SA-BW-ZAM-MAL-MOZ-SA Trip - March 2013





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  1. #1
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    Default SA-BW-ZAM-MAL-MOZ-SA Trip - March 2013

    Hi all,

    I’m planning a trip for next year March (9 March – 5 April) into land that is unknown to me. It will be tent camping as far as possible. High level route is: SA – Botswana – Zim (maybe) – Zambia – Malawi – Moz – SA. We’re planning to go with at least 2 (proper 4WD) vehicles and probably 3 for first part of the trip. Some advice, suggestions and warnings would be greatly appreciated!

    I’m planning the following. I’ll put my specific questions next to each day, and then the general questions for each day of traveling would be: Is it doable time-wise and what road conditions can I expect?

    Day 1: Leave Pretoria early – probably at 04:00am and make it a long day on the road all the way to Nata.

    Day 2: Nata to Moremi
    - Not sure if I’m too late for booking at any of the park camp sites, but will try my luck. Any good alternatives nearby the Moremi gate(s)?

    Days 3 – 7: Camping at Moremi

    Day 8: Moremi to Vic Falls (Baobab Camp Site)
    - General questions important here, and also which route to take. Is it worth it to go via Zim, or should we to straight to Zambia. Looks like a ferry crossing to Zambia – what are the costs and queuing times involved?

    Day 9: Camping at Vic Falls

    Days 10 – 12: Traveling to Lake Malawi
    - A lot of advice needed here, especially around camp sites (we’re good with bush camps if possible, allowed, safe etc.), preferred routes.

    Days 13 – 18: Camping at Lake Malawi
    - Need some suggestions on nice camping sites. Will be mainly in the south.

    Days 19 – 21: Travelling to Inhassoro/Vilanculos/Pomene (still deciding)
    - I know this area fairly well, but suggestion on the route and stop overs from Malawi to the Moz coast will be appreciated.

    Days 22 – 26: Camping in Moz

    Days 27 – 28: Back to Pretoria via Giriyondo
    - Got the T-shirt for this one . What a nice route!

    One last question: A friend that would really like to join is driving a Merc ML (think he has a set of A/T tires on her). Would he do OK on this route (and time of the year) or not at all? Other vehicles would be a 95 Series Prado en a Landy Defender.

    Looking forward to receive some expert advice!

    Thanks,
    Jaco

  2. #2
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    Default

    Hi Jaco

    Beginning of March shouldn't be an issue as far as availability is concerned. But why drive right through Chobe without stopping at Savuti? If time is a constraint I would even rather miss Moremi and instead include Savuti/Linyanti/Ihaha... Moremi can be tricky in March with the rains



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  3. #3
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    Hi andyrag,

    I read an article on Moremi and it seemed really nice, but I guess all camps in the area are. Thanks for the advise - will definitely have a look at the camps you suggested.

    Regards,
    Jaco

  4. #4
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    Default

    Moremi is nice, but in the wet season there are so many roads that are underwater you don't have many options to drive around without risking getting stuck and the ensuing hassle of recovery/repair..



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  5. #5
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    Default

    Hi Jaco,

    Here are a few comments from me, we've traveled to all the places you looking at but on separate occasions Its a large undertaking! Especially the part from Vic Falls to Lake Malawi, there is no straight forward route...

    I'm one for covering large distances as well but some of your legs are far

    Have you got T4A?

    Nata to Moremi in a day is going to be tough, it's not so much the distance but more so the road, cattle and people conditions. It does slow you down. And once you get to Maun, it is slow going to get to Moremi and any of the camp sites.

    I was at Xakanaxa for a week in January this year and it was very wet, as andyrag says, most of the roads were under water. It was fun but hairy at times too. We were on our own which made it more interesting too.

    From Moremi to Vic Falls is many hours of travel, more than you have allowed. Savuti and Chobe shouldn't be missed either. You have to travel that way so may as well include them. They ideally deserve more than a night at each too, you'll get to see far more of the area.

