Zim, Moz, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia and Bots trip report





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    Default Zim, Moz, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia and Bots trip report

    Hi,

    As promised 2 weeks ago here is our report of our 3 month trip to the above. Apologies with the layout - I wasn't able to copy the word document across properly.

    Cheers,

    Ruwenzori

    Preamble:

    Before going into the details of the trip I thought that I might high light some of the points concerning all the countries:

    Firstly we had no problems with the road blocks in any of the countries. There were plenty of road blocks in all the countries that we visited but never once were we given a problem. For most road blocks we were waved though. At most of the others we would be questioned in a very friendly way (where were we going etc – I think they mostly just wanted to chat). At a couple of them we were asked for out TIP or driving licence and twice I was asked to show my fire extinguisher. Never once was I asked for a bribe.

    Secondly – customs and immigration. Again no major problem and no bribes required. The main problem was the filling in of forms and the numbers of people and cars at these posts (apart from Mutare in Zimbabwe and Mbala in Tanzania). The form filling was typically slow but, hell, this is Africa.

    Thirdly – costs. Tanzania was expensive for the national parks. After visiting them you will find that Botswana is cheap!! Zambia was also quite expensive but not to the same extent.

    Fourthly – birds. We saw a lot of lifers in Tanzania and the Zim Eastern highlands. They weren’t necessarily rare just that we hadn’t been in these areas before.

    Fifthly - ourselves. 2 60+ year old males who were brought up in Zimbabwe but now live overseas – me in Ireland and Simon in Austrlia. We both, separately, come back to Africa 2 or 3 times a year. As they say – you can the man out of Africa but not Africa out of the man.

    Sixthly – car. We were driving a 1996 Toyota Hi-lux Raider with 240000 Kms on the clock. The mechanics were fine – our only real problem (apart from the crash – more of that later) was the air-conditioning which repeatedly broke down – the pipes cracked – and the dual battery which gave up the ghost.
    Diesel costs varied - in Zambia and Malawi the cost was the same across the country. In Mozambique the price rose as we drove north. In Tanzania the price rose as you drove west from Dar. In Botswana and Zim there was very little difference wherever you bought.

    Finally – camping. Most camp sites that we used were quite food and not too expensive. However there are a few that I would highly recommend. These are Pemba Magic in Pemba, Mozambique, Tan-Swiss in Mikumi, Tanzania, Lake Shore Lodge beside Lake Tanganyika in Kipili, Tanzania, Kapishya Hot Springs near Mpila, Zambia, Kafwala Rapidds camp in North Kafue NP, Zambia (if you can arrange it), Mongu camp in Mongu Zambia. Another good place is Piet Van Zyl’s camp just outside Gorongosa NP in Mozambique - ideal for going into Gorongosa the next day.

    Friday, 21/6/13. Jo’burg to Hoedspruit.

    Arrived at OR Tambo and picked up my Hilux. Drove to Pretoria to collect my travelling companion and then drove down to Hoedspruit via Belfast (after having to turn back to Jo’burg as I had forgotten car documentation). Potholes on the Dullstroom-Leydenburg-Ohrigstad roads were very bad. Arrived in Hoedspruit at midnight and drove to Jejane PNR.
    Groceries R500, Diesel R1100, Tolls R100. Mileage 700

    Saturday, 22/6/13. Hoedspruit.

    Back to Hoedspruit to watch the Lions vs Wallabies (23-21) and get some groceries. Drove around Jejane – saw elephant, hyena, steenbok, wildebeest, zebra, warthog, giraffe, rhino, vervets and impala.
    Groceries R650, Meal R140. Mileage 50

    Sunday, 23/6/13. Hoedspruit.

    Drove around Jejane and then into Hoedspruit for lunch and cricket (India Vs England a waste of time with rain stopped play). Saw elephant, zebra, giraffe, duiker, impala, jackals & wildebeest

    Meal R140. Mileage 50

    Monday, 24/6/13. Hoedspruit.

    Back to Hoedspruit to buy solar panel, jerry cans etc. Had breakfast and lunch there. Drove around Jejaneand saw the usual + hippo at Crocodile dam.
    Meals R220, Groceries R690, Moz preparation R1660, solar panel R4710. Mileage 50.

    Tuesday, 25/6/13. Hoedspruit.

    Back to Hoedspruit. Spent most of the day trying to update the T4A maps on the GPS. Eventually, Imagination & Richard Van Schalkwyk solved the problem that T4A support couldn’t. Got most of the groceries and gave the car a once over.

    Meals R240, Groceries R2900, Car R1350. Mileage 30.

    Wednesday, 26/6/13. Hoedspruit to Punda Maria.

    At last on our way to Punda Maria. Filled up with diesel at Obaro (11.75/litre) and final shopping. Arrived at Punda Maria to be told that the crossing at Pafuri was closed – consternation. Frantic phone calls to Richard and Henda (082-3230012 Tony’s partner wife). Have now found that the Pafuri border post is closed on the SA side since the floods so to get to Mutemba is a very long trip which we won’t do.
    Saw elephant, buffalo, nyala and the normal.

    Mileage 289, Groceries 130, Diesel R1424, Phone card R260, Park entry R406, Camping R204.

    Thursday, 27/6/13. Punda Maria to Bulawayo.

    We decided that the easiest way to get to Gorongosa was through Zim and having decided that also decided to go to Bulawayo for a couple of days. We left Punda Maria at 7.30 and went up to Pafuri where we were lucky enough to see a leopard and a black cuckoo shrike. The road to the customs has been washed away and we couldn’t get near to it. So it was onto Messina and Beit Bridge. Petrol at Messina was R12.70 per litre. The customs took about 2.5 hours – horrendous. The charges were as follows US$55 for UK visa, $30 for Australian visa, $10 for the bridge and R530 for the car. We were thoroughly checked and had our eggs confiscated. It was then onto Bulawayo and the tolls (2 of them $1 each).There was 1 road block and the guy wanted to know what we were carrying – didn’t understand camping. We arrived at Jane’s house at 22.30 where her other guests kept me up to 1.00 AM and Simon till 2.00 AM.

    Mileage 561, Meals 140, Tolls $2, Petrol R630, Visas $85, Bridge $10, Car import R530

    Friday, 28/6/13. Bulawayo.

    After a leisurely breakfast went down to the Hillside dams – the lower dam was very low the upper had quite a lot of water. I positively identified the common whitethroat and red-billed finch for the first time. Tea for 3 was pleasant although no wi-fi at the restaurant at present (it was on previous visits). Drove around Bulawayo and had dinner at New Orleans restaurant (part of Banff lodge).

    Mileage 20, Meals $90

    Saturday, 29/6/13. Bulawayo.

    Went to Matopos for the day. Entry was $12 per person and $15 for the car. (World’s view is an extra as are most of the caves). The most exciting observation, apart from the magnificent rock formations, was a black eagle on its nest. Maleme dam was pleasant and the camping sites looked good although we didn’t try the ablutions. Went back to Bulawayo via the Silozwane Cave and Mt. Silowze but too late to climb. There were no road blocks or tolls. One can enter via the entrance opposite the game park (about 35 miles on the Kezi Road) for free and then one is quite close to Maleme dam.

    Mileage 160, Entrance $39.

    Sunday, 30/6/13. Bulawayo to Inyanga.

    A reasonably late start and we were off to Inyanga via Gweru, Chivhu and Nyazura. We filled up before we left ($1.34 per litre). I had forgotten to leave clothes with Jane, so quickly returned. That was lucky as the weld for the spotlight to the bull bar had broken and it was hanging by its wires. We went through 4 road blocks and were stopped at only one where the guy wanted to see my driving licence and our TIP. Apart from that we had no problems and the guy who stopped us knew about camping! The Odzi River was very picturesque and seemed to be quite a lot bigger than the Save. The last few miles to Far and Wide (near the Mtarazi Falls) were very rough. We eventually arrived at 18.30 and went on to the camp site (Mutarazi Camp) which was very pleasant. Very private and grass covered with good ablutions. The cost was $10 per person + entrance to Nyanga National Park ($8 per person for SA people and $5 for the car)

    Mileage 629, Tolls $3, Camping $20, Petrol $96, Tips $60.

