Botswana Flights to the Kwando camps

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Dec 3rd, 2013, 06:50 AM
  #1
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Botswana Flights to the Kwando camps

I've been a regular to Africa over the past 12 or so years on a budget, self drive + tent normally visiting areas away from the maddening crowd.
Now retired we, my wife & I, have decided that next year will be our last trip to Africa & we also decided to splash out, double our budget & visit Lagoon, Lebala & Little Kwara camps for 10 days.
The Itinerary is accepted & we knew we had a 20kg total weight limit but we now have a size restriction for baggage on the flights to camp of no bags larger than 25cm x 30 cm x 62 cm. (46litres)
We have always travelled light well under weight restrictions & the size of our usual bags have never been a problem on internal flights before.
Now I can't even carry my Pelican case, because it's slightly larger by about 5 cm in width & two because it's a hard case!
It is normally my checked baggage on international flights as it is too heavy for carry on. Everything else, clothes etc are in my wife's checked bag which normally weighs in at about 15kg depending on climate.

Leaving photo or video gear at home is not an option.
I see no sense in going if I can't visually record the trip how I want.

We would rather cancel & visit another area in Botswana or Zimbabwe where internal flights are not required.

I'm told that other visitors to these camps never have a problem so here are my questions.

How do they overcome the problem of one checked bag per person on international flights then little bags for the internal flights?
Do people only travel with one little bag on international or am I missing something?
Not sure that I fancy a small holdall going through OT airport, I might just get the bag at the other end & nothing else!

I have the following thoughts.
The Pelicase is checked baggage on International flights I have other photo kit in my carry on. I'm thinking to putting two smaller bags in one larger case so that we can then use these for the internal flight & leave the larger case at Kasane ready for our return trip home.

Any advice welcome & thank you in advance.
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Dec 3rd, 2013, 08:18 AM
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We had one soft sided wheeled duffle each, small enough for carryon. We also packed some smaller (empty) bags inside. When the duffle was too big for a little plane I quickly shifted the contents into the smaller bags. For some flights that was not needed.
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Dec 3rd, 2013, 08:37 AM
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Hi X-trail,

Are you stopping overnight in Johannesburg before your flight to Botswana? On the international flights to Africa, my husband and I each check a medium-large suitcase (we go on to other activities after safari). We leave these behind at our hotel in Johannesburg. Also, we carry onto the international flights with us a small soft-sided duffle each, containing essential safari clothes and gear, that we weigh beforehand at home to conform to all the plane restrictions including Jo-burg-Maun and inter-camp flights. I also carry on a medium size purse/shoulder bag which easily holds my SLR (in a leather snap-on case, not a camera bag), toiletries/medicines and a small video camera. My husband carries a shoulder-strap type laptop bag without a laptop: he puts in there his own camera, binoculars, bird books, documents etc.

When we arrive in our hotel in Johannesburg and before we leave for Botswana, we change into the heaviest safari clothes we might need, including fleeces and jackets, leaving behind in our suitcases our travelling clothes, coats and shoes etc. (we arrive from Canada.) I exchange the purse for a water-proof canvas shoulder-bag for my cameras. My husband dons his faithful old safari vest and packs the pockets with heavy stuff like camera batteries. The flights to and in Botswana all allow our regulation soft-sided duffles plus a camera/shoulder bag each. No worries. The key is to pre-pack the duffles at home beforehand with the essentials and weigh them to ensure you can keep them with you on every flight. Ours have been weighed in Johannesburg as well as in Maun.

We travel on British Airways to Johannesburg, partly because we heard they handle their own bags at ORTambo. Since we always pick up our bags in Johannesburg, we worry less about loss or theft than if we were checking them through to another destination. At least, that's what we tell ourselves!
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Dec 3rd, 2013, 09:57 AM
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Thank you Marija regretfully no wheeled baggage allowed. My hobbies are video & photography I always carry camera traps & to leave anything behind would mar the trip.
If I can't overcome this problem then I'm thinking of splitting into two trips, one in March to Mana Pools & Kariba via Harare & then later in the year a mobile Kwhai, Linyanti, Chobe, Nxai Pan & CKGR via Maun & Johannesburg.

