The Classic Safari Challenge 2011
15th August to 6th September 2011
The Route Outline - Day-by-Day
Day 1 - Monday 15 August - Arrive in Dar es Salaam
Dar es Salaam is Tanzania’s largest city. The town is a busy, bustling port full of street markets with all the colour and character that you expect from Africa.
There are no official functions on the first day. Unpack, relax, visit the spa, meet with fellow entrants and the Organisation team or go shopping. Tonight and tomorrow night we stay in the Kempinski, a 5 star luxury hotel with pool and good restaurants totally suited to your requirements.
Day 2 - Tuesday 16 August - Car Collection
Today is car collection day. The port is a short journey from the hotel. Buses will take you in shifts to collect your cars and complete the documentation. This will take you a couple of hours but you will return to the hotel in plenty of time to check the car over and attend to any final packing. There will be an official welcome dinner and briefing in the hotel.
Day 3 - Wednesday 17 August - Dar es Salaam to Morogoro: 194 kms (120 miles)
The Flag drops and we’re off. A fairly early start will take you on a short journey to Morogoro. The cars will be safely locked away at a tobacco factory, as we catch “Bush Planes” into the Selous.
You will arrive at the camps (all deluxe Safari Lodges) in time for your first lunch in the bush. The Selous covers 50,000 sq kilometres and is the largest and one of the most exclusive game reserves in Africa.
It contains over 800,000 major animals, 50,000 elephants (as much as 10% of the worlds total), 100,000 buffalo and all the major predators including Lions (except cheetahs) plus, the very rare hunting dogs. After lunch you will depart on the first safari of the adventure.
Days 4 & 5 - Thursday 18 & Friday 19 August - Rest Days
Time to relax, enjoy the game drives and the magnificence of the Park.
All the game drives are in open sided 4 x 4 with guides that are legendary for their local knowledge of the bush. Because the Selous is so vast and the number of lodges few the game driving experience really gives the sense of wild and raw wilderness.
In the evening ‘sun downer’ drives will take you into the bush for a Gin and Tonic while watching the most amazing sunsets, before returning to your lodge for a gourmet dinner.
Day 6 - Saturday 20 August - Morogoro to Mbeya: 593 kms (370 miles)
An early start and a short flight back to Morogoro. We reunite you with your cars and we set off on the road to Mbeya. The highway we take was built by the Chinese and is good quality tarmac. The scenery along the road is diverse and interesting whether it is the bicycles with their impossible loads, the sideway crab like buses, the Uluguru mountains, the 3000 year old Baobab tree forest, or the Great Ruaha River. Just observe the people, cycling, walking or the formidable lady police officers. The main road passes through the Mikumi National Park where the lions have taken to the lazy life. They get up at dawn and just collect the roads kills caused by the lorries during the night. Tonight we stay at The Utengule Country Club situated in the middle of a coffee plantation. It is a long day but good easy tarmac all the way.
Day 7 - Sunday 21 August - Mbeya to Lilongwe: 683kms (426 miles)
We enter Malawi which has a deserved reputation ‘as the home of the smiling people’ and it is completely justified. They are very friendly people in a very beautiful country. The border between Tanzania and Malawi was new in 2006 and is very efficient. The road to the border climbs to 2,300 meters and is a maze of tea, banana and sugar plantations. This is the longest day but after the border we use the M1, another Chinese built road, to Lilongwe. It is very smooth, now one of the best roads in Africa, devoid of traffic and highly scenic. After 70 kms, giant Lake Malawi comes into view.
The escarpment, which rises to the right and the silver lake to the left, makes the M1 very different from the British version. The first of the optional test has been arranged for today, the Malawi Government have agreed to close part of the MI for us, a steep tarmac climb up the escarpment, an amazing timed “hill-climb”. In order to break the day lunch has been arranged in Mzuzu before continuing on through vast juniper forests to the Capitol Hotel in Lilongwe. The hotel offers every thing you would expect from Lilongwe’s best hotel. Simply soak up the comforts.
Day 8 - Monday 22 August - Lilongwe to Tete: 379 kms (240 miles)
We take the major road into Mozambique down the M1 and the M6 to the border. The scenery slowly changes to dry and dusty on the 100 kms trip from the border to Tete. Although Tete is the regional capital it is still a small town. Founded by the Arabs in the 14th and15th century it developed rapidly when gold was found and the Portuguese colonialists established it as their regional capital. Today it is mainly a transport junction situated on the Zambezi River, which we will cross via the 538 metre suspension bridge. Built in the 1970’s to enable equipment to get to the vast Cahor Dam project it is the only permanent crossing of the Zambezi in Mozambique. The accommodation tonight is the Zambezi Hotel. The hotel is the tallest building in Tete, so where else to dine but on the roof.
