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Southern African A.Netters: I Want Your Opinions!  
User currently offlineDL021 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 11446 posts, RR: 76
Posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 12 hours ago) and read 1555 times:
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I'm planning my trip from Capetown to Victoria Falls. Going to drive myself, and I want to do it this year (off season...winter there if possible) and want some local opinions on driving routes and the best places to stop and see wildlife and scenery. I also want local info on where to avoid.

I'm going to travel rather basic, and am open to meeting with people down there.

Feed me some ideas and let's discuss.

[Edited 2007-11-28 10:25:34]


Is my Pan Am ticket to the moon still good?
20 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineJGPH1A From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 11 hours ago) and read 1542 times:

Hmmm - winter, less fun overall, weather in CPT can be very changeable, and the highveld can be damn cold ! Might think about switching to autumn (April/May) or spring (October).

First of all, how much time do you have ? This could dictate your route options, although you can do the drive nonstop in a few days.

Secondly, DON'T drive through Zimbabwe. Nuh-uh, not even a bit, big no-no, nyet, non. If you can manage to make it through the border with your car intact (and I'd double check what rental conditions say about crossing borders) you're likely to be raped, mugged, pillaged and run out of gas (no gas in Zim) within minutes.

As a thought, you could drive up from the Cape through Upington (Augrabies Falls) and Mafikeng to the Botswana border, then drive up through Botswana to the Chobe river crossing which gets you very close to Vic Falls without crossing into Zim. You can fly from Maun or Francistown to VFA or Livingstone to visit the falls.

Do definitely go to Vic Falls, they're fantastic, although radically less fantastic in the winter (no rain). The rainy season is in the southern summer, so you get more rain in the catchment area (Southern Angola, Northern Namibia). If you can, plan your visit to the falls when the moon is full, so you can see the lunar rainbow - stunning and completely unreal.

If you go in the spring, you can drive up from the Cape through Namaqualand and see the wildflowers - they literally carpet the landscape after the first spring rains, and are an awesome spectacle - you have to be a bit lucky, but it's worth it.

Just my thoughts, anyway - it will be an awesome trip whatever time of year you go. Have a great time.


User currently offlineSW733 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 6306 posts, RR: 9
Reply 2, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 11 hours ago) and read 1528 times:

Well, I don't know how much my opinion will be valued since I am not from RSA, but...  Wink

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 1):

Secondly, DON'T drive through Zimbabwe

Agreed!

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 1):
you're likely to be raped, mugged, pillaged and run out of gas (no gas in Zim) within minutes.

While I have been to Zimbabwe several times, and this has not happened to be once (or even close), I still would avoid it. Then again, it's easier for a Namibian than an American...I wouldn't dare try to enter ZImbabwe on my American passport.

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 1):
As a thought, you could drive up from the Cape through Upington (Augrabies Falls) and Mafikeng to the Botswana border, then drive up through Botswana to the Chobe river crossing which gets you very close to Vic Falls without crossing into Zim.

This sounds like a FANTASTIC drive. I've never done it as one, but I have been to all these places over time, and I would probably put my vote behind this one. It can get a little boring at times I bet, but what drive doesn't?


User currently offlineDL021 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 11446 posts, RR: 76
Reply 3, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 7 hours ago) and read 1512 times:
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Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 1):
First of all, how much time do you have ? This could dictate your route options, although you can do the drive nonstop in a few days.

I'm thinking I'll take a week or so.

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 1):
Secondly, DON'T drive through Zimbabwe. Nuh-uh, not even a bit, big no-no, nyet, non

I was wondering if it's still safe around Livingstone since it's such a tourist draw. I've read some guides saying it's ok, but nothing negative. It does say that's the only place in Zimbabwe that it's safe to go to right now. Anyone who lives there or near there now that could chip in their two cents. If I don't hear from someone reliable (since Jonathon here is very reliable and he says don't) then I'll avoid the area even though it affords the best views of the falls.

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 1):
If you can manage to make it through the border with your car intact

The company I'm going to contract with makes arrangements for border crossings. I was planning on crossing at Botswana and Zambia but Zimbabwe is up in the air.

