Chitove camp to Chivillia Camp to Rossi Pools, Gonarezhou National Park

Chitove camp was even better than Fishans camp. We were right next to the water. When we arrived, a couple of elephants left. We had crocodiles resting on the opposite bank. Baboons, Zebras, Elephants and more came down to the water, somewhere along the bank. There was pretty well something going on all day. After 3 nights at Chitove we headed about 60km  to Chivillia. Firstly we needed to cross the Runde at a causeway, which we did without it being much more than 30cm deep. We then stopped on the opposite bank to watch a couple of hundred Cape Buffalo head into the water to drink. We then headed to Chilojo cliffs picnic area. There we watched an Elephant want across the Runde, eventually coming back to comprehensively scratch itself on a tree near us.

We continued on to Chivillia Camp which was a rocky downhill track. We were a bit disappointed with Chivillia, it was away from the water, and there were not a lot of animals. However the first night during dusk, Karen spotted a lion sitting about 100m away. It roared a few times then wandered off. We were pretty careful around camp the next two nights.

After 3 nights at Chivillia Camp we headed for the long drive south to Rossi Pools camp. Firstly we needed to detour to Chipinda Pools camps to get some extra water. Then it was the well built but steep winding descent to the Nkwangulatio causeway. The causeway was built in 2019, and was well done. We crossed it and continued south. We passed a couple of heavily armed rangers making patrols, then followed the electrified park fenceline  for tens of kilometres.  At 4:30pm and after a long day we arrived at Rossi Pools camp.

An elephant at Chilojo Cliffs
Cape Buffalo opposite our campsite at Chitove
Another huge Baboab protected from Elephants with rocks
Chilojo Cliffs from the picnic area
Occasionally we have some home made bread
the waterhole near Chivillia Camp
Chivillia Camp
Looking down on the elephants
Before crossing the causeway
Nkwangulatio causeway
Driving down the park fence line, don’t touch the electric fence!

Great Zimbabwe Hotel to Save River Conservancy

The next morning it was cold, but at last not raining. We got packed and drove the 30km into Masvingo, for more supplies, fuel, and water.  We found a Pick n pay supermarket, which would also take a credit card.

I went over the road to another supermarket to get water. They wouldn’t take a credit card, so I had to pay with USD. So the bill is USD$3.20. So they have no change less than a $1USD note. So what would I like. So I grab a couple of bottles of water out of the fridge. That leaves 22c changed owed, what do I want to do with that? I don’t care, keep the 22c. However the checkout attendant says, can I buy myself a chocolate bar for 20c. I say fine. We then go out both of us to be checked by the guards for my bottles of water, and her chocolate bar.

We try a servo for fuel with a credit card, no luck, but they suggest the Puma out of town. We go to the six month old Puma with attached KFC about a km out of town and buy fuel with a credit card. We are trying to conserve our supply of USD.

We drive east around 140km, decreasing in altitude and with increasing warmth. A couple of police road blocks, but they wave us through. We then turn onto the Save river conservancy, which is so big, that its a 60km drive from the front gate to the camping spot we have booked.

We drive past (and nearly collide with) Elephants. We also see Zebra, Giraffe, Kudu and other antelopes. After a river crossing we arrive at the Humani compound. We don’t know how to get to the campsite, eventually someone guides us out the 3km to the campsite next to the Turwi river.

We saw Elephants down river from us the first night. Occasionally we hear lions. The second day we spent the afternoon game driving down to the Save River, but didn’t see a lot. When we got back to camp, there was an elephant next to our campsite.

Camped next to the Turvi river
Plenty of wood provided for a campfire
The solar panels set up on the bank, because the campsite is under trees
Sunset on the Turvi river





Hillside Dams Bulawayo Zimbabwe to Farmhouse Matopos

I struggled getting power at Hillside Dams the next morning. I got power until 10am then load-shedding started. With all the solar panels up I managed to charge up the batteries by mid afternoon. I then headed to Karen’s lodge that she was staying at. It was very nice, they also had their generators running as well because they had lost power too.

We went out to dinner with Karen’s colleagues. It being Zimbabwe, and a few South Africans thrown in as well, there was a lot of meat for dinner. Everyone got a good feed though and there was meat left over which people could take home.  We stayed in Karen’s room overnight, a big change from the camping I had done for the last 3 weeks.

