Feb/ March Southern Africa Trip





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  1. #1
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    Default Feb/ March Southern Africa Trip

    Hi there,
    We're planning a two and a half month trip from Cape Town up to Malawi and back. I know its rainy season (only have this time to go on sabbatical) and probably the worst time to go (can see myself stuck in the mud eating Bully Beef for 2 weeks...). Husband and I going in a Jeep Wrangler Sahara with almost 200 000 kms on the clock. Have done prev trip up to Kafue, but in dry season... Needing some advice from all the seasoned travelers.

    Plan as follows:
    Day 1: CT to Oranjemund
    Day 2: Oranjemund to Aus
    Day 3: Aus (Klein Aus Vista Camp site)
    Day 4: Aus to Koes
    Day 5: Koes to Mata Mata
    Day 6: Mata to Twee Rivieren
    Day 7: Twee Rivieren to Kimberly
    Day 8: Family visit in KBY
    Day 9 and 10: Family visit in Pretoria (and picking up a lot of borrowed camping gear from my father)
    Day 11: Up to Beitbridge
    Day 12 and 13: Matobos NP
    Day 14 to 17: Up to Kariba. Is Chinoyi worthwhile? I'm assuming Nyamepi is only place open in Mana during Feb?
    Day 17: Kariba ferry. So far we're the only booking. Does it usually fill up closer to the date? The gravel road options don't look possible at all, so if no ferry then back to Chirundu I suppose..
    Day 18: Mlibizi. How is the road between Mlibizi and Hwange?
    Day 19 to 22: Hwange Would picnic sites be accessible? Last been there about 10yrs ago in June/July
    Day 23: Vic falls
    Day 24-28: Livingstone: Peregrine's Nest at Taita Falcon Lodge
    Day 29: Livingstone to Sesheke/Kabula Lodge Have never stayed here, any other recommendations? Road conditions?
    Day 30 to 33: Mongu to Kafue at Kasabushi/ Mayakuyuku. I heard this road is doable in Feb? Any other camp suggestions?
    Day 34: Lusaka
    Day 35 to 36: Lower Zambezi NP
    Day 37-40: SLNP Any recommendations for camps in Lower Zambezi/ SLNP?
    Day 41: Over to Malawi. Sleep at Duck inn Namitete
    Day 42-44: Monkey Bay Chembe Eagle's Nest
    Day 45-46: Makuzi Beach Lodge south of Chinteche Is the M5 okay in Feb?
    Day 47: Nkatha Bay
    Day 48: Livingstonia
    Day 49-51: Nyika/ Chelinda Not sure we'll make it up there if very wet conditions? Anyone else been up there in the rain?
    Day 52: Mzuzu
    Day 53: Lilongwe
    Day 54: Zomba NP: trout farm campsite
    Day 55: Tete
    Day 56: Chimoio Any good camping spots?
    Day 57-60: Vilanculos
    Day 61: Inhambane
    Day 62: Xai Xai
    Day 63-64: Ponta d Ouro
    Day 65-66: Ndumo
    Day 67: Hluhluwe
    Day 68-70: Drakensberg
    Day 71-72: Coffee Bay
    Day 73: Addo
    Day 74: Knysna Diepwalle
    Day 75: Grootvadersbosch
    HOME

    Any advice and recommendations would be appreciated. Thanks everyone

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Feb/ March Southern Africa Trip

    It should be an interesting trip!

    Malawi wise:

    The M5 like all other roads at that time of the year will be riddled with potholes and the sides will be crumbling so just drive slowly.
    It's usually full of kids ,cyclists , goats etc as well, so take it really easy.

    I've never been up Nyika this time of the year , you better contact your accomodation (is it Chelinda ?) For road conditions, it's bad enough as it is in the dry season.


    Zambia wise:

    Day 29: Livingstone to Sesheke/Kabula Lodge... Road conditions?

    It starts well but as you near Shesheke the road becomes atrocious. It's tarred but it might as well not be, as it looks as if it has been carpet bombed. Unless anything drastic has happened in the last couple of years and it's now all fixed. But I doubt it. How they can leave a road leading to a major border looking like that is a mystery...

    However if you are staying the night in Shesheke, that's plenty of time.

    The Jeep: mhmmmmm...

    There is no Jeep presence here. You won't find any parts.

    Before leavjng I would try and contact the biggest Jeep guru/indie that you know and ask them to help you with buying a few parts , depending on what the common issues on the Sahara are. At least if something goes wrong you are equipped .

