Ngonyama  Desert Strider Technologies

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The COVID-19 lockdown has a severe impact on the way way we constructed our business and it is unlikely that we will be open for normal business until early 2021,


Membership to the Ngonyama Safari Club is free - just follow us on our Facebook page Ngonyama Safari Club [we also have a group on Facebook called NGONYAMA SAFARI CLUB].

We have, however, decided that we will be doing a recce to Namibia in December 2020 to determine certain routes for safaris for our members for 2021 and further on.


 We have done quite a lot of research and planning into our TRANS KALAHARI ETOSHA SAFARI.

For this we have added the hashtag #TKES

This will also be our recce trip for future planning for trips for the NGONYAMA SAFARI CLUB.


The above photo is draft Route 10 #TKES.

Our focus for this trip is Etosha Pans where we want to spend 5 days with wildlife photography - we will do stills as well as video.

A secondary objective is to do a couple of 4x4 trails of between 3-5 days depending on the terrain. We plan this for Ugab River as well as the Huab River 4x4 trails, hence the large number of waypoints on our TomTom GPS map planning. We also used Google Maps, but we will ultimately settle on Tracks4Africa. In the past T4A was invaluable for our trip planning in our Botswana safaris. We will update our new GPS equipment with these maps.

In our first planning we opted to go through Botswana en route to Etosha and then back through Botswana via Caprivi.

But then, as we did the research around our destination we thought that while we were there why not do Van Zyl's Pass and Epupa Falls as well. as the draft route 3 below will show.


 Before we finalize our objectives first things first: We need to get a 4x4 vehicle which will handle the trip and the harshness of Namibia.

We call this trip the Trans Kalahari Etosha Safari. We added the hashtag #TKES for those people following us on social media


When we plan an expedition or adventure of over 6000 kilometres spanning over 3 countries from our home base, we meticulously look at the 4W’s of planning a safari.

These 4 W’s are:

W1     Where do we want to go?

W2     With what do we want to go?

W3     When do we want to go?

W4     What do we want to see and do?

These 4 planning elements may involve sub-planning and will overlap some of the other elements to form one global master plan.

 W1  Where do we want to go?



We started our introduction of this planning document by already saying where do we want to go to i.e. Namibia with the focus on Etosha, but this would include sections like doing a certain number of 4x4 trials.

The first thing you do when you do the W1 is to take out the maps, pencils, highlighters and paper and start making notes and the first of them of course is the Wish-list.

Our Wish-list started off like this:

     i.       We want to go to Etosha for 5 days

    ii.       We want to see Epupa Falls

  iii.       We wanted to do Van Zyl’s Pass

  iv.       We want to see Kaokoland

    v.       We want to see Damaraland

  vi.       We want to see Khutse in Botswana 

This Wish-list has now changed as we are now looking to start our adventure from the south:

Wish-list 2:

  1. We still want to go to Etosha for 5 days
  2. We want to do the Quiver Tree Forest
  3. We want to go to the Fish River Canyon
  4. We want to see the Wild Horses of the Namib [click on photo below for a story we did about how these horses survived the Namib desert for over 100 years]
  5. We want to do Kolmanskop
  6. We want to go to Sossusvlei and Sesriem and also visit Solitaire
  7. We want to go to Spitkoppe & White Lady
  8. We want to do the Ugab River 4WD trail
  9. We want to do the Huab River 4x4 trail 
  10. All in between we want to see the rock painting, the Desert elephants and Vingerklip.

 Click on the photo for the story.

The Wishlist gave us a distance of close to 7000 kilometres using the shortest routes possible between various points.

The main route of getting there is the Trans Kalahari highway [so to speak] which runs through Botswana. For our purposes we enter at Lobatsi border post and we exit Botswana via the Buitepos border post with Namibia. This is a distance of approximately 1074 kilometres.


 The main focus point is to spend plus minus 5 days in the Etosha Pans in Namibia.

Taking costs into consideration we are aiming at spending two day inside the Park [at Okaukuejo site one night/ two nights]. Provisional costing at R908 for two pax per night.

Three nights outside the Park at Etosha Safari Camp [just a random place @ R490 per night which would include our entry into the Park]

Travelling inside Etosha is targeted at 100 km per day.

W2   With what do we want to do this adventure?

What we are planning has become more than just a typical safari it has become an adventure and an expedition.


Obviously, it must a capable 4x4. My preference is a Toyota. 

What are available as second-hand units?

i.                    2007 Toyota Land Cruiser 100 GX 4.2d for R213K at WEBUYCARS 171K km on clock

ii.                  2011 Toyota Hilux 3.0 D-4d Raider 4x4 Pick Up Double Cab for R195K at WEBUYCARS 249K km on clock

iii.                2014 Toyota Hilux 3.0d-4d Raider Xtra CAB 4x4 Pick Up Single Cab for R244K at WEBUYCARS 165K km on clock


The choices are between a station wagon, double cab or extra cab. On fuel economy we look at between 7-10 km per litre with the giving us 7km per litre on average an the latter two about 10 km/l,

I am leaning towards the D/C 4x4 Toyota for its economy as well as versatility. 

