PLEASE NOTE: THE ITINERARY FOR AFRICA 2010 HAS CHANGED
Africa 2010: South Africa – Namibia – Zambia
This 4WD expedition starts where all the others finish off!
'Our expeditions begin where others leave off', has been sorely tested over the last couple of months as we wore a path to the Angolan embassy in Pretoria and spent hours on the phone. The long and the short of it, while Americans can apply for a visa on-line, UK residents can apply at their embassy in the UK, Australians need to be a temporary resident of South Africa for a minimum of a week before applying for a visitors visa. Never heard of that requirement before!
The good news is that it is not hard to get off the beaten track... even in this year of the World Cup being staged in South Africa.
Our journey will start or end at Victoria Falls, Zambia, or Pretoria in South Africa, depending if you join us in August or September (this is written as the August group will experience it; for the second group the adventure will be in reverse order, but whatever, once we are away from the blacktop, we're into an Africa that few people are aware of and even less have experienced.
From the Farm Inn, Pretoria, we'll head west across the Northern Cape to Kuruman, on the edge of the Kalahari. 'The Eye', an impressive spring, which flows 20 million litres of clear fresh water a day, feeds this oasis while David Livingstone came here to the Moffat Mission on his first trip to Africa.
Like Livingstone we'll then head north on back roads to the Kgalgadi Transfrontier Park. Sprawling across a vast area of remote desert country and the border of Botswana and South Africa this national park was not only the first 'Transfrontier' national park in Africa it is also the biggest in southern Africa – about twice the size of Kruger NP. Rich in wildlife the park is home to 19 species of carnivore where the Kalahari lion kills three times more animals a year than his equivalent in Kruger. They're hungry... angry... little devils!
We'll follow the sweep of the Auob and Nossob Rivers north through the park before crossing the border into Namibia at the isolated Matta Matta Gate.
From here we'll track north over little used roads and tracks along what is called the 'Dune Route', used by the Afrikaans on their momentous trek through the desert to Angola in the 1800's. Don't expect too many towns or cities along the way although we will be passing through tribal villages and settlements before arriving and resupplying at the small town market of Gobabis.
More settlements and villages, where life is so different to what we know, will be passed through as we strike northwest before reaching our first real sign of civilisation since leaving Kuruman, at Otjiwarongo.
Next day after a relatively short drive over a pretty good road we'll come to the southern gate of Etosha National Park, surely one of the greatest parks in all of Africa. And we'll be there at probably the best time of the year for game viewing, as the animals will be concentrated around the waterholes. The fantastic and varied wildlife of this great park is unforgettable and with luck you'll not only see the Big Five but also come face-to-face with one of Africa's rarest and most elusive animals, the black rhino.
From Etosha our route heads east via Grootfontein where we'll resupply before heading deeper into San country, the land of the legendary 'bushman' of the Kalahari. The Kaudom Game Reserve in northern Namibia is a remote little visited enclave that has a surprising amount of wildlife concentrated around its normally dry creek beds and the San community camps we stay in will be a highlight.
As we exit this small reserve we come into an area that is completely different to the country we have been travelling through for the last two weeks as we turn east and follow the Cubango River (which feeds the Okavango Delta) to camp on the river's edge at picturesque, jungle clad, Poppa Falls.
Travelling through Namibia's 'Caprivi Strip' to our next camp on the edge of the Cuando River is full of surprises; hippos in the river, elephants crossing the road, oxen drawn sleds carry villages goods to market, road side stalls selling tomatoes, fruit and charcoal... fantastic!
We'll cross the border into Zambia at vibrant Katima Mulilo and follow the mighty Zambezi River north to our riverside camp at Maziba Bay. We'll stay here for two nights, the 'rest day' taken up with either a spot of fishing for the mighty tiger fish or a day trip out to the Sioma Ngwezi National Park.
As we head north through designated 'safari lands' along the Zambezi, using ferries to cross the river on occasions, we'll enter the heart of Barotseland, home of the Lozi Nation. This is the wild heart of Africa that is only just beginning to open up to travellers.
At Mogu we'll strike east and enter the fabulous Kafue National Park. The Lunga, Lufupa and Kafue Rivers feed this remote wilderness in western Zambia, with the Busanga flood plain stretching away to a distant horizon. Huge herds of antelope swarm over the plains, which offer a prime hunting ground for the largest population of big cats – lions, cheetahs and leopards – in southern Africa. There's also 490 species of birds within the park for those of us who love our feathered friends.
From the southern boundary of Kafue we'll head across reasonable roads to the shores of the biggest man-made lake in Southern Africa, Lake Kariba. Next morning we'll board a houseboat and spend that day and the next cruising these waters and admiring the wildlife, enjoying the fishing and being gob-smacked at the African sunsets.
Our last day of travel takes us from Sinazongwe to Livingstone and a lodge on the edge of the Zambezi just upstream from one of the great natural wonders of the world, Victoria Falls. Called by the local people Mosi-oa-Tunya, meaning, "the smoke that thunders", David Livingstone was the first European to see them and he waxed lyrically about them; "No one can imagine the beauty of the view... scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight."
While our trip ends in Livingstone after a great meal we'd strongly suggest you take a couple of days at least to enjoy the Falls and the surrounding area. A flight, whether in a light plane, a helicopter or an ultra-light is an unforgettable way to experience the place... or you can raft the gorge below the falls or bungee jump off the bridge, built by Cecil Rhodes as part of his African Empire dream. For something a little more rustic you can always have 'High Tea' at the very British, Victoria Falls Hotel, built in 1904. It's in Zimbabwe, but easy to visit from the Livingstone side of the border.
Contact Karen or 'Macca' Anthony on:
Phone/Fax: 03 5786 2004 or Mobile: 0411 485 469