The 2006 Classic Safari Challenge
February 25th - March 20th 2006
The 2006 Safari Challenge Itinerary
TANZANIA - MALAWI - ZAMBIA - SOUTH AFRICA - BOTSWANA - MOZAMBIQUE - SWAZILAND
Day One February 25th 2006 - Dar es Salaam (Tanzania)
Arrive. Collect your cars from the port. Complete your documentation, relax in a choice hotel, and explore ramshackle and unspoilt Dar es Salaam. Those who arrive early can take in a trip to Zanzibar.
Day Two February 26th Dar es Salaam to Morogoro (Tanzania) 69 MILES
Early start to Morogoro followed by an afternoon flight into the Selous Game Reserve for an evening Game Drive. The Selous, established in 1922, was named after the greatest of the 'White Hunters', Captain Frederick Selous who was killed in action during the First World War whilst scouting in the area. This is Africa's largest single game reserve at 45,000 sq km and is 50% larger then Belgium. Unlike the northern Tanzanian parks, which are teeming with vehicles, it is empty of people and their paraphernalia. It supports countless herds of animals - there is reported to be over one million. Lions and elephants are present in very large numbers, together with leopard, rhino, buffalo and the rare African hunting dog. It is a vast area and a true wilderness unlike any other in Africa.
Day Three February 27th - Selous Game Reserve DAY OFF
Morning and evening game drives in the Selous. The time will be spent looking for the rare animals, such as Sable and Eland as well as the Hunting Dogs, these are very elusive but the Selous Game reserve holds one of the largest remaining viable wild dog populations in Africa. The deluxe camps have full facilities for those wishing to relax. wide boulevards. On our last visit in 2002 the main street was closed for a parade and the media and government made us extremely welcome...
Day Four February 28th - Morogoro to Mbeya (Tanzania) 290 MILES
After an early morning game drive we will fly back to Morogoro and then drive to Mbeya, through the Ruaha valley with its wonderful geology. Ruaha means 'great' in the local Hehe language and it certainly lives up to its name. It provides much of Tanzania with electricity through hydroelectricity as well as a year long supply of water. The road takes you through the Mikumi National Park where the local police have laid rumble stripes on the road to slow you down as elephants use the road constantly... Incidentally the local lions have taken to hanging around the road in early light to pick up the road kills and save themselves a lot of energy. They haven't taken to rally cars yet!
Day Five March 1st - Mbeya to Lilongwe (Malawi) 390 MILES
Longish drive to Lilongwe, Malawi passing the hustle and bustle of many African fishing villages along the beautiful shores of Lake Malawi. Lolongwe is a sprawling new city and the political capital of Malawi. Although founded by the British in the early 20th century it was only in 1975 that it was officially declared the capital after a seven year rebuilding plan funded by the South Africans.
Day Six March 2nd - Lilongwe to Lusaka (Zambia) 380 MILES
Another longish day but it's all on good roads to Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, where you will be assured of a warm welcome by the Government, the press and the Zambian Motor Club. Lusaka, is a very lively cosmopolitan city with
Day Seven March 3rd - Lusaka to Livingstone (Zambia) 295 MILES
We take the smooth tarmac main road to Livingstone and Victoria Falls passing farmland and very large sugar plantations along the way. The hustle and bustle of everyday African life can be viewed over the entire journey. We will get you to Livingstone in time to have your first or maybe your second or third view of the fantastic falls. It doesn't matter how many times you have seen them their majesty never fails to impress.
Day Eight March 4th - Livingstone DAY OFF
Day off in Livingstone where you will be spoilt for choice with all the activities on offer including white water rafting, bungee jumping (neither of which are for the faint hearted) helicopter flights in the Zambezi Gorge, a fantastic experience, microlight flights, game drives and of course the magnificent Victoria Falls. Our hotel is within five minutes walk of the falls. A day off to savour and enjoy.
