JulieM

Calling all self-driving experts - how does this route look?

44 posts in this topic

@@JulieM Avis won't let you take a vehicle into Zimbabwe

 

 

Really? See there's a reason I post questions on this forum - so many things to learn!! Thank you.

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@@JulieM this looks like a fabulous trip, whereabouts are your planned overnight stops in Northern Zambia or am I too early with this detail question? I expect to be there myself in July-August 2018 and have overnights at Kapishya and Mutinondo before moving on to Lusaka and Kafue, finishing at Vic Falls.

 

We aren't brave enough to self-drive though!

 

Your trip looks fantastic, are you including any time in Ruaha before leaving Tanzania?

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Hello @@JulieM It looks like an epic trip. It surely takes a lot of detailed planning, and preparations but at the end I'm sure it will be a great adventure.

Regarding your rental - we had a Bushcamper Hilux from Bushlore on our Zimbabwe & Zambia trip. If you would like to know any details about the vehicle - please let me know.

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@@JulieM this looks like a fabulous trip, whereabouts are your planned overnight stops in Northern Zambia or am I too early with this detail question? I expect to be there myself in July-August 2018 and have overnights at Kapishya and Mutinondo before moving on to Lusaka and Kafue, finishing at Vic Falls.

 

We aren't brave enough to self-drive though!

 

Your trip looks fantastic, are you including any time in Ruaha before leaving Tanzania?

Hi @@Treepol - at this stage we are planning a few days each at the Bangweulu Wetlands, Mutinondo and Kapishya before heading in to Malawi. We'll be there in early May. We won't make it to Ruaha - maybe next time! How are you travelling? With a guide or on a tour?

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Hello @@JulieM It looks like an epic trip. It surely takes a lot of detailed planning, and preparations but at the end I'm sure it will be a great adventure.

Regarding your rental - we had a Bushcamper Hilux from Bushlore on our Zimbabwe & Zambia trip. If you would like to know any details about the vehicle - please let me know.

Thanks @@hubertj - were you happy with the Bushcamper? It looks great, although the fridge seems small.

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Posted (edited)

@@JulieM we are travelling with a guide, pickup in Ruaha then thru' northern Zambia south to Livingstone via Kafue.

 

Hoping for Shoebill in Uganda at Mbamba Swamp and Murchison Falls NP as we will be too late for Banguwelu sightings.

Edited by Treepol
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Posted (edited)

Julie, the fridge is a standard one, 40L. I don't think they offer any bigger in any of their vehicle setups. For us this size was just ok. Only problem with the fridge we had was that we had to clean it every few days, as some eggs, or beer bottles were getting broken constantly on the bumpy roads :)

 

If you are traveling as a couple, I can recommend 'Bushcamper' setup. It is really comfortable for 2 people. Theoretically there is also third place for sleeping on the lower level, but it is only suitable for a child or someone really short (we used this area as the luggage space). In my opinion the best thing in Bushcamper is the tent: erecting & foldng takes only seconds, and you don't have to remove sleeping bags and pillows before folding. It's great improvement over the standard tent, and it saves you lot's of time and hassle. Also access to the camping equipment and the fridge is very convenient, much easier comparing to the standard setup. You also have built-in easy-awning, but i don't think you will use it a lot if you plan to drive a lot.

 

Our vehicle already had 160.000kms on the odometer, but technically it was perfect - no problem with the engine or suspension (we tested it really hard on some rocky and bumpy roads in Zambia, but it survived without any issues). The camping equipment was a little bit dated, and there was some minor wear & tear damages inside the driver's cabin, but we could live with it.

Edited by hubertj
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Posted (edited)

 

Hi Julie who are you hiring your 4x4 from? It's an epic trip looking forward to the trip report! Pen

Not sure yet but we're looking at a Bushcamper from Bushlore, or Avis have an awesome looking Ford Ranger which is really well kitted out. Waiting on quotes.