    Monday, 1/7/13. Inyanga to Aberfoyle Lodge.

    We walked down to the Falls at first light but it was too cold for the video camera. So checked them out and went back to camp for breakfast and tidy up before going down again to the Falls. It is a spectacular drop – I think the largest in Africa. Drove down to the Pungwe Falls (not for the faint hearted as the road is appalling) which are not as big as Mtarazi but a lot more water and then down to Aberfoyle Lodge (camping $10 per person). A big shock on the way down the escarpment – suddenly our brakes gave up completely – the fluid obviously boiled as they came back a bit later. However it was quite hairy. Hopefully we will have them checked when we go to Mutare. The camp site was nowhere as good as Mutarazi but if one is lucky one can camp at Hornbill Lodge which I think is much more pleasant at the same price. There are ablutions and electricity + the lodge facilities. We were the only ones there so the place shut down at about 18.00 – however we were able to watch DSTV for news. We have heard that visitors to Gorongosa have been escorted to Gona-re-Zhou but have had no confirmation so are still in the process of deciding whether to go there or not. The Pungwe scenic route (the road to Aberfoyle) was packed with school kids – thousands of them. No roadblocks at all today.
    2 lifers for me today – Mountain wagtail and Variable sunbird.

    Mileage 123, Camping $20, tips $10.

    Tuesday, 2/7/13. Aberfoyle.

    Early morning Simon and I went for separate walks with Morgan the bird man. His knowledge and ability to find the birds were excellent. Went out for an evening stroll and saw a lot more. A very picturesque area.
    12 lifers for me today: Eastern Sawwing swallow, Yellow streaked greenbul, Wattleeyed flycatcher, Grey waxbill, Square tailed drongo, Collared sunbird, Olive sunbird, Grey cuckoo shrike, Black fronted bush shrike, Forest weaver, Greenbacked woodpecker, Stripe cheeked greenbul.

    Mileage 7. Camping $40, Drinks $13, Guide $10, Tips $27.

    Wednesday, 3/7/13. Aberfoyle Lodge to Gorongosa.

    We had a final walk around Aberfoyle before starting down to Mutare. On the way we checked out whether Gorongosa was safe and were given the all clear so after filling up in Mutare ($1.30 per litre) we went to the Machipanda border post. Both sides were very easy- it took a bit of time on the Moz side as we had to be photographed for our very expensive visas ($76 each). However the car costs were quite low (R150 for insurance – bought in SA and $15 for our TIP). We drove on towards Gorongosa and camped overnight at Piet Van Zyl’s camp site (about 5 Kms short of the entrance). Quite well set up and you donate rather than paying a set fee – it was being used by missionaries and the like although they didn’t try to convert us. Bought diesel in Inchope (37.4 Metacals per litre)
    1 new lifer – Red throated twin spot

    Mileage 340, Diesel $161, Visas $152, Groceries $3, TIP $15, Phone cards and air time $35

    Thursday, 4/7/13. Gorongosa.

    An early start from Piet’s and we were in the park by 8.00AM. The costs were exorbitant - $45 for the car per day and $20 per person per day for entry and $12 per person for camping. However by paying in Metacals the costs were reduced to 2820 Met – approx. $94. The roads were a bit rough and the game a bit skittish but the birds were good – about 50 varieties not counting the LBJs. The camp site was not great – very dusty – but it had all the facilities and wi-fi. The communal facilities were good. We saw lots of waterbuck, baboons and warthogs + oribi , wildebeest, crocodiles, reedbuck and a solitary sable and a bushy-tailed mongoose.
    1 new lifer – red faced francolin (type c)

    Mileage 93 Kms, Park entry $45 for the car, $20 pp, 320 metacal camping pp

    Friday, 5/7/13. Gorongosa.

    A trip round the same roads again. Nothing new except for Southern Black bustard which is not in Newmans but is quite definitely there.

    Mileage 59 Kms; Park entry $45 for the car, $20 pp, 320 metacals camping pp

    Saturday, 6/7/13. Gorongosa.

    A final trip around the park. We got stuck at the house of hippos after trying to get too close to some pratincoles and a glossy ibis. It was heavy clay but wasn’t too difficult to extract ourselves. We then returned to Piet’s where we were again invited to join the missionaries for dinner – this time a braai.

    Mileage 80 kms.

    Sunday, 7/7/13 Gorongosa to Nampula.

    A long trip today as we ended up in Nampula at the Complexio Montes Nairucu Lodge at about 21.00. Very handy as there were tables and chairs, electricity and ablutions. En route we stopped off at the Mphiwe lodge; it looked well kept and tidy but it was too early for a stop so we continued. The road to Caia was very bad from about 70 Kms south – potholes were huge. The garage did not have a supermarket (as per Bradt) just some toilets. We drove over the Zambezi (toll 100 metacals) – the bridge is quite impressive.

    Mileage 990 Kms; Diesel 2520 metacals, bridge toll 100 metacals, camping $60 (for 2 nights at Piet’s)

    Monday, 8/7/13.Nampula to Ilha da Mocambique.

    After breakfast we looked around the site – there were some impressive kopjies – reminded me of the Matopos. Went into Nampula to get some groceries, air time and have a puncture fixed. Unfortunately when they took off the wheel they found that the seal from the diff was leaking so it became a bigger job. I used Motorcare which is very good, English speaking and offered me wifi and drink while I was waiting. However the puncture was not properly fixed as we found out the next day; when they welded the spotlight back to the bull bar they didn’t bother taking off the spotlight itself andf finally the rear brake shoe disconnected from the callipers – so although I was well looked after the car wasn’t. We finally left Nampula at about 17.00 after filling up with diesel at 38.42 Met/litre and drove on to a campsite beside the Ilha da Mocambique bridge. The site was nice as it was right beside the sea, had electricity, wifi and nice open air huts. However the communal ablutions had no running water so were a bit of a pain. Cost was 200 M per person and 300 M for the police.

    Mileage 205 Kms, Camping 300 metacals, Airtime 200 metacals, UHT milk 75 metacals, Tip 25 met, Car repair 8888 metacai, Diesel 3850 met

    Tuesday, 9/7/13. Ilha da Mocambique to Pemba.

    After a quick breakfast we noticed that the “fixed” puncture had not worked and we needed to pump up the tyre. This needed to be done another 2 times before we reached Pemba. We drove across to Ilha da Mocambique and checked out the sites before going back over the bridge (we were charged and given a receipt for 20 Met on the way back). At the junction to Niassa at Metoro we were caught in a speed trap (although there was no sign of a speed limit sign) doing 76 in a 50 area and charged 1000 Met. When we reached Pemba we found a place that was actually a tyre repair service and they did a good job repairing it. We drove onto Pemba Magic camp – a joy and delight. Camping was 300 Met pp per night. It has wifi, electricity, ablutions, grass, restaurant and a superb host in Russell Bott. We had dinner there tuna steak at 250 Met

    Mileage 420, Speeding fine 1000 Met, Camping (Ilha) 700 Met, Bridge toll 20 Met, Puncture repair 460 M

    Wednesday, 10/7/13. Pemba

    An easy start to the day and then checked out Pemba for shopping – very expensive for fruit and veg. Changed money in bank $600 to 17220 – we got a much better rate at the Zim border. We filled up with diesel at 39.91 met/litre.

