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Kgalagadi: Getting there or away via Botswana

Augrabies, Kgalagadi, Mokala, Namaqua, |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld

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afri-explore
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Re: Kaa access route

Unread postby afri-explore » Tue May 12, 2009 5:32 pm

The Gemsbok Wilderness trail is also named the Polentswa trail. It starts at Polentswa and runs anti-clockwise to Kaa Gate and back to Polentswa.

You must be more than one vehicle and sleep over on the trail. This information is on the "Veronica Roodt" Shell maps of the Kgalagadi.

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Re: Kaa access route

Unread postby Beachbunny » Wed May 13, 2009 10:04 am

There are camp sites at Kaa Gate. These are unfenced, have a long drop and basic shower facilities, and have to be booked through the Botswana wildlife department. Their contact details are somewhere on this site, can't find at present. The access route is available to all traffic, but the Polentswa trail has to be booked via Bots and only one party, with two vehicles, and no trailer (although we saw trailers ahead of us on the route) at a time. You are gloriously isolated in the bush - peace an quiet - on these Botswana trails and we saw some magnificent game, particulalry large herds of eland, lion and leopard.

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Re: Kaa access route

Unread postby santje » Wed May 13, 2009 2:55 pm

Hi Beachbunny,

thanks for the info. Unfortunately the polentswa route is no option as we are only two people in one vehicle. I think I have to reconsider my plans.

Thanks again to all.
Santje
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Re: Kaa access route

Unread postby Batsman » Wed May 13, 2009 3:39 pm

Not quite if you really want to go. You could do the Swartpan loop. There's no minimum car restriction. The camps are very basic.

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Re: Kaa access route

Unread postby Beachbunny » Wed May 13, 2009 3:48 pm

Batsman is right - you can do the Kaa access route, and go onto Swartpan (which is lovely and some nice camp sites), or one of the other pans in that area which also have some camp sites. I would camp one night at Kaa and then go onto Swartpan. Just remember it is isolated out there so you need to be completely self sufficient with fuel and water (although there is a game scout camp nearby where you may find water). My dream is a week camping at Swartpan!

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Re: Kaa access route

Unread postby tvsims » Tue May 19, 2009 8:50 am

Hi

We're also looking at the Kaa routes. Which of the 6 campsites have drinking water or any water on tap?

Do the waterholes (pans) have water all year and is it pumped?

We are thinking of going in November. What are the chances of good game sightings?

Thanks.

Trevor

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Re: Kaa access route

Unread postby afri-explore » Tue May 19, 2009 9:09 am

Hi Trevor,
The Swart Pan loop has no tap drinking water or ablution facilities. There are camp sites at Swart Pan, Khandu and Sizatswe Pans (the latter about 7km apart) and then at the bottom of the loop at Gnus Gnus Pan. The only indication of where the camp is will be the little marker on a tree, an opening in the vegetation near nice big shady trees and a small fireplace. No fences or facilities at all.

Unless my memory is failing me only the waterhole at Swart Pan is fed by a borehole (brakkish water).

Then there is the camp site at the Kaa Gate. The local staff are getting drinking water from a purification plant that only gives enough for their needs.

We spent 5 days in the area and took about 10l of water per person per day and this had to do for drinking, cooking and washing. We use camp showers (black bag left in the sun for about 5 hours) and we managed to have a quick shower every day.

We saw lions at Sizatswe Pan, a mere 2km from where we camped and the staff at Kaa had a visit from a pride of 5 lion the same night.

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Re: Kaa access route

Unread postby tvsims » Tue May 19, 2009 10:40 am

Thanks for your speedy reply.

Good to talk to someone who's done that trip. What's the best way to get from the Mabuasehube gate to the Kaa gate and what are the roads like & how long would it take?

I'm thinking of the loop Nossob-mabuasehube-kaa-unions end-nossob or is there too much driving with no game?

If that's not the best then the loop Mabuasehube-kaa-unions end-nossob. Entering Mabuasehube from McCarthyrus.

Your suggestions would be great.

