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  #1  
Old 01-06-13, 01:49 PM
BS1601 BS1601 is offline
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Default malawi - itinerary - dec 2013


Hi eveybody,

please can you advise on the itinerary set out below for my december holiday. a couple of questions i have regarding this is:

are we spending enough time at the right places?
is the distances do able in the time allowed?
emmision taxes for malawi, zambia zimbabwe?
how bad is the mozzies really that time of year?
will we have some fun regarding the road? gettings stuck ?

17 dec - crossing border into zimbabwe at 6:00am allowing 4hours for border crossing - leaving border at 10:00. distination for the eveing close to tete border post (sleeping in a sort of hotel or motel quest house)

18 dec - cross border early at zobue border post according to my info its open from 6:00am - head to cape maclear via balaka and then turing NE at Golomoti toward lake malawi national park. and camping in the monkey bay area for 2 nights. evening of the 18th and 19th.

20th dec - going over tho domwe island for 3 nights, leaving our 4x4's at kayak africa reception, with our tents food and drinks. camping on dowe island 20/21/22

23rd dec - driving up to senga bay and stay at steps campsite for 2 nights. 23/24.

25th dec - driving to nkhata bay and spend the evening of the 25 / 26t at a lodge or kamp.

27th dec - driving to makuzi beach and camping. for 2 nights. 27 /28( i was thinking of skipping makuzi beach and heading into zambia that gives us an addisional 2 days in SLNP)

29th dec - driving from makuzi beach to maqocha border post / crossing the border and heading for south luangwa NP. spending the 29/30/31 in south luangwa NP. any suggestions on where in the park to camp will be nice. never been to SLNP.

1st of January - Turning back toward RSA(Pretoria) want to be back in PTA by the evening of the 4th of january and still going via the victoria falls.


are we spending the enough time around lake malawi or should we reduce our malawi time and spend 1 or 2 more nights in zambia?

if i allow 2 hours for the border crossing between malawi and zambia should i be fine never crossed between those country. any suggestions on missing the mess at beitbridge?

everybodies input will be highly appreciated.

kind regards,

Barry
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  #2  
Old 01-06-13, 03:31 PM
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Hi,

Your distances in Malawi are short. You could maybe skip Senga Bay but drive North up to Livingstonia that is worth a visit and stay in a camp on the top of the cliff.

The crossing a Mqocha is easy, but the tracks condition for the 40 last kms will depend if it has rained or not the days before.
The "direct" route between Lundazi and SNLP through Luambe NP will probably be impassable in December. So you will have to drive via Chipata.
Any route you take, it will be impossible to be in Mfuwe the same day than you leave Northern Malawi.
You can have a look to my report in Southern Malawi there: http://www.4x4community.co.za/forum/...d.php?t=150263
And Northern there:
http://dumela.jimdo.com/malawi-zambie-2013/
(sorry, didn't have time to translate yet, but Google translate could maybe help).
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Old 01-06-13, 10:37 PM
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If you do chose to stay at Steps Camp, try and avoid the weekend, it will be full of drunk locals and very noisy.
Or, push on to a non lake camping option at Bua River Lodge, just inside Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve, more of a wilderness experience than anything, but the birding is great and it is very peaceful. It's about 3 or so hours up the lakeshore road from Salima.
Might be wise to actually have something reserved for xmas and new years eve, things do get booked up at that time of year. You dont want to find yourself left out in the cold, so to speak.
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Old 02-06-13, 01:33 PM
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@ Truckslag

thank you for the advice on steps camp over weekends. in your reply you suggest we book over xmas and new years. what about the other nights is it save to say that we could wing it and just arrive and there will be a camp of some sort availble. how busy does the nice camps around the lake get over december times?

i am aware that dec is rainy season in malawi is the rain to such an exstent that it is not worth going there over that tiem or is it more or less the same as mozambique over december?
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Old 02-06-13, 01:41 PM
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@ pierre 77N

Thank i have read all your awesome trip reports and it has really added value to my planning. in your reply you said we wont be able to go from northen malawi to slnp in one day. where do you suggest we stop and sleep would it be save to camp wil between mqocha and slnp?