    Mileage 29 Km, Plug adaptor 100 M, Bread 50 Met, Diesel 3070 Met,

    Thursday, 11/7/13. Pemba to Montepuez

    Left Pemba at 7.30 en-route for Niassa. We had 3 police checks but no problems at any of them. We now reckon that the max. speed in Cabo DelGado is 80 kph and in nearly all the villages from Metoro to Pemba the speed limit is 50 kph. It is very hard to tell but better safe than sorry. We filled up at Montepeuz at a cost of 41.33 Met/litre. The road to Montepeuz was very good but it deteriorated after that so much so that on trying to overtake a truck in the dust we just missed a head-on collision with an oncoming van. There were no major problems but the sides of both cars were slightly damaged and our front wheel was pushed back. Fortunately (if you can be fortunate in a crash) there was no human casualties, the oncoming driver spoke English and worked for a large firm, CMC SA. We went back to their workshops to repair our car and sort out insurance details. The work was not finished by 5.00PM so this will continue tomorrow and hopefully we will be away at about 10.00AM.

    Mileage 262 Km, Fruit 190 Met, Diesel 3670 Met

    Friday, 12/7/13. Montepuez to Marrupa

    No luck with a 10.00 AM start. We spent the morning and some of the afternoon waiting for the repairs to be completed. I was driven in to Monepuez to get disc pads, a mirror and side light. Amazingly all these things were obtained; the mirror was replaced by a glass merchant who spent about 90 minutes trying to cut it to the exact size. It was nearly right and decided that that was enough. The 2 spotlight bulbs were broken but, being bush mechanics, they used the wrong sort of bulbs and fixed them up so that my Lightforce spots worked. We left CMC at 17.00 and proceeded to Marrupa where we arrived at about 22.15. We tried the camp site suggested in T4A but nobody answerer our hooter so we parked outside and set up camp for the night. The road from Montepuez was terrible for about the first 100 Km but after that one was able to drive mostly on the new road that is in the process of being built. We drove through Balama which has a dusty dual carriageway and then through Kwekwe which is nowhere the size of its namesake in Zim. There is no money for the road upgrade but the company, CMC, is ready to go so the road could well improve in the next while. As there was no work (or very little) for the mechanics CMC did all the repair work for free – well done CMC.

    Mileage 205 Km, Car parts 2050 Met, Tip 2000 Met.

    Saturday 13/7/13. Marrupa to Niassa NP.

    Met George the owner of the Marrupa camp site and he showed us around the site. It is basic at the moment with some electricity, ablutions with no running water and an enclosed area so quite good if one is going to Niassa. He is intending to improve the site and his details are George and telephone 828542679. Before driving to Niassa we filled up with diesel at 43.85 Met per litre and we then drove on to the park on a fairly good dirt road going past some amazing kopjies. We did a small drive around the campsite at Mbalalima but saw very little. Costs of entry are 400 Met. pp, 200 Met pp camping, 400 Met for the car and 600 Met for game drives (with or without a guide). The site is OK with ablutions, low lights after dark and quite tidy but no other facilities.

    Mileage 204 Km, Camping 200 Met pp, Car 400 Met, Entry 400 Met pp, Diesel 1100 Met.

    Sunday 14/7/13. Niassa NP

    We drove up towards Chomba on the Rovuma river via Inyati. The road to Nyati was quite good but very narrow and we were able to travel at an average of about 35 Kph. After Nyati the road was very bad – there were about 10 dongas with 2 needing 4*4 but all needing high clearance. There were absolutely no mammals before Nyati and only a few after that and there were very skittish (kudu, waterbuck and warthog). The birding was better but not great. We had been promised that there was a lot of game in that area but as far as we were concerned it was a wasted day.

    Mileage 179 Kms

    Monday 15/7/13 Niassa to Mandimba

    After checking out which took some time as the original receipt was missing we arrived at the gate to find that there was no requirement to show receipts. We drove on to Lichinga where there is internet at (50 Met for 1 hour – no wi-fi) and finally to Mandimba, The road from Maruppa to Lichinga is all tar but not quite the best road in Moz as stated in Bradt. There were few pot holes but the grass is starting to encroach on to the road and there are very few white lines and no cats’ eyes. The road from Lichinga to Mandimba is terrible very corrugated and where there is tar the potholes are large and everywhere – not a nice 120 Kms. We arrived in Mandimba to find there was a non-existent pensao – as per T4A but Bradt had a complex which we used – complex massinga – 1200 Met for 2 rooms. The place was not sign posted – the signs were on another building further on (which was completely empty) but we were told where to go. The electricity had failed in Mandimba and the hotel did not look inviting but there was nowhere else. We filled up with diesel at 42.95 Met/litre

    Mileage 621 Kms, Camping 400 Met, Diesel 3830, Internet 35 Met

    Tuesday 16/7/13 Mandimba to Liwonde NP.

    The electricity returned during the night and the place looked much improved. Our 2 room chalet was clean, had a TV, air-con and private bathroom although no running water. Within the 1200 Met was a credit of 180 Met for breakfast which was good. We left for the nearby border and it was a doodle – we were through both sides in well under an hour. The border post is open from 6.00 AM to 6.00 PM. The insurance cost 15000 MK for 1 month (approx. $50) and the TIP was 5000 MK. We drove to Mangochi where we replenished our fruit supplies – very good and very cheap, new SIM cards and bread. In comparison to Moz it was a pleasure to shop. We got a better rate for our dollars on the Malawi side 335 MK/dollar vs 320 Mk/dollar on the Moz side. T his compares with a bank rate of +-325 Mk/dollar. We drove on to Liwonde and found it a pleasant place with plenty to see. Entry was $10 pp and $5 for the car.
    2 lifers – spur-wing lapwing and village indigo.

    Mileage 172 Kms, Hotel 1200 Met,breakfast 60 Met, car wash 60 Met, TIP 5000 MK, insurance 15000 MK, SIM cards and airtime 4900 MK, fruit 2500 MK, bread 550 MK, Park entry 7475 MK

    Wednesday 17/7/13 Liwonde NP.

    We drove round the park both north and south. On our return the baboons had attacked 3 of our boxes (all on top of one another) with the heaviest on top. Fortunately kitchen staff heard the commotion and we lost very little.
    The Mvuu camp site is quite good – there are good ablutions, kitchen and swimming pool as well as the use of the bar and restaurant. Wi-fi is supposed to be there but was not working when we were there.
    1 Lifer – Boehm’s bee-eater

    Mileage 56 Kms

    Thursday, 18/7/13. Liwonde NP to Blantyre.

    We closed up shop and paid our bills ($15 pppn for camping) and drinks bill ($7 for 3 cokes and 2 large beers) and wandered through the park and saw Senegal lapwing + others. We paid our extra entry fees at the gate and drove down to Blantyre.
    As the car steering was not working 100% we drove to the Toyota dealers and started to have it fixed. They found that there no washers on one of the arms and the bolts had worked loose so the washers were replaced and the car is driving much better.
    We found a camping site on T4A – Malo a Moyo – which is run by 2 SA missionaries, Lawrie & Liz de Klerk, just on the outskirts of Blantyre. The road to it is appalling and you go through a very run down area but once you are there it is very secure. There were plenty of sites and it has a fully equipped kitchen and good ablutions. An email contact is [email protected]

    Mileage 162 Kms, Camping $60, drinks $7, Tip $5. Entry fee Mk 7475 Groceries Mk 4390, Car repair Mk 42000

    Friday, 19/7/13, Blantyre.

    As the car was still not 100% we brought it back to Toyota who found that the axle was slightly bent; however it was too expensive to fix there (and a question of spares) so hopefully will get us back to Jo’burg. Toyota were very good – there was no charge although it was checked out for well over an hour. We filled up the gas cylinder at Afrox – a very slow business. After seeing how much gas was required I then had to go to the sales office and even though there were 2 cash desks it still took over 20 minutes for a total of 4 invoices to be produced. However, this is Africa!! In the afternoon I went to find an auto electrician to look at the overcharging and aircon. He adjusted the voltage regulator (which 2 garages in Jo’burg said could not be done) and found that a wire from the relay to the aircon motor was broken. As it was near closing time it was left at that although getting a bill was again a long and tedious process. We bought groceries and returned to Malo a Moyo.

    Mileage 30 Kms, Camping $10, Groceries MK 11400, Car repair MK 4660, Gas refill MK 4200, SIM card Mk160, Internet cards MK2400, Meals MK2000

    Saturday, 20/7/13. Blantyre to Majete and Zomba Plateau.

