Maun Self Drive 4x4

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Hwange National Park to do track location and clearance

Posted by maunselfdrive4x4 on June 20, 2012 at 2:20 PM

The following was posted in a South African 4wd club newsletter. If you are unable to get campsites in Botswana, this may be an interesting alternative:

Greg Rasmussen, the Research Director of Painted Dog Conservation, Jane Hunt of the Lion Research Unit and Bongani Ndlovu, Wildlife Officer at

Hwange National Park HQ have jointly requested the assistance of our club. The successful opening of the Middle Jesse Road in Mana Pools last

year has lead to our club being approached by the organizations above and the objective would be to open up tracks in the west of Hwange

National Park. Both the research organizations need to be able to travel to the western boundary of the park to locate and monitor animals. The

Parks would like to be able to access the areas by vehicle as part of their anti-poaching patrols. It is also hoped that once a disused track has been

opened, there will be a few hardy tourists (or 4x4 club members) willing to venture away from the ‘racetrack’ nearer Main Camp in future. Due to

years of poor funding, low tourist numbers and other challenges, many of the tracks in the West of the Park have only been driven once or twice in

the past decade. Brush re-growth, fallen trees, long grass and erosion by weather or animals has erased any clear designated tracks in many

places. The first challenge for our club will be to locate and plot where we think the track is by using old maps, satellite imagery and some pre

expedition scouting. Once we are in the park and on the trail the work will involve navigating the correct route; making as many

kilometers of track visible and passable, in the time we have. There is 420km of track needing to be located and opened. The conservation

projects will already have been to some areas before we arrive in July. The general outline of the project will be the same regardless of which

particular section of track we work on. Mitswiri, Shakawankie, Cement, Tamafupa areas are the likely place we will work. It is a long way for most of

our members to travel just getting to Hwange NP. The area where we intend to work is then over half a day from Main Camp. For any meaningful

amount of work to be done we are going to need a core of people who can commit to a minimum 5 day expedition but I would hope that several of

us could set aside a week and allow 2 more solid days of work at the coalface. 

Proposed itinerary

We are targeting the dates of 5 – 9 July for this project. If you would like to join us please contact Pat Gill (see above). This will give the committee

an idea of the numbers we need to organize for. It is possible we will be given a waiver on both entry and camping fees by Parks. We have already

been assured we will be able to camp in the remote areas where we will be doing the work. It goes without saying that this is an incredible

opportunity for us to a good deed. It is also a fantastic chance to visit a remote section of Zimbabwe, with good friends and be able to camp in 

an extremely wild area not normally allowed. Each vehicle would need to be totally self sufficient in fuel, food and camping equipment but there will

be drinking water supplied to the expedition by Friends of Hwange. While not everyone can use a chainsaw or winch there will be work for ALL 

who can join this event. Vehicles need to be driven at walking speed while someone walks ahead with GPS or badza, meals cooked, small bushes

slashed down, holes filled in with spades etc – even a small contribution will add up to a lot done at the end of the day. If you have them please

bring along your own chain saws, etc.


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