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Offline wildside

BACK TO BOTS ~ KUBU ISLAND @ High Tide !
« on: May 15, 2016, 05:51:23 pm »
                                                         BACK TO BOTS ~  KUBU ISLAND @ HIGH TIDE!

                                                                                 18-28 March 2016


“ No License, No ride!”.

These are the words we repeatedly drummed into our daughter, Roxy, who was well used to scooters in the Indonesian traffic and a little bush riding but had never done the adventure side of motorbike riding with its excitement and discomfort.

Roxy surprised us all by passing her test first time round…thanks to a few hours of instruction by Hein Jonker from Bike Talk. The fact that she passed it using my XR650 gave me some confidence in her riding ability. Spending the first half of the year with us was a good opportunity for Roxy to join us on her first motorbike adventure and it was a real treat for us as parents to be sharing this wonderful experience with her. It was all very exciting.

So before we knew it the Easter holidays were upon us and 4am Friday the 18 March found us leaving the Midlands in a well loaded bakkie pulling a trailer with three Honda’s, 2x 650 XR’s and a 200R which Kingsley had rebuilt for the trip. It was now looking so smart and ready for a good adventure on the Makgadikgadi Pans.



SOME PRETTINESS ALONG THE WAY.








It was a long haul to Botswana and we reached the Martins Drift Border Post at 3.30pm. We passed about 2km of stationary long haul trucks on the road leading up to the border – looked like we were in for a looong delay at the border. We were originally planning to enter Botswana further south at the Stockpoort Border post but on reaching Martins Drift we heard that it was closed due to flooding….warning bells!!!
 Standing in the short queue were two other adventure riders on BMW’s also heading off on their own Easter adventure. Surprisingly it didn’t take long and by 4.30pm we stopped at the first petrol station at Kwa Nokeng to refuel and exchange some money into Pula. We were surprised at the exchange rate R1.55/1 Pula. We hadn’t budgeted for such a bad exchange rate so it just meant that Kingsley had to cut back on his beer consumption!








VULTURES TAKING CARE OF SOME ROAD KILL ALONG THE WAY.

At about 6pm we drove into Palapaye and used the GPS to find our destination for the night, Camp Ithumela. As we drove through the town we were very unsure of getting to the right place and when we crossed over the railway line, turned right and drove along the railway siding we were convinced we were in the wrong place. Passing dilapidated buildings didn’t do much to cheer us up either.




However, there were several signs reassuring us that we were on the right track and to our surprise we drove through a well marked entrance welcoming us to an amazing backpackers spot. There were plenty of tourists, some swimming, some playing pool and others sitting around a most welcoming pub. We were shown to our room, dumped all our belongings and shot off to the pub where the food was also absolutely delicious. Feeling sated we head off back to the room for a good night’s rest.















 This spot comes highly recommended if anyone needs accommodation in this town.


PALAPAYE to NATA LODGE.

Saturday morning breakfast found us at the Wimpy in Francistown and after negotiating our way around all the roadworks we were once again on our way to Nata. It was on this stretch of road that we started noticing huge pools of water collecting on the side of the road.
 
I had been communicating with Jon from the Makgadikgadi Aventure Camp during our preparation stage and he had agreed to keep fuel for us. I gave him one last call just to confirm this and to check if his camp was still accessible. I had been following the Botswana weather for a few weeks now and after speaking to Jon again  today he confirmed that his camp was inaccessible from the south with no access to Gweta and hence no fuel available for us. He suggested that coming down from the north was our best bet but warned us that there was still plenty of water around and we might not get through.

This really put a spanner in the works as we had planned to visit all the baobabs starting from Nata Lodge and heading south to Kerr’s Baobab near Kukonje Island, continuing south to Tlapana and westwards to Mmatshumo where we would head up north into the pans and onto Kubu Island. From there we planned to go to the Magkadikgadi Adventure Camp and refuel. En route to Gweta we wanted to stop over at Chapmans and Green’s Baobabs. We were also hoping to get into see Baine’s Baobab but that was also highly unlikely. It looked as if Planet Baobab and Elephant Sands were still on the cards though. We now had to do some quick rethinking and replanning as taking advice from the locals is a good idea.

