Self-Drive Instructions

From Maun & Savuti To Machaba Camp, Khwai

Important Information:

  • Guests self-driving to Machaba Camp must be equipped with a GPS and the camp co-ordinates, relevant documentation and maps.
  • It is imperative that guests contact Machaba Camp or the operations team the day before departing to Machaba Camp in order to discuss an appropriate route, finalise meeting arrangements and be updated with regard to any changes in road conditions.
  • Self-drive guests are also requested to provide a contact number or advise where they will be staying the night before, should we need to contact them prior to their stay.
  • We recommend that guests travel with a satellite phone in case of an emergency. Please note that the majority of cell phone networks do not provide coverage for most of the route from Maun to Machaba Camp. Only the local B-mobile service provider has intermittent network coverage for this route.
  • The drive time from Maun to Machaba Camp is approximately 5 – 4 hours.
  • Guests have the option to be met by the camp representatives at the Sable Alley Bridge upon prior arrangement from where they will be guided the remainder of the route to camp. Guests who wish to be met at this meeting point must arrive by 14:00 at the latest; after this time Machaba Camp cannot guarantee the availability of vehicles required for the transfer.
  • Guests are requested to arrive at Machaba Camp by 14:30 at the latest to avoid missing out on the afternoon activity. Self-drive guests are respectfully asked to note that their arrival at Machaba Camp is the responsibility of the guest. Due to the remoteness of the region and the multiple bush tracks leading to the camp, attempting to search for guests whom have not arrived at the agreed upon location is not possible.
  • Approximately 100 km (65 miles) of the route from Maun to Machaba is on gravel road. Self-drive guests are advised to drive carefully and at a maximum speed of 50 – 60 km per hour (30 – 35 miles per hour) in order to minimise the risk of losing control of the vehicle and other potential accidents. Furthermore, please allow at least double the time to cover a required distance than would be planned for tarred roads.

GPS Co-Ordinates:

Machaba Camp:

  • 19.12430 E23.81315
  • 19 07 27.5 E23 48 47.3
  • 19 07.458 E23 48.789

Important Phone Numbers:

  • Machaba Camp: +267 683 0231
  • Machaba Maun Office: +267 686 3700
  • Machaba Operations Cell Phones: (Chris Kruger) +267 76499053 (Gail – Maun Ops) +267 72975918 or (Camp Ops) +267 73759827

Route Options from Maun:

Route option 1 (recommended) travels through the local villages of Sankuyo and Mababe, bypassing the Moremi Game Reserve though the lack of fences in Northern Botswana and its Reserves means that this route also affords the possibility of seeing various game species, including iconic species such as elephant, lion, wild dog etc. This route mainly travels on a relatively well maintained gravel road and avoids any major water crossings. There is a temporary water crossing approximately 5 km before the Mababe village – DO NOT attempt to cross this water – please follow the very well-used tracks around the water. This diversion is approximately two kilometres long and end up back onto the main road.

Route option 2 travels through the Moremi Game Reserve, entering the Park at South Gate and exiting at North Gate (Khwai Gate). Transit through the Park requires vehicles and passengers to pay the daily park entry fees, and this route demands that your vehicle is able to cross water that may reach a maximum depth of 1.5 m depending on the year’s flood water levels. During high flood years this water crossing is permanent, otherwise water crossings are normally from July – February. This route should only be attempted by those whose vehicles are equipped for traversing water and have a snorkel.

Route Option 1: Riley’s Garage in Maun to Machaba Camp via Shorobe, Sankuyo and Mababe Villages.

