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  1. #1
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    Default 11 months to E. Africa and back and...plans and updates

    We're about to hit the road for 11 months of Africa overland travel starting in just over a week! I haven't mentioned it much on the forum because I can hardly believe it's actually happening. With covid throwing a wrench in everything and the improbability of getting a year off from work it seemed our plans could crumble at any moment, but here we are, booking our PCR tests, packing and getting ready to arrive in Windhoek on the 18th. The cruiser has been in storage there, and after a few days of getting ready we'll head off, making our way to Zambia fairly quickly.

    Normally I would have been soliciting the forum's deep knowledge for advice on routing and plans and whatnot, but there have been a lot of really good threads the last while (Tedx2 and others) discussing similar ideas, so I have been able to glean the answers to many questions. We also feel somewhat freed from making strict plans. Partially because it is a long trip and I'm sure we'd never manage to keep a detailed schedule, but also because covid seems to excel at unmaking plans, so why set ourselves up for disappointment? We have a notion of what we want to do, and we'll roll with the punches and adjust as needed. With low tourist numbers we are not concerned with making bookings, though we have at a few key spots.

    Some details for those interested:
    -We made a 3 month trip to Kenya and back in 2018, and some other shorter trips, but this will be our longest trip yet. Before we were together my wife had visited Africa a few times, and I worked in Kenya for six months more than a decade ago, as well as some other shorter work in South Africa. So though we are not "old Africa hands" we are also not totally oblivious to what we're getting into either.
    -Vehicle is a 2014 Land Cruiser 79 4.2 w/ OME suspension, new hard shell RTT, 40ltr fridge, etc. I would say that our vehicle is less modified than many I read about, but certainly has many unnecessary (but appreciated!) comforts too.
    -Goals are to revisit some highlights like the Masai Mara and Serengeti, but also some new stops like Kidepo NP in Uganda, and spend more time in Kenya. We also plan to come back to Southern Africa with enough time to spend more time in the usual haunts, with the added goal of Angola if the borders open.
    -Perhaps a big trip like this, from a covid perspective would be better timed a year later, but we aren't likely to be able to get the time off then, and who knows what the future will bring?

    I plan to dust off my blog from before, and if anyone is really interested I wrote a blog post about our plans: https://stuckinlowgear.com/a-year-in...overland-plan/ That post is informational, I promise future posts to contain wild Africa mishaps and misadventures

    I also have ambitions of trying to make a few videos, not to be a youtube sensation or anything, but because friends and family have asked me to.

    A big thank you to the many forum members that have shared their gems of knowledge. I've dutifully added these valuable tidbits to my notes, every one a brick that has laid a foundation of confidence for us to undertake a trip like this, thank you again.

    Advice, questions, thoughts welcome. Hopefully we will bump into a few forum members on the road!
    Last edited by CalDriver; 2021/10/09 at 03:25 PM.
    Blog of our African travels: stuckinlowgear.com

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: 11 months to E. Africa and back and...plans and updates

    We just wish you all the best for the upcoming adventure and do please share with us your experiences.

    Safari njema.

    AP
    Last edited by apfac; 2021/10/09 at 05:18 PM.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: 11 months to E. Africa and back and...plans and updates

    Fantastic Caldriver, I think you have got your timing dead-right.

    Please spoil this forum with regular updates of all the interesting experiences to which you will be fortunate enough to be exposed.

    Safari njema.
    Stanley Weakley.
    Toyota Landcruiser 76SW 4,2L diesel.

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

    Trans East Africa 2015/2016 Trip report https://www.4x4community.co.za/forum...-6-SLOW-DONKEY
    OR
    http://www.4x4community.co.za/forum/...e16?highlight= from post 315.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: 11 months to E. Africa and back and...plans and updates

    Wow, Caldriver! Have a great trip.

    You know all this anyway, but if I were you I would head north to arrive in northern Tanzania and Kenya in December. Then you will have about four months of the dry season there.

    If you do get to Kenya in December/January, we might be able to meet up.

    I look forward to reading about your travels on your excellent blog.

    Safari njema.

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  7. #5
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    Default Re: 11 months to E. Africa and back and...plans and updates

    Quote Originally Posted by Stan Weakley View Post
    Fantastic Caldriver, I think you have got your timing dead-right.

