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Pictures & Trip Report - Self-drive: South Africa & Namibia 2008

Pictures & Trip Report - Self-drive: South Africa & Namibia 2008

Jan 26th, 2009, 12:01 PM
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Pictures & Trip Report - Self-drive: South Africa & Namibia 2008

Here, at long last, are the trip report and photos from our self-drive through South Africa and Namibia in July and August 2008.

It is a work in progress - I will let you know whenever I update it. I wanted to get it posted because I know that there are several Fodorites planning trips to SA and Namibia in 2009.

The report beings with our itinerary and accompanying maps showing our route.

A list of highlights follows, with a few pictures thrown in. The list is long - it was a great trip!

After the highlights comes the full trip report and many more photos. You may skip through the report by clicking on the page numbers at the top.

Here is the link:
http://bert-and-bin.smugmug.com/gall...61053054_KcDbR

Enjoy! Robin
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Jan 26th, 2009, 12:16 PM
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Sorry - I should have pointed out that this report was written for family and friends in Canada, most of whom have never been to Africa. There is much detail and information that may drive old Africa hands crazy! My apologies if this is the case. Robin
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Jan 26th, 2009, 03:25 PM
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I wonder if those people who have never been to Africa realize what a find that young honey badger in the tree going after lizards was.

The whole herd of resting springboks was lovely.

Funny how lions are so skilled and graceful with familiar prey, yet they can't drag a piece of canvas up a hill without tripping.
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Jan 26th, 2009, 05:37 PM
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The honey badgers were one of our favourite sightings of the entire 6-week trip. There were two of them, both young, and we sat and watched them for over an hour, following them from tree to tree. Neither were particularly good climbers and they were quite amusing to watch - amazingly adept at catching the lizards however. It was just after dawn and quite cold, so the poor lizards didn't stand a chance.

The lioness was very funny. You're quite correct - who would have thought she would struggle with the canvas, given that she must be experienced at dragging heavy prey - a much more difficult task one would think.

I'll pass your springbok comment onto Robert. Thanks! Robin
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Jan 27th, 2009, 04:10 PM
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Robin, you've got me feeling envious again! What a fantastic trip. Great commentary and photos as usual.

I've just read the highlights and skimmed through for now otherwise I'll be up all night but will read the rest at leisure. I can certainly sympathise with those freezing August nights in the Kgalagadi, we were staying in the tents at Mata Mata and were totally unprepared for those temperatures. They've built and upgraded more camps since we were there and so it does look even more appealing, good to see the detail in your photos so we could know what to expect (as you can see, I'm there already in my head)

And I loved the lion vandals.
You've seen just about all the Southern African wildlife in the book, haven't you? (as well as spectacular landscapes)... including the sometimes overlooked caracals, bat eared foxes, meerkats & honey badgers (and what a honey-badger sighting) so what is on your 'hit list' that you haven't yet seen and would like to? And who was counting?? (I hope that total included birds!)
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Jan 27th, 2009, 04:23 PM
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That's, by far, among the very best trip reports I have seen. I need more time to read it -- so far, I have only read the Kgalagadi section, where I visited in 2006.

I was likewise impressed with the honey badger photo -- I have never seen one.

Michael
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Jan 27th, 2009, 04:29 PM
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i am planning a trip to south africa in may, which involves some independent travel by rental car. what is your feeling about crime/security on the roads and in general. there is a lot of news about the high level of crime. did you find it justified?
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Jan 27th, 2009, 06:53 PM
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Tockoloshe
Glad you're enjoying the detail - there is much of it, I'm afraid. I am still working on Kgalagadi and hope to post the next couple of days in the park tomorrow. Good grief, I have to finish Kgalagadi and then I still have all of Namibia!

I never tire of seeing any of the wildlife, but I would love a better look at a caracal and pangolin (which we saw at Honeyguide near Kruger). Neither Robert or I have seen a aardwolf or an aardvark, so those would be top of our list.

The lion vandals were a hoot - such a unique sighting. Anne, who was on her first visit to Africa, didn't feel quite so safe in the tents after that sighting - not good, since it was only our second day in the park! I don't think she slept a wink the night the lions came into Bitterpan Camp, just as we were heading to bed. That story will be in the report!

Anne was the statistican, although when we found a large herd of something, we all helped with the counting. And no...it didn't include the birds. We kept a separate bird list although, needless to say, we didn't count individuals.