Day 9 - Tuesday 23 August - Tete to Gorongosa Park: 289 kms (180 miles)
A good tar road south to Gorongosa National Park via Changara through what is colloquially called the ‘Beira Corridor’. The infrastructure for the corridor was created by a large aid programme with the purpose of creating routes of road, rail and oil pipe lines to the coast and the port of Beira, for the central landlocked countries of Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The road has very light traffic with many quaint villages scattered amongst the vast plans. One short test today with optional main road route. Tonight is the first of the two nights we spend in the Gorongosa National Park. We will be staying in deluxe safari tents, each en suite, and camp fire catering. Sunsets, good food and wine - perfect for unwinding from the rigors of the last few days.
Day 10 - Wednesday 24 August - Rest Day
A day at leisure in the Parque Nacional de Gorongosa. At the centre of the park is the 1862 metre, sacred, Mount Gorongosa. The park is the showcase of the Mozambique’s wildlife rehabilitation projects. At one time the game was amongst the most prolific in Southern Africa, but the wildlife suffered. In the last 11 years, animal numbers and diversity has increased at an impressive rate and all the major animals of the region are now seen on game drives. Game drives have been arranged for the day off and an open air dinner will conclude a very special day.
Day 11 - Thursday 25 August - Gorongosa to Vilankulos: 479kms (299 miles)
Leaving the park we head for the coast and the Indian Ocean. Again the EN1 is a new road with light traffic. It crosses the River Soave before heading for the Indian Ocean at Vilankulos. Another optional test is included in todays run. We are staying for two nights at the Indigo Bay Hotel. Located on Bazaruto Archipelago.
After securing the cars we will take a 15 minute flight to reach the island resort. The resort is situated in the Bazaruto Archipelago National Park. The Island itself is tiny and is situated in crystal clear sea, surrounded by gleaming white sand. The 5 star luxury lodge was fully refurbished in 2001 and offers a variety of beach activities as well as three restaurants and all the facilities you would expect from one of Southern Africa’s premier locations.
Day 12 - Friday 26 August - Rest Day
A chance to completely relax and enjoy the resort. Any number of activities are available:- diving, fishing, snorkelling, water sports, dune boarding, horse riding, birding or just crashing out on the beach or round the pool. In the evening an extravaganza of seafood has been arranged.
Day 13 - Saturday 27 August - Vilankulos to Inhambane: 320kms (200 miles)
After the short flight back to our cars we continue on down the beautiful coast road towards Inhambane. A short smooth sandy test today just off the main road, which is optional. Tonight we luxuriate at the Flamingo Bay Water Lodge. The exquisite rooms at the lodge are built on stilts in the sparkling waters of Inhambane Bay, with the restaurants etc on adjoining land. It goes without saying that the views from the rooms, all of which have en suite facilities are beautiful and very different. Each chalet boasts a balcony, sliding doors, and hand crafted furniture. Every thing is connected by walkways. In the evening we will dine in the Flamingo Bay Restaurant which specialises in superb sea food, most of it caught from the Lodge itself.
Day 14 - Sunday 28 August - Rest Day
Another day to further enjoy the facilities of the Flamingo Bay Hotel. You can fish, swim or snorkel from your private lodge, use the pool or partake in any number of water sports, horse riding, scuba diving or just relaxing around the bar. However, it is worth taking the short journey of a few kilometres into the old city of Inhambane. Inhambane was first settled by the Portuguese in the 16th century. It was the centre of ivory and slave trading until, in 1834, the town was razed to the ground. A large section of the old town that was rebuilt and still survives including the 18th century cathedral. There are many small bars and cafes and a very active market. In the evening another sumptuous meal has been arranged.
Day 15 - Monday 29 August - Inhambane to Kruger Park: 572kms (357 miles)
Today we continue down the EN1 through the provincial capitol of Xia Xia and on to the capital of Mozambique, Maputo. We will take a break in the journey with lunch at the Polana Hotel. It is an exquisite colonial 5 star establishment built in 1922. It is a short journey from Maputo to the border with South Africa and Shishangeni Lodge in the Kruger Park. We cross into the Park via the Crocodile Bridge; a concrete causeway that the Crocodile River constantly meanders over.
Day 16. Tuesday 30 August - Rest Day
A Day at leisure in the Kruger National Park to enjoy the 5 star Shishangeni Lodge. The lodge was opened five years ago and is on a private concession of 1500 hectares that is connected without fences to the Kruger Park itself. Early morning and late afternoon game drives have been arranged and it will be possible to go on guided and guarded (with guns) walks into the park.
The park itself covers 19,500 sq kms and is one of the oldest in Africa. It is full of game with large number of elephants, black and white rhino, leopard, cheetah, wild dogs, hyena and buffalo amongst the attractions. It is one of the best places in Africa to view the big five game animals in a single day. The lodge has a great kitchen and the evening meal will give us all great opportunity to discuss the day’s adventures.