Day Nine March 5th - Livingstone to Maun (Botswana) 453 MILES
Cross the Zambezi River on the Kazangula Ferry - a truly unique African experience. Only five cars at a time, but they will hold the lorries for us. Since the problems in Zimbabwe this is one of the few routes from South Africa to Zambia. The Nambia's Caprivi Strip and enters Botswana near Shakawe. It is here the 19.00 million cubic meters of water starts to disperse into the sands of the Kalahari forming lagoons, channels and thousands of islands, covering a total area of approximately 15,000 sq km. This is one of the most famous and best wildlife destinations in the world.
Day Ten March 6th - Okavango Delta (Botswana) - DAY OFF
Early morning flight into the Okavango Delta and the Moremi Wildlife Reserve. The Okavango Delta is a vast inland river delta created by the Okavango river which at 1300 km long is Africa's third longest - but it never reaches the sea. It rises in central Angola goes across
Day Eleven March 7th - Okavango Delta DAY OFF
A day for game drives with 4x4 or floating around the waterways by morcora (dug out canoes) The Okavango is a bird watchers' paradise with well over 400 species recorded, and animals are everywhere - hippo, giraffe, wildebeest as well as elephants, lions etc. Many consider the Moremi the most scenic of any Southern African reserve. We are staying in deluxe lodges with full facilities for those who just want to crash out or rest between game viewing. ferry was sunk during an air raid in the Rhodesian Wars, but don't worry if you can't swim and it sinks the crocodiles will get you first... Then on into Botswana and to Maun. A lot of miles but don't be daunted it will not take long as the roads are smooth and straight with very light traffic, despite the lorries.
Day Twelve March 8th - Okavango Delta to Francis Town (Botswana) 303 MILES
Time for early morning game viewing before the flight to Maun and an easy drive across the Kalahari Desert to Francis Town. The roads are straight with very light traffic to speed your progress.
Day Thirteen March 9th - Francis Town to Pontdrift (South Africa) 185 MILES
Heading east from Francis Town we cross the Tuli Block and then follow the Limpopo River for 30 miles before reaching the tiny border crossing with South Africa at Pontdrift. Tourists rarely visit this area. We will arrive for lunch at the charming Lodge and in the afternoon visit Mapungubwe. The ancient Kingdom of Mapungubwe existed from about 1220 to 1290 AD; it was the forerunner of the Great Zimbabwe civilisation. Golden Rhino and other artefacts have been discovered here, revealing a sophisticated civilisation that traded with Arabia, China, Indonesia and India. It is estimated that up to 5000 people lived around Mapungubwe Hill, the "place of jackals". Mapungubwe was declared a World Heritage Site in 2003.
Day Fourteen March 10th - Pontdrift to Kruger Park 292 MILES
A gentle drive to lunch in Tzaneenf. After lunch a superlative drive through the Blyd River Canyon in the Northern Drakenburg mountains. Magnificent roads, waterfalls, gorges, cliffs, mountains and crystal clear air epitomise the Drakenburg. You will find the area is a very stark contrast to the arid plains of Botswana. The bird life is staggering and the scenery is very special. We then leave the cool air of the mountains and enter the legendary Kruger National Park. No flying. You can drive to the lodge. Kruger Park, at 19,500 kilometres is one of Africa's largest (bigger than Wales (another country along with Belgium that is always quoted). It was founded in 1898 by Paul Kruger and contains all the 'Big Five' lion, buffalo, rhino, leopard and elephant, as well as Africa's largest crocodiles and myriad antelopes. There will be time for an evening game drive if should you wish on arrival.
Day Fifteen March 11th - Kruger Park (South Africa) DAY OFF
The 5-star Lodge we are using is on the edge of the Park, as you cannot take open cars into the Park. This is a true resort Lodge - there are many activities as well as, of course, visiting the World famous Park. Morning and evening game drives are arranged and there will be plenty of time to relax by the pool enjoying the facilities and the South African food and wine.
