The Classic Safari Challenge 2008
August 19th - September 21st 2008
The 3rd Classic Safari Challenge is a touring event designed for like-minded enthusiasts who want to enjoy Africa, without gruelling competition. A chance to see the sights, stop, take in the wonders of Africa with breathtaking scenery. A chance to play golf, or go on Safari, with fine food, good hotels, and a carefully chosen route.
We start in Cape Town, and finish in Cape Town – so that simplifies shipping, and also helps with flights – book a straight return flight, because our route drives a vast circle taking in Nambia, and Botswana, drive as far north as Victoria Falls and returning via the stunning Drakonsberg Mountains. Checkpoints at evocative places like Safari Lodges, or Rorke’s Drift, with short driving days.
Start on August 19 – back to Cape Town on September 12. We can not accept more than 30 cars with a crew of two, as the accommodation is exclusive. Bring someone special for an event that is simply stunning. Sanctioned by national motor-clubs, this is our third event with a team that has extensive experience of Southern Africa. Bring the car you want to enjoy driving – we are open minded.
Day 1: August 19. Arrive Cape Town.
Time to collect cars from the docks, have a road-safety check-over, welcome party. We are staying at the five-star Table Bay hotel with views across the harbour to Table Bay mountain, a relaxing place to start out on a journey through the best of Africa.
Day 2: August 20. Cape Town to Clanwilliam. 270 kms/168 miles.
Driving into the Cedarberg Mountains, some gravel roads before we arrive in one of South Africa’s oldest and smallest towns, staying in the newly-opened Clanwilliam Lodge, plenty of time to swim in the pool or stroll around a charming village-like town.
Day 3: August 21Clanwilliam to Fish River Canyon (Namibia). 595 kms/371 miles.
We drive along the Cedarberg Mountains into Namaqualand, home of a special range of 3,000 wild flowers that burst into vibrant oranges, purples, reds and yellows at our time of the year. We then cross the border at the Orange River into Namibia, wide open spaces, good roads taking us through the desert, with time to take in the Observation Point above the gorges of Fish River Canyon. We stay at Canon Lodge, enjoy a ‘sundowner’ as the sun sets over the desert.
Day 4: August 22. Fish River Canyon to Sossusvlei. 505 kms/315 miles.
We plan to organise early-morning flights, so you will be able to appreciate the magnificent scenery of the canyon at first-light. We will be travelling along the boundary of the national park with the largest and probably the most spectacular sand dunes in the world, (Flight of the Phoenix was filmed here), and you drive on smooth gravel roads where you hardly see a car in hours…crossing the Tsairsberg Mountains on one of the best roads of the event. Ostrich, oryx, springbok abound, and maybe a cheetah or two. We stay at the award-winning Sossusvlei Lodge, a luxurious desert resort with stunning views out across the desert. A wonderful way to end a stunning day.
Day 5: August 23rd. 143 kms/75 miles. Soussusvlei to Swakopmund.
A short day but time out to take in one of the most overpowering, beautiful yet harsh areas on earth, the Vlei is a special area which we reach in 4x4’s laid on for us, an early start so we can watch the sun rise over some spectacular and unforgettable scenery, certainly one of the most beautiful desert scenes you could possibly wish to encounter. We stay at the Swakopmund Hotel, now a five-star hotel it was once a railway station – the restaurants are excellent.
Day 6: August 24th. Swakopmund to Twyfelfontein. 337 kms/210 miles.
We drive up the infamous Skeleton Coast. Scenery changes dramatically as we head into the Brandberg Mountains. We arrive at Twyfelfontein Lodge, in time to take an optional trip to see some of man’s oldest art – rock paintings that have survived 3,000 years.
Day 7: August 25th.Twyfelfontein to Etosha Game Reserve. 346 kms/216 miles.
Scenery changes some more, and there is chance to see desert elephants, lions, giraffe, and if you are really lucky, a black rhino. We stay at the recently refurbished Okaukeujo Rest Camp near a floodlit waterhole, a chance to watch elephants and lions virtually side by side.
Day 8: August 26th. Etosha Reserve (East) to Etosha Reserve (West). 80 kms/50 miles.
Today is a free day but you do have to make the short drive through the park to Mokuti Lodge, as it is a dry season the waterholes will be teaming with life. Take a slow drive and don’t forget your binoculars! Spacious thatched chalets, with an excellent restaurant awaits.
Day 9: August 27th. Etosha to Popa Falls. 495 kms/309 miles.
Early start for the wide gravel roads across the central plateau, towards the Caprivi Strip. After Rundu we head towardsd Popa Falls, where we are split between the three best Lodges, in this remote and tranquil location. Excellent bird-watching location, one of the most peaceful spots on earth.
Day 10: August 28th. Popa Falls to Kasane (Botswana). 444kms/275 miles.
