Botswana 2022/23: Magotho – Khwai

Magotho Campsite is located 20 kilometres east of the Khwai Village. The campsite is situated along the main Moremi – Savuti Road. The campsite derives its name from the Setswana of Camel-thorn, these threes provide shade to the campsites. The campsite is basic and true self drive 4×4 Africa adventure. However, it has recently undergone refurbishment and there are now clean ablution blocks and extended spacious camp sites with braai areas. Just wild camping between the trees and the roaming wildlife. We recommend to bring sufficient water and food.Magotho Campsite is a great campsite to experience wildlife. It is great hearing the sounds of the animals in the night and it is not unusual to see some animals on the campsite. An amazing experience!

🙂 True wilderness. Raw beauty. This is real Africa! Petrol at Khwai Village! Elephants walking through camp… Sable!

🙁 No petrol?! Luckily a man sold limited fuel from his home!

Magotho Campsite Layout:

Magotho Campground is located 20 kms east of the Khwai Village along the main Moremi – Savuti Road. The Campground derives its name from the Setswana of Acacia Erolba or Camel-thorn, these towering giants grow in abundance in the area and provide shade to the Campsites.
Elephant often wonder quietly through the campsites allowing visitors the unique opportunity to observe them close up. The camp is managed by the Khwai Community Trust and now has two nice ablution facilities (though these can be slightly far from some campsites). All sites have a concrete braai pit.
The Campground is divided into two locations:
Campground 1 is to the north and has campsites numbered 9 to 15 Campground 2 is to the south and has campsites numbered 1 to 8.

The numbering of campsites in Magotho is very confusing, with the sites all having been renumbered/moved multiple times. Some sites have two numbers (the old, and the new numbers), while some sites don’t have any numbers at all but you can still camp there. Magotho is also notorious for sites being double booked (the confusing numbering system probably doesn’t help). It often occurs that people turn up and their site is already taken. In which case, the campsite wardens tell you to choose from any other site. We stayed in Magotho 4, right by the river. It was a great site as it was close to the water with fantastic views, elephants wandered right by, it was a dead-end so we had no other traffic, and it wasn’t too far from the ablutions. However, it wasn’t the largest site so more than two vehicles would struggle to fit in.

Saturday 31 December 2022 – Monday 2 January 2023! 35C Magotho, Khwai

We left Moremi Gate without much ado (ever nervous about lack of Earwaker permit!). Finally managed to buy Tinker’s Moremi Map – better late than never and will be useful for our next trip! As we checked out from Moremi Gate the warden there introduced us to Mr Petrol Man who told us he sold fuel from his home…so off we went following him on a tiny dirt track…rather surreal! He would not accept GBP! But we did have ZAR and USD so managed to fill up – phew!!

We were very excited for this part of the trip… and the 4×4 driving fun was about to start!! It was pretty wet and it wasn’t long before the road ahead of us looked more like a river than a dirt track! We managed to get through but Nick got stuck! The power of the winch is a phenomenal sight to behold! It did not take long to get out of this tricky situation.

Next it was our turn for drama – however, Paul did an excellent job of driving through the marsh and we got through!!

We continued onwards following our Garmin – and to our utter despair saw a BIG river crossing! Thank goodness a guide was having sundowners with his clients and told us that our vehicle’s would easily get through and to just drive! So we did! Here is Nick valiantly crossing…

We were so elated that we decided to stop for an immediate sun downer completely forgetting that it was sunset in the wilderness! The next thing we heard was Charlotte shouting ‘HIPPO!” We nearly jumped out of our skins and back into our vehicles …but not before we noticed that the tyre was flat again! EEK!! Blurry photo as it was taken on the move! Not sure who got the bigger shock!

By now the sun was setting and we could not see exactly where our camp site was so we stopped at what we thought was our allocated No. 4 (it was previously correct but they have since had a refurb and the next day we found the larger correct spot). It was New Year’s Eve and we cooked a lovely meal and enjoyed singing and dancing around the camp fire to see in 2023 in the wilderness – DIVINE!

We found this hippo poo – poor thing had obviously swallowed a Duracell battery!!

Some chilled vibes… singing around the camp fire…

We woke up the next morning with massive hangovers and torrential rainfall! To make matters worse, the Whitehead vehicle had not one, but two flat batteries and simply would not charge on the solar panel (which admittedly had limited solar input with the cloudy and wet conditions!).

We drove over to the warden to ask if they had mobile reception and we called BushLore who recommended that we swap batteries to ascertain exactly what the issue was before sending someone out on a BH 12 hour drive…. we headed back and had the brilliant brain wave to jump start the car – which worked! (Amusingly enough, they had the other one couple in camp complain about the singing and who had blamed them – they said that they were at an all night prayer meeting so the other campers knew it was us! Yikes!)

We then moved to the correct Camp 4 – the ablutions are very well maintained.

We had an elephant in camp!

We do not think he wanted to share the camp site with us! Listen to his trumpet!

We did a game drive around Chobe which borders Khwai but it was very quiet with only one other elephant sighting. On the way back we did spot a Sable which was very exciting. The impalas were play fighting. We had left two rubber snakes on top of our bags but when we got back they were nowhere to be seen – we just hoped that they hadn’t been swallowed by an eagle!

We enjoyed watching these hippos for some time … so peaceful!

We got back and cooked a lovely meal and enjoyed the sounds of the campsite – we could finally hear lions roaring!

We also spotted a bushbaby in the tree above us!

The next morning we were on the road as early as possible after our Cape Velvet coffees at 05h45! We spotted lion tracks – yes! Great Success (in Borat tones!). We could also hear the roar very near to us…the hunt was on … and we were successful! We found this lovely sub adult male who was clearly calling for his pride (we met another couple who told us that there had been two females on a kill the day before)…. here he is… sniffing and then calling at regular intervals…

After this eventful morning we headed back for a hearty breakfast and to pack up camp as we were heading for Savuti via the Chobe Cutline – another 4×4 driving adventure awaited us!

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