Botswana in a Robbie

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tanglefoot
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Re: Botswana in a Robbie

Unread post by tanglefoot » Wed Aug 28, 2013 3:30 pm

The wildlife is quite something. It is nearly as easy as nominating what you want to see and the guide will take you there. We had elephant in the camp, barely 10m away from our tent and when we suggested to the guide that we wanted to see a Pell's Fishing Owl he loaded us into the Mokoro and took us to a place he said we would find one.

A chattering of birds in a nearby tree would have him pointing out another little owl, desperately trying to look inconspicuous amongst the sparse foliage.
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Last edited by tanglefoot on Fri Aug 30, 2013 4:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Botswana in a Robbie

Unread post by tanglefoot » Wed Aug 28, 2013 3:48 pm

Day 8 we were back on the road, so to speak. Flying to Maun to refuel and then on to Gweta airfield. After a leasurely start with a morning mokoro trip and breakfast we packed RUT ready for takeoff.

When I looked again there was an elephant walking past on the other side of the runway, barely 30m away. What an amazing sight. The trip back to Maun was uneventful and with our now proven Park, Fees, Flightplan, Refuel Go, plan of action we were on the ground for less than 1hr. The 1hr trip to Gweta Airfield is back to the old boring stuff. Nothing to look at, no references no nothing.

On landing we are met by our transfer from Planet Baobab (http://www.planetbaobab.co/) which was to be our last night's accommodation in Botswana. The local CAA official (oke in blue shirt) was also there. I had been assured by all and sundry that RUT would be safe at the airfield but the CAA official (by the name of Innocent, no less) was concerned that it may be vandalised. At this stage I was more concerned that Innocent might vandalise RUT so I paid him to be security for the night, something that I am sure he did in the comfort of his home.
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Re: Botswana in a Robbie

Unread post by tanglefoot » Fri Aug 30, 2013 3:37 pm

Planet Baobab is a bit of everything. Camping, Self Catering and catered bungalows. They have their very own mosquito breeding pond just 100m from the bungalows so the mosquito nets supplied over the beds were most welcome.

We had a dinner bed and breakfast rate and once again the meals were disappointing (I was starting to look forward to a non bean Pizza at Luca's in Sunninghill when I got home :) )

Anyway, it was a place to rest and we got an early night before our mammoth flight home the next day.
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Re: Botswana in a Robbie

Unread post by tanglefoot » Fri Aug 30, 2013 4:03 pm

Last day was from Gweta to Rand. Roughly 5.5hrs flying and with the two border stop of 1hr each it was going to be a long day.

On takeoff the clutch light flickered slightly. This is not unusual as the belts are tensioned slightly. After about 20min again, this annoying flicker and then again periodically after that? We are now over the edge of Makgadigadi pans and nearly halfway to Francistown. There's nothing to go back to at Gweta. Divert to Nata? All flashes through my mind as the clutch light flickers for a second and then stays off for minutes at a time. I look down at the terrain below and rate my chances of a successful autorotation as being high but there is not a vehicle track, bush or tree in sight. Anyway, decision is to push on.

We are clipping the edge of a FAR zone that covers Sua Pan. We also know that the pan is full of water. All things working well I had hoped to cross the corner of the pan that sticks out of the FAR (Technically FBR in Bots, I guess). With the clutch light problem I now tracked the edge of the pan to get around. Typical, I would have a problem on the only leg that is not covered by a flight plan. 50nm out I raise Francistown to tell them where we were. At least someone will come looking for us now.

On landing first thing I do is open the inspection hatch, prod and pull at the belts. Nothing that I can see wrong. Anyway, for the remaining 4hrs of flight not a single flash from the clutch light. I still wonder what caused it?

A couple of financials:
1. Everything in Botswana is roughly the same in Pula as it is in Rands in South Africa. Problem is that R1.30 = P1.00 so everything is about 30% more expensive.
2. Fuel is around P18.30 including their VAT (which we can't get back) so that is roughly R24/l.
3. Landing fees worked out around R250 to R300 with parking fees around R30 per night.
4. There is no customs in Bots and the Immigration people are friendly and efficient (once you find them)
5. RUT averaged 55litres per hour for the trip.

All in all a great experience and something I would like to do again soon. Next time maybe head into Zambia and DEFINITELY plan for a couple of circuits over Vic falls. Nevertheless, the highlights of flying up the Chobe, Flying into the Delta and crossing the Makgadikgadi pans and skirting Sua Pan made it all worth while.
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Re: Botswana in a Robbie

Unread post by abezzi » Fri Aug 30, 2013 9:56 pm

You always complain about the food, always...maybe is you? :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: Botswana in a Robbie

Unread post by tanglefoot » Fri Aug 30, 2013 10:02 pm

abezzi wrote:You always complain about the food, always...maybe is you? :lol: :lol: :lol:
Hey abezzi, you hurt me, to the core. :( What is there to live for if it is not for the food [-o<

I went to this restaurant in Cape Town (http://www.ilcappero.co.za/) and the food was great. Now if they can serve good food in Cape Town WHAT is the problem in Botswana :?
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Re: Botswana in a Robbie

Unread post by abezzi » Sat Aug 31, 2013 9:36 am

:lol: :lol: :lol:
Hey my friend, I hope to see you soon...if I'm coming to Secunda mid october will you be there? Ciao and a big hug to your lovely wife! 8)
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Re: Botswana in a Robbie

Unread post by abezzi » Sat Aug 31, 2013 9:36 am

About the food question in Botswana...maybe we should sent my wife over! :lol:
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Re: Botswana in a Robbie

Unread post by echodelta » Mon Sep 02, 2013 3:26 pm

I've been to Planet Baobab a couple of times and always found the food good. Never had the pizza, though. Usually go for the burgers.