    We left early for Majete and found that Saturday was a good day to go as there were not many lorries on the road and the escarpment is very twisty and slow. Majete itself was quite good for the variety of game, but not so good for birds. It was also quite expensive (in comparison to Liwonde) as there is not a big area to drive in and the entry fee is $20 pp and $4 for the car. We left at about 3.00PM deciding that we would get to Zomba plateau for the night and fill up with groceries in Blantyre. The road from Blantyre to Zomba is appalling at present. It is being redone and about half of it is on deviations + the number of people and bicycles on a narrow road make it quite difficult to say the least. We arrived at the trout farm camping site and had a look at where we supposed to camp. It was not pleasant and the ablutions were terrible so we were about to go on when we were then pointed to another area which had quite good ablutions. It is obviously in the process of being rebuilt as there is now quite good accommodation of about 16 bedrooms all en-suite and a very large generator. The camp site had red clay which was not pleasant but it will probably be grassed in the near future. The cost was MK 1000 pp.

    Mileage 252 Kms, Groceries MK24000, Entry fee $40, car entry $4, Camping Mk 2000

    Sunday, 21/7/13, Zomba to Ngala Bay.

    We left the plateau almost immediately as there was so much haze the views were not appealing and drove down to Zomba where we saw the 1914-18 war memorial. It was quite interesting as it showed that there were far more deaths from sickness and accidents than were killed in action. We drove back via Mangochi as the fruit had been so good and well priced but, unfortunately, there were no street sellers that day so we were unable to get any fruit. We drove on to Ngala Beach lodge where Simon’s friend Chris (whom he hadn’t seen for 40 years since leaving UCT) owns and runs the lodge. It was very pleasant to have a bed and meals prepared for us!!

    Mileage 550 Kms, Petrol MK 39500, Groceries MK 200, Camping Mk2000.

    Monday 22/7/13, Ngala Bay.

    A relaxing day. We checked out the car – doing an oil change, fixing the aircon and finally with the help of Illovo estates fixing the maintenance free dual battery. It had been overcharged and had leaked acid and was not holding the charge. After ascertaining that there was a new battery available I decided that we should open the battery and we found that the acid SG was very low so the battery was drained and refilled with new acid. The only problem was that the top was now loose so that will have to be fixed.

    Mileage 50 Kms, Acid Mk 5400.

    Tuesday 23/7/13, Ngala Bay.

    Another relaxing day. Filled up with petrol, had a puncture repaired and a rear taillight replaced.

    Mileage 50 Kms, Puncture MK 1200, Petrol MK39500

    Wednesday 24/7/13, Ngala Bay to Nyika Plateau.

    Left Ngala Beach at 9.00 and dropped in on Chintechie Inn to see Stephen and Donna (from Liwonde NP). The market in Mzuzu provided us with some fruit but no bargains. We arrived in Rumphi and from then on for the next 110 Kms the road was appalling. It took over 4 hours and the bad road + the dust was awful. Entry to the park was $10 pppd and the car was $3 pd. We arrived at the camp site about 6.00 and a fire was prepared for us as well as the hot water for the ablutions.

    Mileage 345 Kms, Hotel $300, Meals & drinks $110, Tip $20, Groceries Mk 1370, Petrol Mk 20000, Camping $30, Entry $23.

    Thursday 25/7/13 Nyika Plateau.
    We drove around the park for the day visiting the Chisanga Falls (not worth the drive as the road was even worse than the previous day and the falls were only able to be seen from a distance) and the Chelandi Falls (better both from a view perspective and road). We saw a lot of roan antelope (1 herd of 32 and 1 of 13 + others), 7 Denhams bustards and red-winged francolin (a lifer for me).

    Mileage 150 Kms, Camping $30, Drinks Mk 1450.

    Friday 26/7/13 Nyika Plateau to Karonga.

    We set off for Karonga and decided to use the 4*4 route. Unfortunately we used the eastern one (we should have turned left out of the camp) and this track had obviously not been used for many years. It was fine for the first 30 or so kilometres but then deteriorated. At first the grass was above the car with just a very narrow track visible. Later we had to chop down 3 trees that had been knocked down by elephants – it was a very tough trip but interesting terrain. We then decided to drive up to Livingstonia to see the early 20th century buildings. The road up is amazing the switchbacks are something – the 10 odd kilometres took about 50 minutes each way. The road is hard but nothing for a 4*4. After a quick visit we drove on to Karonga and stayed at the Sumuka Inn. The rate was reasonable (Mk 11750 for B&B for the 2 of us). There was an a/c, shower en-suite and DSTV (although only BBC world news).

    Mileage 319 Kms. Hotel Mk 11750, Honey Mk 1400, Entry $23

    Saturday 27/7/13 Karonga to Iringa.

    Next morning we found that we had a puncture (another one!) and were sent off to a puncture repair place. However they had no wheel brace or jack and wanted MK3000 to fix the puncture. Eventually we agreed on Mk2000. After the repair it was off to customs/immigration. Malawi was relatively easy but Tanzania was hell. As I am not an SA resident and the car is mine (and registered in SA) every official questioned me as they could not understand how I was able to take the car out of South Africa. Eventually we were through but not after being scammed for money (the tout claimed that I had only given him $250 instead of $300 so I went to the police and he accepted that he might have made a mistake so I gave him back Ts 20000 (about $12) to share out. We were also scammed with our Aertel SIM cards. When we bought them we bought Ts 10000 of air time only to find that the cards had actually expired on 31/12/11!! The final scam was the insurance. We were charged $84 but other people haggled and paid $50. We also found that you could get insurance covering Zim/Zam and most of East Africa for about $120 (maybe haggle) and this was valid for 3 months in all the countries. Finally we drove on and reached Iringa and stayed at Riverside camp about 6 kms beyond. This was quite good with electricity, ablutions and bandas and also supplied meals if required.

    Mileage 481 Kms. Car wash MK 1000, Puncture Mk 2000, Groceries Mk 780,
    Diesel Mk 15100, Photcopy Ts 500, TIP/Road tax $25, Car insurance Ts 190000, Sim Cards Ts 20000, Drinks Ts 1000, Scam Ts 20000, Tip Ts 2000, Petrol Ts 126000, Ice cream Ts 1500, Meals Ts 15000, Visas $100,

    Sunday 28/7/13 Iringa to Tungamalenga.

    We decided that we would go to Ruaha first so went into Iringa to stock up before leaving. Here there was good shopping – the market was good for most fresh fruit/vegetables and there were little shops around that sold most of our other requirements. We drove onto Ruaha where the road was quite good except for the bit from Tungamalenga village to the park entrance. We stayed at Tungamlenga Community camp where for $15 we were supplied with a banda. There was some electricity (from 18.30 to 22.00), reasonable ablutions and a bar and restaurant.

    Mileage 142 Kms. Camping $12, Diesel Ts 205000, Puncture Ts 5000, Parking Ts 1000, Groceries Ts 9900, Cokes Ts 1300, Drinks Ts 6500,
    Camping $30

    Monday 29/7/13 Tungamalenga to Iringa to Tungamalenga.

    Next morning we found that the deep cycle battery had given up the ghost so decided that we needed to return to Iringa to purchase a new one. We found some good car parts shops (Amani and Mr. Don ) which were parallel to the main street and for which there was a sign on the main street. We got an exact replica of the battery (105 Ah) and then started back to Tungamalenga.

    Mileage 195 Kms, Parking Ts 1000, Battery Ts 400000, Groceries Ts 7000, Internet Ts 2000

    Tuesday 30/7/13 Tungamalenga to Ruaha NP.
    We drove in the next morning and spent the day driving along the river. The animals were not skittish and the bird life was prolific. The camp site was basic - showers and toilets. However the site was very pleasant and during the night we had elephants eating about 10 metres from the tents.

    Mileage 79 Kms. Camping $30 (S), Meals Ts 23000, Entry $200 (S), Camping $120 (S), Map $10 (S)


    Wednesday 31/7/13 Ruaha NP.

