Joined: Wed May 16, 2007 8:40 am
Location: South Africa
Always good to be prepared, especially in the Kalahari! Although camping at Rooiputs - you don't really need to worry about grass in the radiator or on the exhaust. It is a very short open road to the campsite and a little bit sandy but not difficult driving at all.
[quote="Wild-doc"]You definitely have to go well prepared, even pop into one of the 4*4 centres and chat to the guys, they have some great tips.[/quote] (sorry my html is switched off and I cannot fix it)
I once watched in amazement how a salesman sold useless stuff to someone who asked him: "I am going to Botswana, what do I need"
Basic emergency kit, recovery equipment, common sense is what is needed most. You may get stuck because of the weight of the kitchen sink etc!
Joined: Sun Feb 27, 2005 1:13 pm
Location: Up in Jo'burg somewhere.
Now explain that to your insurance.......
Carrying a fire extinguisher is a must, but a word of warning. You have to be super vigilant to catch such a fire in time to stop it with a fire extinguisher. Stop and check for dry grass regularly as has been said.
i witnessed fire starting under a friends vehicle between 10 and 15 seconds of him stopping over about 3 longish stems of grass . We were very surprised it took so little to start and thankfully just driving off it did the trick . We put it out but it was starting to flame. Now we only stop on bare sand,
I posted a detailed adventure report on "Kgalagadi Roads". The problem with the park is the constant wear & tear on the tires, wheels and suspension, so the best is a resilient vehicle, proably a Toyota Hilux or similiar Bakkie.
I had a Merc Vito and as much as the vehicle seemed strong the rear right suspension broke after 1 week at the park, on the exit road, with Tires set at 1.8 bars or less, and average speed of 30-40km/h.
The car rental guy said the maybe the cause was visitors from the US filming in KTP and going a lot over these roads (the vehicle had 32000KMs), but since you can never know which kind of vehicle you will get in Upington, and since most vehicles there are probably used to visit the park, then if somebody prefers to spend more money for a peace of mind, he should probably go for a bakkie.
If sombody prefers to save and take the chance of breaking down, any vehicle should do, just drive slow and be careful of clearance issues (there are bypasses) about 10km north of TR on the Nossob road.
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2007 1:09 pm
Location: Bristol, UK
Before you commit to any rental, read the terms and conditions of the insurance first! I wanted to rent a vehicle (also the cheaper version of the Swiss guy!), but the (according to most) standard terms exclude cover for driving on gravel roads (this is for 4x4 vehicles!!) and accidents involving animals! Some even had the silly requirement that you have to pay with 2 credit cards!! If you do need the insurance (and read about the poor roads in the park!), you may well find yourself substantially in the red!
Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2007 10:15 pm
Location: Wiltshire, UK
Having read all the good advice on this topic, I have concluded that a 4x4 is NOT required for KTP (as long as stay off the 4x4-only tracks!) but that high clearance and high seating are both advantageous. So, would the Toyota Avanza give us that? (I have no experience driving a 4x4 in any case). We are a family of 4 (kids aged 7 & 11) and our visit will be in August 2008. Please let me know if you think this is good rental choice or not!
Last edited by Dotty on Mon Dec 10, 2012 8:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.
For KTP high clearance isn't an issue but high seating is. I haven't used a Toyota Avanza in KTP yet, but judging by the picture it should be fine for KTP. It looks like the height of the seating is about the same as a VW Touran, and the latter was fine for KTP. On the website it states that the Toyota Avanza is a 5+2 seater, make sure that it has a spare wheel as you don't want to drive in KTP without a spare wheel. I was in KTP last May with a VW Touran (5+2 seater model) and that didn't have a spare wheel. Going to KTP without a spare wheel is not something you want to do so please make sure that the Toyota Avanza has a spare wheel.
Read my report above. Maybe I did go into details, but what I did is exactly what you want to do - I booked an Avanza from the above site, which connected me directly to Tempest.
When I got there, they told me they don't have an Avanza there for rent, so they will upgrade me for free to a "bus" - the Mrec Vito which broke its suspension on the final day, out of the park.
Since Tempest is pretty small there, I'm pretty sure you will lend with the same Merc Vito. Now do you want to take a gamble whether they fixed the suspension correctly or not?
Unless you want to spend the night stuck somewhere on the road(s) between KTP and Upington, my suggestion is find a sturdy Bakkie (Toyota Hilux or Nissan) from some other company. You don't need the clearance nor the 4X4, just something with strong enough suspensions to withstand the nasty corrugations in KTP and the entrance road.
I can tell you statistically almost no-one drives there a non 4X4/Bakkie vehicle. I saw a fair amount of Nissan X-Trail, but since it cost almost as much as the Bakkie I would go for the Bakkie as the X-Trail is pretty fragile as far as soft SUVs go.
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2007 1:09 pm
Location: Bristol, UK
I agree that you should rather go with a 4x2 bakkie, than an Avanza. I have driven an Avanza last week (rental) and it was rather crap (on tar!), so I would not go near Kgalagadi with it. Look at the Upington website - there are people who rent the Mahindra double cabs. I saw people driving these rental Mahindras in Kgalagadi in March, and they had no problems.
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