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Louise_Gerhard

Anyone that wants to come along?

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Sonsoeker, I have no specific plans for Sunday. I am sure Wazat and Bakgat is planning something. I personally would like to visit Platberg on my way back. This is a cache that bothered me for a long time. So I am open to suggestions. I will lead the way up the pass. The way down and further is for the cachers.

 

I am glad there is a solution to your problem. This is a wonderful world and so different. I even tried to negotiate with my wife – I have two 4x4’s and she only need to get to Newcastle to join the group. But she has other plans. So are there any suggestions for Sunday? Gerhard

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Just a quick word of caution. Between Mooiriver and Howick, the Highway has a speed limit of 100kph for 25km.... Stick to that speed... they have an average trapping system in place... so if you do the distance too quick... one fine will come your way. The camera's take photo's along the way and then it is calculated how fast you did it over that distance... So beware.

 

Sonsoeker are you flying to Durban then driving to Howick to meet I&J? Or driving from Randburg? I am sure the drive to Howick is going to be a lot more than 4 hours from Randburg...

 

Gerhard Platburg is calling but I am also hoping you have time for it.... There might be other plans in my way but will only know closer to the time... might have to take the Friday off to accommodate... The institution my have my attention and force a earlier expedition to somewhere else.... But it will only be known early next month or so.....

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Just one point - it is illegal for South African tourists to take alcohol into Lesotho.

We didn't take any with us on our 2005 trip and nobody checked up on this at Sani Pass.

But there could be problems if they do decide to search your vehicle.

We were aware of this in 2005 and have just read about it again in the June edition of WegSleep.

Edited by cownchicken

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Guys, please hold on to your horses. Some guys are e-mailing me at work, some is e-mailing me at home, some SMS’s is coming through, some private PM’s – it is driving me nuts. I know that I have to get some accommodation, as soon as I have an answer than I will let you know.

 

At present Lesotho is not keen to answer me; and my mother in law was involved in a very serious accident and I am buying a house in Gauteng and I am busy installing two new lines and I am busy with 3 other projects and I am busy with improvement projects in Botswana. So things are not that cool. If you do not belief me I included a photo of the accident of my mother in law – shame let us think about her and in her time of need.

 

Yes, to pass the border check points is easy. Roadblocks in Africa is a different story. Even hand held radios you need to provide the approved license.

 

Accident of Mother in law

 

Gerhard

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Wazat, there is one other option left in Lesotho. This one is for recovery after the penalties. We leave the lodge before day break. We aim for Hodgson’s Peak at 3256 meters. This peak is on the left as you come up the pass. No equipment needed and it offers a 360 degree bird eye’s view. This one will demand a 5 hour hike to the peak and back. Nice little walk across the valley and up and around. A cache should be safe here. Gerhard

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I was searching for other options for the guys that do not have 4x4’s but still would like to do the event. An amount of R800 for a tour operator was mentioned which is more than an arm and a leg. While searching I found the following option which could help someone.

 

Here is another option.

1. Go to the lodge at the bottom before the RSA border post.

2. Park your car there.

3. Go with the guides up the pass do the thing at the top and come back the same day.

4. Sleep over at the lodge and depart the next day or get in your car and follow the road home.

5. If you are 4 people you only need to pay about R100 per person, this is far less than to hire a 4x4. Just for the luxury to drive an off-road trial with your own 4x4 will cost you between R120 and R350. So I think this is quite reasonable in South African contents.

 

The temperature at this lodge is far more tolerable and a little bit more civilized. This lodge is my backup at present. If it is too expensive/too crowed/too complex at the top than we go down the afternoon and we stay at this lodge. But that is option 2 or plan B.

 

Here is the link. NO it is not a picture of mother in law. :(

 

Accomodation at bottom

 

Gerhard

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Hi, thanks for all the replies.

 

Thanks to Glider and his group, I now have a lift from Gauteng.

 

So it's:

Transport - ticked

Passport - ticked

Sleeping bag - ticked

Hiking boots - ticked

 

Looking forward to see everyone there!

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Ok guys this is where it does get a little bit tougher. I tried my best to arrange accommodation but I am not prepared to pay R350 to R750 per night for one night. I am going to Lesotho and this where I want to stay for the night. So if I have to camp then so be it. If snow than so be it. If there is no snow than so be it.