what is the cost of fuel in m;-alawi? reason asking 4.0liter v6 cruiser and 4.5liter v8 cruiser? fuel is a bit of big part of our costs :-) do you suggest we take fuel from zim to last us the whole way through malawi or should be rather run on fumes in zim and fill up in malawi. what is the fuel situation and cost in zambia?

thank you in advance for your help and previouse reply.

regards,
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Old 02-06-13, 04:30 PM
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Hi Barry,

Quote:
Thank i have read all your awesome trip reports and it has really added value to my planning. in your reply you said we wont be able to go from northen malawi to slnp in one day. where do you suggest we stop and sleep would it be save to camp wil between mqocha and slnp?
In December I guess the road via Luambe NP will be impassable. So you will have to drive to Chipata and overnight there I think. Mama Rula is not the prettiest camp in Africa, but it's clean and OK for overnight.

Quote:
what is the cost of fuel in m;-alawi? reason asking 4.0liter v6 cruiser and 4.5liter v8 cruiser? fuel is a bit of big part of our costs :-) do you suggest we take fuel from zim to last us the whole way through malawi or should be rather run on fumes in zim and fill up in malawi. what is the fuel situation and cost in zambia?
I know that concern, my Cruiser is a 4.5 straight six petrol.
There is no more petrol shortage in Malawi since Joyce Banda is president and there are a lot more filling stations than in Zambia. But petrol is expensive, around 715 MWK (More that 21 ZAR!!!) last April (more expensive than in France!!!). It has just decreased a little bit. See that official site: http://www.meramalawi.mw/?q=content/...e-adjustment-2
Well, I follow the usual rule in Africa and refuel as soon as I can... And close my eyes when the meter is running.
Petrol is expensive in Zambia too. Follow Bertie's updates on the forum: http://www.4x4community.com/forum/sh...t=30740&page=2
9.91 ZMK (17.59 ZAR) these days.

Last edited by Pierre77N; 02-06-13 at 04:34 PM.
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Old 03-06-13, 01:16 PM
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Thanks Pierre

Can anyone suggest campsite for SLNP, i had a look at track& Trail and also at Croc Valley. On Track4 africa it shows alot of campsite but no info.

I have determined that park fees for SLNP is $20 pppn if you are from RSA is that correct?

Thank you in advance.
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Old 03-06-13, 01:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BS1601 View Post

17 dec - crossing border into zimbabwe at 6:00am allowing 4hours for border crossing - leaving border at 10:00. distination for the eveing close to tete border post (sleeping in a sort of hotel or motel quest house)
Took us 3.5 hours to go through Beit Bridge...

When you refer to Tete border post ?? Which one is this ?? We drove through Tete (Moz) to the Zobue border. 100km before Tete and 100km after Tete, the road is BAD !!!!!!! At least 4-5 hours drive for this 200km. Oh... We were suppose to stay over at Tete but the T4A info was not correct, and we could not find a suitable place to stay, so we decided to head for Zobue and went through that day...

Quote:
Originally Posted by BS1601 View Post
18 dec - cross border early at zobue border post according to my info its open from 6:00am - head to cape maclear via balaka and then turing NE at Golomoti toward lake malawi national park. and camping in the monkey bay area for 2 nights. evening of the 18th and 19th.
At monkey bay, ask for directions to Mufasa Camp site... That will be your paradise for those 2 nights . I have pichas !!

Quote:
Originally Posted by BS1601 View Post
20th dec - going over tho domwe island for 3 nights, leaving our 4x4's at kayak africa reception, with our tents food and drinks. camping on dowe island 20/21/22
They have power at Kayak Africa reception, just take your own extension and you can power your fridges. We had no security issues with our vehicles....

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Old 03-06-13, 02:05 PM
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Oh.... And another thing... If you haven't seen the Great Zimbabwe Ruins... Then I would suggest a 3 hour stop-over at the Ruins (you're almost driving past anyway)...

The guided tour is around 2-2.5 hours... Do the guided tour, cause they know alot and explain everything niceley...

