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 UK to Zimbabwe

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Jas
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PostSubject: UK to Zimbabwe    Sat May 18, 2013 9:50 am

Myself and My Wife are planning a Trip to see her family in Zimbabwe.

Has anyone undertaken this trip or one to South Africa?

We plan to start this trip in 2-3 years, giving us plenty of time to prepare our vehicle, equipment etc.

Some info im after at the moment is what type of terrain would I encounter?

Ive decided I will ship my vehicle from UK to Durban, South Africa. Via ferry, which we will travel on, then drive through SAfrica to zimbabwe, and spend a month there.

Any help appreciated.

Jas

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PostSubject: Re: UK to Zimbabwe    Sun May 19, 2013 8:54 pm

Well, I lived in Zim for 4 years and it is one of my favorite places on the planet. Would happily retire there once Uncle Bob and his gang have made their much overdue exit. If I had two trips to recommend though it would be Matusadona along the Kariba shore and Mana Pools. Matusadona is so remote we often found ourselves the only people in one of Africa's largest national parks. There are rudimentary campgrounds or you can free camp whereever you want, just let the rangers know where in general you will be. Lots of wildlife last time I was there but use the 5meter rule for Kariba...there are some big crocs in there (5m+) but tigerfish are a good fighting fish if you fancy a bit of fishing. Mana Pools is also a great place. We always camped at a site called Chitake 2. It is a small hill in the middle of the Zambezi valley with a ring of baobabs at the top. There are no facilities and it takes a good 4x4 to get there but the view is amazing. You are a good 20k from the Zambezi river but we would do our own game drives down along the shore and then return to our peacefull hill for the night.

Beyond that, don't miss Great Zimbabwe ruins if you haven't seen them...and of course Vic Falls.

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PostSubject: Re: UK to Zimbabwe    Mon May 20, 2013 1:29 am

In the time we spent in SA we gout around with nothing more than a Ford Fiesta or Hyundai i10 at times - we even spent a week in Kruger with the i10 Very Happy

SA main roads are well kept tarmac and you can pretty much drive anywhere on main roads in a standard car. Side roads, less main tracks, are a different kettle of fish and this is where a more sturdy motor is useful - although don't forget, most peeps in SA drive standard cars even on the less well kept areas. Corsa bakkies are very common, and the Mk 2 Golf is possibly the most seen car in SA (they still make them over there under licence!).

Not sure about Zim (never driven there) but I'd think a standard 4x4 would be fine with uprated suspension.

I'd recommend spending a bit of time in Bots if you can. Very easy to get to from Zim/SA border. Head across border and you could visit Tuli Block (excellent game viewing) or just head up through to Zam border for Chobe and then Vic Falls. If you've never been to Vic Falls I'd say you HAVE to go if you are in that part of the world thumbsup

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PostSubject: Re: UK to Zimbabwe    Mon May 20, 2013 10:08 pm

Thanks for your replys.
do you have any photos of the terrain?
Im interested in if I can make the trip in a standard Pick up truck with some storage and camping equipment or If i need to beef up the shocks.

Jas

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PostSubject: Re: UK to Zimbabwe    Tue May 21, 2013 11:18 am

Don't go overboard with those suspension mods! tongue





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PostSubject: Re: UK to Zimbabwe    Wed May 22, 2013 6:24 am

Hi Jas, hope this google map link works ...

Here

this is the area we lived/worked in SA (Limpopo region) and shows the typical roads. Main roads are very good, whilst side roads to reserves and smaller towns are corrugated dirt tracks. We drove both in standard cars but I'm sure we're have been better off in something more sturdy! Often there were 6 or 7 of us in the back of an open bed Corsa bakkie, driving at 70 down these concrete roads - LOL. Health and safety my ass affraid

If you drive carefully and avoid the potholes, you'll be fine. 90% of those who live in SA who drive, do not have a 4x4. I'm guessing Zim would be very similar.