Thanks for the write-up. It was most interesting.

I would also be interested in what caused the clutch light to come on. See the post of Chris Webb at http://www.robinsonhelicopters.org/foru ... ml#msg2340 about an intermittent clutch light activation caused by a bearing problem. Maybe it's something you can check out...
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Re: Botswana in a Robbie

Unread post by tanglefoot » Mon Sep 02, 2013 4:07 pm

echodelta wrote:I've been to Planet Baobab a couple of times and always found the food good. Never had the pizza, though. Usually go for the burgers.

Thanks for the write-up. It was most interesting.

I would also be interested in what caused the clutch light to come on. See the post of Chris Webb at http://www.robinsonhelicopters.org/foru ... ml#msg2340 about an intermittent clutch light activation caused by a bearing problem. Maybe it's something you can check out...
Thanks echodelta.

The food quality at Planet Baobab wasn't the real issue. We were on an inclusive rate and expected a menu but the food arrived without any choice whatsoever and wasn't really to our liking. A choice of a hamburger would have been great.

You have to go all the way to Oddballs to enjoy a bean pizza :wink: As I mentioned to the owner of Oddballs, a good meal goes a long way make one forgive other problems. When you are paying Delta prices, especially in a tented camp and a small tent at that, the food just becomes so much more of an issue (for me). It points to management problems (in terms of ordering and stock) and it points to lack of skill in the kitchen and ultimately lack of proper oversight.

Anyway, none of the above problems were chronic, merely worth mentioning in light of our very high expectations #-o

The Chris Webb post does seem to be indicative of my problem. He also mentioned a small amount of grease leaking out from the top bearing as being indicative. I'll check it out.
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Re: Botswana in a Robbie

Unread post by echodelta » Mon Sep 02, 2013 5:17 pm

tanglefoot wrote:When you are paying Delta prices, especially in a tented camp and a small tent at that, the food just becomes so much more of an issue (for me). It points to management problems (in terms of ordering and stock) and it points to lack of skill in the kitchen and ultimately lack of proper oversight.
That's a very valid point and something I experience as well. I also have a tendency to judge an establishment on its food.

Overall, Botswana tourism seem to rely on the premise that the tourist is willing to pay relatively high prices without expecting too much in terms of facilities. A self-drive trip into Central Kalahari Game Reserve will set you back 168 Pula per person in camping fees per night plus 120 Pula per person park fees per day plus 50 Pula per vehicle per day. For that you get a campsite under a tree with a cement slab for a fire as well as a pit toilet and a bucket to shower with. No food, no water, no fuel, no shelter. Nothing except what you bring with yourself. It's even more expensive for an international visitor outside SADC.

But I will still go back again and again....and they know it! :oops:
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Re: Botswana in a Robbie

Unread post by tanglefoot » Mon Sep 02, 2013 9:08 pm

funny thing is that if we had done the trip the other way around (Planet Baobab, Oddballs, Zambezi Queen, Dumela Lodge), the experience would have been totally different. There would have been a build up rather than a letdown.

Given our experience my suggestion, using the same venues, would be to do the trip in reverse :D It would have built up and ended on a tremendous high with Zambezi Queen and Dumela Lodge (or The Old House) would not have lowered that high at all.

My last trip to the Delta was in 1990, just before the implementation of the punitive rates. In fact, if I recall correctly our last night in Chobe cost as much as the whole of our 2 week trip in park fees etc. I have very fond memories of those annual trips to "the swamps".
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Re: Botswana in a Robbie

Unread post by Rotor kop » Wed Nov 27, 2013 3:08 pm

Lovely pics and you are so lucky to be able to do this!!
I can't help noticing that your panel seems to be upside down?? Is it just the pic??
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Re: Botswana in a Robbie

Unread post by tanglefoot » Wed Nov 27, 2013 3:15 pm

Rotor kop wrote:Lovely pics and you are so lucky to be able to do this!!
I can't help noticing that your panel seems to be upside down?? Is it just the pic??
Upside down :?

Standard 10 hole IF trainer panel with all the goodies =D>
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Re: Botswana in a Robbie

Unread post by Rotor kop » Wed Nov 27, 2013 3:59 pm

tanglefoot wrote:
Rotor kop wrote:Lovely pics and you are so lucky to be able to do this!!
I can't help noticing that your panel seems to be upside down?? Is it just the pic??
Upside down :?

Standard 10 hole IF trainer panel with all the goodies =D>
Yeh but your RRPM/ERPM is on the left hand side :shock: :shock: #-o #-o #-o #-o
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