    Even in the rainy season you might be lucky and get a break in the rains and a week of sunshine, it happens.

    If you need any help when you get here feel free to pm me.

    Cheers
    Last edited by tashtego9; 2020/01/03 at 02:01 PM.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Feb/ March Southern Africa Trip

    Quote Originally Posted by MichelleRdW View Post

    Day 19 to 22: Hwange Would picnic sites be accessible? Last been there about 10yrs ago in June/July
    Day 35 to 36: Lower Zambezi NP
    Day 37-40: SLNP Any recommendations for camps in Lower Zambezi/ SLNP?
    Day 56: Chimoio Any good camping spots?
    Picnic sites are still available at Hwange, but they book up often. Perhaps in the off season it won't be an issue. If you want to book ahead you have to pay a premium, if you show up and they're available the day of arrival I believe you can book at the same price as the public campsites. We just stayed at Deteema and Masuma in November and enjoyed it. We didn't stay at Robin's, but we passed through and it certainly is looking nice after recent upgrades.

    Mvuu is an excellent camp outside of Lower Zambezi National Park, though a bit expensive. But we found it worthwhile, a really great stop. A year and a half ago the rangers at the gate for Lower Zambezi told us there were plans to open a campsite inside the park, but I haven't heard a whisper about it since then, so likely it didn't happen. But it might be worth keeping your ears open about that, or asking at the gate when you get there.

    South Luangwa NP, Wildlife camp is great. Zikomo is also great to access the Nsefu sector, but I suspect this may be closed that early in the year. There are other choices near Mfuwe.

    Chimoio has no camping as far as I can tell, or didn't in mid 2018. We went from Tete to Ndzou Campsite. It's a bit of a drive, but the roads are decent and you can make it in a day, no problem. We left Tete after a leisurely breakfast and made it to Ndzou in late afternoon sometime. Ndzou isn't well set up for roof top tents, but we made it work. There is another campsite very near there that we didn't look at. I have a blog post about our stops here: https://www.stuckinlowgear.com/singl...nto-Mozambique

    Totally just our personal experience, but we were somewhat underwhelmed by the Mozambique south of Inhambane. We just scratched the surface, and perhaps a more in depth look would be different, but things seemed much more tamed and set up for South African families on fishing holidays. There is of course nothing wrong with that! But for us it had a distinctly different feel that further north and inland and we missed some of our other stops a bit. We did go through Limpopo NP and had camped at a lovely spot on the North side of the Massingir dam inside the park for very cheap, so that was nice.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Feb/ March Southern Africa Trip

    Looking at the itinerary, you're going to be spending a lot of time in the vehicle. It's better to spend two nights at a place and have a break from travelling, especially camping. We did three months into Namibia and you need a break from camping too.
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Feb/ March Southern Africa Trip

    Thanks for the replies and advice, much appreciated!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Feb/ March Southern Africa Trip

    Great trip, but fairly rushed - you may want to reconsider going into Namibia first and then backtracking to SA and Pretoria, rather use the extra days further north.
    Nyika is amazing all year round, but the rainy season is my favourite time there - incredible vistas as the thunder storms build up below you and the migrant birds are there as well. The roads can be a challenge, just take it slow and easy. If you're hiking, watch out for flash floods, especially on the North Rumphi River.
    Most of Kafue is totally inaccessible then, only the camps around Hook Bridge (Mayukuyuku, Kasabushi, KaingU) and McBrides stay open. Maybe give it a miss. Lower Zambezi is also pretty much inaccessible in the rains.
    Agree that the best part of Mozambique is north of Inhambane - Mozambique Island (Ilha da Mozambique) is wonderful, and worth a couple of days.
    Tony Weaver

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    Previously Land Rover 1968 SII, 1969 SIIA, 1973 SIII, 1983 Toyota HiLux 2litre, 2006 Land Rover Freelander TD4 HSE.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Feb/ March Southern Africa Trip

    Thanks Tony,
    Yes it seems Kafue might not be the best idea this time of year, and quite a far trip around to Mongu. Also no use getting to the camp and being unable to drive around I suppose. Previously been up to Ithezi Thezi via Namwala, but during a June/ July trip. Will rather spend some more time elsewhere, thanks for the tip.