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 1):
If you can, plan your visit to the falls when the moon is full, so you can see the lunar rainbow - stunning and completely unreal.

This is exactly the sort of stuff I was looking for! Thanks!

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 1):
Just my thoughts, anyway - it will be an awesome trip whatever time of year you go. Have a great time.

I'll probably call you/im you and ask you some more questions if that's ok, as the time comes closer.

Quoting SW733 (Reply 2):
Well, I don't know how much my opinion will be valued since I am not from RSA,

Well, I did say "Southern" Africa since I won't just be in the RSA.

Quoting SW733 (Reply 2):
Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 1):

Secondly, DON'T drive through Zimbabwe

Agreed!

Well, that's two down. I'm not that eager to drive through bandit country if I can avoid it.

Quoting SW733 (Reply 2):
This sounds like a FANTASTIC drive. I've never done it as one, but I have been to all these places over time, and I would probably put my vote behind this one. It can get a little boring at times I bet, but what drive doesn't?

I'm hoping it'll be fantastic. I plan on this trip and one through Kenya over the next couple of years.



Is my Pan Am ticket to the moon still good?
User currently offlineSW733 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 6306 posts, RR: 9
Reply 4, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 7 hours ago) and read 1506 times:



Quoting DL021 (Reply 3):

Well, I did say "Southern" Africa since I won't just be in the RSA.

Oh yeah...my bad. Sorry, took a sick day at work, my mind is playing games with me.


User currently offlineJGPH1A From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (6 years 8 months 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 1492 times:



Quoting DL021 (Reply 3):
I'll avoid the area even though it affords the best views of the falls.

Hmmm - debatable. The Zambian side gives you a great view down the gorge. ANd if you are staying in Livingstone, a taxi to the bridge can't cost much, and you can walk over the bridge into Zimbabwe.

I don't say don't go into Zimbabwe at all, I was suggesting avoiding taking the long way round, driving across into Zim at Beitbridge and driving up to VFA. Crossing from Chobe is much much closer, a very quick trip.

What you absolutely have to do if you have time is

1. Flight of the Angels - small plane flight over the falls - mind-blowing
2. White water rafting on the Zambezi. I haven't done it myself (I'm a wuss) but a mate of mine did it with his wife and they had a ball. Rafting over grade 5 rapids with hippos and crocodiles as an added zest of danger has got to be one of the world's last true adventures.

Quoting DL021 (Reply 3):
I'll probably call you/im you and ask you some more questions if that's ok, as the time comes closer.

Any time.


User currently offlineSuperfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 39713 posts, RR: 75
Reply 6, posted (6 years 8 months 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 1482 times:

DL021:
Sounds like you are gearing up for a fantastic journey. I look forward to reading a trip report from you when you return. Are you going to fly South African Airways A340 from your hometown of Atlanta?
I had a cousin that visited South Africa last year along with visiting 7 other countries in southern Africa including Angola and Zimbabwe. He did the whole guided tour thing though.
The pictures I've seen from the places you will visit are breath-taking. I will make a trip to Africa at some point.

Have fun Ian.



Bring back the Concorde
User currently offlineAlexEU From Serbia, joined Oct 2007, 1817 posts, RR: 2
Reply 7, posted (6 years 8 months 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 1466 times:

I can suggest Garden route. CPT-P.E. via George, than go up to Allival North via Burgesdorp...

Lesotho is a beutiful country. You can visit it, if you travel via Garden route. A lot of nice mountains and landscape. It is also safer then South Africa, but the roads are VERY BAD (in mountains). You need a 4x4.

If you go via Northern Cape, Kimberly is a nice town to visit.


Enjoy

[Edited 2007-11-29 14:15:00]

User currently offlineDL021 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 11446 posts, RR: 76
Reply 8, posted (6 years 8 months 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 1457 times:
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Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 5):
1. Flight of the Angels - small plane flight over the falls - mind-blowing

I have their website saved. It's on the list if the helicopter tours are too expensive for what you get.