 

However I did find one location that could be acceptable at the RSA side. Details below. Lesotho is away from the comfort zone of most people.

 

Then again I also hope for accommodation at the backpacker’s lodge when we arrive at it. Previously I also tried to book accommodation and we arrived with a party of about 8 men. We were prepared for camping in the snow. On arrival at Sani Top we were told that they do have place. I tried to understand how they can say they have no place when I tried to book but now they have enough for another 8 men. Hard to understand but we had a place to sleep.

 

I guess there are a couple of options left now.

 

Option 1: We stay at the top and we camp. I am sure that none of the guys in my group will reject this option. If there is an objection in my group please inform me on this forum. I have an 8 men tent with sturdy steel poles that will withstand the wind and possible snow falls. My sleeping bag is geared for -10 degree so I am set. It is for one day where you need to leave the cozy home, the warn blanket and the gas heater and to rough it. We will thus join iNkoia and we will make sure that we have more alcohol than blood in the blood stream for any sub degree.

 

If there is a woman with us than I will make a bed for her in the rear of the Terrano and there is more than enough place to sleep in comfort and warm. This is the best I can do. I have done this many a times. I will bring a mattress with so it is nice and soft in the nest. Car is locked and it is next to us so she is safe and private. I will take a trailer with to make sure there is nothing in the back except the mattress. First woman that “books” this sleeping place is the one that gets it.

 

Option 2: This is for the guys that do not want to experience the cold and still need to sit at a fire place in a warm and friendly more civil way. You need to go down the afternoon, cross the RSA border and stay at Sani Bottom. Camping is cheaper than at the top.

 

Option 3: This is probably for the person that is tired, do not want to travel too far and still need to experience the feeling in more civil ways. This is also at Sani Bottom and you will find the place on your right hand side as you travel from Lesotho after crossing the border. More details are below. This is the best option available; please contact them directly for bookings. I know that they do not accept credit cards.

 

Option 4: This is for the person that refuses to rough it and/or wants to stay in luxury. Book into a hotel at Newcastle, Himeville, Underberg and enjoy it.

 

Weather forecast:

At present the weather forecast is the following and it does look fine. Then again the weather forecast can change quickly to something else.

 

At 02h00 the night – 6 degrees max temp, 2 degrees min temp, 0 mm rain, 5% cloud cover, humidity is 76%, wind is 10 mph average, Direction is NW, wind up to 21 mph.

 

At 08h00 the morning - 7 degrees max temp, 4 degrees min temp, 0 mm rain, 0% cloud cover, humidity is 45%, wind is 9 mph average, Direction is W, wind up to 19 mph.

 

If there is anyone not prepare to attend this event than I will accept this as such. There is one option left and that is to go deeper into Lesotho to Aloe guesthouse as their tariffs is more than reasonable. At present I would like to stay at the Sani Top and for a next event if any than we can go deeper into Lesotho and show the things that are not well known or visited. But that is a story for another time.

 

Best Location available: At the bottom; RSA side.

info@sanilodge.co.za

 

Hello Gerhard,

 

We can offer you the following availability for 14 August;

 

5 standard rooms not ensuite each sleeping two people R140pppn sharing

Dormitory beds R100pppn

 

Let us know what suits you best.

 

Regards Simone

 

Please note that we cannot guarantee availability of tours and / or accommodation without a preliminary provisional booking which may be confirmed by advance payment.

SANI LODGE BACKPACKERS * * * * (TGCSA)

HONEYGUIDE COTTAGE & DRAKENSBERG ADVENTURES

SOUTHERN DRAKENSBERG

SAYTC MEMBER

www.sanilodge.co.za

033 7020330

0835661997

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Let us know what suits you best.

As I appear to be traveling with you, I shall take your lead and following in your footsteps, whether Platberg or not so plat berg. So wherever you decide to lay your head, please make an extra reservation for me too. :anibad:

Thanks.

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Ons wil ook graag in Lesotho oorslaap, so ons mik vir die Sani Top Backpackers as plan A, vat die tent saam vir plan B en as die weer regtig lyk of dit mislik wil wees, plan C - Sani Lodge (Bottom). Ons plan is om by laasgenoemde in te boek vir die Vrydagaand.

