwnp@gov.bw in Botswana and back. It took a lot of patience and careful explaining about exactly what it is I was after, but in the end it all worked out. They still work on a paper based system, and the email address is not manned by everybody in the office, so a reply to an email from them does not always land up with somebody that dealt with it before.

On our previous trip to Mabua I ended up phoning but the connection was bad and it was even more frustration. This time I knew what to expect, and got the whole process going with ample time to spare. Once the bookings were sorted, payment was easy, and about 2 weeks later a hand written confirmation with all the backing docs landed up in my letter box.

Re: CT to Mabua and back in 10 days

Posted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 10:26 am
by ThysdJ
Our lectrickery.

On this trip we took a 40liter Engel and some battery powered camp lights.

We decided long time ago to go wireless lighting wise, and to standardize on LED camplights that use either rechargeable AAA or AA batteries rather than fancy lights with built-in battery packs. The LED lights are so light on power that batteries last for ever on a single charge.

The Hilux is equipped with 2 auxiliary batteries. There is a 95Ah high cycle battery under the bonnet and a 105Ah deep cycle battery in a removable battery box in the load bin. We had enough problems with batteries in the past and we decided to be prepared. On this trip we spent 8 out of the 9 nights without mains power. On the days we drove long distances the 12A HcdP DC-DC kept the Deep Cycle charged beautifully. This battery did the heavy work keeping everything in the fridge frozen at -5°C.

In the front on the 95Ah high cycle battery, I have a solid state switch (http://www.4x4direct.co.za/battery-acce ... ystem.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;) to connect it to the main battery, which works great. This battery was mainly used to recharge camera batteries, laptop, power the GPS and back in the "States" recharged our cellphones.

During the days when we did not drive, I hooked up the solar panels (200W in total) and they made sure the batteries got topped up and that the fridge kept working at full tilt at the same time. The panels were connected through a Phocos 20A Solar panel controller.

We never had any shortage of battery power in the trip and the fridge was set to MAX all the time. This time we didnt spare the horses, and stress-tested it to the max. For the first time in ages our lectrickery worked for us.
yay!! :celebrate: :thumbup: :thumbup:

Re: CT to Mabua and back in 10 days

Posted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 8:27 pm
by Racing snake
Brilliant trip report Thys, thank you.
After a report like this I'm going to have trouble getting a booking for a couple of years, at least.
Seriously, it is a beautiful part of the world and the lions make it that little bit more interesting. A lion sleeping against your front wheel livens things up a bit when he starts "barking" in the middle of the night. Lol.

Re: CT to Mabua and back in 10 days

Posted: Thu Jul 21, 2016 8:06 am
by ThysdJ
Water.
We trekked 2x20 liter and 2x15 liter plastic cans of water with us. The 2x15liter we filled up at home for fresh drinking water, the others we filled at the last place where we got reasonably drinkable water.

We also too 2x20l empty papsakke. These bags are great. They fold up the size of a magazine, can hold 20l of water and have a "wine" tap and are incredibly strong. I got a stack of them from a mate who had connections in the wine making business around Stellenbosch. Whenever we need additional water, or we need to cart water over short distances, these papsakke come in handy. Once they are empty the take up no space at all. Well just about. Agrimark should sell them..

The water situation at all the camps were great. Seems like the BWNP guys did their job and fixed all the pipes, pumps and tanks, as every shower we visited had running water. In an emergency one can drink that water but it tastes quite salty. We had plenty of fresh water, and on the last day we had a 10 liter shower each just because we had enough water. 10 liters is a LOT!!

Shower

We have a Kariba K1 gas geyser and one of 4x4Direct's camp shower jobbies.. This works for us. The geyser doubles as a stove, but it uses a LOT of gas when you want to just make a cup of coffee. So we never use it as a stove. Image

Re: CT to Mabua and back in 10 days

Posted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 12:35 am
by ROOFER
thanks for sharing Thys , absolutely brilliant !!Love it!!

Re: CT to Mabua and back in 10 days

Posted: Thu Jul 28, 2016 10:13 am
by GI Jane
Thanks for the trip report Thys. Looks like Mabua side didn't get as much rain as the Nossob river side. Was there in Feb this year and was blown away by the flowers and the lush vegetation. I go there regularly and it was the first time I have ever seen so much water, vegetation and such stunning flowers...