Day 17 - Wednesday 31 August - Kruger to Drakensberg: 589 kms (368 miles)
Today we cross Swaziland on our way to the Drakensberg Mountains. Swaziland is a very beautiful mountainous country with excellent main roads. We will stop at the Royal Swazi Hotel for a buffet lunch before re-entering South Africa and our first experience of the high quality gravel roads; on which we will have a couple of tests. Passing through the northern battlefields, Blood River, Ladysmith before reaching the grandeur of the Drakensberg Mountains. J.R.R Tolkein found his inspiration for the Lord Of The Rings in these mountains. The Cathedral Peak Hotel is an immaculate hotel with one of the best buffet tables in all of Africa.
Day 18 - Thursday 1 September - Drakensberg to Oxbow: 245kms (153 miles)
We continue around the spectacular Northern Drakensberg mountains, with a couple of stupendous tests on smooth gravel in the mountains for those that would like a ’little go’. Over the Oliviershoek Pass and into the mountain kingdom of Lesotho. The highlands of Lesotho are a very wild place.
Practically treeless it has many mountains exceeding 3000 metres. To get to our Lodge we will be going over the Moteng Pass at 2,800 metres one of the highest in Southern Africa. The road is tarred all the way to the New Oxbow Lodge. This award winning lodge is at 2,700 metres on the bank of the Malibamatsoe river. A 5 course evening meal has been arranged in one of the world’s remote destinations.
Day 19 - Friday 2 September - Oxbow to Cradock: 485kms (303 miles)
We start by travelling back down the Moteng pass and after taking further mountain roads and tests, we drop back into South Africa. After experiencing more of South Africa’s good gravel roads we arrive for our first excursion into the Eastern Karoo and Cradock.
Cradock was founded in 1812 and retains much of the charm associated with the colonial architecture of the period. We will be staying in Die Tuishuise accommodation; this consist of lovingly restored and individually furnished period, Boer war style, Karoo cottages all located in one street. It will be a unique experience for everyone.
Day 20 - Saturday 3 September - Cradock to Knysna: 412 kms (257 miles)
From Craddock over the Swaershoek pass skirting the Brakberg mountains and across the Eastern Karoo. After the mountains of Lesotho the dry Karoo will offer a sharp contrast to the last few days. We will descend to the Indian Ocean via a test through the impressive Prince Alfreds Pass and then to the Pezula Resort Hotel, Knysna. The Pezula Resort is renown for its superb 18 hole golf course and they will rent out clubs. It is a fairly short day but a round of golf is possible. The Hotel is ultra modern and exquisite. Every last detail of design has been brilliantly executed. It has one of the best restaurants in Southern Africa and I am sure you will want to take advantage of the impressive wine cellar.
Day 21 - Sunday 4 September - Knysna to Franschhoek: 540 kms (328 miles)
A short journey down the N2 before taking to the excellent gravel road over the Robinson Pass towards Oudtshoorn and the Little Karoo. Oudtshoorn is the ostrich farming centre of the world and you will pass millions of ostriches. Lunch is arranged in Barrydale before the breathtaking Tradouw Pass. We continue through Swellendam; one of South Africa’s oldest towns; and onto Greyton a very quaint village which hasn’t changed in centuries. Over the mountains to the well ordered vineyards of the wine and food capital of South Africa, Of all the spectacular drives we have had since leaving Dar es Salaam we have in many ways saved the best for the last, the images and roads on the drive to Franschhoek will remain with you forever. We are staying at the luxurious Le Franschhoek and in the evening we are dinning in one of Franschhoek top restaurants, La Haute Cabriere, owned by a famous wine producer the food and wine will we feel satisfy the most discerning pallet.
Day 22 - Monday 5 September - Franschhoek to Cape Hope: 116 kms (73 miles)
Finally a short day to end our epic journey. We travel via Stellenbosch to False Bay on the Indian Ocean and then via Simons Town and the coastal road to the Cape of Good Hope where the event formally finishes. After the celebrations it is on to the Table Bay Hotel in the heart of the bustling Victoria and Alfred waterfront in Cape Town. This superb hotel offers spectacular views of the iconic Table Mountain and the Water Front. In many ways (although the event has officially finished) one of the most spectacular roads, of the many we have encountered, on the whole adventure is on the way to the hotel; the toll road known as Chapman’s Peak.
In the evening we have arranged your accommodation and a Gala Dinner and Prize Giving at The Table Bay Hotel. CARS UK our recommended shipping agent will be at the Table Bay Hotel to greet you and take delivery of your car, so you can simply relax and savour the memories of a very special adventure.