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I had a meeting with Bakgat this afternoon or rather we had a barbeque and we had a chat about the event. He also has no problem with staying at the top.

 

It is too late now. There is a long weekend ahead and if I was awake then the timing would have been that long weekend. It was then possible to go further and to stay at Aloe. But we are set to go and we can not wait or change.

 

I will tow the trailer up the pass. At least I can keep all the stuff in the trailer and away. I am seriously considering the hike to the peaks on the left of Sani – if I hit the road at 05h00 than I can be back at 10h00 and this leave enough time to get to Platberg. Than again if I hit the road at 04h00 than I will be able to see a beautiful sunrise. But the cachers must decide if we can or not.

 

I am looking forward to this trip; there is a slight change in the travelling plans. The road could be dangerous so from Ladysmith we are heading on the N3 on the highway towards the tar road leading to Sani. I do not want to take chances so if we are late than we can do “catch up” on this one which is safer to do. Details will be done later. I am ready to go and Bruce you need to give me a waypoint where I need to collect you. Gerhard

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Behalwe vir die versekering en logboek, is daar enige ander vereistes vir jou voertuig soos ZA plakkers?

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Hi Gerhard,

 

It would be nice if everyone that wants to stay over can stay over at the top, since the pub at the top seems like a great place to gather and stay up late as a group. I had a look at the Sani top chalet website and tried to do a quick count of how many people are going, and it seems like there is still enough accommodation available at the top as it stands at the moment. The only problem is that the rondavels are relatively expensive at R500.00 per person per night. There are still 2 rondavels available for 4 people each and backpackers accommodation for 6 people and then there are 2 campsites for 4 people each, therefore allowing for 22 people in total. I would prefer staying at the backpackers at the top with Glider's group since I'm travelling with them - shall we go ahead to do our own booking? Otherwise the rondavels are a nice (but a bit expensive) option, although it still costs less than a -8 degrees sleeping bag. But I know that is typical female reasoning :D

Edited by Sonsoekster

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Yep, go a head and book now. We will still camp. A long time ago on my first trip I received the following photos from the off road forum of a person that camped; during the snow; this was unexpected weather. I have no idea what we are up against. It could snow and it could be hot, it can rain, it can be anything. Maybe there is a lot of snow - maybe nothing. Prepare for anything.

 

The ZA stickers were never an issue in Lesotho and I was never asked for such. Please keep a red triangle with you in the vehicle. I had this request once. At any road block come to a dead stop in front of it until they say you can go even if they are busy with other vehicles. Do not try to drive through. The chance to be stopped at a road block is very rare. But they are friendly and easy going. At Himeville fill your vehicle with fuel. Make sure you have something to drink like coke, leave the alcohol at home; border guys have a problem with it. Make sure you have warm clothing, keep it in plastic bags.

 

Here in Lesotho things work different. This is more for the guys that stay here for a week and longer. You never fill your vehicle with fuel directly. Some times it happens that their meter is “faulty”. You will end up paying for 80 liter of fuel with a fuel tank capacity of only 72 liter. To fuel your vehicle is according to African standards. You take your plastic sample tube and you press it right down into the diesel and you hold your thumb on the open end of the tube and you check the quality and/or for any water. If you are happy then you negotiate the price first. You then give them your jerry tanks to fill and you pay for it; let them sign in your log book. You then fill your vehicle with the Jerry cans and you fill the jerry cans again.

 

Gerhard

 

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cb56a250-1fe7-4e66-b9dd-65b058144c71.jpg

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Weather forecast is perfect for this event. From now I will only do feedback if any significant changes. Good weather for kit flying the afternoon. Gerhard

 

For August 14 December

 

02h00:

3/-1 Degrees Celsius, No Rain, 1% Cloud Cover, 59% humidity, 8 mph wind, WNW, 17 mph maximum.

08h00

6/3 Degrees Celsius, No Rain, 17% Cloud Cover, 52% humidity, 8 mph wind, WNW, 17 mph maximum.

14h00

20/20 Degrees Celsius, No Rain, 2% Cloud Cover, 20% humidity, 0 mph wind, NNW, 0 mph maximum.