We headed out the next morning for the Farmhouse camping site about 50km south of Bulawayo, which is just north of the Matapos National Park. We went through two police road blocks, but we were not stopped. Karen thinks they are under orders not to hassle tourists. Farmhouse is very well run. We had hot showers from a donkey boiler, and we had great views. They have Giraffe and Wildebeest on the property, so we walked down to the feeding of the Giraffes which happens every day at 4pm.

Karen by now had got pretty sick from something she caught from being in all those meeting rooms, so Saturday she spent a lot of time asleep. I was fine but I was going to get sick eventually.  I went on a cave guided walk, and say a couple of caves with 2,000 year old cave paintings.

On Sunday we drove into Matapos National Park. We headed west on looked at the rock formation called mother and child which is actually pictured on the mysterious ZIG currency. ZIG is the official currency of Zimbabwe, but almost no-one has seen it, everyone works on USD.  There are so many balance rocks both in and around Matopos. We headed further west to a dam looking for animals (and maybe white rhino), but we saw evidence of Elephants, but only saw Hippos and klipspringers.

We then headed east to try to get to Nswatugi Cave. The first track got rougher and rougher, until I thought it was too rough for our heavily loaded camper. So we spent about an hour carefully reversing back down the track including cutting scrub out of the way. We ripped off one of the rear mudflaps. This time it was the old one that’s been on for years, rather than the new one. We then headed back and approached the cave from a different direction. We were more successful this time, and made it to the cave late afternoon. The cave had been excavated about 5m down, finding evidence of people living in it 9,000 years ago.


Camped at the Farmhouse
The view from the viewing deck
There are many balanced rocks
Giraffes waiting for the food to arrive
Feeding time
Greedy giraffe eating
the many rocks around Matapos
Some of the paintings in the rock shelters
200 year old grain stores made of termite mound mud
Mother and child
Zhamando Hide

Nswatugi Cave
Nswatugi Cave Giraffes

KAA cut line to KAA camp

After leaving our camp on the KAA cutline, we continued North-west. After 9km we stopped to talk to three people who were surveying lions. A South African, and two Botswanan trackers. They were looking for lions so they could work out the distribution. The Botswanan trackers told us how they tracked the lions, and they showed no fear of tracking the lions quite close.

We got to the KAA gate of the  Kalahari Transfrontier Park around 1pm. The gate was surrounded by fences, all the gates closed, to keep lions out. We camped at campsite number 1, which had a toilet and a (broken) shower, and a basin with bore water. We were warned that there were lions around.

We setup overlooking the pan, there were no other campers around. We went to bed that night keeping a lookout for lions, but leaving a fair bit of stuff outside. During the night we heard lions several times. In the morning karen told me there were noises outside, so I got up and opened the camper door, to find three lions. Two of the lions were about 1.5m away taking turns to try to pull apart the folded up shower tent with their teeth and claws.

The three lions left. We didn’t see or hear any lions until four nights later, our last night at KAA campsite. We were awoken around 4:30am by two lions passing a couple of metres from the camper. We woke up again at 5:30am and drove to the nearby waterhole, but were stopped about 150m from our campsite by two male lions sitting either side of the road waiting in the dark. At dawn we followed the two lions to the waterhole, and watched them drink. Then we followed them in the camper up the road where they met up with the rest of the clan – in total 7 lions. Two males, three females and two cubs.

The two cubs who dragged the shower tent away from the camper and continued to try to rip it apart.
Mother lion looking on at the cubs
The jackel which visited camp several times
Sunset from KAA campsite
Putting out the solar panels early to get power.
One of the two lions we found waiting in the dark, about 150m from camp on the last morning
the two lions having walked up to the waterhole


One of the lion cubs amongst the 7 lions that we found another 100m away
Another couple of lions from the group of 7

Mubuasehube Pan to 60km along the KAA cut line

We spent two days at Mubuasehube Pan campsite 4. There were lions growling both nights. The lions spent both nights at the neighboring campsite about 200m away. We could see the lions walking along the pan the next day. We left Mubuasehube Pan and headed north to where the Tracks4Africa map showed it intersected with the KAA cutline. However before we got far we bumped into the people from the adjacent campsite, who said the road was blocked. We turned around and headed for the Mubuasehube gate. We headed north, stopped after a while to pump up the tyres, and eventually got to the KAA cutline. We headed about 40km along, stopping at a pan that crossed the cutline. We stopped about 2pm. About 7pm that night the first vehicle that we had seen drove past, and turned into talk to us. It was a ranger from KAA camp. He was worried about lions, and that we were too far from the track. We told him we would get going the next morning. We didn’t see or hear any lions that night.