    Please spoil this forum with regular updates of all the interesting experiences to which you will be fortunate enough to be exposed.

    Safari njema.
    Thank you Stan, I will do my best.

    The adventures have already begun, after I received the estimate from our mechanic in Windhoek! Needed: 2x new front axel shafts! Not cheap, but actually this is not a total surprise. On our last visit we had begun to hear the telltale clicking from the front hubs when making tight turns. However it only happened when in 4x4, not in 2WD. I had thought that a bad birfield (CV) joint would click in either 2x or 4x, but I suppose the additional torque when in 4x4 is what reveals the problem? Regardless, not a thing we want to have happen deep in the bush, and since they have over 200,000 heavily loaded kms on them, not surprising either.
    Blog of our African travels: stuckinlowgear.com

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  9. #6
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    Default Re: 11 months to E. Africa and back and...plans and updates

    Quote Originally Posted by Wazungu Wawili View Post
    Wow, Caldriver! Have a great trip.

    You know all this anyway, but if I were you I would head north to arrive in northern Tanzania and Kenya in December. Then you will have about four months of the dry season there.

    If you do get to Kenya in December/January, we might be able to meet up.

    I look forward to reading about your travels on your excellent blog.

    Safari njema.
    Thanks! After some Zambia time we intend to head up to Tanzania, ETA to Tunduma is something like Dec 1, where we hope to visit Ruaha and Nyerere, making it up to Arusha just before the New Year. So perhaps not too far from your recommendation. Afterwards I had a vague vision of a clockwise loop, West to Uganda, entering Kenya from the West. This was based on some notion of wanting to go to Kidepo NP in January, not wanting to leave it too late. But perhaps we should go the other way around, it would be great to meet up.

    Do you have thoughts on the best time to visit Kidepo, assuming a roughly Jan-Mar timeframe?
    Blog of our African travels: stuckinlowgear.com

  10. #7
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    Default Re: 11 months to E. Africa and back and...plans and updates

    What! 11 months! That’s just about enough time. Soooooo jealous!

    We will keep an eye on your progress have a safe and enjoyable trip.

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  12. #8
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    Default Re: 11 months to E. Africa and back and...plans and updates

    Quote Originally Posted by CalDriver View Post
    Thanks! After some Zambia time we intend to head up to Tanzania, ETA to Tunduma is something like Dec 1, where we hope to visit Ruaha and Nyerere, making it up to Arusha just before the New Year. So perhaps not too far from your recommendation. Afterwards I had a vague vision of a clockwise loop, West to Uganda, entering Kenya from the West. This was based on some notion of wanting to go to Kidepo NP in January, not wanting to leave it too late. But perhaps we should go the other way around, it would be great to meet up.

    Do you have thoughts on the best time to visit Kidepo, assuming a roughly Jan-Mar timeframe?
    I think clockwise around Lake Victoria sounds great (we did it anti-clockwise). Uganda is a wonderful country with so many varied ecosystems. Don’t miss Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and the gorillas, Semuliki NP and the rainforest, chimpanzees, Murchison Falls and the mighty Nile, the Haven near Jinja - amongst many other great places.

    We went to the lovely Kidepo in January. It was a good time to go.

    And then you can do the route we discussed before via Suam River into Kenya.

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  14. #9
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    Default Re: 11 months to E. Africa and back and...plans and updates

    Really looking forward in readingy your blog. I see something similar in my future, although still 5 or 6yrs away.

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  16. #10
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    Default Re: 11 months to E. Africa and back and...plans and updates

    Safari njema!
    Tony Weaver
    2010 Mitsubishi Pajero Sport 3.2l diesel
    Previously
    1991 Land Rover 110 Hi-Line 3.5l V8; 1968 2.25l Land Rover SII; 1969 2.6l SIIA; 1973 2.25l SIII
    1983 Toyota HiLux 2l 4x4

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  18. #11
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    Default Re: 11 months to E. Africa and back and...plans and updates

    Wow CalDriver, you are making me envious. If our plans had worked out we would be at Tarangire NP in Tanzania at present but with Australians still in an effective border closure and with the problem with Linda's foot (which has improved tremendously over the last few months) that was not possible. Having said that it would almost be over now and at least we still have a wonderful trip to look forward to. We are only likely to be allowed out of Australia to destinations in Africa in May/June next year and with lots to sort out in Zimbabwe once we return 2022 won't happen so our plans have become 2023. I'm pleased that my various detailed threads have proved useful to you through all the advice of those that have already commented above this post. I can't wait to start reading of your exciting exploits.