20h00

6/6 Degrees Celsius, No Rain, 13% Cloud Cover, 62% humidity, 2 mph wind, WNW, 4 mph maximum.

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For those that will attend the event please try to get as many TB’s and coins at this event. I am raiding the motels at the moment one by one as many of these travellers are stuck in them for months already. Hopefully they will move around a bit. If you are a Motel owner and you would like to keep them at the Motel please hide them for this week – I am on my way to your motel to get as many as I can.

 

At the event I will print the numbers on a sheet for other to discover. If you move them then you need to log it as such in the event log book so that I can track where they are and where they going and who moved them. With so many a lot can go missing and that I would not like. I will place all trackables into containers which is clearly marked of their previous locations.

 

For those that will bring some or personal ones to the event please drop me an e-mail with the tracking numbers so I can include them on my list. Anton and Wazat have a couple of personal ones. I also have one coin that needs to go home to his owner and I will for obvious reasons keep this away from the event and if you need to have a look at him please ask for such. But this one is reserved for a trip to America. Gerhard

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It also appears as if I have one vacant seat for someone. Bruce will now travel in style with a total of 4 cachers and not 5. The final “flight” plane must still be confirmed. First come first to go if the other two confirmed that they are not going. Please drop me an e-mail or publish on forum. Time is now running out. Gerhard

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I was in Bergville Tuesday and there was a thick blanket of clouds all over the Lesotho escarpment. Today While in Estcourt I didn't even notice but it seems a lot clearer or I was just not looking... But weather can change in a matter of minutes up there... very unpredictable... Sunshine one minute, and half hour later snow....

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Gerhard jy't toe nie jou nommer gegee nie, maar ek dink ek het Wayne en Anton en Elsie se nrs.

 

Ons kan gekontak word by 0827088973 of 0832344651

 

SIEN JULLE WAAR DIT KOUD IS!! :blink:

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To all that came and to Gerhard for arranging this. Thank you. It was truly a most rewarding experience. I have wanted to go up Sani Pass for many years and I was so glad to finally do this trip. It will not be my last that is for sure. I will love to do this more often.

 

It is different in that my usual trip to the top of the Drakensberg involves a strenuous hike of around 6 or 7 hours to reach the top. And limits the cache i place to a select few. This was great as now I have been able to publish a cache that many people will have easy access to. At 3345m I have now brought people to heights I enjoy. The easy way.

 

Thanks once again to a wonderful group of people the weekend was awesome... Cannot wait to go up once again...

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I would like to echo Wazat's sentiments and thank Gerhard for going the extra mile (or a hundred) to make this a memorable weekend away. It was good to meet new cachers from Durban end East London as well as the regulars who are so faithful at all the Gauteng events. Gerhard's meticulous attention to detail in the run-up to and the organisation of this event paid dividends as it all went off without a hitch. I would also like to thank Wazat and Glider Slider for planting new caches up in Lesotho for us to enjoy. I hope they last for others to find in time. Indeed I would like to go back again some time (hopefully when there is snow) to see it in a different season. The scenery is certainly spectacular.

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Before we go to Lesotho again we have the big one that needs to be done. Lesotho was selected for various reasons and yes I sometimes have a hidden agenda. :P I am planning a trip to Botswana and the Lesotho event was a test to see if there is a need for more extreme and remote events and to see if events such as this are promoting geocaching and teamwork.

 

During the Lesotho event the following was done and I have to get this to the open. Do not be too angry with me as this was for a good cause.

1. Cachers were suddenly left alone without the event organizer and they had to accept the challenge on their own. They teamed together and they went up without a hitch. The idea was to see if they can function on their own. They did not wait for me but proved leadership in this situation.

2. I placed cachers in a difficult position with accommodation and I even placed them in a tent with a 50 km/hr wind to see how they cope with toilets locked at 22h00 and in a remote area.

3. We went on a slightly difficult trail to see how they behaved with their vehicles. They done excellent and no help were needed and no heroes were seen.

4. I observed all cachers during the cache hunt and if they can operate as a team or individuals. They surprised me; for some reason I had this mind set that cachers are more individuals than a team.

5. I place them in a difficult position with transport and they made plans to get around it.

6. I created an event with a lot of warnings and things that can frighten the ordinary person and I wanted to see if they can accept the challenge and if they can get around the fear factor.

