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The journey home. Wednesday 13 January, day 280, week 36. Senyati Safari Camp.

 

“You lose sight of things… and when you travel, everything balances out”.

 

• Zambia – Botswana.

• Senyati Safari Camp near Kazungula.

• Distance covered 595km, taking 9hr.

We awoke early with the farmyard noises and had an exceptionally early start. This was fortunate as the traffic through Lusaka was still light and it took only 32min to pass from the northern outskirts, through the center of town, to the southern outskirts. Moorings Campsite was passed 220km from Lusaka and 11km north of Monze. We have previously stayed here and recommend it. They have chalets as well. Livingstone to Kazangula is only 65km.

The Kazangula border post and ferry across the Zambezi River went very smoothly and we were through the Botswana side in only 45min. All was very efficient here, especially on the Botswana side. The new bridge across the Zambezi is starting to take shape on the Zambian side and should be complete within a couple of years. The Zambezi was flowing well despite the earlier reports of drought. The alternative to crossing the border immediately would be to first stay at the Maramba Campsite in Livingstone which we had previously enjoyed, but it was too early to stop here.

KAZANGULA BORDER POST AND FERRY ACROSS THE ZAMBEZI.

Zambian side. Park at S17 47,358 E25 16,008.

Immigration. The building is on your left through the gate, passports stamped out of Zambia.

Customs. Fill in the book with vehicle details. The official completed the carnet, retaining the middle stub.

In another building also on the left, a council levy of Kw30 (US$3) is paid.

The ferry ticket is purchased at another building last in line, also on the left. The building is labelled Esco. Our fixer advised us to use the Zambian rather than the Botswana ferry company. They are faster with 3 ferries. Cost was Kw150 (US$15).

One then drives a couple of hundred meters forward to the ferry docking queue, bypass the trucks and park in the passenger vehicle queue.

We used a fixer here who did speed things up, all he wanted was to change our remaining Zambian Kwacha to Botswana Pula, his rate was reasonable.

Botswana side.

We hardly had to wait for the ferry and the crossing was quick. Drive off the ferry to about 500m down the road and through a gate. Park in the parking bays and enter the building on the right. First go to Immigration where your passport is stamped in, no visa needed for South Africans. A few windows down in the same building is customs. First fill in the motor vehicle register. No need to fill in the carnet as Botswana is part of the SADC customs union.

One then passes down the row to the cashier’s window on the end. Here the following payments are made.

1. Road permit, Pula50 for transit.

2. Motor vehicle third party insurance P50.

3. Our National Road Fund levy was still valid. Fortunately we had retained the receipt from our northbound leg, this is valid for one year. Otherwise we would have had to pay the P50 again.

To reach Senyati Safari Camp drive out on the main road south signposted Nata and Francistown. Pass the turnoffs to the left to Zimbabwe and to the right to Kasane. After about 10km you will see the signposted Senyati turnoff to the left, at S17 51,771 E25 13,479. Drive 2km down a sandy track to reach the camp.

Senyati has been in the 4X4 forum news recently with some controversy. I must say we thoroughly enjoyed our stay there despite some faults. As reported by others the manageress did not make a good impression at all with her off-hand manner and some really silly rules. They have free internet from the pub deck, but only from 17H00 to 21H00, why not the rest of the day I cannot understand? The pub would not be opened as there was only 1 other couple camping. This surprised me as later 2 other couples arrived. Beers could be bought from the office but I was charged P30 for a Windhoek Draft instead of the advertised P25 per beer, strange. I ended up drinking only one of their beers and the other visitors none, despite us all spending much of the evening on the bar deck. The big attraction here is the floodlit waterhole just in front of the pub deck where herds of elephant come to drink all the time. One can even get closer to them via the underground hide in a bunker right at the water’s edge. In daylight one would get great photographic close-ups of the elephants. Apparently buffalo herds are not all that rare here and we also saw spotted hyena and jackal.

Apparently the old chap who owns and developed the camp has handed the management over to the younger manageress who according to reports lacks his people skills, I must concur on her shortfall in this regard. Despite all our previous visits to Botswana we had never stayed here before, preferring to be in Kasane on the Chobe River itself and closer to the Sedudu Gate into Chobe National Park. Despite the abovementioned shortcomings I will definitely stay at Senyati again and not only for the undoubted attraction of the waterhole, but also for the well-appointed campsites, of which there are about 20. Each site has its own flush toilet, shower (hot water from donkey boiler) and thatch-roofed verandah to sit on. There were decent fire pits, rubbish bins and individual wash-up basins. This campsite was set up by someone with a clear understanding of the requirements of campers, something sorely lacking in many other campsites further north. Shady trees and plenty of birds were present and hyenas whooped close to the campsites at night giving it a very wild feel. At times the elephant and even buffalo wander through the camps. Camping costs P140pppn, very reasonable. Despite the management attitude I would certainly stay here again.

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