    We drove up river but found that there was not as much game there so in the afternoon drove down river. This night we had hyenas around and a genet in a tree about 5 metres from the tents.

    Mileage 97 Kms

    Thursday 1/8/13 Ruaha NP.

    We drove down river and reached the confluence. We drove up the dried up river and eventually crossed over the causeway where there were dassies, baboons and elephants drinking from the holes that the elephants had made. This night a pride of about 9 lions walked up the river with their cubs and crossed over opposite the camp. An interesting sighting.

    Mileage 90 Kms

    Friday 2/8/13 Ruaha NP to Mikumi.

    We packed up and left early (as we had to be out within the 24 hour period) and reached Iringa where we replenished our stores. We then drove onto to Mikumi where we stayed at the Tan-Swiss camp site – very pleasant as we were about the only ones there. Ablutions, electricity, wi-fi, DSTV , bar and meals if required. It was well run with pleasant staff and the owner (a Swiss gentleman) on site.

    Mileage 317 Kms. Entry $100, Camping $60, Internet Ts 2000, Parking Ts 1000, Groceries Ts 16500, Duct tape Ts 10000

    Saturday 3/8/13 Mikumi to Selous NP.

    We drove down to Selous via Morogoro and filled up at the first petrol station in Morogoro (a Lake Oil filling station). Here we were ripped off – I filled up the car and although the fuel gauge showed half full we were charged for 135 litres (the car only holds 130 litres).I don’t know whether the pump was zeroised or whether it overreads for the fuel but it was a scam. We drove down to the northern entrance about 140 kms most of which was quite appalling – it took the guts of 5 hours. The drive through the park was not particularly good as most animals were skittish until we arrived at one of the lakes where they were far less skittish and the birds became far more plentiful. We drove out of the eastern entrance and arrived at Selous River camp.

    Mileage 372 Kms. Camping $14, Meals $34, Diesel Ts 267000, Entry $360, Map $15, Camping $10, Drinks $6

    Sunday 4/8/13 Selous NP.

    We left camp and drove around the lakes which were very good for wading birds. Eventually we arrived at Selous’s grave which was only possible using T4A as there are no signs worth talking about. It was in a relatively sorry state but still in 1 piece. We then drove on to the Hot Springs and the lake into which they flow before returning to camp.

    Mileage 133 Kms

    Monday 5/8/13 Selous NP to Mikumi.

    We decided that although the short route to Morogoro was awful that it was better to go back through the park than take the longer route through Dar or the alternative route around the eastern side of the park which no-one knew anything about. After leaving the northern gate it took about 5 hours to reach Morogoro – a very rough trip.

    Mileage 420 Kms. Camping $14 (S) query, Meals $11 (S), Meals $25 (S)

    Tuesday 6/8/13 Tan-Swiss Hotel.

    A rest day to catch up and had the spotlight relay repaired.

    Mileage 0 Kms. Spotlight relay Ts 40000, Drinks Ts 9000,

    Wednesday 7/8/13 Mikumi NP.

    We drove through Mikumi NP –quite pleasant but only worth the day. The only new species we saw was the Bohore reedbuck – a much smaller one than the common reedbuck.

    Mileage 200 Kms. Entry $100 (S), Dinner $26 (S)

    Thursday 8/8/13 Mikumi to Mbeya.

    We drove from Mikumi to Mbeya and stopped en-route at the Old Farmhouse (about 60 kms west of Iringa) to get some fresh vegetables and meat. Unfortunately they had had 2 big overland groups in and when we arrived there was very little left and it wasn’t particularly fresh. However we did get some meat at a very good price (fillet steak at Ts 12000/kg and T-bone at Ts 10000/kg). We drove on and stayed at the ICC site about 15 kms east of Mbeya on the Zambian border road. This was a very large site with ablutions (not very good), restaurant, electricity and wifi. The actual site was not very private – in the middle of a field – but was fine for a stop over.

    Mileage 544 Kms. Diesel Ts 235000, Camping $42 (S), Parking Ts 1000, Groceries Ts 17000, Engine oil Ts 30000, Meat TS 26000,

    Friday 9/8/13 Mbeya to Lake Tanganyika.

    After leaving Mbeya we drove down to Tunduma – the only way to get to Lake Tanganyika from Mbeya. The going was fine until we were about 3 kms short of Tunduma where we met the end of the freight lorry line – all parked up on the side of the road. We followed the taxis which drove up the right hand side of the road (accepted practice in Tunduma for all traffic going south!!) until we got to the turnoff. The road between Tunduma and Sumbawanga is being tarred and was meant to have been completed by July 2013 but is only about half-way done. It should be good in about another year. There were lots of sleeping policemen to slow one down. We arrived at Lake Shore Lodge at Kipili just in time to see a lovely sunset over the lake. The road to Kipili is also meant to be tarred in the near future but very little sign of it starting. It was a nice camp site with 4 very private sites each under a very large mango tree, good ablutions, free wifi, bar and restaurant.

    Mileage 460. Camping TS 20000, Meals Ts 25000, Diesel Ts 108000

    Saturday 10/8/13 Lake Tanganyika.

    Another day to recuperate. All we did was have a swim, walk up to the ruined mission station and had a sunset cruise. A pleasant and relaxing day. This place is well worth a visit if you are going to Katavi or further north – slightly off the main road but definitely worth it.

    Mileage 0!!

    Sunday 11/8/13 Lake Tanganyika to Sitalike.

    A leisurely start with a last walk up to the mission before leaving for Sitalike. The road was fair to good with a few bad patches especially through Katavi. We stayed at Riverside camp site. It was a bit run down but had an adequate shower and toilet and electricity from 7.00 to 11.00 PM. Cost was $10 per person.
    Mileage 181 Kms. Cruise $40, Dinner $40, Camping $48, Drinks $9, VAT $15 Credit card $7

    Monday 12/8/13 Katavi NP.

    Drove around Lake Katavi, a big flood plain, which had very good bird life. Afterwards drove down to the Ikuu Ranger post and the plains. This was very good for both animals and birds (we saw well over 100 black crowned night herons at the bridge). There were plenty of lions, elephants etc. After seeing the camp site at the ranger post we decided that it would be good to spend our last night there before turning south. We returned to Riverside for the night.

    Mileage 209km, Katavi Park entry $100.00 ($30.00 per person and car $40.00).

    Tuesday 13/8/13 Katavi NP.

    After paying our dues at the headquarters we started off for the Ikuu bridge (the 2 main roads in the park are very bad – another reason for staying at the ranger post). Again plenty to see – the best was 3 large lions clambering around in a fairly small tree trying to get comfortable. The camp site has about 100 resident hippos which wallow in the mud and their own sh*t – quite odouriferous but you get used to it. The site is very basic – just good toilets and a hand basin. Camping in the park is $30 pppn and entry is also $30pp per 24 hours and car is $40.

    Mileage 166Km. Camping Riverside camp Tsh64,000 drink Tsh2,000.00, Katavi Park entry $100.00 ($30.00 per person and car $40.00), camping Katavi $60.00 ($30.00 pp).

    Wednesday 14/8/13 Ikuu Ranger Post to Mpulungu (Zambia).

    After a final look around the plains we started off for Sumbawanga on the east road through the park. This road was bad but was being upgraded so could be reasonable in a year’s time. From Sumbabwanga we started for Zambia. At this stage there is about 26 Km of good tarred road with more being laid. We were the only ones to go through the border that day (arriving at 3.00 PM) so leaving was very easy. On the Zambian side there were no customs or immigration so we had to go to Mbala for the immigration (the 26 kms to Mbala from the customs were one of the worst roads that we drove) and on to Mpulungu for customs. No problems except the extra travelling. Again a slight problem with the car – the customs wanted to see a temporary export permit but I had not been given one. After a few questions and answers I was finally given the all clear. There was a carbon tax of Zk 150 but no other charges – having already paid for the insurance in Tanzania. A point of interest – we were able to change our Tanzanian shillings into kwacha at the Zambian Sugar company in Mbala at a good rate and were told to go there by immigration. We stayed at Mkumi Lodge in Mpulungu which had food, ablutions and electricity, Cost was Zk 30 pp. In Bradt’s book on Zambia it says Charity, who runs the lodge, can supply everything and I do think it means everything!!

