You’ve probably noticed we are all for diversity in our travels, we love camping and getting by with the bare essentials but we also enjoy a little luxury, who doesn’t!? These contrasts were very apparent on our trip to Vic Falls via Botswana and Zambia last year April.
Daily rituals in Africa
Like any decent African adventure our trip consisted of covering huge distances just to set up camp, make fire, eat, sleep and repeat. Well this is obviously excluding the adventures of almost getting stuck, driving among wild life, having elephants invade our camp, fighting off malaria mosquitoes and constantly doing roadside maintenance on the Land Rovers. Days in Africa are fun filled and almost always end with beer around the fire.
Thanks to Dakrak’s rooftop tent we camped our way through the trip without having to sleep on the ground within reach of lions and hyenas. The first night was spent just across the border giving us an early start to the real adventure.
The crew: Us on the left & Adriaan’s parents on the right and the Makgadikgadi pans in the back.
Slight delay, luckily the ladies were armed with magazines to pass time.
The following is a very rough outline of where we went and what we got up to;
Kubu Island & moonlit showers
This isolated camp in the Makgadikgadi pans is definitely a bucket list item. Be prepared as there is literally nothing but a few rocks to indicate where your fire should be. We did veldties* and showered in the moonlight with some fancy gas geyser that Adriaan’s dad stashed in his Defender.(He is the ultimate travel companion with gadgets for everything)
Ask for camp site nr 6 it has the best view towards the pans.
*veldtie is a Afrikaans term for taking a bathroom break in nature.
Island safari lodge & flying over the Delta
This lodge is a good base camp if you want to be close to civilization we opted for it as we had a little treat booked first thing the next morning.
Admittedly it sounds very posh to say you’ve chartered a plane over the Okavango Delta, especially considering we woke up in the middle of nowhere that same morning. It is actually not that expensive and definitely worth it. We only really understood the scale of the Okavango Delta from the shaking fuselage of this small plane. A friendly tip, don’t try and take photos with a zoom lens from the plane unless you have the stomach of a sailor. We did however spot all kinds of wildlife from the air.
Airplane selfie and some views with Mackair
South Gate, Savuti & a bag of sweet potatoes
With eyes peeled we were entering the wild outdoors and the days of research and preparation all seemed excessive, but were getting into the swing of things. We especially enjoyed the stretch of road south of Savuti camp called sand ridge road as it was so scenic and the mud pools made for some fun driving.
It was at Savuti where we had a slight miscommunication about who was suppose to put away a certain bag off sweet potatoes that led to our night time visit by a huge elephant. Never have we laid so still in that rooftop tent.
Senyati Safari Camp & the quadripoint
Ideally located for the Kazungula border we planned to cross into Zambia. (2summers actually did a cool post explaining this interesting border and the alleged quadripoint.) This camp offered a small ablution block for each site and had an awesome elephant viewing bunker.
Maramba river lodge & Victoria Falls
Situated only a few kilometers from the Victoria Falls the camp was nestled along the river edge and provided more elephant visitors and wifi. It’s a 5 minute drive to the Victoria Falls and the border with Zimbabwe. We paid the $30 entrance and started making our way to the falls from Zambia’s side. Prepare to get wet, you can pretty much do what you want but during April the water level is high enough that you get drenched by the spray. It’s really an amazing spectacle and if we had any budget left we’d probably spend it on a microlight flight over the falls. Said to be amazing, but we settled for some tee and booze…
High Tea & the Zambezi booze cruise
After several days of driving through the bush and setting up camp one begins to understand this British tradition of a decent cup of tea with some snacks in the afternoon. What better place than the Royal Livingstone to indulge in such simple pleasures. With the mud covered Land Rovers in the parking we showed up with our best outfits in the lobby. What a treat, cakes, scones and snacks for days. It cost around $20 but life is short and it felt right.
The splurging didn’t stop here. Up until this point we had probably driven over 3000km and we weren’t really lucky in terms of wildlife sightings besides the obvious. We took the executive decision that our Zambezi river cruise should be more about sundowners than trying to see any animals. This was wise as the bottomless gin and tonics made this very easy. The sunset was amazing and got onto our list of best sunsets, here!
A lot of boring tar road back home
The tar road shortcut back to South Africa was boring and we already started to miss the freedom of Africa. The time to reflect did make us think that it’s really important to sometimes step outside your comfort zone while traveling. Like we mentioned before with Kagga Kamma there are just some experiences you can’t have by staying in hotels.
If you’re planning a trip and you’d like specific route info or lodge details don’t be shy let us know.