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Route Planning Where to go, when, what are the interesting places to see
Photo by Josephine Flohr, Elephant at Camp, Namibia

I haven't been everywhere...
but it's on my list!

Photo by Josephine Flohr,
Elephant at Camp, Namibia

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Old 3 Sep 2012
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NamBotZamZim trip

Hi all
I am planning a trip from Cape Town through Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbawe for June/July 2013. 23 days. I have drawn up a possible route which works out at about 8/9000kms depending on any side routes or changes. Pretty much clockwise from Cape Town - Fish River - Sossusvlei - Etosha - Rundu - Tsodilo Hills - Maun - Kasane - Vic Falls - Kariba - Hwange game reserve - Masvingo - Jhb - Cape Town (with some other stops in between). This will be my first bike trip. Any advice or comments on the trip (distance, time, destinations, etc) would be much appreciated. I am also planning a short (3-4 days) trial trip in W Cape before the longer trip as a test for what I need to plan for.
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Old 18 Oct 2012
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You'll have a ball. I've done lots of these places over the last few years. The going is pretty easy, the traffic is light and the people are brilliant. Just watch out for dehydration- it's amazing how much water you need, and always ride ATGATT, you never know what may be on the road (sorry if I'm teaching Granny to suck eggs, but it is tempting to ride in shirtsleeves when it's hot) and don't get cocky on those lovely Namibian gravel roads- they can be fast but there are sand washes to catch out the unwary.

That said, 400km per day every day won't give you much time to stop and apreciate some of the things on offer, especially as some places- eg. game reserves/the Okavango/Sossusvlei are not bike friendly so you need to ditch the bike and use local transport.

Don't forget some US dollars to pay Uncle Bob's entrance fee!
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Old 20 Oct 2012
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We did much of your proposed route last year, missed a lot, wish I had more time. Check horizonsunlimited.com/tstories/thode for route we took. If you are one up on the right bike there are some great gravel roads in Nam that I passed on. Good people all the way. Check with Chris on Wild Dog.com he has ridden up that way several time. (I will try to get his contact info for you and post tomorrow)
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Old 20 Oct 2012
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Chris's web site is Dust Riders Accessories Motorbikes

Chris gave us lots of info on Nam and Bot, he has been up there several times and knows the good roads and good spots to stay. If you are close you could ride over and have a chat with him, take a map he can write on.
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Old 20 Oct 2012
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As far as I know bikes are not allowed in the game reserves in Namibia and Botswana. Perhaps you could check this with the reserves authority web sites.

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Old 20 Oct 2012
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Bikes are definitely not allowed in game reserves.

Three weeks for the planned route is a waste. Rather divide it up into two or maybe three trips. Just fo an example: From Johannesburg to Cape Town you'll probably go down via the Freestate, just to make it to CT in time. Boring. Endless straights, flat and unchanging country. Rather take your time and go via Swaziland to northern Kwazulu-Natal, turn into Lesotho and exit in the south (Telebridge) through the mountainous arey around Lady Grey. From there there is lots to see on the way to CT, travelling through the Swartberg Mountains etc. But that itself is a trip of at least three weeks.
Only when we pause to wonder
do we go beyond the limits of our little lives.
(Rod McKuen)
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Old 21 Oct 2012
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Right on the no bikes in game parks, "meals on wheels". Two options, rent a car or stay just outside the park and take a tour in.
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Old 21 Oct 2012
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We did a similar trip to this in May and June this year over 5 and a half weeks. That made for a fairly relaxed pace with a 4 day trip to Etosha from Windhoek and a 2 day safari in the Okavango - which probably just edged it as the best part of the trip - and several stops for 2-3 nights (Fish River, Poppa Falls, Vic Falls, Jeffreys Bay, Cape Aghulas). Our mileage was just under 5,000 miles (8,000km). 3 weeks would be very rushed.

Zam border wanted US$ for visa fee and various other charges. I think all in it about $US100 to get in. We didn't go to Zim but heard border fee were even higher. It might be cheaper for South Africans though.

Roads....we mostly stuck to tar roads as my wife discovered she really hated riding on gravel roads, but the Nam gravel roads we did do were pretty good on the whole without too much washboard or sand washes. But you need to keep your wits about you as both can be anywhere. We ran at about 60-80kph on gravel; 100kph on tar.

some pics and stuff at this link

have a great trip
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botswana, june/july 2013, namibia, zambia, zimbabwe

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