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Kgalagadi questions before my trip

Augrabies, Kgalagadi, Mokala, Namaqua, |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld
fpirlet
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Kgalagadi questions before my trip

Unread post by fpirlet » Tue Jul 19, 2016 10:01 pm

Hi Everyone!

I am excited to say that my partner and I will finally make our first visit to the Kgalagadi end of December 2016 :whistle: (from the 25th until the 30th December 2016).
We will be staying at the following camps: Twee Rivieren, Kalahari Tented Camp and Nossob.
I know some of my questions below (may) have been answered/partially answered in some of the older topics, but nevertheless I would really like your valuable opinion given that I have never been to the KTP (or personally know anyone who has).

1. Roads:
- The two main roads are the non 4x4 roads from Twee Rivieren to Mata Mata and from Twee Rivieren to Union's End. In terms of game-viewing, are these the two most interesting roads? Given that they are both very long, are there any sections which you particularly recommend?

- In terms of game-viewing, are the 4x4 roads generally more/as/less rewarding than the two main roads mentioned above? The reason why I ask this is because I want to try and establish whether it is worth it for us to hire a proper 4x4 vehicle. We are in it for the game-viewing and not for the 4x4 driving, so if the areas those roads cover are generally abandoned animal-wise then I think we may give the 4x4 vehicle a miss (given the price)...
Having said that we are there for 6 days, so please let me know whether you think we will be content with just driving the main roads up and down... :D

- Lastly, I also read that one needs to "book" the 4x4 roads. How does this work practically-speaking? Do you need to book the trail at whatever camp you are staying on the evening before driving the road? Is the number of vehicles driving the road limited?
This may be a stupid question, but can we try the easier/less-demanding 4x4 trails even if we do not have a real 4x4 vehicle and simply turn back if it seems to daunting?

2. Vehicle
- 4x2 vehicle: If you tell me that the two main roads are the main attraction game-viewing wise, then I think I will hire a sporty 4x2 vehicle with a pretty high-clearance (for e.g. a Toyota Rav 4 with Hertz) given that it is significantly cheaper than hiring a proper 4x4 car. Based on what I have read on the forum, this sort of vehicle seems adequate to drive those two non 4x4 main roads right? Can you please also confirm that should be the case end of December when it might rain?
- 4x4 vehicle: If you tell me that I will be missing out on a lot by not being able to drive the 4x4 roads/trails, then I have the option of renting:
- a hilux from a company like Kalahari 4x4 or Desert 4x4. Both look good but they are quite expensive...
- a hilux from Hertz, the price is considerably cheaper than the two mentioned above. But I am concerned that the insurance does not seem to be valid when driving non-tarred roads (I will be calling them to enquire about the wording used in their terms & conditions... I must say I would find it odd that you can rent 4x4 vehicles but that you are not actually allowed to drive on non-tarred roads with them...). Has anyone got any experience with renting a 4x4 with Hertz or another mainstream car rental company like Avis or other?

3. Weather: For those of you who have been there end of December, did you get any rain or was it just sizzling hot every day? Generally, is it already a bit "greener" than during the winter months?

I know that makes for quite a few questions :D but I would really appreciate it if some of you experienced Kgalagadi visitors could answer them one by one.
Thank you very much. :D

Regards,

Francois

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barryels
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Re: Kgalagadi questions before my trip

Unread post by barryels » Wed Jul 20, 2016 8:34 am

Dear fpirlet,

Welcome to the forums :thumbs_up: . To make it easy to answer, I have included my comments below:

fpirlet wrote:Hi Everyone!

I am excited to say that my partner and I will finally make our first visit to the Kgalagadi end of December 2016 :whistle: (from the 25th until the 30th December 2016).
We will be staying at the following camps: Twee Rivieren, Kalahari Tented Camp and Nossob.
I know some of my questions below (may) have been answered/partially answered in some of the older topics, but nevertheless I would really like your valuable opinion given that I have never been to the KTP (or personally know anyone who has).