OUR ORIGINAL MAP- PLAN A



"Heading out to where pavement turns to sand"
                                                         Neil Young

RIDE REPORTS:
*Namibian Meander 2009 * Botswana 09 *A(nother) Sani Sunday * Saturday Ride Fever * Welcome to the Wildcoast * Riding the Rift ~ East Africa 2011 * In and out of Snow Valley * Wildsides ride to the Bash 'n back *  Bali with my Baby~2013  * Unwrapping the Cape for Christmas~2015 * Back to Bots~Kubu Island @ High Tide 2016 * A Piece of Pondoland~2018 *Squaring the Circle
 

Offline ChrisL - DUSTRIDERS

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Re: BACK TO BOTS ~ KUBU ISLAND @ High Tide !
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2016, 06:06:17 pm »
Sub :thumleft:

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Offline wildside

Re: BACK TO BOTS ~ KUBU ISLAND @ High Tide !
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2016, 06:33:05 pm »
NATA LODGE to NATA BIRD SANCTUARY.

It was a relief arriving at Nata Lodge and once again huge pools of water greeted us at the entrance reminding us that they had recently experienced heavy rains.  We checked into a comfortable safari tent, off loaded our luggage and immediately donned our riding kit and head off for Nata Bird Sanctuary. We were so excited about seeing all the flamingoes and pelicans that would be visiting these flooded pans.









We rode the 20 kms to the entrance only to be told that we couldn’t enter as it was too wet with the roads under water. We pleaded with her nicely to allow us in and to give us a chance. Reluctantly she gave us permission but refused to take the entrance fee as she was convinced we would return shortly. She drew us a vague map and we waved her goodbye, eager to get wet. We were all so keen to get on these bikes and start our Botswana adventure.



Fortunately with all the rain the sand had compacted so the going was good until we came to huge expanses of water. We started off cautiously riding around the edges but were often forced to ride through them. Roxy handled her bike like a pro through these wet slippery areas. I took my first tumble and dropped my bike in a patch of very slippery mud ending up astride my bike and unable to get up as my feet would just slip further apart. Kingsley came to the rescue and we were soon splashing through more puddles. We had lots of giggles over my first fall. For these 7 kms in the sanctuary we slipped and slid our way through the muddy patches and took wide routes on the outside of the bigger swampy areas.


































 We were treated to some sightings of Wildebeest running nervously in the distance. Eventually we arrived at the viewing deck which overlooked a massive expanse of water….as far as the eye could see. Not one bird graced us with their presence….no flamingoes…no pelicans! We were so disappointed. Apparently it was still too early for them and they would only arrive at the pans within the next month. We decided to cheer ourselves up with a bottle of wine that we had brought for sundowners before heading back home.
"Heading out to where pavement turns to sand"
                                                         Neil Young

RIDE REPORTS:
*Namibian Meander 2009 * Botswana 09 *A(nother) Sani Sunday * Saturday Ride Fever * Welcome to the Wildcoast * Riding the Rift ~ East Africa 2011 * In and out of Snow Valley * Wildsides ride to the Bash 'n back *  Bali with my Baby~2013  * Unwrapping the Cape for Christmas~2015 * Back to Bots~Kubu Island @ High Tide 2016 * A Piece of Pondoland~2018 *Squaring the Circle
 

Offline Ian in Great Brak River

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Re: BACK TO BOTS ~ KUBU ISLAND @ High Tide !
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2016, 06:48:54 pm »
Been looking forward to this RR ...

 8)
1978. It's 6am, mid winter...two up on a XL 185S ... off to my first casino ever with all of R40 and we've got a full tank of fuel, so enough to get there we reckon.... that's determination...

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Offline wildside

Re: BACK TO BOTS ~ KUBU ISLAND @ High Tide !
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2016, 07:01:17 pm »
















Fuelled by wine and excitement we threw all caution to the wind as we approached every puddle with enthusiasm and speed and had such fun splashing our way back to the entrance. This was good preparation for what was to come.




















Back at the entrance we dually paid our entrance fees to a very surprised and bemused lady. It was about 5pm when we arrived back at the Lodge all hot, sweaty and dirty….so off to the pool for a quick rinse off and sundowners. In the distance we could he the rumblings of a distant storm.










Whilst eating dinner we were entertained by an amazing electric storm which completely surrounded us and we had no sooner got back to our tent and the heavens opened. Lying in bed listening to this storm left me feeling somewhat anxious and also confirmed that our Plan B would definitely be a better option.