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  #10  
Old 03-06-13, 02:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BS1601 View Post
Can anyone suggest campsite for SLNP, i had a look at track& Trail and also at Croc Valley. On Track4 africa it shows alot of campsite but no info.
No more camping at Croc Valley I think.
We stayed at Wildlife Camp. Nice spots on the river. Good food at the restaurant. Ablutions are not all new but decent (this is Zambia...).
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Old 03-06-13, 03:48 PM
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Cool

Quote:
Originally Posted by Truckslag View Post
If you do chose to stay at Steps Camp, try and avoid the weekend, it will be full of drunk locals and very noisy.
Or, push on to a non lake camping option at Bua River Lodge, just inside Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve, more of a wilderness experience than anything, but the birding is great and it is very peaceful. It's about 3 or so hours up the lakeshore road from Salima.
Might be wise to actually have something reserved for xmas and new years eve, things do get booked up at that time of year. You dont want to find yourself left out in the cold, so to speak.
Hi,

I am currently at Cool Runnings, which is a very pleasant little place not far from steps (3k), fine with gras, good food and inexpensive accom...

Can recommend it.

Cheers
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Old 03-06-13, 06:10 PM
luangwablondes luangwablondes is offline
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If it hasn't been raining, try Zikomo Safari Camp for camping. They have had lions in and around the camp for nearly two weeks now. Along with a lot of other wildlife in the area.
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Old 04-06-13, 09:37 AM
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Anywhere with a good reputation, or somewhere you specifically want to be over that time of year, I would book - just to be sure - you probably can wing it with other places.
Also, a lot of camps will do a special xmas dinner on 25th, which may be twice as much as a normal meal, so if you dont want to cook yourself double check with the camp, It might be something that has to be booked in advance.
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Old 04-06-13, 09:40 AM
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Croc Valley has camping, it is Flatdogs that no longer has a campsite. If you want to treat yourself to a couple of nights in an ensuite tent, Flatdogs is a pretty cool place, and not too expensive.... excellent chocolate brownies too!
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Old 24-07-13, 11:25 AM
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Hi

thanks to everyone that has replied.
I have had a look at the road to SLNP from Malawi. What route would you suggest. Please take into consideration we will be at Nyika Plateau the night before we leave.

Thanks


Please advise
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  #16  
Old 25-07-13, 04:14 PM
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Hi All
Here we go, this is our final itinerary as decided on by our group.
Departing 17th December 2013
Day 1: Depart RSA through Beitbridge boarder post at 6:00am; allow 4 hours to cross, leave Beitbridge @10:00 am, arrive Harare at 16:00 in the afternoon.
Day 2: Depart Harare and leave Zimbabwe through Nyamapanda boarder post, leave Mozambique through Zobue, see how far we get before night fall and wing accommodation for that night.
Day 3/4/5/6 : Leave for Cape Maclear. Camp at at Monkey bay and spend 2 nights on Domwe Island.
Day 7 : Leave for steps camp, camp at steps for 1 night.
Day 8/9: Leave Steps and head for Makuzi Beach lodge via Salima for 2 nights.
Day 10: Leave for Nyika Platue, spend 1 night there, Camping.
Day 11/12: These 2 days we have set aside to travel to South Luangwa Crocodile Valley Camp.
: Please see attached picture on the route we are planning to take from Katumbi boarder post to South Luangwa. Any advice on resent road conditions and pass ability will be help full. According to Map Source it is 430 km and will take 13hours. I have set aside 2 day of hard driving and getting stuck.
Day 13/14/15: Camp at Crocodile Valley.
Day 16: Leave south Luangwa and head for Lusaka, spend New Year’s Eve in Lusaka, any suggestions please.
Day 17/18: Leave Lusaka 1st Jan 2014 Head for Victoria Falls, spend 2 nights there
Day 19: Leave for RSA, Leave Zimbabwe via Panamatenga and het down to Martins drift via Francisestown. Accommodation just on the other side of the boarder in Swartwater RSA.
Day 20: Head home, PTA.
Arrive 5 January 2014.
Some issues we are not sure about currently and advise would be appreciated:
1.) 3 days to get to Cape Mc clear if we cross Beitbridge at 6:00 , i have heard of people saying you can to that stretch in 2 days?
2.) In our previous post Pierre77 confirmed that the distances in Malawi are do able and we are not too concerned about that.
3.) Like if have mentioned in Day 11/12, that stretch to South Luagwa, Pierre77 also said that we need to go via Chipata, according to Track4 africa there are several roads that go from East to west come out just above South Luangwa, Any advice or contact details of someone that can help with advice will be highly appreciated. I have attached a Garmin File that shows the rout from Katumbi just below Nyika plateau, down to South Luangwa. If anyone has driven that road in DEC or know of someone that has done that please advise.
4.) What is the rules of taking meat from SA in to Zim and then into Moz and then into Malawi?
5.) According to the rules how much fuel can you take across the border?
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  #17  
Old 25-07-13, 04:21 PM
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attached files as mentioned in final itinerary.
Attached Files
File Type: gdb katumbi grens - na south luangwa.gdb (32.2 KB, 20 views)
File Type: pdf Padkaart.pdf (318.1 KB, 31 views)
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  #18  
Old 25-07-13, 04:37 PM
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Cool Campsite Senga Bay

