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sub-Saharan Africa Topics specific to sub-Saharan Africa. (Includes all countries South of 17 degrees latitude)
Photo by Igor Djokovic, camping above San Juan river, Arizona USA

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Photo by Igor Djokovic,
camping above San Juan river,
Arizona USA

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Old 7 Jul 2013
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Advice needed on timeframe for Southern Africa route

Hi all,

We're planning a Southern Africa bike trip, South Africa (Cape Town), Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, Moz., and back. Plan is to leave sometime around Dec. and travel on something around 600cc.

We did a similar trip through West Africa and found that we didn't leave ourselves enough time to really take in the countries we travelled through. Learning from that experience, I'd like to allocate more time to see (and enjoy) the sites along the way. E.g., Will skip the safariing, as both of us have been already, but would love to save time for: Fish River Canyon, Namibian desert, Okavango Delta in Bots., Victoria Falls, few days of diving at Lake Malawi, couple of beach days and maybe a day of diving in Moz., etc.

Anybody have experience on this route? Suggestions would be much appreciated, given what I've mentioned above. Spitballing, I would say that two months might be reasonable. But I really don't know...

It we're just taking travel time into account, is one month too little? Seems logical to figure out how long it would take to travel this distance and then work outwards.

Thank you kindly in advance for your help. Look forward to hearing from you.

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Old 20 Jul 2013
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I've done parts of that route at various times. My advice is that it will take longer than you expect. I'm used to being able to ride 3 hours without a break in Europe, but in SA I could only manage an hour at most because of the dry heat. Also, 60mph is a sensible speed, given the monster potholes and drifting sand. Plus you will just want to talk to people, experience life at their pace, drink in the atmosphere. For getting up from Gaborone to Maun, for example, take 5 days. Detour to Serowe, Nata, Baines Baobabs. Then if you're serious about the Delta, take a week there at least (expensive, but the most pristine and beautiful place in Africa). Namibia we found to be even slower!
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Old 21 Jul 2013
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I did this route two years ago. Cape Town via Namibia then through Zim to Malawi, Tanzania and on to Kenya. I took just over three months to do it. I would suggest that you need at least two months to do it without rushing. if time is short do less rather than more. Travelling shouldn't be about getting form A to B it should be about seeing what's between A and B. Take your time, enjoy and don't try to do too much. if you don't get to all the countries you want to see on this trip then plan another one! hey'll still be there.
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Old 21 Jul 2013
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Mike and I have spent 2 x 6months travelling solely in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana and have still not seen / done everything we want there. Think seriously before you commit time to area. Southern Africa is a huge place.

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Old 23 Jul 2013
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Thanks for your insights. I totally agree with prioritizing the quality of the experience over the quantity of places seen. This was the big lesson from our West Africa trip.

Seems like we may have to either re-evalate our timeline, or route. Not sure the latter will be possible, so it may just be a case of doing less in the time we have. Or perhaps just being flexible and seeing how things go while we're on our route. E.g., heading back down to Cape Town before finishing all countries, rather than trying to plough through and check off our list of to-vists.

Thanks again; and any further insights re: specific experiences, timelines, sites (especially routes that are off the beaten trail), are much appreciated.

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Old 23 Jul 2013
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You can spend one month in and around Cape Town let alone seeing everywhere else! I spent one month travelling from Jo'burg to Cape Town and I felt as if i missed a lot! If you like to take your time, then you should not plan such a short trip.

A suggestion (not taking into account you may be like me and come from NZ) but why dont you buy a bike here (they are pretty cheap), use it while you are here and store it when your not. Plan to spend the next couple of years coming to and fro Africa to explore... Carnet de Passages are cheap here (im currently in Cape Town) and easyish to obtain if you want to take it further a feild.
For more information on my adventures, please visit either of the following:
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Old 26 Jul 2013
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Originally Posted by maximondo View Post
You can spend one month in and around Cape Town let alone seeing everywhere else! I spent one month travelling from Jo'burg to Cape Town and I felt as if i missed a lot! If you like to take your time, then you should not plan such a short trip.
Maximondo, I'm actually currently based in Cape Town. So, exploring the city and surrounding area is not so much of an issue. Unfortunately, it's going to be difficult to take more time than two months. Likely this will mean cutting some of the itinerary and picking up what's cut a subsequent trips. I'm just in the process of purchasing a bike here. Are you currently in Cape Town?
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planning, route, south africa, southern africa, timeframe

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