"Heading out to where pavement turns to sand"
                                                         Neil Young

RIDE REPORTS:
*Namibian Meander 2009 * Botswana 09 *A(nother) Sani Sunday * Saturday Ride Fever * Welcome to the Wildcoast * Riding the Rift ~ East Africa 2011 * In and out of Snow Valley * Wildsides ride to the Bash 'n back *  Bali with my Baby~2013  * Unwrapping the Cape for Christmas~2015 * Back to Bots~Kubu Island @ High Tide 2016 * A Piece of Pondoland~2018 *Squaring the Circle
 

Offline Sardine

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Re: BACK TO BOTS ~ KUBU ISLAND @ High Tide !
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2016, 07:04:27 pm »
 :drif:

Offline skydiver

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Re: BACK TO BOTS ~ KUBU ISLAND @ High Tide !
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2016, 08:27:27 pm »
Interesting trip with nice pics  :thumleft:
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Offline Pilchie

Re: BACK TO BOTS ~ KUBU ISLAND @ High Tide !
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2016, 09:39:19 pm »
 :drif: :drif: :drif:
May you live as long as you want and never want as long as you live
 

Offline Xpat

Re: BACK TO BOTS ~ KUBU ISLAND @ High Tide !
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2016, 11:00:11 am »
You beat me to it - I'm still editing picture from our dash from south. Pity we missed you by one day in that Makgadikgadi Adv camp.

Offline westfrogger

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Re: BACK TO BOTS ~ KUBU ISLAND @ High Tide !
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2016, 12:59:08 pm »
 :thumleft:
Subscribed.
 

Online GSpear

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Re: BACK TO BOTS ~ KUBU ISLAND @ High Tide !
« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2016, 09:03:52 pm »
Sub.
Which maps are those you used?
 

Offline Ace Venture

Re: BACK TO BOTS ~ KUBU ISLAND @ High Tide !
« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2016, 10:18:43 pm »
 :thumleft:
 

Offline OOOOMS

Re: BACK TO BOTS ~ KUBU ISLAND @ High Tide !
« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2016, 07:29:04 am »
Sub :thumleft:

Nice report, keep 'em coming  :biggrin:
 

Offline 0012

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Re: BACK TO BOTS ~ KUBU ISLAND @ High Tide !
« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2016, 11:20:54 am »
 :drif:
->    TransAlp 650 - sold
:(    Yamaha XT1200Z - written off - R.I.P.
 

Offline Snafu

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Re: BACK TO BOTS ~ KUBU ISLAND @ High Tide !
« Reply #14 on: May 17, 2016, 01:30:08 pm »
.
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Offline wildside

Re: BACK TO BOTS ~ KUBU ISLAND @ High Tide !
« Reply #15 on: May 17, 2016, 04:05:00 pm »

NATA LODGE to MAKGADIKGADI ADVENTURE CAMP


The irritating alarm stirred us from our slumber at 6 am. In between gulps of coffee packing up got underway. All our camping and riding equipment had already been prepared and packed so it was just our overnight bags to be placed in the bakkie which was staying at the lodge.









At 8am we set sail through the even bigger stretches of water that now took over the whole entrance and drive way of the Lodge. We stopped at Nata to refuel and find some breakfast. The only option was at the original lodge at the intersection which had really gone downhill since we were last there in 2009. It now only really catered for all the truckers travelling to and from Zambia. However, they were keen to impress us with their breakfast spread and despite it being a rough place it was fairly acceptable.






It was already 9.30 am when we head out in a westerly direction towards Maun. We now carried 22L extra fuel. I had 5L strapped to my bike and Kingsley had 2x 5L containers hanging around his neck plus 7L in the bladder. This seems absurd and impossible but it was necessary.











After about 12 km there was a sign on the left indicating a turn off to KUBU ISLAND. It was merely an insignificant sandy track running through a gap in the hedge line and this was going to take us southwards for another 90 km. We encountered our first expanse of water after about 1.5 kms. Oh no… we weren’t going to tackle this so Kingsley led us off to the left and over the rise was another little dam which we cautiously tackled on the edges trying to avoid all the bushes on one side and slipping in on the other. So, it was just a matter of finding our own route in places. Thank goodness we had a GPS as there were numerous tracks weaving in and out the bush and joining up with the main track somewhere along the line.