Great choices. I can recommend Bushlore very well equipped for the distance and conditions you will encounter. They will supply cool boxes to supplement the fridge. We take our own large Coleman cooler , using ice and cheap silver survival sheets, and use the fridge as a freezer. Pen Edited by penolva
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Great tips and info thanks @@hubertj and @@penolva

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@@JulieM, sorry, I have been away.

 

I don't know if it is still of interest. I have been to both Lesotho and Swaziland. For me, Lesotho was a big let-down. The locals seem to have killed every natural thing in the country. As a 4x4 destination, it offers some challenges, but these should only be tackled as a group. As a nature destination, I found it very disapointing.

 

Swaziland is much better, and could be worth a visit.

 

However, yhour new route looks much better to me.

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Thanks @@Peter Connan - I'm glad you like the new route. We'll save Swaziland for another trip.

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Posted (edited)

After looking at this route, I must say that I like most of it.

Keep in mind that the trip from Moremi to Chobe to Kasane, there is no where to get fuel. Be sure to take some jerry cans. Also, the roads might be quite muddy if late rains come...so I would suggest 2x 4x4 vehicles (always Toyota when traveling Africa...parts and support are easiest to come by).

Also, Central Kalahari I would STRONGLY recommend 2 vehicles and each with at least 2x spare tires. Last time I was there, there were a bunch of wooden poles just under the sand that completely ruined 3 out of our tires before the week was over.

Beware of Zim, I have been hearing lately that the police no longer request just small under the table donations to their police fund, but that quite a few tourists have their vehicles impounded for no reason and have had to pay exorbitant amounts to get them back. I have heard this from two of my friends traveling on seperate occasions this year in Zim...so it is hear say, but it is something you should be aware of.

I would personally come through Mozambique to be honest, but that is my personal preference.

Personally, I would stay away from any vehicle that isn't a Toyota Hilux or Landcruiser if I were you. The big issue is that these vehicles are pretty much supported all over Africa, but the Land Rovers generally arent. Yes the drive isn't as comfortable, but when you break down you will prefer a vehicle that will be easier to fix than one that will take forever. I speak from experience here...

Edited by PieterSmiles
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@JulieM this looks like an incredible trip. In the SA section I'm interested to know why your planning to come due South out of Kimberley? My recommendation would be that you should consider going down the N12 to Beaufort West and then head to Prince Albert and Oudtshoon via the Swartberg Pass. From there you can head East on the inland route - R332, its beautiful. You can then go on the remainder of your planned route via the Garden route.

 

I think Prince Albert, Swartberg Pass, Bavaainskloof and Oudtshoon / Cango Caves is worth it. Also at Kimberley I highly recommend a night drive at Marrick game farm. 

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But Meiringspoort (the other route between Prins Albert and Outdshoorn is also beautiful!

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On 08/06/2017 at 0:03 AM, PieterSmiles said:

After looking at this route, I must say that I like most of it.

Keep in mind that the trip from Moremi to Chobe to Kasane, there is no where to get fuel. Be sure to take some jerry cans. Also, the roads might be quite muddy if late rains come...so I would suggest 2x 4x4 vehicles (always Toyota when traveling Africa...parts and support are easiest to come by).

Also, Central Kalahari I would STRONGLY recommend 2 vehicles and each with at least 2x spare tires. Last time I was there, there were a bunch of wooden poles just under the sand that completely ruined 3 out of our tires before the week was over.

Beware of Zim, I have been hearing lately that the police no longer request just small under the table donations to their police fund, but that quite a few tourists have their vehicles impounded for no reason and have had to pay exorbitant amounts to get them back. I have heard this from two of my friends traveling on seperate occasions this year in Zim...so it is hear say, but it is something you should be aware of.

I would personally come through Mozambique to be honest, but that is my personal preference.