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 5):
2. White water rafting on the Zambezi. I haven't done it myself (I'm a wuss) but a mate of mine did it with his wife and they had a ball. Rafting over grade 5 rapids with hippos and crocodiles as an added zest of danger has got to be one of the world's last true adventures.

I hadn't thought of that. I'll definitely look into that.

Quoting Superfly (Reply 6):
Are you going to fly South African Airways A340 from your hometown of Atlanta?

I don't think that they fly that route anymore. I'll probably fly DL to Joburg and hop on SAA to the Cape.

Quoting AlexEU (Reply 7):
I can suggest Garden route. CPT-P.E. via George, than go up to Allival North via Burgesdorp...

How long does that take?

Quoting AlexEU (Reply 7):
the roads are VERY BAD (in mountains). You need a 4x4.

I'm renting from an agency that handles Defenders and other 4x4s.



Is my Pan Am ticket to the moon still good?
User currently offlineJGPH1A From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (6 years 8 months 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 1440 times:



Quoting DL021 (Reply 8):
I'll probably fly DL to Joburg

DL 763 all that way ? Bad enough JFK-NCE, never mind a flight twice that long
 Smile

Quoting DL021 (Reply 8):
Quoting AlexEU (Reply 7):
I can suggest Garden route. CPT-P.E. via George, than go up to Allival North via Burgesdorp...

How long does that take?

The Garden Route is lovely, but you'd probably want to spend your whole week doing just that - it's gorgeous. If you want to get up to Vic Falls as well, the Garden Route is going to take you quite a way out of your way. You could do the first bit as far as George then drive over the Karoo (also pretty) to Kimberley (home of the Big Hole) then up to Mafikeng and that way. The Karoo drive is kind of long and flat but some cute little towns on the way.


User currently offlineDL021 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 11446 posts, RR: 76
Reply 10, posted (6 years 8 months 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 1435 times:
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Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 9):


DL 763 all that way ? Bad enough JFK-NCE, never mind a flight twice that long

I've done ATL-NCE on them before and it's actually decent if you are a couple and you have the aisle/window combination. Put the armrest up and everyone sleeps.

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 9):
The Garden Route is lovely, but you'd probably want to spend your whole week doing just that - it's gorgeous. If you want to get up to Vic Falls as well, the Garden Route is going to take you quite a way out of your way. You could do the first bit as far as George then drive over the Karoo (also pretty) to Kimberley (home of the Big Hole) then up to Mafikeng and that way. The Karoo drive is kind of long and flat but some cute little towns on the way.

I"m going to research this route and get back here to ask specific questions if there are any.



Is my Pan Am ticket to the moon still good?
User currently offlineAbrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5076 posts, RR: 55
Reply 11, posted (6 years 8 months 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 1434 times:

PM if you need help. As some of my TRs show, I did almost such a road trip. I felt safe in Zimbabwe ... but DO NOT advice driving. South Africa is perhaps unsafer in the cities than Zimbabwe. Visit Mozambique if you can ... my favorite country in the entire region.

Cheers,
A.



Live, and let live.
User currently offlineMainMAN From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2005, 2097 posts, RR: 5
Reply 12, posted (6 years 8 months 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 1418 times:



Quoting DL021 (Reply 3):
I'm not that eager to drive through bandit country if I can avoid it.

I have a friend who drives regularly between Harare and Jo'burg for provisions.........how the hell she does it (with kids), I will never know. The border sounds like your worst nightmare.

Enjoy your trip, Zimbabwe is possibly the nicest and best place I've ever been (1990), so I assume the rest of southern Africa is the same...  thumbsup 


User currently offlineDL021 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 11446 posts, RR: 76
Reply 13, posted (6 years 8 months 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 1404 times:
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MainMan....That sounds like a serious adventure if she's doing that now, based on what I knew before and have learned in the last couple of weeks.

Hope she continues to do well. Thanks for the thoughts.



Is my Pan Am ticket to the moon still good?
User currently offlineAlexEU From Serbia, joined Oct 2007, 1817 posts, RR: 2
Reply 14, posted (6 years 8 months 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 1402 times:

Zambia is also nice. You could drive from Vic falls to South Luangwa national park - gorgeus.