7. I needed to see how the team will function in a remote area.

 

What was the hidden agenda?

I am planning a trip to Botswana for a while now. Something that could be called the “4 Countries, 4 event outing” somewhere in June 2011. (DV) during this trip we are targeting Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia and back to RSA. At present it is just an idea that we are working on.

 

At the end of September I need to be in Botswana again for a project that must be commissioned and we will then test if this is feasible or not and some meat will be added to the bones with my Botswana colleagues.

 

The idea is to hold a starting event in Botswana, near Gaborone for RSA cachers with normal vehicles. Next one at the Caprivi, followed by a visit to Livingstone in Zimbabwe. Biggest problem is accommodation, backup and recovery if needed. We need to do this event in the winter – you will not like it during the summer rain. Yes, we will get to caches. The last stretch is back to Gauteng with a final event in Midrand for the stories among the cachers. This will be a 10 day trip and we will do it as a family for our yearly holiday. If the timing is good we should be able to find some cachers that want to come along. To go into Botswana alone is suicide at best but now cachers have the chance to do it as a group. For those that do not want to do the complete trip it could be possible to add Botswana on your geocaching country list with the event in Gaborone.

 

To get this done will need careful planning and good listings or else the reviewer will shoot me down one time. The difficulty is complex and one will need to do the publishing months before the time and special permission from Groundspeak will have to be obtained but that is something that we will cross as we get there.

 

Before this idea starts to materialize I need to ask one question. Is there anyone that would like to join if a trip like this is organized? Maybe someone have some ideas that he wants to share with the group. Is this possible? Gerhard

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Hi Gerhard

 

Ai ai ai...

 

We might chase numbers seperatly, but we all do this geocaching thing together.

Nou wat het jy dan anders verwag?

 

I was also thinking along the lines of an event at Livingstone.

Only thing is I refuse to travel via Zimbabwe, and support that Mogabe .... < haal diep asem ... voor daar sekere woorde deur kom>.

I am game for such a trip, but do not have a 4x4 (yet). Lets hope I can get one before then, and that our plans line up.

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Anton,

I was watching the trial Timmo has left in Zimbabwe and it seemed that they had a good time without any problems. I can not comment on his behalf and maybe he is a position to tell us more about the safety issues, people, fuel and food. I do not know if Zimbabwe is fine or not - because I do not know I will rather skip it. The idea is to go right up to the top of Botswana and then only a short path to Livingstone. This will give us a quick in and out. The majority of my workforce is from Zimbabwe and they gave me some good information of the hot spots and what is happening in their country. They also showed me photos of the beautiful spots and areas worth visiting but I am not too sure if I will risk it. At the same time one of my friends visited this country and he had a good time.

 

About three months ago I had a chat with my co-workers in Botswana. Guess what came out during this meeting. I was told that they do not like South Africans neither do they like people from Zimbabwe. :D The electrician with me was from Zimbabwe and he did not like it too much. I am from RSA but I just took it on the chin without fuzz. He told me that the impression is that we are an arrogant nation and we have a don’t care attitude to their country and to them and we showed it in the way we drive. It was good to listen to him and to hear his viewpoint and I made sure that I drive more careful and that I treated people with more respect. Here it still strange to see that the taxi will go you a break. People from Zimbabwe are always involved in petty crime such in breaking into vehicles. That could be his impression and belief. I wanted to plant caches in Gaborone but I was told that it is not safe for the cachers to move around the hills around the town except in large groups. This was immediately scrapped from my wish list. I know Gaborone well and I never had any hassles and I was treated better than in my own country.

 

I think a lot has to do with the personal experience and mind set. I noticed a lot of people are visiting Angola and they claim it to be safe. Before I visit Angola I will rather visit Zimbabwe. I once paid a visit to Angola to our factory that side. I was collected at the airport and escorted to the factory with armed men in front and in the rear. At the factory I received a security induction and I was told not to leave the premises at any time. I stayed in a hut on the factory premises for three days. I just do not feel at ease and it is difficult to sleep during the night. One has the feeling that trouble is just around the corner. From there I was moved with armed escort to the airport again. Will I visit them? Nope, maybe one day when I can go for a walk outside the factory.

