After the impressive rhino sightings of the Khama rhino sanctuary I made my way 380km north-west to the Makgadigadi national park. You access the park from the eastern side via the Khumaga village. From there take an exciting Boteti ferry ride to camp at Khumaga.
The 380km drive was scenic and easy on well maintained roads. There are several good stops along the way with large shops available in Letlhakane and fuel in Letlhakane, Mopipi and Rakops. All accept credit cards.
Once you arrive in the village of Khumaga simply carry on straight. The route is marked clearly. Simply follow the signs down to the river. Alternatively, use you GPS navigation to get there. Either way, it should be easy to find your way.
Using the Boteti Ferry
You dont have to prebook the ferry. Once you arrive simply call the number on the sign (+267 72 234 998) and they will be there to assist within about 15 minutes. Alternatively, you can drive 200meters up river the Boteti river camp to request assistance. The cost for the ferry is P150 per vehicle.
Bookings and Costs
The SKL camps group operate the south camp in the Nxai Pan. In Botswana, the government does not operate all campsites. They tender sites out to private operators. This is a unique set-up that I’ve only ever experienced in Botswana. You can book camping directly on their website (click here).
Remember, you will pay park fees separately to the Botswana Government department of wildlife and national parks. You can do this at their office in Gaborone or directly at the gate upon arrival.
After registering and making your payment at the gate it is a short 2km drive to the camp. From here you will have to engage 4×4 as the roads in the park consist exclusively of heavy thick sand.
The camp setup is pretty much on par with what you can expect from camping in national parks in Botswana. Thick sand, shade, water (non-drinkable), fire pit and bin.
The ablutions include showers with hot, toilets and basins. At the back there are larger basins where laundry and dishes can be done.
Exploring the River
Once you’ve settled in it is time to explore. The best is to follow the Boteti river upstream towards the Hippo pools. Along the way there is a very good viewpoint which is a worthy place to stop for a quick coffee. Also look out for the access road that allows you to drive next to the river.
When the Boteti is in flood this is quite an experience as you get to drive amongst the hundreds of zebras that can be found grazing on the banks. The river is rife with bird life and other small animals which benefit from the seasonal waters. Visiting Khumaga when the Boteti is flowing surely is a worthwhile endeavour.
Getting to the Phuduhudu gate
After spending the night at Khumaga I moved onto the Nxai Pan national park which literally is across the road. There is a road that leads directly north and allows you to exit Makgadigadi via the Phuduhudu gate. The gate is about 30km from Khumaga and from there the Nxai Pan gate is only 10km away.
The road there is fairly straight forward simply take the same one that goes to the Hippo pools. Eventually you’ll reach a split in the road, the left going to the pools and the right to the gate. But beware, similar to other roads in the park it consists of heasvy thick sand all the way to the gate.
That was an exciting Boteti ferry ride to camp at Khumaga!!!