Quoting DL021 (Reply 8):
I'm renting from an agency that handles Defenders and other 4x4s.

In Lesotho you could visit Malealea or Semongong (very high waterfalls). Altough, Lesotho is NOT as beutiful as SA... it's nice to be in a different country.

In SA (Free State) you can visit Golden Gate N.P. VERY NICE landscape (near Clarens). There are nice 4x4 drives in Free State too.

Mpumalanga is nice too.


User currently onlineMaverickM11 From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 17365 posts, RR: 46
Reply 15, posted (6 years 8 months 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 1401 times:



Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 1):
Secondly, DON'T drive through Zimbabwe. Nuh-uh, not even a bit, big no-no, nyet, non. If you can manage to make it through the border with your car intact (and I'd double check what rental conditions say about crossing borders) you're likely to be raped, mugged, pillaged and run out of gas (no gas in Zim) within minutes.

Side note...I've heard the same thing *a lot* about driving to JNB or Pretoria; how true is that?



E pur si muove -Galileo
User currently offlineF9Animal From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 5001 posts, RR: 28
Reply 16, posted (6 years 8 months 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 1374 times:



Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 1):
Secondly, DON'T drive through Zimbabwe. Nuh-uh, not even a bit, big no-no, nyet, non. If you can manage to make it through the border with your car intact (and I'd double check what rental conditions say about crossing borders) you're likely to be raped, mugged, pillaged and run out of gas (no gas in Zim) within minutes.

My very close friend is from South Africa. He has some amazing stories about how tough it is in that neck of the woods. He worked security out there when he lived there, and he said his best friend was his glock and his K9.

On a side note, he has offered to take me along when he goes home to visit family. BTW- What does "fukol" mean? He won't tell me, but laughs like crazy when I say it.



I Am A Different Animal!!
User currently offlineSuperfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 39713 posts, RR: 75
Reply 17, posted (6 years 8 months 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 1368 times:



Quoting DL021 (Reply 8):
I don't think that they fly that route anymore. I'll probably fly DL to Joburg and hop on SAA to the Cape.

You can fly Delta any time since you live in Atlanta. It's not everyday you go to South Africa. You might want to take advantage of the opportunity to see what South African Airways is like. I am sure they fly out of New York.



Bring back the Concorde
User currently offlineAerorobNZ From Rwanda, joined Feb 2001, 7172 posts, RR: 13
Reply 18, posted (6 years 8 months 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 1364 times:



Quoting DL021 (Reply 3):
I was wondering if it's still safe around Livingstone since it's such a tourist draw. I've read some guides saying it's ok, but nothing negative

Potential dangers are everywhere in Africa, that goes without saying so most locals won't tell you about something that is only potentially dangerous in the wrong circumstances, so if a local/resident deems it dangerous enough to actually let you know -don't go because it IS a real danger. I'm with JGPH1A - avoid Zim border crossings where possible.


User currently offlineJGPH1A From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (6 years 8 months 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 1360 times:



Quoting MaverickM11 (Reply 15):
Side note...I've heard the same thing *a lot* about driving to JNB or Pretoria; how true is that?

True to a certain extent, there are parts of most urban areas that are best avoided, but millions of people drive around every day without incident. I hear that the situation is worse now than when I was there last, but sensible precautions will go a long way to reducing risk. After all, there are areas of Miami I wouldn't drive around in at night, and to my mind whole chunks of LA are completely no-go. It's just about awareness.

Quoting F9Animal (Reply 16):
What does "fukol" mean?

Politely put, it means "none whatsoever" as in "How much beer is left ? F*** all !"


User currently offlineAlexEU From Serbia, joined Oct 2007, 1817 posts, RR: 2
Reply 20, posted (6 years 8 months 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 1348 times:



Quoting AerorobNZ (Reply 18):
avoid Zim border crossings where possible.

But if you just want to claim that you've been in Zim, then cross the Zambezi river...

Last time i been in vic falls was 2 and a half years ago. Helicopters flights are excellent. I read that there are De Havilland Moth flights, altought i am not sure if they still operate.


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