Thanks Carolines, we do it all in one jump, London overnight, then straight out to Johannesburg, Kasane & Lagoon camp the same day.
Our the return journey we leave Little Kwara in the morning & we fly out to London that same night.
I have had problems at Oliver Tambo with bag pilfering which is the reason for the Peli case. They would need to steal the complete case.
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Dec 4th, 2013, 05:46 PM
  #5
 
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http://safaritalk.net/topic/9581-kwa...-lebalalagoon/

x-trail,

Here's a report I made on safaritalk re Lagoon/Lebala. Browse through it when time permits. Sign up to safaritalk if you wish ....... lots of participants there

Re the pelican - don't stress too much. They will find a way to squeeze it into the plane (not in the pod).

Cheers
Hari
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Dec 4th, 2013, 05:48 PM
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Camera traps? Interesting ........ If you do this on your trip - would you please please please let us know how it went?

Thanks
Hari
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Dec 4th, 2013, 11:38 PM
  #7
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Thanks Hari, Fiona, Nkogo Safaris, has been in touch with the air charter company & they have been very helpful & agreed to carry the case.
We will also put two small bags into our usual flight bag, for the international flights then leave this bag with them at Kasane to be collected on our return.

I have read your trip report & it was a large factor in making Lagoon & Labala the destination for our last trip to Africa.

I have / had? a number of African camera trap video's on YouTube. I forget my account name that I used to upload them.
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Dec 5th, 2013, 01:00 AM
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Say hello to Fiona - have you seen the video she sent in to Nat Geo's "Caught on Camera" she filmed when at Little Kwara in 2009?

Thanks - if you can link your Youtube video of the camera trap would love to see it.

More so - if you use it at Kwando when you go will definitely love to see!

Cheers
Hari
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Dec 5th, 2013, 01:43 AM
  #9
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I've not seen that video, I will have to ask Fiona for the link.
We're travelling with Benson, our first trip to Zimbabwe was with Benson in the early days of Nkogo, we have also had a couple of camping trips with him, Zimbabwe as well as Botswana.

I'll be sure to post the link but we're not travelling till late next year.
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Dec 5th, 2013, 08:27 AM
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Even better - ask Fiona for the actual story ....... Nat Geo had some short cuts in their clip and didn't do it enough justice. Fiona will know the actual sighting in it's entirety and will be glad to share the details with you i'm sure ......
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Dec 5th, 2013, 08:28 AM
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Typo - the show is called, "Caught in the act"
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Dec 5th, 2013, 01:46 PM
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We left our case in our JNB B&B when we flew to Botswana. However - on our tiny wee plane from Maun to the lodge, a family of four Americans (sorry - but it would only be Americans!)arrived each carrying a large and very solid case...the young female pilot and a loader worked tirelessly to squeeze those cases on board. We were very impressed with their willingness to make sure everyone reached the camp.
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Dec 5th, 2013, 09:24 PM
  #13
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Thanks Briz, I had the same experience on the Lodge Hopper in Zimbabwe, I was carrying "Goodies" requested by the lodge which took me well over the weight limit. The plan was if I couldn't get it all onto the flight the lodge would arrange pick up from Vic' Falls.
I approached the pilot with the problem.
"Least of my worries" He indicated a family surrounded by hard cases, who I thought were waiting for the Johannesburg flight.
After his calculations he was able to fit everything & everybody in although the tarmac runway at Kariba was his first drop then back to the grass strips at Rhokari and Bumi Hills.

I had been warned that there was a bag size restriction that was strictly enforced for this flight to Lagoon camp.
We carry a lot of equipment, cameras, lenses etc, it's what we enjoy, I didn't want there to be a problem with this flight.

Anyone else with this problem I strongly advise contact with the flight company, well in advance.
Major Blue Air have agreed to fit my camera equipment on the flight..... Tooth brush, spare knickers & shirt! What else do I need!
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Mar 12th, 2014, 11:08 PM
  #14
 
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Most of the air charter companies in Maun do have smaller bags for you to repack your stuff into. The reason for the size restrictions are due to the aircraft that are flown into the Delta. The airvan and Caravan pods are able to accomodate larger bags however the Cessna 206 pods are where the size limit comes into play. I wouldn't stress to much unless you are coming out with a gigantic bag, as a pilot in Maun I have always made a plan
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