Sunset at Mubuasehube Pan campsite 4
Mubuasehube Pan campsite 4
Our Australian flag tyre cover, coated with dust.
Lion footprints we saw leaving camp
Mubuasehube Pan from the North
overlooking Mubuasehube Pan
Hornbills at Mubuasehube Pan campsite 4
Hornbill at Mubuasehube Pan campsite 4
Karen doing her digital nomad thing working.
Sunset from Mubuasehube Pan campsite 4
Ground squirrel
Pea hen


Camped on the KAA cutline

north of Nata to Palapye

I covered 450km today, which was the most I have ever done. That is mostly thanks to decent Botswana roads. I had a good night at the wild camp, but no wild animals appeared. It was really cold in the morning less than 12C, so I fired up the diesel heater, and after a while it actually worked.

I got going and just tried to cover the kilometers. Went through a vet fence were they checked my fridge, but I had not had meat for ages.  South of the vet fence was a lone Elephant by the side of the road.

I got to Francistown, where maybe the last time I was there was maybe 7 years ago? Francistown had grown. It had a shopping mall, a freeway. A Builders where I got some replacement hose connections that I broke.  I headed out of Francistown for a least 20km on a dual lane Freeway. The road became narrower after that but was still good, so I covered the kms. I got to Palapye close to dark, and was even more amazed by its transformation. Palapye used to be a collection of a few tiny shops. Now it has huge new subdivision north of town, many supermarkets, fast food joints, service stations. There are traffic jams, and so many people. This is what African development should be like. I go to Mozambique and nothing changes in 3 years, I go to Botswana and everything is improving. Thats what a decent government gets you.

I am camped at Camp Itumela in Palapye. Tomorrow Martins drift and the RSA border.

Lone Elephant by the Nata road
Camped at Camp Itumela in Palapye


Livingstone and Victoria Falls Zambia to north of Nata Botswana

I packed up and drove down to Victoria Falls, expecting as I got close some enormous car park where I would park Clancy for a fee. Instead I ended up driving to the border building and realising this wasn’t it. I drove back and found the entrance to the falls. I parked on the road with the trucks waiting for the border. It was just me, no enormous car park. I guess not many people drive to Victoria Falls, they are driven there.

So I paid about $A30 to enter. Didn’t need to show my passport, even though the sign said I did. I took my raincoat and entered into the Falls area. Since I had already seen it from the Zimbabwean side, I knew what it was like. I think this time the falls were drier and thus easier to see. Less spray blocking the view. I tend to think though to really see Victoria Falls you probably need to go up in a Helicopter.

After 30 minutes of viewing I was off. I stopped at Shoprite for some more supplies and headed of to the border, it was 70km away. I was going to use the last of my Kw buying fuel at the border, but that was a mistake because there was no fuel station. I drove up the approaches to the bridge, with fixers trying to wave me down, and me ignoring them and driving past. I drove over the bridge, and was sent to the Health building where they took note of my vax certificate. I then drove to the main building were someone at the front told me where to go. I visited Zambia Immigration, no forms just another stamp. Then Zambian customs where he took some of the enormous number of pieces of paper I had gathered in Zambia. Then it was over to Botswana immigration where I got my visa and then my bridge toll and road tax, all paid by credit card. Botswana is so civilised. That was all done in about 15 minutes. Then it was out to car inspection, which was a superficial look, they are more interested that the car comes from Australia. Then I was out. The whole process took 30 minutes, its the best border crossing I have ever done!

I went to a money exchange then got some Pula in exchange for Rand. Then got a sim card with some data. Then some fuel, again paid with credit card, then off down the road. I was aiming for Panda camp 100km south. However when I got there I knew I could do another 100km. So I aimed for a wild camp another 100km south. Close to sunset, with a bit of searching I found it. Since I have seen Elephants, Oryx, and Giraffe on this road, I will have to be careful tonight.

Victoria Falls looking over to the Zimbabwean side
The only visitor who drove himself to the falls, the parking outside the entrance
Giraffe crossing the road north of Nata
Some Oryx next to the road north of Nata
Elephants next to the road north of Nata

Moorings Farm to Livingstone

Campsite at Moorings farm was good, because it was 2km from the road, and thus very quiet. Everyone left before me, I got to the main road by 9am. It was 350km to Livingstone.

Pretty uneventful drive. I passed a town around lunch time that advertised a Steers, which is a South African burger chain. I thought a chicken burger would make nice lunch. It cost 75 Kw and I handed over 100Kw, but as is typical of Zambia they don’t have enough change. It takes an extra 5 minutes to come up with 25Kw change (just over $A2). The campsite at Moorings charged 140Kw, but they cannot change 150Kw I gave them (less than $A1), so I paid 150Kw. Same with Wildlife Camp at Mfuwe, it cost me an extra 20Kw because they could not give me change. I find it interesting that the supplier of the service is never willing to take the loss.