    Safari Njema
    John 2021 Prado GXL 2.8 (Australia) & 2017 Land Cruiser 79 D/Cab + Alucab Ossewa "Hagrid" (Africa)
    Badger 4i BL1677 "Kamba 2" (Australia) and Baobab BL1715 "Kamba" (selling in Africa)
    "I never knew of a morning in Africa when I woke up and was not happy" - Ernest Hemingway

    Kgalagadi 2019 Namibia 2019 Gonarezhou 2019 Mana/Tafika 2018 Kgalagadi 2017 Lion, Hippo, Eland Leguaan, Python

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  20. #12
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    Default Re: 11 months to E. Africa and back and...plans and updates

    A fantastic trip, wish you all the best! Btw, we too were in Kidepo in January, and we thought it was a great time to be there.

    Safari njema!
    24 hours in a day.... 24 beer in a case.... Coincidence?
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    My blog: Our African Ramblings (https://safaribug.wordpress.com/)

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  22. #13
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    Default Re: 11 months to E. Africa and back and...plans and updates

    Quote Originally Posted by Tedx2 View Post
    Wow CalDriver, you are making me envious. If our plans had worked out we would be at Tarangire NP in Tanzania at present but with Australians still in an effective border closure and with the problem with Linda's foot (which has improved tremendously over the last few months) that was not possible. Having said that it would almost be over now and at least we still have a wonderful trip to look forward to. We are only likely to be allowed out of Australia to destinations in Africa in May/June next year and with lots to sort out in Zimbabwe once we return 2022 won't happen so our plans have become 2023. I'm pleased that my various detailed threads have proved useful to you through all the advice of those that have already commented above this post. I can't wait to start reading of your exciting exploits.

    Safari Njema
    Tarangire awaits you still! The anticipation is certainly a critical part of the trip, but I suppose you are getting more than enough of that with covid derailing your plans. Perhaps a silver lining is the delay will be the best for the foot. I was wondering how your plans were shaping up and that we might overlap somewhere, but it seems not. I know you have thought about this carefully, when do you think your 2023 departure is?
    Blog of our African travels: stuckinlowgear.com

  23. #14
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    Default Re: 11 months to E. Africa and back and...plans and updates

    Congratulations on making the plunge to travel again. Wishing you safe travels and plenty of enjoyable adventures and encounters. I have enjoyed your blog and just subscribed to your blog stuckinlowgear.com
    You have created a useful resource there that may of our forum will enjoy/benefit from.

    We look forward to updates when you have the chance to post them.
    Were you able to get any travel insurance for this trip?
    Still planning to do the "05"?
    Wishing you all the best

  24. #15
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    Default Re: 11 months to E. Africa and back and...plans and updates

    Quote Originally Posted by CalDriver View Post
    I know you have thought about this carefully, when do you think your 2023 departure is?
    Our travel dates are likely to mirror our original plans but without Botswana at the start as we will, hopefully, be able to enjoy Botswana in October and November 2022. Therefore tentatively;

    Zimbabwe: start-June to mid-June (15 days)
    Zambia: mid-June to late-June (12 days)
    Malawi: late-June to end-June (3 days)
    Tanzania: start- July to late-July (26 days)
    Rwanda: late-July to end-July (8 days)
    Uganda: start-August to late-August (28 days)
    Kenya: late-August to early-October (36 days)
    Tanzania: early-October to late-October (17 days)
    Zambia: late-October to mid-November (24 days)
    Zimbabwe: mid-November to end-November (16 days)
    John 2021 Prado GXL 2.8 (Australia) & 2017 Land Cruiser 79 D/Cab + Alucab Ossewa "Hagrid" (Africa)
    Badger 4i BL1677 "Kamba 2" (Australia) and Baobab BL1715 "Kamba" (selling in Africa)
    "I never knew of a morning in Africa when I woke up and was not happy" - Ernest Hemingway