    Mileage 372Km. Diesel 133litres, Tsh294,000, firewood Tsh10,000, Zambian Visas $100,00 ($50.00 each), SIM card and airtime ZKw25, Car carbon tax ZKw150, drink ZKw40.

    Thursday, 15/8/13 Mpulungu to Mpika.

    A relatively easy drive from Mpulungu to Mpika (all tar) with a stop off in Kasama for groceries and internet. There was a very good Shoprite in Kasama and slow internet facilities.We stayed at Mazingo Lodge (about 3 Km north of Mpika) where we were told that camping was Zk30 pp but use of shower and toilet was another Zk 30. However we were able to have single rooms for Zk 60 (with shower and toilet) for the same price so it was a comfortable bed for the night. Electricity was also available.

    Mileage 425km, Diesel ZKw9.29 per litre, ZKw300, 32.6 litres, Camping Nkupi Lodge ZKw60, meal ZKw35, Mpulungu drinks ZKw15, Internet ZKw50, Shoprite groceriesZKw159, fruit and veg ZKw20, tomatoes ZKw5.


    Friday 16/8/13 Mpika to Kasanka NP via Kundalila Falls.

    Again the road was good to Kasanka – all tar except for the drive down to the Kundalila Falls and the actual park. We had to go to the Falls as I had been there over 50 years ago and wanted to see them again. There were very nice but a bit expensive. We drove on to Kasanka where we stayed in the Pontoon Community camp site – very pleasant with long drop toilet and shower. The view was good as we had sitatunga and hippo on the other side of the river.

    Mileage 275 Kms. Entry to Kundalila Falls Zk 279, Kasanka NP 1Zk 550

    Saturday 17/8/13 Kasanka NP.

    Drove around the park which, for us, was a bit disappointing. The best place was our camp site where sitatunga regularly visited.

    Mileage 74 Kms.

    Sunday 18/8/13 Kasanka NP to Lake Bangweulu via David Livingstone memorial.

    We decided to visit the site where he died and it was kept very tidy with no entrance charge. The road, although dirt, was very good (not many bumps or corrugations). However, after turning back to continue to Nsobe community camp site the road deteriorated and it was a very hard 5 hours drive. The camp site is very nice and plenty of privacy. It has a long drop toilet and bucket shower but they are fine. Cost is Zk 50 pp.

    Mileage 197km, tip camp attendants $5.00, camping Pontoon camp ZKw392.00, Livingstone memorial $5,00, Benguela Wetlands entry ZKw200.00 (ZKw50.00 per person per night),

    Monday 19/8/13 Lake Bangweulu wetlands.

    We drove to the place where the boat takes you to see the Shoebill. It was 34 Kms of reasonable roads although it took us 1.5 hours. On the drive we saw a very large herd (+- 200) of Bangweulu tssessebe – a separate species to the common tssessebe. On arrival we had to walk about another 2 kms to the actual boat (a banana boat). In fact we had to wait for over 2 hours for it to be returned before we could depart for the Shoebill nest. The waterways were very narrow and shallow so it took about an hour to reach and then another 15 mins of wading through the swamp (at times up to our chests). However, there was a nearly fledged chick (a lifer) and we were able to get to about 10 metres from it. We also saw the mother but at a much further distance. On the way back saw thousands of Black lechwe (for the first time for me) and a blue-breasted bee-eater (another lifer).

    Mileage 68 Kms. Tips Zk 300, Camping Zk 200, Wetlands entry Zk 100, Conservancy levy Zk 100

    Tuesday 20/8/13 Lake Bangweulu to Kapishya Hot Springs.

    After a relatively leisurely start we drove the bad 44 Kms to the entrance (1.75 hours). The road to the Great North road was 66 Kms and relatively easy then tar to the turn off to Shiwa and then 30 Kms to Kapishya. Shiwa looked run down but we will check it out as we go past on our way to North Luangwa. Camping is Zk 70 pppn. It is a pleasant site with good ablutions and showers (if there aren’t too many people there - on the river with nice views. There is also very expensive wifi (Zk25 per 30 mins, a nice bar and meals if required. Most people didn’t use the showers – they went to the hot spring and did their ablutions at the outflow.

    Mileage 293Km, diesel ZKw700.00, 76 litres, tip attendant Nsobe camp $10.00, tomatoes Zkw10.00, bread rolls ZKw12.00,

    Wednesday 21/8/13 Kapishya Hot Springs.

    Mileage 0 Kms.!!

    Thursday 22/8/13 Kapishya Hot Springs to North Luangwa (Buffalo Camp).

    After leaving Kapishya we went to Shiwa Ngandu and were given a tour by the owner Charles Harvey – quite interesting but the place is certainly run down and needs a fortune to renovate it. The cost of the tour was Zk 100 which goes to community projects. Also saw the graves of Gore-Browne and his daughter and son-in-law (who were murdered in 1992). Drove on to North Luangwa where entry fees were Zk 135 pp, Hotel levy Zk 105 and car Zk80. Needless to say these are rounded figures as the actual fees include ngwee which nobody has. The drive was quite hard with very little to see. In the afternoon and evening we were taken on a game drive but only saw some elephants in the distance – very disappointing.

    Mileage 164km, Camping Zk 280.00. Bar Zk35.00, Internet Zk425.00, Dinner Zk300.00, Buffalo Camp $400.00, Shiwa Ngandu tour ZKw200.00,
    North Luangwa Park entry ZK211.20, bed levy ZKw316.80, vehicle entry ZKw79.20

    Friday 23/08/13 North Luangwa (Buffalo Camp) to South Luangwa (Wild Life Camp)

    After a morning walk guided by Sunday (he was very knowledgeable) we drove through North Luangwa to the pontoon crossing. We only had to wait for about 5 minutes before being collected and then deposited on the far side. The first few miles were very rough but after that the road improved so that one could drive at about 60 kph. We arrived at the North Luambe gate where we were told that we would have to pay a transit fee (Zk 79 for the car and Zk 53 per passenger). Highly annoyed as we had been told that there was no transit charge – this was also stated at the south gate and the Nsefu sector. Due to a taxi getting stuck in a river bed we were very late reaching the north gate of Nsefu (about 5.30PM) but were allowed through. We eventually arrived at Wild Life camp at 19.00.

    Mileage 242km, Buffalo Camp drinks ZKw70. Buffalo Camp Tip ZKw100, Luambe transit fee ZKw184.

    Saturday 24/8/13 Wild Life camp.

    Recuperated after the previous day’s drive and enjoyed the views from the camp. Do beware of monkeys and baboons – they will take any food from anywhere.

    Mileage 0 Kms.

    Sunday 25/8/13 South Luangwa.
    Drove around the park for the day and saw plenty of antelope and elephants but no predators until late in the evening where there was a pair of mating lions. Cost was Zk 79 for the car and Zk 153 per person – this charge is for the day (6.00 AM to 6.00 PM + an escorted evening drive) not 24 hours.
    Mileage 132Km, entry fee South Luangwa NP ZKw396

    Monday 26/8/13 Wild Life camp.

    I went to the ZAWA offices to complain about the transit charge. Surprise, surprise!! I was credited with the amount for our next visit to South Luangwa. After that we bought some groceries and tried to find a relatively old tyre for our spare but no luck.

    Mileage 40km. Bread ZKw7, eggs ZKw8, tomatoes ZKw4, cucumber ZKw2.

    Tuesday 27/8/13 South Luangwa.

    This time we went in twice once early morning and then again at about 14.30. We were lucky to find a leopard in the morning but it was difficult to photograph. However, in the evening she made herself far more accessible and we did get some lovely close up shots of her both in a tree and on the ground.

