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Online Welsh

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Botswana conditions / recomendations.
« on: October 23, 2017, 08:15:13 am »
Morning all, I have got friends arriving in 2 weeks and they have asked me for some updates on Botswana?

Firstly I think it always helps if you know the type of people you are dealing with, they are German, Uli was the previous owner of the GSV and worked with me here for many years, he has also worked in the middle east and more recently at Tsumeb in Namibia. He has also ridden his R1200GS (with alloy wheels) Cairo to Cape town, so they know the basic conditions and are not looking for a five star package deal. :biggrin:

Questions:
1. What is the condition of the road from Francistown to Nata?
2. What is the condition of the road from Nata to Maun, do they need a 4 x 4?
3. Any suggestions for accommodation at Maun?
4. Do they need a 4X4 to travel from Maun across to Windhoek?
5. How is the southern route towards the Kalahari Gemsbok park roadwise?

Before someone suggests it I did PM Sardine, but no response? :biggrin:
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Offline Brewed_Coffee

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Re: Botswana conditions / recomendations.
« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2017, 08:29:03 am »
Botswana received more than it's fair share of water early this year which caused some big damage to the road network. Some has been and more will be repaired but based on my travelling there during July this year .......



Questions:
1. What is the condition of the road from Francistown to Nata?
- Tar, all the way, potholed in places, some of it is bad, the rest, not so much.

2. What is the condition of the road from Nata to Maun, do they need a 4 x 4?
- Tar, all the way, occasional potholes up to the Vet Check Point then hectic potholes for about 30 - 40km.

3. Any suggestions for accommodation at Maun?
Many camps available all over, My personal fav is Okavango River Lodge but it is 14km out of town.  Otherwise try Island Safari, Maun Rest Camp of Third Bridge if they want on-site tents.

4. Do they need a 4X4 to travel from Maun across to Windhoek?
Depends on which route they take.  If the long way through national parks then yes, otherwise there's long straight easy going tar roads.

5. How is the southern route towards the Kalahari Gemsbok park roadwise?
From which starting point?

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Offline Sardine

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Re: Botswana conditions / recomendations.
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2017, 09:20:59 pm »
Morning all, I have got friends arriving in 2 weeks and they have asked me for some updates on Botswana?

Firstly I think it always helps if you know the type of people you are dealing with, they are German, Uli was the previous owner of the GSV and worked with me here for many years, he has also worked in the middle east and more recently at Tsumeb in Namibia. He has also ridden his R1200GS (with alloy wheels) Cairo to Cape town, so they know the basic conditions and are not looking for a five star package deal. :biggrin:

Questions:
1. What is the condition of the road from Francistown to Nata?
2. What is the condition of the road from Nata to Maun, do they need a 4 x 4?
3. Any suggestions for accommodation at Maun?
4. Do they need a 4X4 to travel from Maun across to Windhoek?
5. How is the southern route towards the Kalahari Gemsbok park roadwise?

Before someone suggests it I did PM Sardine, but no response? :biggrin:

Hi Welsh,

That's weird; I definitely sent a response. Or maybe I was typing in my sleep?  :peepwall:
Sorry about that!


1. What is the condition of the road from Francistown to Nata?
Lots of potholes. They have started patching about 50-80km of the road outside of Maun, but in the Nata area it is still horrendous (I was last there about 2.5-3 months ago).
2. What is the condition of the road from Nata to Maun, do they need a 4 x 4?
See above.

I would recommend entering at Martins Drift, and driving to Maun "via" Orapa (you bypass the town). Nicer road, less villages you have to slow down for, and it's actually a nice drive. I found the Francistown route stressed me out.

3. Any suggestions for accommodation at Maun?

Depends on what level of comfort they want. B&B? Tent? Chalet? Budget?
Steer clear of Maun Lodge and Riley's Hotel.

4. Do they need a 4X4 to travel from Maun across to Windhoek?
If they take the tar road, no. And it's also a lekker drive.

5. How is the southern route towards the Kalahari Gemsbok park roadwise?
Can't help you there I'm afraid.

Online Welsh

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Re: Botswana conditions / recomendations.
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2017, 09:17:31 am »
Can you use credit / debit cards to pay for fuel in Botwana? Can you draw cash at the fuel stations to pay for fuel if not, using credit cards?  :biggrin:
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Offline Sardine

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Re: Botswana conditions / recomendations.
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2017, 06:53:50 pm »
Can you use credit / debit cards to pay for fuel in Botwana? Can you draw cash at the fuel stations to pay for fuel if not, using credit cards?  :biggrin:

You can at most of the petrol stations in Maun, but I wouldn't take the risk at the smaller stations. There are also unlikely to be any ATM's, and the shops don't allow you to swipe for cash back.
Cash is best :)

Offline Bensien

Re: Botswana conditions / recomendations.
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2017, 08:38:57 pm »
I am a frequent visitor to Botswana and actually  travelled from Pandamatenga past  Nata and Francistown on the A3 yesterday. The potholes are quite localised, with good road surfaces in between the bad spots, but tell them to carefully observe speed limits. They have traps everywhere, some even with credit card facilities. The penalty is 20 Pula for every km/h over the limit.

The filling stations in the bigger towns all take VISA and Mastercard, but itís cash only in the smaller ones. They will take other currencies, but the conversion rate is ridiculous. It will be best to take Pula along. If you draw from the ATMs in Botswana, they charge a lot of commission. If they cross at Groblerís Bridge, a couple of km further they will find the Sherwood filling station on the left. They will exchange Rand for Pula and vice versa at a reasonable rate.

It is also advisable to fill up with fuel sooner than you think you will need to. It is not uncommon for the filling stations to be completely dry, even in a biggish town like Ghanzi.

As long as they stick to the main roads, they will not need a 4x4. This time of the year it is only required if they intend to visit places like Tsodilo Hills, some of the reserves , or decide to take alternative routes between some of the towns.

With regard to accommodation in Maun, the tented accommodation at Audi camp is reasonably priced .  A last tip.  For a first time visitor to Botswana, the Shell Tourist Map and Travel Guide of Botswana is an invaluable resource.
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