1. Roads:
- The two main roads are the non 4x4 roads from Twee Rivieren to Mata Mata and from Twee Rivieren to Union's End. In terms of game-viewing, are these the two most interesting roads? Given that they are both very long, are there any sections which you particularly recommend?

KTP mainly consist of the two roads you mentioned. Apart from these two roads, you can also drive along the the two dune roads between Auchterlonie and Kij Kij as well as the upper dune road between Kamqua and Dikbaardskolk. With more than adequate waterholes along these routes there will be enough chance of great game viewing.

- In terms of game-viewing, are the 4x4 roads generally more/as/less rewarding than the two main roads mentioned above? The reason why I ask this is because I want to try and establish whether it is worth it for us to hire a proper 4x4 vehicle. We are in it for the game-viewing and not for the 4x4 driving, so if the areas those roads cover are generally abandoned animal-wise then I think we may give the 4x4 vehicle a miss (given the price)...
Having said that we are there for 6 days, so please let me know whether you think we will be content with just driving the main roads up and down... :D

Taking the camps you will be staying at into account and only the Leeuwdril 4x4 route accessible, I would not recommend that you hire a 4x4 for this trip

- Lastly, I also read that one needs to "book" the 4x4 roads. How does this work practically-speaking? Do you need to book the trail at whatever camp you are staying on the evening before driving the road? Is the number of vehicles driving the road limited?
This may be a stupid question, but can we try the easier/less-demanding 4x4 trails even if we do not have a real 4x4 vehicle and simply turn back if it seems to daunting?

See my comment above

2. Vehicle
- 4x2 vehicle: If you tell me that the two main roads are the main attraction game-viewing wise, then I think I will hire a sporty 4x2 vehicle with a pretty high-clearance (for e.g. a Toyota Rav 4 with Hertz) given that it is significantly cheaper than hiring a proper 4x4 car. Based on what I have read on the forum, this sort of vehicle seems adequate to drive those two non 4x4 main roads right? Can you please also confirm that should be the case end of December when it might rain?
- 4x4 vehicle: If you tell me that I will be missing out on a lot by not being able to drive the 4x4 roads/trails, then I have the option of renting:
- a hilux from a company like Kalahari 4x4 or Desert 4x4. Both look good but they are quite expensive...
- a hilux from Hertz, the price is considerably cheaper than the two mentioned above. But I am concerned that the insurance does not seem to be valid when driving non-tarred roads (I will be calling them to enquire about the wording used in their terms & conditions... I must say I would find it odd that you can rent 4x4 vehicles but that you are not actually allowed to drive on non-tarred roads with them...). Has anyone got any experience with renting a 4x4 with Hertz or another mainstream car rental company like Avis or other?

The RAV will be just fine for this trip :thumbs_up:

3. Weather: For those of you who have been there end of December, did you get any rain or was it just sizzling hot every day? Generally, is it already a bit "greener" than during the winter months?

Have a look at the topic Here

I know that makes for quite a few questions :D but I would really appreciate it if some of you experienced Kgalagadi visitors could answer them one by one.
Thank you very much. :D


Regards,

Francois


Hope the above will help you in your decisions during your visit.

I can guarantee that this will be a trip to remember for years to come :thumbs_up: .
Always be humble and understanding

Off to Kruger:
17-19/10/2016 Letaba
20-22/10/2016 Punda
23-25/10/2016 Shingwedzi
26-28/10/2016 Mopani

amecullen
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2007 7:50 pm

Re: Kgalagadi questions before my trip

Unread post by amecullen » Thu Jul 21, 2016 11:46 am

Dear fpirlet,

We are visiting the Kgalagadi for the first time this September and looked into several options regarding car hire.

I decided not to take a car from Hertz, as having queried their terms and conditions, it became clear that they do not cover driving in the Kgalagadi.

all the best

fpirlet
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Jan 16, 2014 4:30 pm

Re: Kgalagadi questions before my trip

Unread post by fpirlet » Thu Jul 21, 2016 1:31 pm

@ Barryels,

Thank you very much for your reply. It certainly helps :-)

@ Amecullen,

Thanks for your reply. With which company have you finally decided to rent a car (and out of curiosity, what type)?