Michael
We sat with the honey badgers for quite a while and we have many photos. I will post more when I get to that section of the trip report. I hope to add to the Kgalagadi section tomorrow!

Jim
Robert and I (both in our 50s and well beyond those risk-taking years!) have always felt perfectly safe driving in Southern Africa (SA, Namibia and Botswana and we will be self-driving through Kenya & Tanzania in August 2009). We do much research ahead of time and pick our routes/destinations carefully. We rarely drive at night (driving back to Cape Town from the evening at Spier was an exception) and we leave ourselves lots of time, not trying to cover too many kilometres in a day. In Botswana, Kenya and Tanzania we had/will have the in-country back-up of Safari Drive (the company we rent the Land Rovers from). In South Africa, we rented from Avis and were completely on our own, although we did rent a cell phone in case we got into trouble. There certainly is lots of crime, but most of it takes place in the townships. Go well prepared and with care and you'll be fine. Robin

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Jan 27th, 2009, 08:29 PM
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Generally do not leave articles in the car that can be seen by anyone passing by- especially in the major cities like CpTn and Joburg. Ask the rental company if they have a sticker on the vehicle that identifies the car as a rental. Not a plus if it does. This just presents you as a target. They know that you will have luggage in the boot. Thieves will break in just about anyplace you park, even touristy sites or when you stop to eat lunch.
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Jan 28th, 2009, 08:04 AM
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thanks for the info, it is helpful and encouraging.

does anyone know of a decent place to stay on the way between jo-berg airport and madikwe? don't think we have time to get to the park before dark and don't want to drive at night.

(don't particularly want to stay at sun city either)
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Jan 28th, 2009, 11:06 AM
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I just posted a reply to your Madikwe question on your own thread "Traveling South Africa/Security tips". It's best not to post the same question on two different threads, otherwise you are likely to miss the answer to your question. Robin
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Jan 28th, 2009, 11:34 AM
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thanks very much for the information.

i did find some decent looking places on the internet in rustenberg and zeerust.

i understand from the guide books that it is a scenic drive and worth the effort, but the brick throwing you describe is a little daunting.

sorry for the confusion with the multiple posts, this is my first attempt using this blog.
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Jan 28th, 2009, 11:39 AM
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I have seen one aardwolf, at Savuti Camp in Botswana, but not (yet) an aardvark.
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Jan 28th, 2009, 04:43 PM
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Can I swap my bush pigs for either a pangolin, aardvark, or aardwolf? Sigh, all the more reason for a return wildlife spotting trip. Robin, I bet you saw a cassawary in Oz too!!
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Jan 28th, 2009, 06:47 PM
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We did (see a cassowary), I'm afraid!
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Jan 28th, 2009, 09:04 PM
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Robin, I've started reading, not yet finished, but wanted you to know that I am really enjoying your report and photos. Quite a labor of love, I imagine, to do a blog like this. I appreciate all the effort! Many thanks.
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Jan 28th, 2009, 09:38 PM
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CR - GREAT report!!! It will retire the trophy for trip reports, it's yours permanently!!!!

I like your detailed information about driving and camps. Although I've been on safari many times I've never toured like you did.

I really like how you lay out photos with captions and then more text. Easy to do on smugmug?? What smugmug "Gallery style" is it?

Please continue!!!!

regards - tom
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Jan 29th, 2009, 08:39 AM
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Leely2
Thank you for your kind words. It is a labour of love - it is a record of our trip. I take what I do in Smugmug and use Blurb to create a hard copy book, which I then give to my traveling companions for Christmas. It is time consuming, but the end product makes it very worthwhile.

Tom
Thank you also for your kind words. I try to do a little each day so, if you keep watching, it will be updated. I find SmugMug very easy to use - I am using the journal format...and you should definitely keep the trophy - I have seen your reports! I couldn't take the pressure!!

Back to the report....
Robin
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Jan 29th, 2009, 12:17 PM
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Robin,
We have just returned from 5 weeks in Southern Africa - very different areas to yours, but reading your lovely report is helping with "withdrawal symptons". I am going to get hubby to look at your report - maybe we can start planning our next trip to Africa using your inspiration. Looks like you had a fantastic time! Thank you for sharing.
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Jan 29th, 2009, 12:57 PM
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You're welcome! I hope you are going to post a trip report! Robin
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