I stopped at the side of the road for a stretch, then went to start the car, and nothing.  I had no ignition at all. I thought this is not good, as the battery failed already? A bit of investigation showed a broken fusible link. I think the link probably stretched under load with all the temporary cabling putting the AGM battery in. I temporarily fixed the link and everything was good.

I got to Livingstone, stopped at the Shoprite, which was the most supplied one ever. I bought some pink lady apples. Then off to Thorn Tree lodge, about 2km from Victoria falls. There are elephant droppings everywhere, the lady who greeted me said they were here a few minutes ago. I can hear the helicopters making flights over the falls. I will go and see the falls tomorrow.  I have seen the falls from the Zambezian side, tomorrow from the Zambian side.

After that its 75km to the Botswana border.

Broken down not starting, but I find the faulty fusible link
Camped at Thorn Tree lodge about 2km from Victoria falls
A motto to live by, at the bar at Thorn Tree lodge


Mfuwe to east of Nyimba

I stayed two nights at Wild Camp. The Elephants came and went. I was rotating the tyres when an Elephant approached and a staff member told me to be careful. When I came out of the shower block the second night, the night security warned me of an elephant hiding in the trees next to the shower block. I sat on the Luwangwa River both nights to watch the sunset and animal show. Definitely a good campsite, I hope to return.

So I emailed a couple of battery providers and one came back with a branch in Lusaka that has the replacement battery I want. So I loaded up with water, rotated the tyres, and greased the universal joints, ready for the 700km to Lusaka.

I got going by 8:30am. Stopped in Mufuwe for fuel. Got caught up in some enormous gathering with 100’s of people on the way to Chipita, that I had no idea what it was about. Once I got on the T4, all went pretty smoothly. A couple of toll booths, where they wanted to check my border purchased road toll plus pay 20Kw toll.

I stop just on dusk at an IOverlander wild camp east of Nyimba. I had to get the fibreglass gear out. I had to re-fibreglass the latch on one of the flaps, and the aluminum strip at the back of the camper, that has partially ripped off when I went down a steep embarkment and also broke the hose connection. This is the seventh month that Clancy has been travelling in Africa, so some wear and tear is to be expected.

Elephants helping rotate the tyres
Sunset on the Luangwa River
Driving the quite nice T4
Camped off the T4


Luangwa River to Mfuwe

The fishermen (about 10 of them) were around early to see if I could get started. So I skipped breakfast connected one of the Aldi batteries to the AGM deep cycle, and filled the air cooler with starting fluid, and the engine started. I thanked my helpers, and I drove a couple of km south and then stopped for breakfast (with the solar panels in the sun) and the engine was warm. and had breakfast.

I went through a couple more checkpoints. I was basically transiting national parks as I headed south. I stopped in a park to take a panorama, and while I was taking the panorama I noticed a herd of elephants. They gradually got closed and passed me 100m away. I also looked the other way and saw some zebras. I am sure I saw some Cape Buffalo as well.

The road continued south with a long river crossing and a very steep exit bank. I sure the villages gathered at the top of the bank thought they would have to push, but I had my hubs locked and low ratio, and I got up.

This is a more tourist area because I have problems with kids chasing me, which is very dangerous. They are either yelling out for sweets or money, but they chase me as I pass, and it happened in Mozambique where kids hung off the back. It hasn’t happened this trip, but its a dangerous habit.

I got the the bitumen, to the west of Mfuwe. Four days of dirt track. I drove into the centre of town, where there was a supermarket, and a market. I bought some fabulous bread rolls from a seller in the market. I need to get some more on the way out.

Then it was 6km to Wild camp, very popular according to iOverlander campsite. I rolled up to a group of elephants standing outside the entrance. They were fully booked, but they found me an overflow spot with no power. I haven’t had power for two weeks, so that wasn’t a problem. I told them I was going to stay 3 nights, but then I analyzed my route. I have to get a new battery and that is probably in Lusaka, and that’s 700km away. So I told them only two nights I have to get going Saturday. I will have to come back here and do this area again properly. I would like to do a game drive in the park, but my battery situation is too precarious.

A passing herd of Elephants
The Elephants standing around at the entrance to wild camp


Camped next to Elephants
Elephants at the back of Clancy