    How do you think is best to drive from Malawi to Mozambique Island? Over Mangochi-Mandimba-Cuamba-Nampula-Monapo? Can't find much info on the road from Mandimba to Nampula, previous posts from 2011 says its quite bad?

    Thanks for the advice

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Feb/ March Southern Africa Trip

    Quote Originally Posted by MichelleRdW View Post

    How do you think is best to drive from Malawi to Mozambique Island? Over Mangochi-Mandimba-Cuamba-Nampula-Monapo? Can't find much info on the road from Mandimba to Nampula, previous posts from 2011 says its quite bad?
    Hi Michelle, I would post that question separately under the Moz section - Mike (MozGuide on the forum) is the expert on the area.
    Last reports I have is that the road via Cuamba to Nampula is still pretty bad (the notes I have made on my map for the section from Malema to Ribaue say "shocking road"!)
    Last time we were planning that crossing - but didn't do it as we fell under the spell of Libelula Lodge outside Nacala and of Ilha da Mozambique - we had planned to do the route (from east to west) via Metoro (on the EN1) west to Montepuez (tar all the way) then to Marrupa via Balama, Reteta and Nungo, then from Marrupa to Lichinga, then almost due south to Mandimba, crossing into Malawi on the Chiponde to Mangochi road. The road from Lichinga to Marrupa is tar "highway", the only bad section, as in rough track with a few river crossings, was the section from Balama to Marrupa, which was supposed to be in the process of being upgraded. That should have been done by now, but I don't have up to date info.
    In 2015 (last report I have) the road between Lichinga and Madimba was terrible, and took the person reporting it four hours to do the 145km in a Hilux, not sure what the latest info is.
    Don't be deterred from going there by the reports of an Islamist insurgency in the north - that is all happening north of Pemba towards the Tanzanian border. Both Marrupa and Lichinga have fuel, ATMs etc.
    Last edited by Tony Weaver; 2020/01/06 at 11:06 PM.
    Tony Weaver

    1991 Land Rover 110 Hi-Line S/W 3.5l V8 carburettor
    Cooper Discoverer STT tyres, four sleeper Echo rooftop tent
    2012 Mitsubishi Outlander.

    Previously Land Rover 1968 SII, 1969 SIIA, 1973 SIII, 1983 Toyota HiLux 2litre, 2006 Land Rover Freelander TD4 HSE.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Feb/ March Southern Africa Trip

    Quote Originally Posted by MichelleRdW View Post

    How do you think is best to drive from Malawi to Mozambique Island? Over Mangochi-Mandimba-Cuamba-Nampula-Monapo? Can't find much info on the road from Mandimba to Nampula, previous posts from 2011 says its quite bad?

    Thanks for the advice
    The best way is via Mulanje border, then Mocuba, Nampula, Nacala (You get to the MOz island turnoff before Nacala).

    This road has just recently been finished and it's all tar.

    If you get to the border at Mulanje nice and early (opens at 6) you will arrive at Moz island at dinner time. Otherwise, if you don/t fancy the long drive, you can stay the night at Nampula.


    Cheers

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Feb/ March Southern Africa Trip

    Great, thanks for that info! Mozambique Island looks great, will definitely go there for a few days.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Feb/ March Southern Africa Trip

    You have probably seen or are aware of Dan and his trip in a Jeep:

    http://theroadchoseme.com/africa-expedition-overview
    Estee = S T = Sean Towlson

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  12. #12
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    Default Re: Feb/ March Southern Africa Trip

    Thanks Estee,

    Didn't know about this blog-he did a great trip! He also forwarded me a list of spare parts he took along- very helpful indeed!

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Feb/ March Southern Africa Trip

    Quote Originally Posted by MichelleRdW View Post
    Thanks Estee,

    Didn't know about this blog-he did a great trip! He also forwarded me a list of spare parts he took along- very helpful indeed!
    Thats great
    Estee = S T = Sean Towlson

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  14. #14
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    Default Re: Feb/ March Southern Africa Trip

    With two and a half months available - and the rainy season in southern Africa - why don’t you head north to the parts of East Africa where it is the dry season? The southern African pattern of once yearly rainfall - November to May - extends up to southern Tanzania. North of that is the dry season.

    I know some people like travelling in the “green season”, but squashed into a Jeep in a roof top tent, with rain tipping down, can be a trial. We overland with a ground tent which we can back our Land Rover into the verandah and, if it’s raining, can cook and sit comfortably under cover. Not so easy with a roof top tent without at least an awning.

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