This is a magic 10 day overlanding adventure through Botswana, on what was our first recce of the area. Being someone who grew up in Botswana, and lived there for 19 years, I was excited to be back, as it was my first trip with the newly setup vehicle. Always a good idea to put the products to the test, and what better way of doing this than on a massive trip, with my good mate Pete (so were my thoughts, as we pulled out of the driveway, still yawning and in need of some caffeine).
*Testing products is not ideal on a first trip. This we would learn on day 7.
We leave Fourways South Africa at 3 am, cross the Martin’s Drift border post at about 8:30 am, and push on through to Khama Rhino Sanctuary, just passed Serowe, in Botswana. Great to cross the Limpopo river and be back in Botswana. My emotions are full of nostalgia, as I reflect on my childhood, and visiting the Botswana bush with my dad. This would be my first time visiting Khama Rhino sanctuary, and the first impressions of it are spot on. The bush vibe and my adventure spirit come alive, as we setup our campsite and prep ourselves for a game drive.
If you have never been to Botswana, then take my word for it. All your senses are triggered, as the simplicity of nature unfolds in front of you. One begins to appreciate the simpler things in life. We make a fire and prep for the evening sounds.
Waking up on our first morning to the sounds of the wild is magic. The bird life here is simply abundant. As this was a one night stop over, we clean up, pack up and do moderate safety checks on the vehicle i.e. tyres are still inflated, roof items tied down, straps are still secure, ratchets are tight, gas and fuel containers are still closed, and pack up is secure. We head out leaving Khama Rhino Sanctuary at 8:30 am and head for Kubu Island in the Mkagadikgadi Salt Pans – a 226 km drive, that says about 2.5hr drive.
We fill up with fuel in the mining town of Letlakhane, and push on through with some urgency. We use the Tracks 4 Africa mapping system on the Garmin to guide us to the Salt Pans, and thus far, we are point and on time.
*Always check fuel levels, and when leaving tarmac to gravel, stop and deflate tyres.
Driving through the first village, and now on sandy tracks, we pull over and deflate the tyre pressures from 2.4 bar front and 2.6 bar back, to 1.8 bar in the front and 2.0 bar in the back. The BFGoodrich KM3’s are impressive, as the side walls show very little deformation at this pressure. We’re off, and the journey seems to become “real” as we rely heavily on the Tracks 4 Africa mapping, and the bush grows up around us as we penetrate deeper on the beaten track, like so many adventurer’s before us.