 

Our personal feeling is that we are going ahead with the plan with the risk that I could be the only one at the event. That will be a real bummer but just maybe we can get some cachers to join us which happens to be in that area.

 

Gerhard

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Before this idea starts to materialize I need to ask one question. Is there anyone that would like to join if a trip like this is organized? Maybe someone have some ideas that he wants to share with the group. Is this possible? Gerhard

Hi Gerhard

May I please book a spot in your vehicle in advance?

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If it is possible to figure out a route which a which a normal car can drive, I am in. Wife, kids and me.

 

I think it should be possible to get to Livingstone in a normal car, and hope from there we can double up in the 4x4s and drive the last little bit to Vic falls, in them.

 

In the 10 day trip, what are the aproximate/estimate trip?

2 days travel, 6 days in Livingstone, 2 days trip back?

Edited by DamhuisClan

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Anton you are reading my mind. This will be my last post and I will do another new one on this topic next year. I included snippets for those interested in doing this trip for background information. Ok, also to get your attention. I hope I use the correct spelling for the towns. If not then I apologize. You can travel all the way to Kaszungula with a Bitumen road from Gaborone. If you reach Nata you can also turn to the western side and you can carry on to Maun. It is amazing to see the progress compared to 1966 when only 10 km was paved. (This could be wrong; this was received via my peers in Botswana)

 

I will do my best to make the events accessible to all cachers and to make it reachable with a normal vehicle. It is one of the reasons why we need to hold one of the events in Gaborone itself for the Botswana leg. Anyone can attend with any vehicle and you can go home the same afternoon or cross the border and stay over somewhere in RSA. Or you can stay in Gaborone at Oasis and return the next day. To make it a 4x4 event only is a little bit unfair as we immediately exclude 80% of the caching community. Only after publishing we will be able to say if we are going into the wilder places and if we are staying on the tar road and near the town. Only when the cachers agree will we go to the bush. Maybe better to say - sand. Most of the worthy places are however off the beaten track. If there are any objections then we stay on the 2 ply lanes. This final answer will also depend on the number of 4x4 vehicles that will attend, if any. I normally do remote areas with a minimum of 4 vehicles but prefer not more than 8 at a time.

 

Also interested to note that Botswana has a population of about 1.7 million people and 80% of them live on the eastern side. The country consists of about 580 000 square km. This will give you some idée of the spread of people. Even when you travel with a normal vehicle you need to travel in a group; vehicles can break down. There are only two types of vehicles. Those that are in the workshop at present and those that will visit in the near future. Night driving is a no go at all times; but then again so is the rest of Africa. In this country you will see more than enough donkeys. They do not move they just stay on the road. The higher you go and the more to the western side the less the people and sometimes the more the elephants.

 

There you do not hit any thing on the road and you do not get caught in a speed trap. Use the hooter at all times and go around people and animals as far as possible. The police are well organized and you have 48 hours to pay your fine at the nearest police station, sometimes they demand payment on the spot. Do not even try to bribe them; jail will be the next stop for you and the family. Do not be late with the payment and do not ignore the summons; they are quite effective and you will be arrested at the next stop. Speed limits are more or less to the SADC requirements. General speed is 120 km/hr, semi urban is 80 km/hrs and 60 km/hrs for urban/build up areas. In the bush you need to be careful. Sand tracks are sometimes deep, you have to keep momentum and revs to make sure you do not get stuck. Here petrol machines do much better than a diesel. Diesels tend to run too hot in sand. Also you need to stay in the track at the same time. In the sand the small narrow tyre as fitted on the old Land Rovers do much better than the wide ones as fitted on BMW. If you meet another group you must be alert - the inexperienced drivers could climb out of their tracks and then there is no control. Most of them are foreigners that want to rough it and they do make use of hired 4x4’s with no or little experience. Maybe it is not kind and maybe it is not right but I treat all of them as inexperienced and then there are no surprises and I expect anything. Sometimes I will also pull off the road especially when I see they do speed.

