When the idea of moving to Africa first came up in conversations between Garrett and I – there was without question an understanding that the main objective of living there would be to see and experience every bit of Africa as we could. Both of us had long dreamed of doing a grand overland trip over the whole continent. Before deciding on taking a job in Botswana, we had actually planned to take an around the world trip with a large portion of it involving Africa. When the decision was made to move to Botswana, it was immediately decided that after my 2 year contract was completed, we would take time off to do a road trip across Africa.
Of course, our ultimate dream was to do the famous Cape to Cairo route — but recent instability in the East Africa region took that option out of the running pretty quick. Since we visited the best of Tanzania and Rwanda this past year, as well as some key sites in the Middle East, we decided to focus our road trip on the best of Southern Africa.
The past 2 years have been filled with preparations for this trip. I can almost guarantee that at least once a day something comes up related to the “Big Trip” (which is what we have been calling it before deciding on the more formal and fashionable name – “African Escapades”).We have been researching, talking to anyone and everyone possible for advice, collecting supplies, formulating routes, and of course getting a vehicle ready. Because I have been swamped with my work at the hospital, Garrett has taken the lead on putting together this trip. We have had frequent meetings to go over the progress and make big decisions together. Of course, the Defender has been the most time intensive part of his preparations.
So here is the Route. We invested in Tracks4Africa which is the most accurate and detailed mapping program of Africa. It even shows obstacles like heavy potholes or log bridge. It also accurately factors in your time as it knows that you can only drive 40kms an hour on sandy roads or that you will be slowed due to villages and poor road conditions.
This route is a 16,474 kms (10,250 miles) and is estimated to take 274 hours of driving. This is A LOT especially when you compare how small it looks on a map of Africa. There will also be lots more KMs for when we get lost, go on game drives or head off the beaten path to explore…..
Here is a rough outline of the ESCAPADE!
- Day 1- 4: The Elephant Sanctuary Hartbeespoort Dam (Play with Elephants), Panorama Route (Bourke’s Luck Potholes, Blyde River Canyon Drive, Gods Window), Moholoholo animal refuge Stay at Jessica the Hippo
- Days 5-12: Kruger – Sable Hide, Shipandani, Tamboti Tented Camp, Lower Sabie, Satara, Crocodile Bridge, Berg-en-dal
- Day 13-15: Swaziland – Malolotja Falls Campsite, Mlilwane
- Day 16- 20: St Lucia, iSimangaliso Wetland Park (Birding), Rocktail Camp (Sea Turtle nesting), Kosi Bay
- Day 21-39: Mozambique – Xai Xai, Tofo (diving), Vilanculos (diving), Mozambique island, Pemba (5-7 Day diving/sailing trip of deserted quirimbas archipelago)
- Day 40-46: Malawi (diving, sailing, relaxing, possible game drive)
- Day 47-53: Zambia – South Luwanga NP (Crocs Valley) Lusaka (car repairs)
- Day 54-65: Zimbabwe – Mana pools (Ruckomechi Camp) , Lake Kariba, Hwange
- Day 66-86: Botswana- Hunters Road, Elephant Sands, Baines Baobabs/NXAI Pans, Kubu Tree, Central Kalahari Game Reserve (Kori Camp, Passarge 2), Magakagdi Salt Pans, Maun, Third Bridge (Moremi) , Khwai, Savuti, Kasane
- Day 87 -107: Namibia- We have not fully planned this route but we are looking to go to Etosha, Kaokoland….
- Day 108ish Back to Gaborone to store the Defender and onward to the next adventure.
Here is the link to the detailed itinerary.
We are beyond excited to begin this journey that we have invested so much of our hearts and minds to creating! We will set off on Feb 5 and return to Gaborone sometime in May 2018. Below is the outline of our itinerary. We will of course be keeping everyone up to date on our “Escapades” – both on the blog and instagram ( @african_escapades or @toriwill22 or @glister22). We welcome any visitors who would like to pop in on any part of our journey! At most of the camp sites they allow up to 6 guests and 3 cars so we can accommodate you. And please keep us in your thoughts as we know this journey will be full of ups and downs. We will need plenty of good luck and patience to survive in the bush and make it back to Gabs in one piece!