Trevor

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Re: Kaa access route

Unread postby afri-explore » Tue May 19, 2009 11:37 am

The best route from Mabuasehube to Kaa will be driving north to Tsane, then Hukuntsi and down to Kaa again. There is no direct road from Kaa to Union's End. The 'public' road going south from Kaa will join the Nossob-Unions End road at Kannaguas (8km from the Grootkolk turn-off) and 31km from Union's End.

From Mabua gate to Kaa gate is a stiff 300 odd kms. I never did this section of road before, but from other overland trips I gather that parts of the 150km from Mabuasehube to Tsane will be deep sand track at about 20-30km per hour. I have enough experience on similar tracks in Botswana to say that you will be lucky to get patches that will allow you 40km/h. From Hukuntsi to Kaa is a better quality gravel road passing a number of pans.

From Mabua to Kaa is outside of the park - no idea what you will see there in terms of wildlife. I also contemplated that route when I planned my July trip and then rather opted for McCarthy's Rest-Mabuasehube(4 nights)-Nossob (Polentswa, 2 nights) and exiting the park at Twee Rivieren(2 nights).

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Kgalagadi - Gharaghab - Exit KAA to Kang

Unread postby eric123 » Mon Jul 13, 2009 3:02 pm

We will be staying in the KTP in September 2009. The last 2 nights of our stay is in Gharaghab. Is it possible to exit at the KAA gate into Botswana to Kang with only one vehicle? The website states all routes within Botswana are to be travelled by no less than two vehicles.

Diesel requirements? My diesel tank takes only 65 litres. I will fill up in Nossob, drive to Gharaghab, stay for another full day driving around, and then take the road to Kaa Gate. Where is the nearest place that I can fill up again. I am planning to take 25 litres of diesel extra.
Thank you.

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Re: Kgalagadi - Gharaghab - Exit KAA to Kang

Unread postby Marius 143 » Wed Jul 15, 2009 1:04 pm

Welcome Eric, fuel on that route would be available in Kang. You would have to cover about 525 km and depending on your vechile consumption (you can half that in sand) you can work out what you need.
Unless you geared up and a overlander of note, it is better to do the route with two vehicles.
On the trail roads you need a permit.
Enjoy it

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Re: Kgalagadi - Gharaghab - Exit KAA to Kang

Unread postby Bush Baptist » Wed Jul 15, 2009 1:09 pm

90 litres might be very tight.
Whatever (according to BB): "You are correct but I don't want to admit it".

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Re: Kgalagadi - Gharaghab - Exit KAA to Kang

Unread postby Batsman » Wed Jul 15, 2009 1:20 pm

Eric, this how the access road to Kang looked in May.

Image

After Kaa gate it's deep sand again for some km.

Image

I'm not sure about the fuel. May be there's something available at Hukuntsi. There's definetely a Ultra Station at Kang like Marius said.

IIRC on the access road to Kaa gate two cars weren't mandatory, but further north of Kaa in the wilderness area they were.

With only 90 litres take a lot of jerry cans with you.

We had a Hilux with an extra tank and filled up at Kang.

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Re: Kgalagadi - Gharaghab - Exit KAA to Kang

Unread postby eric123 » Fri Jul 17, 2009 10:19 am

Thank you for the replies and pictures.

I am now in two minds to take the route. It is just my wife and I, in a Fortuner 4X4 and an airjack. I will have space for 3 X 25 litres jerry cans. I have read somewhere that yo can fill up in Hukuntsi.

I have never been to Botswana.
Batsman said that further north of Kaa in the wilderness areas it is mandatory for two vehicles. Does this mean we cannot do the route if we are only one vehicle, travelling directly to Hukuntsi from Kaa?

I don't have a GPS. Will I still be able to find the road to Hukuntsi?

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Re: Kgalagadi - Gharaghab - Exit KAA to Kang

Unread postby Batsman » Fri Jul 17, 2009 11:23 am

Eric, don't get me wrong. I only referred to the wilderness area inside the park. E.g if you want to go to Thupapedi, Sizatswe etc.


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