ROXY LANDING A NICE FACE PLANT













"Heading out to where pavement turns to sand"
                                                         Neil Young

RIDE REPORTS:
*Namibian Meander 2009 * Botswana 09 *A(nother) Sani Sunday * Saturday Ride Fever * Welcome to the Wildcoast * Riding the Rift ~ East Africa 2011 * In and out of Snow Valley * Wildsides ride to the Bash 'n back *  Bali with my Baby~2013  * Unwrapping the Cape for Christmas~2015 * Back to Bots~Kubu Island @ High Tide 2016 * A Piece of Pondoland~2018 *Squaring the Circle
 

Offline wildside

Re: BACK TO BOTS ~ KUBU ISLAND @ High Tide !
« Reply #16 on: May 17, 2016, 04:17:08 pm »
There was so much water and before long we were soaking wet. I was so impressed with Roxy as I watched her handle all the water and mud with ease. At one stage it was a continuous track of water for about 1.5 kms. I soon started to relax and tried to enjoy what I was doing. After a while my confidence improved and the water no longer spooked me. We all had our fair share of offs, fortunately in slow motion with soft wet landings, and it brought on lots of laughter and offered some great opportunities for a  quick photo. We soon learnt that sticking to the main track always seemed to be a better option even if the water was deeper, as the shallows on each side were always very slippery and harder to negotiate.










KINGSLEY ATTEMPTING TO ASSIST ME.


NOT SURE WHO WAS RESCUING WHOM.



After about 21 km of riding through water and slipping in the mud and me taking yet another tumble we stopped to reassess the situation. Was it wise to continue if it was going to be like this for another 70km? It was now 11 am so we decided to continue for another hour and then make a decision. Fortunately the track improved with huge wet stretches now and again allowing us to increase our speed in places. We managed to cover a fair distance by 12pm so decided it would be okay to continue.  Coming across a few “Kubu” signs was encouraging and reassured us that we were on the correct route.  We passed through some really pretty stretches of land.



AN INTERESTING LANDMARK











"Heading out to where pavement turns to sand"
                                                         Neil Young

RIDE REPORTS:
*Namibian Meander 2009 * Botswana 09 *A(nother) Sani Sunday * Saturday Ride Fever * Welcome to the Wildcoast * Riding the Rift ~ East Africa 2011 * In and out of Snow Valley * Wildsides ride to the Bash 'n back *  Bali with my Baby~2013  * Unwrapping the Cape for Christmas~2015 * Back to Bots~Kubu Island @ High Tide 2016 * A Piece of Pondoland~2018 *Squaring the Circle
 

Offline wildside

Re: BACK TO BOTS ~ KUBU ISLAND @ High Tide !
« Reply #17 on: May 17, 2016, 04:31:12 pm »

One section was such a breeze and we were on a ridge surrounded by a grassy plain. A few acacia trees dotted the savannah landscape and far in the distance to the left was the pan. This was a long straight stretch of sandy double track which required all my concentration to keep on the track without hitting the high ‘middelmannetjie’. It is at this stage that one starts to appreciate the splendor and magic of Africa and sharing it with a husband and daughter makes all these little hardships so worth it. It was too beautiful for words. We stopped somewhere along this stretch for a rest and a coke and to take in the scenery. There we were… just the three of us under this vast Botswana sky…not another soul in sight.
















 At each stop we topped up our fuel tanks to lighten the load around Kingsley’s neck.  We eventually  came across a local settlement with kraals and beautiful healthy cattle and horses and we slowly worked our way through these areas trying not to upset them as we tried to find our through their village.











"Heading out to where pavement turns to sand"
                                                         Neil Young

RIDE REPORTS:
*Namibian Meander 2009 * Botswana 09 *A(nother) Sani Sunday * Saturday Ride Fever * Welcome to the Wildcoast * Riding the Rift ~ East Africa 2011 * In and out of Snow Valley * Wildsides ride to the Bash 'n back *  Bali with my Baby~2013  * Unwrapping the Cape for Christmas~2015 * Back to Bots~Kubu Island @ High Tide 2016 * A Piece of Pondoland~2018 *Squaring the Circle
 

Offline ktmmer

Re: BACK TO BOTS ~ KUBU ISLAND @ High Tide !
« Reply #18 on: May 17, 2016, 04:45:27 pm »
You guys are hardcore !!
 

Offline wildside

Re: BACK TO BOTS ~ KUBU ISLAND @ High Tide !
« Reply #19 on: May 17, 2016, 05:16:01 pm »
You guys are hardcore !!

Hahahaha..... oh my word it was hard work. :o
"Heading out to where pavement turns to sand"
                                                         Neil Young

RIDE REPORTS:
*Namibian Meander 2009 * Botswana 09 *A(nother) Sani Sunday * Saturday Ride Fever * Welcome to the Wildcoast * Riding the Rift ~ East Africa 2011 * In and out of Snow Valley * Wildsides ride to the Bash 'n back *  Bali with my Baby~2013  * Unwrapping the Cape for Christmas~2015 * Back to Bots~Kubu Island @ High Tide 2016 * A Piece of Pondoland~2018 *Squaring the Circle