Want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, and go really remote, really wild? Then the Mabuasehube Wilderness 4×4 trail may be just the ticket.
It’s a bit of a sand trap, the Mabuasehube Wilderness trail.
Sticky Kalahari sand, a very hot climate and the remoteness of the tracks have apparently caused some ruckus over the years as tourists on this self-drive trail, about 155km in length, have fallen prey to the conditions.
Getting stuck in the sand or smaller dunes is not particularly difficult, especially when it is boiling hot and the sand turns into some alien liquid, sucking in 4x4s and their unwary drivers. So it is highly recommended to tackle this trail, which starts in the Botswana part of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and finishes in South Africa, with at least two vehicles.
A Toyota Land Cruiser 6×6 with 37-inch wheels will also be quite beneficial, it seems. The Muscle Trucks 6×6 took to the sandy conditions like a male lion takes to a roast leg of springbok.
The isolation and remoteness of the trail form part of the magic, along with the wildlife you can spot along the way. First prize is to spot the black-maned Kalahari lion. Bigger than its cousins elsewhere in Africa, these big boys can send a chill down your spine when you get to experience them up close and personal in a wild environment.
And to hear those big roars at night, in the dead quiet Kalahari… that’s something you’ll remember until the end of your days.
As mentioned before, the trail starts in Botswana’s Mabuasehube and finishes, two days later, near the Nossob Rest Camp on South African soil. There are several camping options at both Mabuasehube and Nossob.
The Mosomane Pan serves as the overnight campsite. You need to be 100% self-sufficient (there are no facilities whatsoever), and you’ll need a GPS with software such as Tracks4Africa to find the camping site (and pan).
You’ll obviously also need plenty of fuel reserves – driving in sand with a heavy load can double the consumption of some 4x4s.
If you don’t feel like camping at the pan, you can probably complete the trail in one day… but then you’ll have to rush. And if you can’t stop and smell the roses on this trail, it kind of defeats the purpose of heading to this amazing place.
Only one group is allowed to start the trail per day, and the route can only be driven from Mabuasehube to Nossop, and not the other way around.
This trail certainly counts as one of those bucket list items you need to tick off your overlanding list.
I want to go, too
Name: Mabuasehube Wilderness Trail
Location: Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
Accommodation: One night of wild camping
Food: You need to carry all your own supplies, including food, tents, water and fuel.
Difficulty: The trail is based on sand, with some dunes. The two-day trail is 155km long.
Vehicle required: A 4×4 with reasonable ground clearance, ideally fitted with all-terrain tyres for maximum flotation on the soft sand.
Self drive: Yes you can! You just need to book your spot… only one group is allowed to start the trail per day. Groups must consist of at least two vehicles, and not more than four. You can only drive the trail from Mabuasehube to Nossop, and not the other way around.
Contact: Botswana Deparment of Wildlife and National Parks, Tel: +267 318 0774; email [email protected]