Due to the terrain we will be traveling over we do not want to take a 4x4 trailer* [we have *one/two to choose from between Charlene and myself but this will change the dynamics totally – just ons this point it will reduce the kilometres on the DC from 10 km/l to 8km/l and increase the fuel bill as much as R3000-R4000 for the trip]

For our safari we will need space for [a detailed equipment list will be done on a separate spreadsheet – the below is just to conceptualize our space needs]:

·        80 litre fridge and maybe our 50-litre fridge

·        Extra spare wheel

·        Rooftop tent and or standard tents

·        Jerry cans for fuel 2-4

·        Water jerry cans 2-4

·        Recovery kit and toolbox

·        Battery pack.

·        Table & chairs

·        Cooking utensils

·        Gas equipment

·        Crates for food & clothes etc

·        Jacks / airlift jacks

For photography and viewing purposes we also need seats so that Charlene and I can each have the right-hand side as well as left hand side to take photos from the vehicle. This eliminates the Extra Cab.


The expected distance on this tour is 6500km. @7km/l = 928 litres and at 10km/l = 650 litres

The projected cost of diesel is R15/l

·        928 litres= R14,000

·        650 litres = R9750

On a projected cost of diesel of R12/l

·        928 litres= R11,148

·        650 litres = R7800

 On 22 June 2020 Botswana: The price of diesel is 7.98 Botswanan Pula per litre. And at current exchange rate of R1.46 to BWP1 we are talking of R11,65 per litre. And in SA the price is R12.18 [at Awais]. Botswana used to be R1-R2 cheaper per litre a South Africa but for all practical purposes we can budget it to be the same price.

On our spreadsheet budgeting we will work on the assumption of a 4x4 DC giving us 10 km per litre. Thus, our fuel budget is R9750 for the trip with the possibility that we can have a final fuel bill of R7800. 

29 June 2020: Diesel for July 2020 has gone up with R1.74. So, this brings us close to R14 per liter [at Awais] With 650 liters x R14 = R9100.00 at current prices. This is now very close to our budgeted amount of R9750. We will monitor the projected fuel expense and adjust when necessary.

30 June 2020: We have just learnt that Botswana has a shortage of diesel and no filling of jerry cans or fuel containers will be allowed. See our Facebook page [Ngonyama Safari Club] for details. Planning-wise we would have to look at long range fuel tanks, if we add another 50-litre long range tank to our 4x4. This would give us 130 litres with a range of 1000-1300km @10 km/l. Should we achieve 11km/l then our diesel consumption will be 591 litres for the trip = R8864.

Out of our 6500-kilometre trip we expect that at least 3500 kilometre is going to be sand/gravel/dirt so if we say on 3000 kilometres we will achieve 11 km/l and on 3500 kilometres we will achieve 9 km/l. the figures would look like this 3000/11*15 = R4090 plus 3500/9*15 = R5833 that gives us an total of R9923.

Side-note: from the whole trip we expect that less than 1000 km will be done in 4WD. This mean that should we burn more diesel during 4WD we can expect to achieve 5 km/l that would give us 200 litres of fuel @ R15 = R3000. Meaning that our balance of 5500 km = 550 x R15 = R8250. Total R11,250.

Alternative calculation: Should we only drive 500 km in 4WD = R1500 plus 6000 km @ 10km/l = 600 litres x R15 = R9000. Total R10,500.

All in all, it seems to be safe that we should budget for a R13,000 fuel bill for the whole trip on the premise that we achieve an average of 10 km/l and diesel at R15 per litre.

Should we tow a trailer [which is still an option for us] we expect to lose 2.5km per litre. So, at 6500/7.5*R15 = R13000. @2km/l more our fuel bill is expected therefore to increase by an average of R3000. In the past, with a 4.2 litre diesel Land Cruiser we achieved 7.5 km/l towing an off-road caravan over 2500 km and this included sections in the sand where the consumption only delivered 5 km/l.

For this exercise we exclude wear and tear and are just looking at our direct fuel costs – we have not forgotten about toll fees, CBC, and 3 rd party insurance as we cross the borders. 

Below is our #TKES  Equipment and gear packing list [or planning checklist] and you are welcome to download it. 

#TKES Equipment Packinglist
This is the gear and equipment we are planning to use
Paklys NTKES 2020.xlsx (13.33KB)
#TKES Equipment Packinglist
This is the gear and equipment we are planning to use
Paklys NTKES 2020.xlsx (13.33KB)

to be continued.....