Hello,

For nights 8/9, I would possibly consider swaping from Steps to Cool Runnings (3 km ahead), Steps has only sand / dust, Cool Runnings is small but all the ground with grass, with good ablutions and reasonably good and cheap restaurant and bar (most dishes for less than 60 Rand), bringing your own red/beer is allowed.



Cheers.
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Old 25-07-13, 11:55 PM
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Despite it being one of my very favourite places ( I used to live up at Chelinda) I'm going to suggest you skip Nyika for this trip. It is a long drive from Makusi. The road beyond Rumphi where the tar ends could be tough in December. At it's very worst it becomes a bog several feet deep in places and impassable in anything except a tractor. IMO it just isn't worth it for one night. If you do want to give it a shot make sure you get to the gates at Thazima by about 4 - if not and they don't think you'll make it to Chelinda (60km further on) by sundown they will not let you through. You can always try ringing Wilderness for a view on the road condition a day or two before.

If you stay at Makusi or surrounds you can enjoy another day at the lake and get to SLNP in a long day via Lilongwe. Or pop over to Nkhotakota and spend an evening at Bua River.

Can't help with the route to SLNP from Nyika I'm afraid but I would expect any tracks in that area to be very difficult at that time of year. Make sure you have plenty of fuel when you leave Mzuzu.

In Lusaka I'd stay at Pioneer Camp. It's the right side of the city coming from SLNP and it's a nice place.
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Old 26-07-13, 01:56 AM
DevonEllett DevonEllett is online now
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We were up in Malawi in December 2012.... I would definitely NOT skip Makuzi beach.... we absolutely loved it there... It's owned by a South African couple... camping was cheap, and drinks/food was even cheaper!

Also, we came in the oposite direction to you, we came from Northern Zambia and entered Malawi through a border post right next to Nyika. The roads are bad, but even in our Prado, we never had to engage low-rage once, so you shouldn't have any problems

Last edited by DevonEllett; 26-07-13 at 02:00 AM.
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Old 28-07-13, 12:04 AM
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Just a word of caution. Anyone can pass through and get lucky. Having lived in the area for two rainy seasons I can tell you that at times during December and January it can get very bad. We used to get 2WD sedans up at Nyika saying it was no problem and a few weeks later trucks and 4WD would be stuck in the mud for days until a tractor could tow them out.

Give it a go by all means but be prepared to be flexible with your itinerary.
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Old 28-07-13, 06:44 AM
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Take your Malaria tablets, you will get it in Malawi in the rainy season. I know I lived in Cape Mclear for many years.

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Old 29-07-13, 07:46 PM
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Hi All thank you for the info, we will note everything. I have changed our camp from steps to cool runnings. and we are still debating the nyika platue situation. I received info that that road from lundanzi that goes through lukusuzi national park toward slnp is mostly used by poachers and can be really bad in the wet season.

any more info that you can think of please don't hesitate to post.

Thank you in advance.

Regards

Barry
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Old 30-07-13, 11:53 AM
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Did you book somewhere for Christmas?
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Old 30-07-13, 04:32 PM
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Hi

Yes we booked Makuzi Beach Lodge for Christmas.

Regards,

Barry
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Old 31-07-13, 10:35 AM
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cool.. have a fabulous time
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Old 06-08-13, 07:52 AM
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Enjoy it and let us know how it was. Lots of pictures, please.
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Old 04-09-13, 10:38 PM
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+1 for Domwe and Croc Valley

I would also recommend Eureka in Lusaka, on the south side just a few kilometres outsdie the city on the Kafue road. You can have a nice stroll with some zebras there.

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