The Caprivi Strip feels like another country as we head inland with the Angola border on our left through lush green countryside down an empty road of good quality tarmac, arrow straight to far horizons. We stay at the five-star Mowana Safari Lodge on the edge of the Chobe River, (Bill Clinton stayed here and raved about the place). Good restaurant.
Day 11: August 29th. Kasane – Day Off.
We have organised an optional trip to Zambia and the Victoria Falls, we have organised also morning and evening game drives and river cruises. Hippos, crocs, elephants, the river is well worth a visit. Chobe Park has the largest concentration of elephants in Africa.
Day 12: August 30th. Kasane to Selebi Phikwe. 598 kms/373 miles.
We drive south across the eastern Kalahari. We stay at the Cresta Bosele Lodge, lots of facilities from swimming pool to a casino.
Day 13: August 31st. Selebi Phikwe to Agatha (South Africa). 456 kms/265 miles.
This may prove to be the greatest adventure of the entire trip. We are going to cross the mighty “great and greasy” Limpopo River. We follow the Limpopo River crossing many dried-out river beds. We take in ravine forests, river bluffs and leave Botswana at Pont Drift into South Africa. We spend the night at The Coach House, Agatha, one of South Africa’s oldest hotels, overlooking the dramatic scenery of the Drakensburg Mountains. Excellent restaurant – if you are feeling thirsty there’s 8,000 bottles of wine in the cellar.
Day 14: September 1st. Agatha to Kruger Game Reserve. 295 kms/184 miles.
Scenery changes again, rolling green hills and stunning wide open views. To Blyde River Canyon, and to the Kruger Game Reserve. A night at the Malelane Sun, one of the premier lodges in South Africa overlooking Crocodile River.
Day 15: September 2nd. Malelane Sun – Day Off.
A leisure day. Leopards Creek Country Club is nearby for those who fancy a spot of golf, who take in a lazy day relaxing in paradise.
Day 16: September 3rd. Krukger Reserve to Phinda Game Reserve. 460 kms/287 miles.
A fascinating drive across the Kingdom of Swaziland, climbing into the mountains via Saddleback Pass and Piggs Peak. Lunch at the Royal Swazi Hotel then on to Phinda Mountain Lodge, Leonardo di Caprio spent several days with his family here - a remarkable place to stay.
Day 17: September 4th. Phinda Reserve – Day off.
One of the best places to see cheetah and other game with lions, buffalos, leopards, giraffes. Horse riding, river cruising or sit by the pool and relax.
Day 18: September 5thPhinda Reserve via Rorke’s Drift to Drakensberg Mountains. 454kms/283 miles.
Isandhlwana battlefield of “Zulu” fame, and a chance to explore the chapel at Rorke’s Drift, and a museum of how 100 soldiers stood out against 4,000 Zulus. Great gravel roads, super scenery all around… total tranquillity whenever you stop. A unique day – what more could any rallydrive offer - unforgettable. Cathedral Peak Hotel has a nine-hole golf course.
Day 19: September 6th.
Take in a relaxing day amid the stunning scenery of the Drakensberg Mountains.
Day 20: September 7th. Drakesberg to Southern Drakensberg. 495 kms/303 miles.
This could prove one of the best driving days you’ve ever experienced: We take in the Naudesnek Pass, the highest driving road in South Africa, to Rhodes in the Bell River Valley, frozen in time with perfectly preserved Victorian architecture. We dine together in the Rhodes Hotel.
Day 21: September 8th. Drakesberg to Addo National Elephant Reserve.
A gentle day with mostly tarmac roads. We are split into three small luxurious lodges, ending the day with an evening game-drive.
Day 22: September 9th. Addo National Elephant Reserve to Knysna. 389 kms/243 miles.
A short day’s drive through the Grootrivier and Bloukrans Passes into the coastal forest region. Knysna, on the Garden Route, is on the edge of the Indian Ocean. We stay at the five-star Country House Hotel St. James, a visit into town is well worth it – and there is golf nearby.
Day 23: September 10th. Knysna to Franschhoek. 522 kms/326 miles.
We leave the Garden Route to head back through the Little Karoo. Stunning scenery. Eight of South Africa’s top 100 restaurants are in Franschhoek, and we dine in one of them at Le Quartier Francais. Stop over is at Le Franschhoek luxury hotel.
Day 24: September 11th Franschhoek to Cape of Good Hope. 132 kms/82 miles.
Time for a lie-in, late start, or for some quality shopping before driving to the Cape of Good Hope. Scene drive to the coast at False Bay, finishing at the restaurant at the very end of the Cape, where Indian and Atlantic Oceans merge. Awards ceremony back at the Table Bay Hotel, time to reflect on a magical journey with ever-changing scenery, amid good company through highly memorable and challenging landscape.
Memories are made of moments like this.