My first article about an overland trip was supposed to be about the bush, the animals and the family around a campfire. Although all of this was amazing and memorable, I learnt a couple of lessons on my recent trip to the Okavango Delta in Botswana that could help future overlanders.
It was very early that Saturday morning when we took to the roads on our way to Botswana. For me, this was a dream come true − for years my folks would return from their bush trips and share their adventures with us, and I’d always said, “One day…” Well, on that early Saturday morning, my day came.
Dijara is a small campsite just outside Mababe village, about 150km north-east of Maun. It is, basically, right on the doorstep of the Moremi Game Reserve and Chobe National Park, and consists of 13 campsites on the banks of the Khwai River. There are no fences around the reserve or the park, and our five-night stay at the campsite was made very interesting by nightly visits from hyenas and hippos, and a regular presence of elephant during the day.
Need to know
Khwai Development Trust
Khwai Development Trust is a communitymanaged wilderness area north of Moremi Game Reserve and south of Chobe National Park – a perfect stop over when travelling between the two national reserves.
The Trust was founded in April 2000, and represents the interests of the community of the Khwai Village, with the benefits from tourism being distributed to all households and residents.
Campsites in the region are wild and unfenced. They include Magotho, Matswere and Sable Alley. There is no formal gate. Report to Khwai Development Trust offices in Khwai Village, 08:00 to 04:00.
Mababe Zokotsama Community Development Trust
Dijara Camp is 100% owned by the community of Mababe through the Mababe Zokotsama Community Development Trust and is run by residents of Mababe Village. The trust was founded in 2002 and was initially established for hunting and photo tourism, but has since focused on eco-tourism after hunting was banned in Botswana.
Dijara is 40km drive east of Moremi Game Reserve, 1 km south of Chobe National Park, and 5km drive southwest of the Mababe Depression. The camp is 130km north of Maun and is accessible by both road and air.
The campsite is wild and unfenced. Ablutions are very basic, but flushing toilets, water taps and shower buckets are provided. Booking office: +267 749 52318 www.dijaracampsite.com Cost: P220 per person per night (kids under 12 – 50%)
Camping, water and ablution facilities at South Gate (Maqwee), North Gate (Khwai).
(Southern section of the Chobe National Park) Camping and ablution facilities at Linyati, Mababe, Ngoma and Sedudu gates Gate times: May-Sept 06:00 to 06:30, Oct-April 05:30 to 07:00
National Park Bookings:
Botswana Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP). Pay DWNP fees in cash at camp gates, in advance at a DWNP office or through central reservations: +267 318 0774 Cost: P120 per person per night (P60 for under- 18s), plus P50 per vehicle, camping P30 per person per night
Before you go
• Take a satellite phone.
• Ensure you have enough water for a week: at least 2 litres per person per day.
• Have a set of emergency contact numbers available on a 24-hour basis and brief the contact person properly.
• Ensure your route planning is up to scratch; know the location of fuel and supplies.
• Make sure you have adequate medical evacuation cover.
• Check that your insurer offers repatriation assistance for both the vehicle and occupants, and whether you will be reimbursed or if the insurer will arrange this.
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