Down and Dirty in Africa – Cairo to Cape Town

Malawi is most popular for its Lake, described more like a sea Lake Malawi covers more than 1/3rd of the nation. The distinct cleanse h2o is fairly inviting as is the delicious fish!

We spent a handful of days on the shores of Lake Malawi, world renowned for the exceptional and unique new drinking water fish (some of which prehistoric) living in the Lake. We stayed at a very small eco-lodge constructed on a cliff with its personal non-public sandy seashore the sights spectacular, rooms quite cozy and hospitality unbeatable. We arrived at about the very same time the rain clouds did generating a mad panic to get our cooking shelter up the rain conquer us in the race and some of us were instead soaked – at least the air was warm and to be trustworthy the cost-free shower was welcomed. The good news is our charcoal BBQ fire survived long ample for me to BBQ our pork chops for evening meal the rain did not enable up and several hours afterwards was still bucketing down. The first genuine rain we have experienced in three months of touring …….

Up high in the highlands of Malawi is a minor settlement called Livingstonia. The name itself signifies a tribute to the great explorer himself David Livingstone. David Livingstone invested very tiny time in Malawi by itself despite the fact that he did make numerous outings throughout the land preaching anti-slavery and messages from the Bible. Some made a decision to travel up the steep gravel road in the wet while other individuals made a decision hiring a catamaran was a better idea.

Crossing into Zambia was a extremely effortless procedure indicating we had been nearer to southern Africa and a lot more western programs in place. South Luangwa Countrywide Park is Zambia’s quantity two vacationer attraction second only to the mighty Victoria Falls however the highway to obtain the park is the worst road we traveled on through Southern Africa. Huge holes, hefty corrugations, narrow boggy strips, sharp rocks and deep ravines cut through hefty tropical rain for around 40kms. We experienced been informed the highway was impassable but you by no means know except if you try the program was straightforward – see how we go ……….

We arrived at the turn-off to South Luangwa and the road little by little deteriorated, despite the fact that it had been visibly very wet and boggy in elements the street had dried sufficient to get through without also numerous hiccups. We were 5kms from South Luangwa when the fun really started out 800m of deep lavatory holes and no way around. We weaved our way all around the brim of the holes till we had no selection but to go via – drinking water seeping above the bonnet with the still left hand side falling into further holes we gradually manufactured our way via with no incident – good aged Land Rovers!

South Luangwa was undoubtedly worth the excursion an abundance of wildlife on the shores of Luangwa River in northern Zambia we camped on the shores of the river hippos grunted working day and night time (with one wandering by means of the campsite in the middle of the working day), and troops of baboons and vervet monkeys performed on the tents. We tried our 1st actual recreation meat – hippo steaks -right after a little bit of a pounding and flash frying. Astonishingly, they have been pretty delicious a bit like veal …….

Following a bit of adventure leaving South Luangwa we have been on our way to Victoria Falls, or as the locals know it as Mosi-oa-Tunya (smoke that thunders). In 1855 David Livingstone sat awestruck by this amazing uncover and in his journal wrote “on sights as stunning as this, angels in their flight must have gazed” a perfect way to explain a single of the seven organic miracles of the World. Her sheer electrical power throws spray higher into the air obvious for miles. Victoria Falls is near the city of Livingstone, it is uncommon to check out a city in Africa which holds onto and is happy of its colonial background. Only a few kilometers from Zimbabwe, Livingstone has become the hub for selling curios (souvenirs) from Zimbabwe. Deluxe Nile Cruise from Aswan to Luxor cross the border to generate challenging forex, get basic foods items and clothes just before crossing the border everyday. The best souvenirs on sale have been Zimbabwean pounds and in particular the newest notice, 10 Trillion pounds. To put this into viewpoint you need to have two 10 Trillion dollar notes to get a loaf of bread (at the time we bought these notes – no thought what it is value now). It is tragic to see how the jewel of Africa more than 10 a long time has disintegrated into a land of nothing. The ideal factor visitors can do is to purchase items from the local sellers, no issue how little the product or how low cost every cent assists.

Just before leaving Livingstone we read through an post in a travel magazine about the Kazangula ferry – the ferry that normally takes us across the Zambezi River from Zambia into Botswana – the write-up talked about how chaotic and hard the crossing was. With everybody well prepared for extended delays and queues (rigorous instructions to maintain the cars bumper to bumper) we arrived at the border/ferry port. A lot to our disappointment the crossing was much from chaotic and the queues non existent we simply cruised throughout into Botswana.

Arriving into Kasane at the very same time as a large thunder storm our tents had been up just ahead of the heavens opened. The heavy down pour lasted about forty minutes ahead of the clouds cleared and the sunlight shone as soon as once again. The afternoon was expended on a game viewing boat cruising up the Chobe River. Significantly to our delight there were hundreds of elephants actively playing in the shallows with massive hippo pods close by, as crocodiles happily sunned themselves on the shores.

The adhering to early morning we headed out on a sport generate however Chobe National Park with the exception of a youthful bull elephant only a few feet away from the motor vehicle the game was relatively mellow. Botswana was experiencing an excellent damp period that’s why the grass was large making recreation viewing not ideal. Even so the scenery and birdlife created the early morning rather satisfying.