    Mileage 100km. entry fee South Luangwa NP SRS ZKw238 (+ credit for Luambe Transit fee)


    Wednesday 28/8/13 Nsefu sector and South Luangwa.

    In the morning we drove back to the Nsefu sector hoping to find wild dogs – none to be found. However we did see vast flocks of crowned cranes. In the afternoon we went into South Luangwa and saw lots apart from predators.

    Mileage 173km. Entry Nsefu Sector, South Luangwa NP ZKw394.

    Thursday 29/8/13 South Luangwa to Lusaka (Pioneer camp).

    The tyre that we had “bought” subject to checking it would not inflate on our wheel so I brought it back and we started off to Lusaka with no spare. We went on the short cut to Petauke (via the GMA) which took about 4 hours. The road was not bad and it saved about 120 Kms plus the drive was more interesting. We arrived at Pioneer camp to be greeted by Paul who recognised me from my visit 11 months previously – quite a memory. Here there are good ablutions, electricity, wifi, bar and r4estaurant. The road down to the camp from the Great East road is about 6 kms but they are very bad. However, the road is being tarred but, unfortunately, they are starting from the far end so it will probably be a while before it gets to the Great East road.

    Mileage 577km. Diesel Zkw700, 76 litres. Wildlife Camp camping ZKw612. bar ZKw160, meals ZKw405, workshop ZKw127, workshop tip ZKw20.

    Friday 30/8/13 Pioneer camp.

    We went in to Lusaka to buy groceries, have the air con fixed and eventually found a spare tyre for our wheel.
    Mileage 40km. Air conditioner repairs ZKw2,200, Garage ZKw100, coffee ZKw30, newspaper ZKw21, groceries ZKw135, drink ZKw10, tyre ZKw22, tyre fitting ZKw10.00

    Saturday 31/8/13 Lusaka to Kafue NP (Kafue Lwengu camp).

    We left Pioneer camp quite early and spent a long time getting through Lusaka (even though it was a Saturday). The start of the road to the west is quite horrendous but once outside Lusaka it is quite good. We arrived at Lwengu at about 14.00. It is a new camp situated in the GMA (so no ZAWA fees) on the banks of the Kafue just short of the Hook. It was very pleasant with good ablutions, a well fitted kitchen (including deep freezers) and lights. The only problem is that there are very few big trees so one’s camp is open to the heat of the sun. Price is Zk 100 pppn.

    Mileage 299km, Pioneer Camping ZKw140, meals and drinks ZKw320. groceries ZKw311, tomatoes ZKw5, bananas ZKw5, nuts ZKw2, diesel ZKw700.

    Sunday 1/9/13 South Kafue NP.

    We took a drive into South Kafue via the Spinal road which was very good and was also being upgraded – needless to say by the Chinese. We made no entry payment as there was no gate on the road we took (about 5 Kms from the Hook). The game was very varied but quite skittish. We drove down to the bottom of lake Itezi-tezi but saw very little for the last 100 kms.
    Mileage 350 Kms

    Monday 2/9/13 Lwengu to North Kafue (Kafwala Rapids camp)

    We left early and drove the 40 odd kms to Kafwala Rapids camp. It is very pleasant and has very helpful staff. We sat around for the rest of the day watching the birds and animals around the camp. Saw a lifer – a half-collared kingfisher.

    Mileage 48km. Camping ZKw400.00 (ZKw100.00 per person per night), tips ZKw30.00, Kafue NP entry ZKw474.00 (ZKw79.00 per person per day, ZKw79.00 car per day),


    Tuesday 3/9/13 Busanga Swamps.

    We left early for the swamps (about a 100 kms drive). There was very little to see until we actually got to the swamps where there were large herds of buffalo, roan, wildebeest and zebra. There were also large flocks of crowned cranes and a large number of wattled cranes.
    Mileage 225 Kms.

    Wednesday 4/9/13 Kafwala to Mongu (Mongu or Mutoya camp).

    After a leisurely clear up drove to Mongu. We first used Willie’s internet café (Zk 12 per hour) and then tried to get rolls and bread at Shoprite but they were sold out. We drove on to Mongu camp (as per T4A) or Mutoya camp (as per Bradt) where we found good ablutions and a nice camp site with borehole water and electricity. Cost Zk 50 pppn – all in a good cause. However you need 4*4 to drive out as it is on a very sandy incline.

    Mileage 362km, Kafwala Camp ZKw2000, tip ZKw100, diesel 76 litres, ZKw700, Internet ZKw24, welding ZKw10, camping Mutoya Camp ZKw100.00 (ZKw50.00 pppn)

    Thursday 5/9/13 Mongu to Liuwa Plains NP (Katoyana camp).

    After collecting some groceries (in Shoprite) and petrol we started off for Kalabo. The road has greatly improved since last year as the Chinese have now got to the Zambezi river. There is about 13 Kms of very bad road just short of the Zambezi pontoon and another couple of kms after it. Then it is tar all the way to Kalabo. Apart from that the road across the flood plain is reasonable as the Chinese trucks are up and down so it is kept in fairly good condition. Entry to Liuwa Plains is expensive (Zk 210 pp, camping Zk70 pp) and they will only accept Kwacha. There is no ATM in Kalabo and the bank does not change any foreign currencies. The only way to change foreign money is to give it to somebody with a current account in the bank – they cash it and give you the Kwacha!! – only in Africa. The roads to and in Liuwa are much worse than last year – much sandier, so there is a need to be in and out of 4*4 drive, which is very tiresome in my 1996 Hilux (you have to get out to turn on or off the shafts). The ferry across the Zambezi was Zk 150 and we had to wait for the auditors to finish checking before the ferry set sail. The ferry at Kalabo was Zk 40 and one needed to help pull it across. There were quite a lot of wildebeest and zebra and a solitary hyena and buffalo.

    Mileage 155 Kms. Entry Zkw 840, Camping Zk 280, Zambezi ferry Zk 150, Kalabo ferry Zk 40
    .

    Friday 6/9/13 Liuwa Plains NP.

    Took 2 drives and saw a vast amount of water birds including pelicans, avocets, large numbers of wattled and crowned cranes etc. Also saw rose throated long claw and yellow throated long claw. The roads were better especially where there weren’t many cars using the tracks. In many cases we made our own roads and these were the best!

    Mileage 120 Kms.

    Saturday 7/9/13 Liuwa Plains to Mongu camp.

    We spent most of the morning and early afternoon checking out most of the pans. Again the bird life was very good but very little game apart from wildebeest and zebra. We checked out Lyangu camp as we were told that it had been refurbished. It would appear that it is exactly the same as Katoyana except that the showers and toilets are in better condition. As we drove to the Kalabo ferry we got very badly stuck about 200 metres from the pontoon and 4*4 was not enough – we had to dig and cut some branches to get out of it. The sand is very deep near the ferry and slowly gets better as you drive to Liuwa. Apart from that disaster there was no other problem on our drive to Mongu – about 1 hour to the ferry and 1 hour from it to Mongu but you might have to wait for up to half an hour for the crossing. At Mongu camp we found an African wood owl which was quite happy to be videoed despite the bright torch – a pleasant way to end the day.

    Mileage 163km. Tip Katonoya campsite ZKw10., tip helpers ZKw4, Kalabo pontoon ZKw30, Zambezi Pontoon ZKw150.

    Sunday 8/9/13 Mongu to Kabula camp.

    A leisurely start and an easy drive to Senanga. However there was a hard 17 kms from there to the ferry. Once over the Zambezi the road was dirt but fairly good until near Sioma where the tar started – the new road has been completed since last year and there were no detours. We stopped at Ngonye Falls hoping to find otters (as well as seeing the Falls). The falls are impressive especially if you take the boat to cross the river and see the falls from the east side. Prices are very odd – it seems that they charge Zk 26 for everything although if you look at the price list it would appear that car entry is Zk105, SADC people are Zk 12.6 and the boat is (I think) about Zk 78 pp. However we paid Zk 26 for entry, Zk26 for the car and Zk 26 for the boat trip - a total of Zk130. Price for camping in Kabula lodge is Zk 70pp or R115 pp (obviously the cheaper option). The site is good except that there are absolutely no lights in the camping area although there are plenty of eating areas (with tables and seats) plus good ablutions.