Thanks again.

Francois

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Elephantears
Posts: 55
Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2013 6:08 pm
Location: London England

Re: Kgalagadi questions before my trip

Unread post by Elephantears » Thu Jul 21, 2016 5:00 pm

Hello fpirlet,
I reserved a Nissan X-Trail (or similar!) it is not a 4x4 but standard high ground clearance vehicle with Bidvest (I think formerly known as Budget in SA?) through an agent.

Hippotragus
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Re: Kgalagadi questions before my trip

Unread post by Hippotragus » Fri Jul 22, 2016 7:12 am

I agree with everything barryels has said. For your planned trip you will not need a 4x4 as such. A high-clearance vehicle, with plenty of room for luggage, food, water and firewood, will be best. The roads can be very corrugated and I think you will have a more comfortable ride in a larger, heavier vehicle. North of Nossob, the banks at the side of the road are quite high in places and your visibility will be improved with a bit of extra height.

There are two "main" roads up the two river beds - the Auob to Mata Mata and the Nossob to Nossob and up to Union's End. There are two roads that link these roads - the Lower Dune Road and the Upper Dune Road. As Barry said, the Leeudril 4x4 track is not worth hiring a 4x4 (you can't do it in 4x2, but you will not miss much by not doing it). Last time we were in KTP (May 2015) it was closed, anyway.

I have not hired a vehicle, so do not know about hiring. I agree that you must check that you can drive on dirt roads (i.e. non-tarmac).

I hope you have a fantastic trip - I am sure it will be the first of many.
Malelane 12th October 2016
Skukuza 16th October 2016
Lower Sabie 17th October 2016
Skukuza 2nd-5th March 2017
Satara 5th-8th March 2017
Tamboti 8th-11th March 2017

amecullen
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2007 7:50 pm

Re: Kgalagadi questions before my trip

Unread post by amecullen » Fri Jul 22, 2016 12:00 pm

We have visited Kruger three times now and each time we hired a car from Avis and we were very happy with their service/staff and I know that they cover the non tarred roads. For Kruger we only ever hired a standard Group C, Corolla sedan and had no problems, but it was uncomfortable on some of the corrugated gravel roads.

This will be our first trip to the Kgalagadi, we are staying for 8 nights, in mata mata, kalahari tented camp, nosob, TR and Kieliekrankie, took any accomodation I could get, so end up moving around a lot from camp to camp.

We decide to treat ourselves for this trip and we are hiring a Group L car from Avis, a 4x4 auto, Nissan Xtrail. It is a lot more expensive than a standard sedan, but not that much more than a high clearance vehicle. We pickup in Johannesburg, drive to KTP via Kimberley and Upington, drop the car back to Upington airport where we pick up a standard Group C again for the rest of our trip down to Cape Town.

I did look into getting the Ford Ecosport as I thought it might be a good compromise, but Avis did not guarantee this model and I could not get an answer from them as to what the alternatives might be.

best of luck

fpirlet
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Jan 16, 2014 4:30 pm

Re: Kgalagadi questions before my trip

Unread post by fpirlet » Sun Jul 31, 2016 1:08 pm

Thanks for all your helpful replies :-)

I have one last general question. On the forums I see people discussing that chalet or tent number X is the one with the nicest view in Camp Y..
I imagine that it is possible to request a specific tent or chalet when booking via phone, but what about when you have made your reservation online?
I made my booking online, and I suppose that SANPARKS has attributed some random unit to me... can I now follow up and call them to request a specific one or is it too late to change?

Thanks a lot.

Francois

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penolva
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Re: Kgalagadi questions before my trip

Unread post by penolva » Sun Jul 31, 2016 1:38 pm

Hi Francois, email the camp manager with your unit request, the email address is within the information for each camp. They always do a great job for me. Have a fantastic time but be warned you will have to go back once you have experienced those red dunes, blue skies and the amazing animals of KTP. :dance:


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