  • Exit Riley’s Garage and turn right onto the main road.
  • After approx. 300 m (0.2 miles) travel straight over the roundabout (second exit).
    Continue on this road for approx. 10 km (6 miles), initially passing several government buildings on right, and several shopping complexes including and Engen Filling station on left. You will cross over the Thamalakane River via a bridge prior to reaching a second roundabout at which you turn left (first exit).
  • You are now on the main road to Shorobe Village and the Buffalo Fence Gate. Initially you will pass a small complex on your right (a large grey concrete building, the Motsana Centre) and several sign boards for lodgings such as Audi Camp, Okavango River Lodge and Thamalakane River Lodge. Travel for approximately 29 km (18 miles) on this tar road, and through Shorobe Village at the end of the tar.
  • The tar road becomes a wide gravel road, travel for approx. 19 km (11.8 miles) on this gravel road before you reach the Buffalo Fence gate where you will be required to stop. Please note this is a veterinary control point and therefore no animal products can be brought through this point. We suggest that you do not exceed 50 – 60 km per hour (30 – 35 miles per hour) on gravel or sand roads.
  • Once through the gate, continue on this gravel road for 1.6 km (1 mile) until you reach a fork, take the right fork signposted in the direction of Sankuyo, Mababe, Savuti and Chobe.
  • Travel 26 km (16 miles) to Sankuyo Village, and onwards for 30 km (19 miles) to Mababe Village; the road curves left just before Mababe Village.
  • There is a temporary water crossing approximately 5 km before the Mababe village – do NOT attempt to cross this water – please follow the very well-used tracks around the water. This diversion is approximately two kilometres long and end up back onto the main road.
  • Continue through Mababe Village and cross the Khwai River via a steel bridge approx. 300 m (0.2 miles) after Mababe Village.
  • 50 m after the steel bridge, the gravel road makes a left turn, follow this road for approx. 32 km (20 miles) to the Sable Alley Bridge, a wide concrete bridge over the Sable Alley River.
  • You will be met by a Machaba Camp vehicle at this bridge at the pre-arranged time.

Route Option 2: Riley’s Garage in Maun to Machaba Camp via Shorobe and Moremi Game Reserve

  • Exit Riley’s Garage and turn right onto the main road.
  • After approx. 300 m (0.2 miles) travel straight over the roundabout (second exit).
    Continue on this road for approx. 10 km (6 miles), initially passing several government buildings on right, and several shopping complexes including and Engen Filling station on left. You will cross over the Thamalakane River via a bridge prior to reaching a second roundabout at which you turn left (first exit).
  • You are now on the main road to Shorobe Village and the Buffalo Fence Gate. Initially you will pass a small complex on your right (a large grey concrete building, the Motsana Centre) and several sign boards for lodgings such as Audi Camp, Okavango River Lodge and Thamalakane River Lodge. Travel for approximately 29 km (18 miles) on this tar road, and through Shorobe Village at the end of the tar.
  • The tar road becomes a wide gravel road, travel for approx. 19 km (11.8 miles) on this gravel road before you reach the Buffalo Fence gate where you will be required to stop. Please note this is a veterinary control point and therefore no animal products can be brought through this point. We suggest that you do not exceed 50 – 60 km per hour (30 – 35 miles) on gravel or sand roads.
  • Once through the gate, continue on this gravel road for 1.6 km (1 mile) until you reach a fork, take the left fork signposted in the direction of Moremi and Khwai.
  • Travel approx. 31 km (19.5 miles) to Moremi Game Reserve South, where you will be required to pay park entry fees in cash and obtain a permit.
  • Travel approx. 31 km (19.5 miles) through the reserve to Moremi Game Reserve North (Khwai) Gate, following the park signs to Khwai. You will be required to sign out at this gate.
  • Continue over the Khwai River via the Gumpole Bridge, and continue on to and through Khwai Village, approx. 800 m (0.5 miles) from the North Gate.
  • 1.6 km (1 mile) after the Khwai Village, follow the road to the left signposted as the Mababe Detour. Follow this bush track for approx. 3.5 km (2.1 miles) to the Sable Alley bridge (a wide concrete crossing over the Sable Alley River) where you will be met by a Machaba Camp vehicle.
  • In periods of flood (normally July – February), you will reach a major water crossing over this bush track, approx. 2.5 km (1.4 miles) from the Mababe Detour sign. Do not cross this water crossing, it is not traversable and you will get stuck. Should you reach this crossing, back track your route a short distance until you see a well-used bush track to the left, follow this alternate track through the well-used water crossing (other vehicle tracks will be evident) and follow it back onto the original track. As previously mentioned, this traversable water crossing should only be attempted if your vehicle is properly equipped.

Savuti (Mababe Gate) to Machaba Camp

  • For guests coming from Savuti, take the main Savuti to Maun road from Savuti Mababe gate.
  • When you get to the main Maun to Khwai T junction (the only T junction on the route), you turn right to Khwai. (Approx 74 km from Mababe Gate to t-junction).
  • The Sable Alley concrete bridge is approximately 30 minutes drive from that Maun / Khwai / Savuti gate junction.
  • You will be met by a Machaba Camp vehicle at this bridge at the pre-arranged time.