    Mileage 261km. Mutoya camp fees ZKw100, Groceries ZKw50, diesel ZKw200.00 22 litres, Ngonye Sioma Falls Zkw130.00, Internet ZKw10, groceries ZKw4.

    Monday 9/9/13 Kabula camp to Kasane.

    Left Kabula after a relatively late start. On arriving in Shesheke I decided that we needed a bit of diesel. The only petrol station in Shesheke was having its diesel tanks filled but, although it was only meant to take a few minutes, we had to wait for approximately 2 hours for the station tanks to be filled. (This station is the only station between Kazungulu and Senanga). We arrived at the Zambian customs and would have been through in a reasonably quick time but had to find Kwacha to pay the ferry (Zk 150) and community charge (Zk 20) as we had got rid of all our kwacha on leaving Kabula. The touts were offering a very poor rate so I exchanged with SA cars leaving Zambia and having a few spare kwacha. The Botswana customs were very quick – it took about 15 minutes to clear. We made our way to Kasane to fill the car with diesel (Pula 9.88 per litre) and then on to Chobe NP to check entry prices and camping charges. Entry is Pula 120 pp and the car an additional Pula 50. Camping for SADC residents at Khwai and Ihaha is Pula 175 and at Savuti R250 pp. There is also an additional Pula 10 bed levy. However, all the sites were fully booked so we opted to stay in a hotel for the next few nights. We found a good internet café which stays open to midnight (unlike the first 3 we tried). The internet speed was quick and we were charged Pula 10 for 30 minutes.

    Mileage 245km. Camping fees Kabula Lodge ZKw150, Niall drinks ZKw20, tip ZKw5, diesel ZKw110.00 12 litres. Ferry and tax ZKw170.00, insurance Pula150.00, diesel Pula1240.00, 125.17 litres, Pula 9.88 per litre, drinks P17, SIM card and airtime P75, Internet P20.00

    Tuesday 10/9/13 Chobe NP.

    We made 2 trips into Chobe NP – one in the morning and one in the late afternoon. There is now a new one-way system in place and you can take the road beside the river from Sedudu to Chobe Game Lodge and then come back on the Serondella road. It means that the sun is behind you in the morning and in front of you in the evening when you take the river road which makes the afternoon a bad time for game viewing and photography. In the morning there was a large herd of sable and in the afternoon several large herds of elephants. The morning was also the best time for the birds – large numbers of wading birds.

    Mileage 102 Kms, Chobe entry P290 (P120 pp, Car P50)

    Wednesday 11/9/13 Chobe NP.

    We took an early morning drive into the park and then at 9.30 a boat trip along the river. The morning trip at 6.00 was too early as nothing had got up (especially the birds) but the boat trip produced a lot of birds and animals – cost P222 + P70 for Chobe entry (not payable if you go into the park on the same day). We drove in again in the afternoon but saw nothing spectacular.

    Mileage 80 Kms, Chobe entry P290,

    Thursday 12/9/13 Kasane to Martin’s Drift (Big Fig camp).
    We left at 8.00 and drove down to Martin’s Drift. Our tyre eventually gave up the ghost about 200 Kms from Francistown so we changed to the spare. We had the tyre inspected in Francistown and were told that it was kaput so the next 700 Kms to Jo’burg was with no spare. We arrived at Martin’s Drift at about 18.00 and were through customs/immigration on both sides within 30 mins. We also filled up with diesel at Pula 9.82 per litre – much cheaper than SA. We drove on to Big Fig camp which at R80 seemed reasonable value with good ablutions and a grass pitch. Others obviously think so as it was very full.

    Mileage 763km. Chobe Marina Lodge P3000, Boat ride P444 (P222 pp),rolls P15, diesel P1160, 117.79 litres, Big Fig campsite R140.00,


    Friday 13/9/13 Martin’s Drift to Johannesburg.

    An easy drive to Jo’burg. We arrived at about midday and that was the end of the trip.

    Mileage 410km. Tolls R93.50

    Summary:

    We did about 20000 Kms and spent about $13000 between the 2 of us – not bad for an 85 day trip. My thoughts on the trip: I won’t go back to Mozambique (bird and animal life not very good) or Tanzania (too far and parks too expensive). I enjoyed Malawi (although the road to the Nyika Plateau was appalling) and Zambia (again the road from Kasanka to Bangweulu wetlands was also appalling). In the end I thought that Botswana was the best value with the best game – this will come as a surprise to most South Africans. So my next trip may be Zim, Botswana , Zambia and Malawi but no further north. We both enjoyed going to places that we hadn’t been to previously but 3 months is probably too long!!

  2. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to nhouston For This Useful Post:


  3. #2
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    Thanks for taking the trouble to report back. Truly an epic trip.

    Just a couple of queries if you don't mind, concerning your camps in Zambia.

    Kafue Lwengu camp is obviously new, lying within the GMA. Does it lie north or south of the Lusaka-Mongu road? For orientation, which of the older camps lies closest to it? Do you have any contact details?

    Is it possible to expand on how you managed to organize camping at Kafwala Camp? I understand that only members of WECZ are able to use this camp but that others can use the facilities after special arrangements. Can you take us through the mechanics of this arrangement please? There are virtually no campsites within range of the Busanga Plains and this info would be most helpful. If need be, even a personal message would be appreciated.

    I can find reference elsewhere to 2 camps. Kafwala Rapids Camp that used to be run by Wilderness Safaris, is this still the case? Then there appears to be the nearby Kafwala Camp, under WECZ. Presumably the second camp is where you stayed? This info is important as Wilderness Safaris are not very camper and self-driver friendly.

    Thanks, Stan,
    Landcruiser 76SW.

    “Great journeys are memorable not so much for what you saw, but for where you camped”.

    At least "Once a year go someplace you have never been before" Delai Lama.

    Trans East Africa 2015/2016 Trip report http://www.4x4community.co.za/forum/...e16?highlight= from post 315.

  4. #3
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    Hi Stan,

    Kafwala Rapids is the WECZ camp. It must be booked out completely at Zk2000 per night for up to 12 people. I am a member of the WECZ (although you do not have to be to book the camp). There is no actual camping - you use the chalets there. It is a lovely site. Unfortunately it seems to be fully booked - I tried to book in March only to be told that it was booked out for the year. When I arrived in Lusaka I tried again and found that there had been a cancellation for the next week so we booked 2 days - quite expensive for the 2 of us but well worth it. If you want further info let me know.

    Kafue Lwengu lies just to the south of the Hook about 0.5 kms from the bridge and beside the river. The web site is www.kafuelwengu.com and the email address is '[email protected]'. The cost is Zk 100 pppn. Very useful for going to the Busanaga Plains although a very long drive.

    Cheers,

    Ruwenzori

  5. #4
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    Thank you.
    Landcruiser 76SW.

    “Great journeys are memorable not so much for what you saw, but for where you camped”.

    At least "Once a year go someplace you have never been before" Delai Lama.

    Trans East Africa 2015/2016 Trip report http://www.4x4community.co.za/forum/...e16?highlight= from post 315.

  6. #5
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    Epic trip, and great report. Thank you.

  7. #6
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    Nhouston
    I have bookmarked this as it a treasure of info in one place
    Thank You

    You mention 13 000 usd costs
    Was that for 2 vehicles and 4 people or one vehicle and 3 people
    Ross

  8. #7
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    One vehicle and 2 people.

    Cheers,

    Ruwenzori

  9. #8
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    Nice trip report! Valuable information. Planning a similar trip next year for 2/4 months. Especially your conclusion makes me think again about certain places/countries
    ---------------------------------------------------------------

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  10. #9
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    Great report; detailed with great insights and tips for fellow travellers. I did a trip to Zambia this year (still to post on the Forum) but already planning a longer one to Zim, Botswana , Zambia and Malawi in 2015.

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