    From Kasane to Vic Falls is a short trip, not exactly sure which is the best route currently but that shouldn't be a hassle to find out here.

    Now comes the trip from Vic Falls to Lake Malawi!! There are a couple of options...

    1. You can use the ferry from Mlibizi to cross Lake Kariba, its a 26 hour ferry ride to Kariba town, then travel to Harare and on to Tete. From here, if you enjoy Tiger fishing I would head to Cahorra Bassa. That is awesome!

    2. Alternatively, you travel from Vic Falls to Bulawayo then to Harare and on to Tete. It is a long journey though, I haven't been to Zim for a number of years so cant comment on travel times. But approx 1400km in any African country is far!

    In Malawi there are loads of camp sites on the southern part of the lake south of Monkey bay. I dont recall the places we've stayed at but they do show up on T4A. Traveling in Malawi is also very slow.

    Getting from Malawi to the Central Mozambique coast isn't easy. We went north because we wanted to get to Niassa Reserve and Pemba, which if you like remote this place is king. It really should be a trip on its own though, purely based on distance! The best route is going to be to head back to Tete and from there head south to Inhassoro. Have a look at Mike Slater's site, mozguide for up to date info there.

    I have attached a route pic of the route you planning, it is abut 6000km which doesn't seem far but the travel times are crazy.

    I will add some more info when I have a gap...

    GD
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  6. #6
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    Hi GD,

    Thanks for your inputs - they seem very valuable! Yes I do have T4A.

    Seems like I'll have to do few days more driving and less camping. Or scale down i.t.o.distance.

    Are there any non-privatized camp sites in the Savuti/Chobe area that can be recommended? (hoping for cut some costs)

    I'll probably ask a few more questions as my planning progresses.

    Regards,
    Jaco

  7. #7
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    All campsites in northern Botswana are private - average ZAR200pp plus park fees on top


    Sent from my HTC Vision using Tapatalk 2



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  8. #8
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    If you are going up as far as Malawi you could consider in one direction:

    Kasane - Livingstone - Lusaka - South Luangwa NP - Lake Malawi.

    With the exception of the stretch into/back out of SLNP the roads are good tar (unlike the route from Mulanje into Moz).

    Kasane to Livingstone only 60km (but a border crossing and ferry)

    Livingstone to Lusaka 500km (6hrs)- good road (stay at Pioneer for an easy getaway up the Great East Road)

    Lusaka to SLNP - check out other posts here for timings/route options - may be better to overnight in Chipata (Mamarulas or Dean's Hill).

    SLNP to the Lake - 3 hrs to Chipata, 2.5/3 hrs further to Lilongwe, 2.5 hrs further to Lake (Senga Bay) or 5 hours to nicest bits in the south ie Cape Maclear.

    Nicest camping at the Lake IMO is south ie Cape Maclear - loads of places to say - Eagle's Nest, Fat Monkey's, Gecko Lounge. Best to look when there and see what suits you. If you can extricate tents and camping gear from the car it is great camping on Domwe Island (real desert island stuff) - gear transported by boat - contact Kayak Africa to arrange.

    If you want to head up the Lake a little, great spots for camping are Makusi Beach, Nkwasi and Chinteche.

    NB you can't bush camp in Malawi. It is really densely populated and you will often find every scrap of land is being used.

    The fuel supply problems they experience in Malawi periodically are currently back on. I strongly recommend you enter Malawi with enough fuel to do what you want to and get out to Zambia or Moz. You don't want to spend a few days of your trip in line at a fuel station....

  9. #9
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    Hi itchyfeet,

    Thanks a lot for the suggenstions and advice. After reading all the valuable suggestions, we are currently considering saving a visit to the delta/Chobe for a next Namibia/Botswana trip instead of rushing things and doing too much in this trip.

