Secret 4×4 routes in Botswana: Kubu to Kukonje Island

Posted on 17 September 2015

In this three-part series, Getaway, AVIS Safari Rental and BFGoodrich take you to some lesser-known places that only a trustworthy 4×4 with the right tread can get you to. This month, we head to Botswana’s Kukonje Island.


On the eastern rim of Botswana’s Sua Pan, Kukonje Island lies half forgotten at the end of a treacherous trail. About 40 kilometres west, much-loved Kubu Island attracts many 4×4 enthusiasts, but undeveloped Kukonje – with its equally towering baobabs – is often overlooked. Why? That daunting trail might have something to do with it. Even in the dry, the north-south access road can be soft as it nears the pan, and in the wet, small stream beds fill with wheel-sucking mud.

The island is seven kilometres from the pan’s edge and is inaccessible when flooded – but it’s not all doom and gloom. When conditions dry up, from May to October, a 4×4 with BFGoodrich T/A K02 tyres will get you to Kukonje, no problem. You’ll glide across the pan wondering what all the fuss was about, and set up camp on what might be Botswana’s most beautiful baobab island.
Also read: Secret 4×4 routes in Botswana – Maun to Gcwihaba Caves

Botswana - Kukonje Island - Baobab
Botswana - Kukonje Island - Sunset



How to get to Kukonje Island

From Kubu, head south to the A30 and then 70 kilometres east to the Tlapana vet fence gate. About 50 metres past the gate, turn north onto a rough Jeep track where the fun begins. It’s 47 kilometres to the Kwadiba checkpoint and the track is bumpy when dry and treacherously muddy when wet. At Kwadiba, turn west through the gate for the last seven kilometres across the pan, which may be impassible if flooded. Ask at the checkpoint before attempting a crossing.

Botswana - Kukonje Island
Botswana - Kukonje Island


Camping and costs

Camping on Kukonje is free and there are no formal stands or any facilities. You must sign in at the Kwadiba veterinary check point (open 6am to 10pm) before crossing the pan to the island.

Botswana BFG AVIS


The tyres and vehicle that will take you there

Economical on tar and built to be the best offroad, BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A K02 tyres will take you there, wherever there is.

Avis Safari Rental has a fleet of fully kitted offroad vehicles, equipped to make any 4×4 adventure a reality.

BFGoodrich Radial All-Terrain KO2 Tyres


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