 

Elephants should be treated with respect if we go the bush, we will meet them somewhere. If some of the bulls are in their muster season you could be worried. They do mock attacks – drive away from them at speed and they will keep on coming and they will enjoy their game and you will be doing the sweating. Best is to stop, switch the engine off and stay where you are; it is hard to do while the mind is saying something else and the feet wants to run when he is charging but you need to do the right thing. He will soon loose interest if you do not get scared and he will carry on with other things. You need to know the difference between a mock attack and a real one. Do not switch off when he does the real one – not nice to be a hamburger patty. Yes, I will not stay in the bush with any type of tent. In Lesotho we had to face a 50 km/hr wind but here you face a wild kitty that has food on his mind and honestly we are the bottom of this food chain so I do take care.

 

Accommodation is sometimes a pain. You can not arrive at a location and expect to find something. Some of the reserves will not give you access at the gate if you can not produce a letter stating that you are booked, even with empty accommodation. The tour operators in this area do block bookings - sometimes up to 20 people. Three days before the expected arrival date they will cancel the booking if they have no sufficient numbers. When you leave RSA you need to have the accommodation resolved. That could be the biggest challenge. But for the rest - it is a relatively low risk trip.

 

For the next couple of months we will need to plan and we will need to do some reconnaissance of this area. BruceTP will be booked but then there is no more space in my vehicle. It will happen sometime in June 2010 and it will be in the Gauteng school holiday and it will be about 10 days long. Hopefully I will be close to my 2000 mark. During winter the sand give you a little bit less problems and you do not need to go through 1 meter of water. But it is also the time when it is busy. If you drive sensible you will not get stuck or better - you have a good chance not to get stuck. But you have to learn to stop the normal way and to reverse back onto your own track and then forward and then back again. This will compact the sand and you will have the chance to get momentum during pull away. Blow down of tyres are essential and a pump must be carried with a tyre gauge. The secret of sand driving is in the tyres and to learn not to spin the tyre off the rim.

 

The way I will precede is a simple way of starting the plan but it ends as a complex chain of events. I look at the tar roads, then I look at anything of value on that road such as scenery and caches, if there is a border crossing then I do some checks and balances as each and every border post sometimes have their own rules. For those interested in the planning I do make use of a decision tree to get to the best option for the average cacher. I then look for possible gathering places such as public places where there are some sort of open spaces and if possible where no arranged booking must be done such as restaurants or where an entry fee must be paid. I ask for permission to hold such an event from the property owner and that is sometimes quite a hurdle. I then recheck the route and test for accessibility with a normal vehicle and I check for any negatives and or risk elements such as high crime areas and I adjust the plan if anything is found. We then do a recognisance trip and we have to make sure that the plan is working. Only here we start to add days required to get there. The plan is simple – I am going to move around and I will not stay too long at one location. I am planning to leave extra time to do the final event in Gauteng – probably delayed with an additional week. The aim is also to meet with the owner of the location where the event will be held. Only when all is resolved we will proceed publishing the event. I will in all probability do a similar one every two years. But that depends on the reaction of the cachers and on their recommendation and the way they experienced it. Also it is important to note that they we do contact some of the cachers that visited the area and I will ask for info, hints and anything that we should be aware of before publishing the event.

 

For sure, if the plan materializes and only one cacher arrived at the event then no further events to the North will be done in the future unless the next cacher sign the listing with his name in blood. No, do not use the screen – I will not see it. If there are two people then I will rethink the next one.

 

I hope Groundspeak will allow me additional time for the event. It is for the benefit of the cacher. You need to make sure that precautions are taken against malaria and the accommodation must be resolved so additional time is needed as this is not the ordinary event. I think they will understand and if any obstacles then the reviewer will have to assist to explain the circumstance to them and why it is needed. On the other hand such an event in these remote areas should not be a problem – after all how many events will be on top of the new listings in Botswana?

 

At least the cachers are warned of a potential chain of events that will be done next year and they are in a position to start planning and to get the resources needed. The plan was broadly discussed and you should have an idea how and what is involved. Do not worry, with this one I will lead from the front from Gaborone back to RSA. If I am not there then the team lost me somewhere in Botswana.

 

During January we should be in a position to give the red light or the green light. You then need to decide to do the jump or not to jump. This year I am not going on leave due to this plan. But to see Botswana you have two choices. You pay the tour operator an arm and a leg or you get a group together at much less cost. It is time to convince the wife…..

 

Gerhard

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