    I am currently seriously considering the route you suggested. Just a few questions:

    - If you suggest an overnight at Chipata, then you are suggesting the T4 route to SLNP?
    - Is it worth it to camp a few days at SLNP? We would definitely want to spend a few days in the bush for some game viewing. Or would the north-east of Chobe be a better option then?
    - Any particular camps in SLNP you would recommend?
    - "Best to look when there and see what suits you". Is it safe to rock up without booking?

    Many thanks once more!
    Jaco

  10. #10
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    Hi Jaco

    I agree that Moremi should probably be kept for another trip.

    If you are definitely going to Vic Falls then it would be worth spending a couple of nights in north-east Chobe to take a day to do the river drive. I would also try and include at least two full days at South Luangwa and on one of them do a night drive with the camp where you stay. I only know Wildlife Camp which is well situated on a high bank of the river with good views. Camping is on the edge of the river bank. Even though the area will be wet there will be enough park roads open to make it worthwhile.

    If you have three vehicles you will fill the campsite at Chembe Eagles Nest and have it to yourselves. Further north you could also try Hakuna Matata which seems to have a good reputation.

    The Merc ML should manage provided it has all-terrain tyres. Be prepared to recover it though. The road into and out of South Luangwa will be its biggest challenge if it is still under construction. I can't comment on its prospects in Mozambique.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaco Boshoff View Post
    Hi itchyfeet,

    I am currently seriously considering the route you suggested. Just a few questions:

    - If you suggest an overnight at Chipata, then you are suggesting the T4 route to SLNP?
    - Is it worth it to camp a few days at SLNP? We would definitely want to spend a few days in the bush for some game viewing. Or would the north-east of Chobe be a better option then?
    - Any particular camps in SLNP you would recommend?
    - "Best to look when there and see what suits you". Is it safe to rock up without booking?Jaco
    I have never driven via Petauke - I think many would say it was the more scenic route but it may depend on your time available and road conditions given the time of year. There have been recent threads/comments on the pros and cons of the two routes. Perhaps read and then decide. The road from Chipata has been under construction forever.

    SLNP is right up there in my top parks in Africa. Not just great game viewing but beautiful scenery. Distinguishing features for me are good leopard sightings - especially on night drives - and a good chance of wild dogs too. Final factor is good campsites just outside the park. This means you can control spending better. You pay per 24 hour entry. You can also do night drives with the camp you're staying in. One word of warning though which is that you are right at the beginning of the season - just double check with a couple of camps that everything is fully open, running drives and walks etc. The park has a network of all weather roads but some of the minor tracks may still be tricky.

    All the camps in Mfwue (ie just outside park) are pretty good I think. If you fancy a break from camping go to Flatdogs for a permanent tent or chalet and excellent restaurant. For camping there is Wildlife Camp, Tracks n Trails, Croc Valley - all within 10 - 20 mins of the gate. You will get elephant and hippo in all the camps on a regular basis.

    I don't think you will need to book anything that early in the season either in SLNP or around the Lake.

    I would agree that if you are going to Livingstone and will be in Botswana anyway then it would be a shame to bypass Chobe Riverfront.

    Here is a recent thread on entering Zambia

    http://4x4community.co.za/forum/showthread.php?t=125429 .

    Ferry at Kazungula was $28 for a 4x4 last time I was there (2011) so factor that in.

  12. #12
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    Thanks itchyfeet.
    Last edited by Jaco Boshoff; 2013/01/13 at 08:46 PM.

  13. #13
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    Hi all,

    I'm hoping to receive some comments on the route we finally decided on.

    First of all, thanks a million to all who shared their experience and knowledge in this and any of the other threads I started thus far. It really contributed to my final planning listed below.

    So let me just say, me and my wife are now travelling alone, thus 1 vehicle (obviously...). Our goal is mainly to go and explore Lake Malawi, make sure we see the Vic Falls on the way there and see some new countries and roads (thus some might not be the quickest or prettiest, but exploring is part of the fun!). All the other nice places that we will pass (Chobe, SLNP, etc.) will have to wait for a next trip in order to not rush anything this time! :-)

    So here we go - Leaving 10 March 2013...