    Kgalagadi 2019 Namibia 2019 Gonarezhou 2019 Mana/Tafika 2018 Kgalagadi 2017 Lion, Hippo, Eland Leguaan, Python

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  26. #16
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    Post Re: 11 months to E. Africa and back and...plans and updates

    Quote Originally Posted by SANZ View Post
    Congratulations on making the plunge to travel again. Wishing you safe travels and plenty of enjoyable adventures and encounters. I have enjoyed your blog and just subscribed to your blog stuckinlowgear.com You have created a useful resource there that may of our forum will enjoy/benefit from.We look forward to updates when you have the chance to post them.Were you able to get any travel insurance for this trip?Still planning to do the "05"?Wishing you all the best
    Thank you and glad you like the blog. It was not easy to get going, but now I sort of have the hang of it so I hope to keep up better than last time around.

    We have travel insurance of a sort. Not the type that covers cancelled bookings, lost luggage and that sort of thing, that risk we bear ourselves. It does cover medical evacuation, including for covid, and for countries that are the US State Dept no-travel list, unless they are specifically listed as "Do Not Travel" for security reasons (think Afghanistan, Somalia). You can check the map here if you want: https://travelmaps.state.gov/TSGMap/ When clicking on a red "do not travel" country there is a more info button, and there it will say why it is do not travel.

    I believe some countries due to covid are now requiring that travelers have some type of travel insurance for medical purposes. So we think ours will suffice, I suspect border agents are not reading the fine print as long as you have something. Our insurance is obtained through Ripcord (https://redpointtravelprotection.com/plan/ripcord/). You can purchase coverage for "security evacuation" too, but we did not. I believe they sell internationally.

    Still planning the 05! Though we will reevaluate as we get closer and see when the rains decide to arrive. The plan of the moment still has us doing the 05 on...Nov 5th or so? SLNP to Kasanka, then Busanga Plains at Ntemwa camp. We received this ominous warning from Tyrone McKeith (Ntemwa camp owner) this morning:

    "We need to be vigilant on weather conditions between now and your travel dates. If the rains are very heavy beforehand then it might become aa very tough drive, but we will stay in touch with you in the lead up to departure.
    Which vehicle will you be in? Do you have a winch?"

    So that was interesting to read! And no..we don't have a winch
    , but we do have a shovel, max trax, and are good at digging.
    Last edited by CalDriver; 2021/10/11 at 12:37 AM.
    Blog of our African travels: stuckinlowgear.com

  27. #17
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    Default Re: 11 months to E. Africa and back and...plans and updates

    We need to be vigilant on weather conditions between now and your travel dates. If the rains are very heavy beforehand then it might become aa very tough drive, but we will stay in touch with you in the lead up to departure. Which vehicle will you be in? Do you have a winch?"

    So that was interesting to read! And no..we don't have a winch
    , but we do have a shovel, max trax, and are good at digging.

    🤣 Good customer service, Tyrone! He is a good ‘un.

  28. #18
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    Default Re: 11 months to E. Africa and back and...plans and updates

    Well, we made it. Internet is fleeting, so I posted to the blog w/o photos. Here is the update: https://stuckinlowgear.com/namibia-2...kavango-river/

    Short version: Windhoek was it's usual good self, but gearing up for a year in Africa remotely (I am jealous of those of you that can prepare and depart from your front door) is messy. After some logistics and spending too much money, we were tired of the city and ready to GO!

    Now we're at Ngepi Camp and it is wonderful. After such a long stretch away, and so much time thinking and planning for this we can hardly believe it is happening. Arriving here felt like we have really begun, and waking up in the tent looking at the river this morning was something special.
    Blog of our African travels: stuckinlowgear.com

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  30. #19
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    Default Re: 11 months to E. Africa and back and...plans and updates

    Safe travels and reach out if you need anything in Kenya!

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  32. #20
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    Default Re: 11 months to E. Africa and back and...plans and updates

    Greetings Caldriver

    We might be close on your heals... Or in front of you!!

    We hope to be in Kasanka around 12 Nov (bucket list) and then we will decide which direction, probably look at the rain clouds and decide how to stay ahead of them!

    Ultimately we will end up in Tanzania early December... Hopefully spend Christmas / NY in Arusha....

    Will drop you a PM

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