Right after the morning at Chobe we ongoing into the Northern component of Namibia or far better known as the Caprivi Strip. This part of Namibia has been the scene of numerous conflicts above the many years and up until only 8 years in the past was considered unsafe to journey via. With the combating over and an excellent infrastructure creating travel quite simple we made a decision to take this route. The Caprivi Strip is also where the initial prisoner of war was taken in WW1 – the English Colonial was entertaining the German Colonial (the Brits occupied Zambia and the Germans Namibia – of course it was Rhodesia and German South Western Africa in those days) when the announcement was made that the war had commenced. The English Colonial turned to the German Colonial and rather politely instructed him that he might finish his tea and scones but “to let you know you are now my prisoner”.

The Caprivi strip is a perfect area to nip back again into Botswana to explore the Northern portion of the Okavango Delta. The Delta is alive with more than three hundred fowl species and numerous mammals and of training course reptiles. Enormous crocs roam the h2o approaches, hippos wallow in the warm h2o whilst King Fishers swoop from higher above to feast on the capture of the working day. A soothing pair of times on the Kubu Queen houseboat with Greg the Fisherman ended up an excellent way to discover the region.

As we drove via the northern portion of Namibia we had been dealt with to a impressive sight. A dozen or so African Wild Dog was sitting down on the major freeway! Wild Puppy is exceptional to see at the greatest of occasions, to see a pack so near is not a widespread occurrence. It was not until finally afterwards that we found a single was wounded and the rest of the pack was waiting for her to pick herself up and move to safety.

We ongoing our journey toward Etosha stopping enroute to see the World’s largest Meteorite. Etosha, even though rather soaked, did not disappoint. Alive with wildlife in the northern component coupled with a good deal of muddy tracks gave the cars a bit of a exercise and a momentary new white paint task!

From Etosha we created a nightstop at a local farm and cheetah reserve. In Namibia cheetahs are considered a pest and farmers have the correct to shoot them. An escalating amount of nearby farms have set up reserves for cheetahs. As nicely as protecting it provides a unique opportunity to get quite close and pat “domesticated” cheetahs. We stopped at one started out by a mate of ours Mario who has three domesticated cheetahs and above forty wild types residing in selected areas on the farm. The wild cheetahs appear from bordering farms, the farmers phone the men at the Cheetah Farm to tell them a cheetah is having livestock, the boys then lure the cheetah and relocate to the farm. We ended up greeted on arrival by a younger giraffe, located abandoned a handful of weeks ahead of and rescued by the Cheetah Farm she has decided to cling around for a whilst!

Namibia is typically the land of desert and rocky outcrops. Nevertheless an unusually wetter than normal soaked time remodeled Namibia from dry desert to lush green fields with bare mountains making a dramatic backdrop. We experienced to modify our prepared route slightly as we experienced read from locals a number of streets experienced been reduce off thanks to rivers flooding deeming them impassable.

After over three months of driving on every thing from perfect tar roads, filth tracks, sand dunes and slender mountain passes we have been all up for a little bit of mud, river crossings and possibly a little bit of digging. Most of the streets in Namibia are vast dirt streets with a few manufactured out of salt. The outstanding rains had designed chaos all over the region, street closures, flash flooding and long deep muddy stretches.

Even with the sporadic rains we ongoing on track and spent time on the Skeleton Coast, a desolate stretch of nothing at all but sand, wind and treacherous seas, home to the greatest Cape Fur seal colony in the Entire world. A few times discovering the German colonial town, Swakopmund, calming and catching up on domestic responsibilities. Then manufactured the journey to Namib-Naukluft Countrywide Park to explore the desert, dune 45 and Sousselvei oasis and liked some severe 4x4ing in the procedure by the time we made it to Luderitz and the aged “gold rush” ghost town of Kolmanskop the heavens had cleared and with the days sizzling and sunlight beating down on us it was the first time we genuinely felt like we have been in Namibia.

The road to Fish River Canyon was extended and dusty – our ultimate destination in Namibia. Fish River Canyon is the Grand Canyon to Africa – a masterpiece of artwork from Mother Character rocks carved above hundreds of thousands of many years to make a Canyon in excess of 170kms long and up to 27kms wide in specific details. The entire scale of its expanse can only genuinely be appreciated by the air, though our vantage point at the leading of the Canyon undoubtedly confirmed her in her correct glamour. On 1 of our before expeditions a single team member (who usually drives on the other facet of the road) once said “Gosh have to have taken ages to develop that” Everybody headed off in diverse instructions together the rim hunting for the best spots for the excellent photograph.

Our ultimate region and spot – South Africa. The border crossing was quite straightforward despite the fact that we did drop our fruit at a fruit fly inspection position. The minute we crossed into South Africa I felt like I was back in Australia. The very first 400kms strongly resembles the Flinders Rangers – rocky outcrops, rolling hills and salt bush as far as the eye can see. If it was not for the road indications in Afrikaans and warnings for springbok as an alternative of kangaroos one would really imagine they had been in South Australia. We created superb time on the exceptional roads (vast, straight and no pot holes!) we determined to drive on a little bit and commit our closing evening just before Cape Town in Stellenbosch – the Cash of Wine Lands.

We set off down the N1 highway toward Cape City our ultimate spot. The air was filled with a mixture of enjoyment of generating the 18,000 kms from Aqaba, Jordan and sadness in the expertise we were about to depart for our homelands. The clouds in the sky nicely represented our thoughts. We arrived in Cape Town at our resort tired but with a sense of pleasure and achievement – we did it!

We shared a closing evening meal, chatted about the great instances, remembering the quirky activities along the way and the characters we satisfied.

Our final day was spent back again in the Wine Lands, tasting wines and experiencing lunch at a nearby vineyard, the evening was topped off at the Cape Town Botanical gardens with a glass of wine in-hand listening to a dwell classical orchestra.

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