Personally, I would stay away from any vehicle that isn't a Toyota Hilux or Landcruiser if I were you. The big issue is that these vehicles are pretty much supported all over Africa, but the Land Rovers generally arent. Yes the drive isn't as comfortable, but when you break down you will prefer a vehicle that will be easier to fix than one that will take forever. I speak from experience here...

 

Thanks for all the tips!  (Sorry I haven't replied sooner - I must have missed the notification!).

 

We have hired a Landcruiser 79 series Bushcamper from Bushlore so hopefully it will be reliable, and we have the back up from Bushlore as well.  It has two spare tyres and dual fuel tanks, so 180 litres from memory.  Do you think we'd need extra jerry cans as well?  We are travelling alone, but hopefully we'll meet others on the road and travel together.  If not, we plan on having a satellite phone, as well as mobile phones with local sims and a "spot" device to use as an emergency device if need be.  

 

I do worry about the road blocks in Zim.  I read as much as I can about how to manage road blocks, but I guess there's nothing like experience.  We are meeting a guide half way through our trip to Zimbabwe and will travel with him for about 9 days so at least for part of the trip we'll have an experienced local to help us out.  I didn't really look at Mozambique to be honest, after reading something about needing to travel in a security convoy for part of the journey - maybe next time we'll add Mozambique.

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On 28/06/2017 at 6:51 AM, lmSA84 said:

@JulieM this looks like an incredible trip. In the SA section I'm interested to know why your planning to come due South out of Kimberley? My recommendation would be that you should consider going down the N12 to Beaufort West and then head to Prince Albert and Oudtshoon via the Swartberg Pass. From there you can head East on the inland route - R332, its beautiful. You can then go on the remainder of your planned route via the Garden route.

 

I think Prince Albert, Swartberg Pass, Bavaainskloof and Oudtshoon / Cango Caves is worth it. Also at Kimberley I highly recommend a night drive at Marrick game farm. 

 

Thanks for the tip.  This is at the beginning of the trip rather than the end so we are heading north rather than south, but obviously the route is still the same, and looks good.  I haven't really planned this part of the trip other than the number of days we'll be travelling in this region but it sounds like we need to allocate a few days in this area.  And yes, Marrick game farm is now on my list after that recent trip report.

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18 hours ago, Peter Connan said:

But Meiringspoort (the other route between Prins Albert and Outdshoorn is also beautiful!

 

We'll do a loop around and back again!

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180 litres is plenty of fuel. You don't need to add jerry cans. However, in Zambia and Tanzania, petrol stations are fairly rare compared to where you've been before. So don't get in the habit of passing one up. The next one maybe a long ways away or even out of diesel. Be aware of speed limits. Zambia uses radar guns in a few unusual places and they expect payment on the spot. Check the web for Shoprite locations enroute(buy a couple plastic egg holders if Bushlore doesn't supply them). Stock up as shopping in between is not dependable. Although you will find stuff like eggs and some fruit at local markets is common. The small stalls for bottled water, soda, beer, and some necessities the locals need too- to really see Africa, you must get out of the vehicle and check things out. Get the T4A books for Zambia, Tanzania, and Malawi. Online you can find where to buy them in Africa or email them. They will have good information for the self drive. Makes it look easy. 

 

For roadblocks, not a lot you can do except smile, greet the officer(s), be friendly throughout and take off those sunglasses. Carry some extra cokes(no diet stuff) and packs of cigarettes in case things appear to have the potential of going south. There are lots of roadblocks in Zam and Zim, but nothing to really worry about as long as you keep it light. I've been through hundreds of them and never had a real problem. The keywords to remember....Common sense. 

 

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Great advice thanks @luangwablondes 

I bought the Tracks4Africa atlas which they just released which is really great and will come in very handy I think.  

We got stopped at a roadblock in Namibia once and the very stern officer was checking the vehicle and asking for the triangle etc when he sneezed.  When my husband said "bless you", he was suddenly all smiles and waved us along.  Being polite surely came in handy that day I think.  

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