Day Sixteen March 12th - Kruger National Park to Maputo (Mozambique) 112 MILES
We will stay at the lodge to enjoy morning activities before having lunch and taking the road into Mozambique. Since the ending of the civil war Mozambique has heavily invested in its infrastructure and its tourist industry. The quality of the roads is such that we are only dipping our toes into the country on this occasion; who knows in future years! We will be staying in the Polana Hotel built in 1920 and is one of the great colonial hotels. It is now fully restored to its old magnificence - it should be a fascinating, if brief, experience.
Day Seventeen March 13th - Maputo to Mbabane (Swaziland) 216 MILES
We will leave late enough for you to have time to enjoy the magnificent beaches or have a lie-in before travelling via Piggs Peak to our next destination, the mountain kingdom of Swaziland. It has always been independent from South Africa and the scenery and style of life is in stark contrast to most of the continent. With its cool high mountains, hardwood forests and grassy down land, Swaziland always moves to its own natural rhythms. Our Hotel has terrific views of the beautiful Ezulwini Valley. There will be time for those that want to take a scenic drive to visit the The Polana Hotel, Day 16 cascades and local villages by Land Cruisers.
Day Eighteen March 14th - Mbabane to Southern Drakensberg Mountains 243 MILES
From Swaziland we travel through Zululand passing the Zulu and Boar war sites such as Blood River and Rorke's Drift, before having a late lunch in Ladysmith. We then climb into the Drakensberg Mountains, which rise to nearly 10000 ft and protect the eastern borders of the Kingdom of Lesotho. Often described as the Switzerland of Africa these mountains are breathtakingly spectacular!
Day Nineteen March 15th - DAY OFF
Again we have chosen a 5 star resort style hotel. Among the activities you can enjoy are a 4x4 journey up the precipitous Sani Pass into the Kingdom of Lesotho, horse riding, quad biking, a visit to the Bushmen Rock Art exhibition, a visit to the Vulture feeding station, the is an 18 hole championship golf course (clubs are available to hire), fly fishing, helicopter trips into the mountains, spa treatments or just crashing out. A day to enjoy this superb wilderness area.
Day Twenty March 16th - Drakenburg to St John's Bay Area 274 MILES
A 60-mile run along the Drakenburg escarpment and on through Griqualand. All the roads used today have the green "scenic route" marked on the map. We finish the day in the delightful village port of St John's. Nestling between towering cliffs known as the Gates of St John this multi coloured village is in stark contrast to the Africa we have been visiting. "The Wild Coast" covers 174 miles and you will soon see how it was given its name. There will be time to visit the beaches and look for dolphins that frequently visit. The scenery is stunning, comparing very favourably with the western coasts of the British Isles. resort and one of South Africa's premier holiday destinations with over 15 miles of unspoilt beaches.
Day Twenty-one March 17th - St John's Bay to Shamwari 335 MILES
A slightly longer day as we further explore the "Wild Coast" before visiting King William's Town and Grahamstown passing through Kaffaria and entering the Eastern Cape.
Day Twenty-two March 18th -Shamwari to Plettenberg 210 MILES
Today we enter the famous "Garden Route". It will be possible to visit the Tsitsikamma Forest and Coastal National Park. Tsitsikamma means 'The place of sparking waters' in the local language and is in the main an impenetrable forest, however it is worth a visit to view the forest tumbling over the rugged foothills and into the Indian Ocean. Plettenburg is an exclusive beach-
Day Twenty-three March 19th
We continuing along the Garden Route with its mountain passes and glorious scenery, crossing the Karoo, a short return to desert before reaching the university town of Stellenbosch in the heart of the famous wine producing area. In the evening of what will be our last night on the road, we will enjoy a five-course banquet with appropriate wines, which will be held in one of the most famous vineyard restaurants in South Africa. A very special last night.
Day Twenty-four March 20th - Stellenbosch to Cape Town (South Africa) 140 MILES
A short journey to Cape Town but we will be going via Simon's Town to the Cape of Good Hope. If it's not incredibly windy, good views of penguins, dolphins, sharks and occasionally whales are possible. We will be arriving in the Table Bay Hotel in the early afternoon. Time to re-fettle, explore the waterfront before the evening's Prize Giving Ceremony.