    Day 1 - Pretoria to Nata Lodge
    Day 2 - Nata Lodge to Vic Falls (Baobab Camp Site - 2 nights)
    Day 4 - Vic Falls to Lusaka (Pioneer Lodge/Camp)
    Day 5 - Lusaka to Chipata (Mama Rula's)
    Day 6 - Chipata to Nkhata Bay (Njaya Lodge - 6 nights)
    Day 12 - Nkhata Bay to Makuzi Beach Lodge (6 nights)
    Day 18 - Makuzi to LMNP (Eagle's Nest - 3 nights)
    Day 21 - LMNP to Tete (Not sure - Tete Camp Site on T4A??)
    Day 22 - Tete to Chimoio (Friends)
    Day 23 - Chimoio to Morrungulo (3 nights)
    Day 26 - Morrungulo to Casa Lisa (Near Maputo)
    Day 27 - Casa Lisa to Pretoria via Swaziland

    No stop overs are final so suggestions are still welcome!

    Thanks a lot!
    Jaco
    Last edited by Jaco Boshoff; 2013/01/13 at 08:50 PM.

  14. #14
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    Default Your Trip

    Hi Jaco,
    Looks like you have had some good advice and have a good plan in the making. One suggestion. Check out Pelican lodge at Nata instead of Nata Lodge.
    http://www.pelicanlodgebotswana.com/. Friends of mine overnighted there and enjoyed the stay. They said they got better rates and better front desk service than at Nata lodge.

    Regards
    [SIGPIC]MikevR Be determined to live the unlived life within you.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaco Boshoff View Post
    Hi all,

    I'm hoping to receive some comments on the route we finally decided on.

    First of all, thanks a million to all who shared their experience and knowledge in this and any of the other threads I started thus far. It really contributed to my final planning listed below.

    So let me just say, me and my wife are now travelling alone, thus 1 vehicle (obviously...). Our goal is mainly to go and explore Lake Malawi, make sure we see the Vic Falls on the way there and see some new countries and roads (thus some might not be the quickest or prettiest, but exploring is part of the fun!). All the other nice places that we will pass (Chobe, SLNP, etc.) will have to wait for a next trip in order to not rush anything this time! :-)

    So here we go - Leaving 10 March 2013...

    Day 1 - Pretoria to Nata Lodge
    Day 2 - Nata Lodge to Vic Falls (Baobab Camp Site - 2 nights)
    Day 4 - Vic Falls to Lusaka (Pioneer Lodge/Camp)
    Day 5 - Lusaka to Chipata (Mama Rula's)
    Day 6 - Chipata to Nkhata Bay (Njaya Lodge - 6 nights)
    Day 12 - Nkhata Bay to Makuzi Beach Lodge (6 nights)
    Day 18 - Makuzi to LMNP (Eagle's Nest - 3 nights)
    Day 21 - LMNP to Tete (Not sure - Tete Camp Site on T4A??)
    Day 22 - Tete to Chimoio (Friends)
    Day 23 - Chimoio to Morrungulo (3 nights)
    Day 26 - Morrungulo to Casa Lisa (Near Maputo)
    Day 27 - Casa Lisa to Pretoria via Swaziland

    No stop overs are final so suggestions are still welcome!

    Thanks a lot!
    Jaco
    Hi Jaco

    How long do you think it will take to travel from LMNP to Tete? I ahd hoped we could go to Chimoio in one (long) day? Iwould like to hear your views
    Jenny D

  16. #16
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    Question Feedback after trip

    Hi Jaco
    I am just curious if you competed the trip. Also, any advice on highlights and lowlights, especially the traveling times.

    I am planning a similar trip for June/July 2014, but it will include Cahora Bassa on the second part of the trip.
    Thanks
    Pieter

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