Here 2

Second link above is the border into Zim from SA. Still goods roads on the SA side - no idea what it gets like on the other side of border, but look around and most cars/lorries are standard Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: UK to Zimbabwe    Wed May 22, 2013 6:42 am

I have lots of photos, will post some tomorrow for you. A pickup will be fine. Zim has good paved roads that link the cities and all manner of dirt roads from gravel, to corrugated tracks to rocky, sandy trails. You could upgrade your shock absorbers, which will take a beating but I wouldn't say it is absolutely necessary.

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PostSubject: Re: UK to Zimbabwe    Wed May 22, 2013 8:03 pm

A few pics of Zim roads...well. not so much a road in the last one but a cool view...






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PostSubject: Re: UK to Zimbabwe    Thu May 23, 2013 5:32 am

Yep, that's certainly a view! thumbsup

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PostSubject: Re: UK to Zimbabwe    Thu May 23, 2013 5:36 pm


Thank you all for your replies, that looks like no problem to drive with a standard vehicle. & Great pics.
Back to planning. Thanks.

Jas

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PostSubject: Re: UK to Zimbabwe    Thu May 23, 2013 7:23 pm

Just made for two!





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PostSubject: Re: UK to Zimbabwe    Fri May 24, 2013 11:59 am

Yuuukkkk!!! Although in a decent colour it would look a whole lot more acceptable. There's even worse out there ...



Sorry to hi-jack your thread Jas, but you would go talking about suspension mods!

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PostSubject: Re: UK to Zimbabwe    Sat May 25, 2013 3:51 am

Wifey was saying the other day she might like a smart car .... thumbsup

How high a hi-lift jack would you need to change the tyres scratching chin

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PostSubject: Re: UK to Zimbabwe    Sat May 25, 2013 7:14 pm

Wouldn't need one if you attached 5,000 hellium-filled balloons to a corner. At first I was going to say 4,000 balloons, but that would be just plain silly. geek

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PostSubject: vehicle shipping   Tue May 28, 2013 6:27 pm

Hi Jas

Very interested (and envious) to hear about your proposed trip. Do you have any approximate costings on the vehicle shipping? If you are travelling with it "by ferry" is this a RoRo service? I have been thinking about shipping my vehicle out to Namibia but it will be at least £5000 to container it there and back (and probably another £1000 for unexpected "fees" and "easements".) I could hire a nearly new Landcruiser for six to eight weeks for that price. Also, with a vehicle hired in SA you probably won't need a carnet for travelling around southern Africa, which can be another painful expense.

If you have found any way to get a truck there for less do please let me know, as I would love to take mine to my favourite places.

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PostSubject: Re: UK to Zimbabwe    Wed May 29, 2013 5:57 am

Hey Transnamib, we looked at the same options as you and have concluded that for any trip shorter than 3 months it is cheaper to rent a vehicle in SA and use that rather than shipping your own. From 3-4 months travelling the costs are similar but ease is probably still on the side of renting (and you can get some good long term rental deals). From 4 months on then shipping your own vehicle is cheaper.

Of course this assumes you do all your driving in South/Southern/Eastern Africa only. If you plan to drive down there (London to Cape for example) then you would obviously take your own car.

As for how to transport - DON'T do RORO to Africa ... not if you want to keep all your car anyway tongue Container is the only safe way to send your car down south. You can ship to Namibia (Walvis Bay) or SA (Durban or Cape Town) fairly easily.

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PostSubject: ship or hire   Wed May 29, 2013 6:05 pm

Thanks SafariDude. I certainly wasn't suggesting RoRo - I was going to advise strongly against it like you. Sealed container is the only way and even then the sheer weight of paperwork and wrestling with officialdom makes renting so much easier.

I am planning another solo trip to Namibia next year, up into Kaokaoland, so looking for a modified Landruiser I can sleep in. I have used roof tents in the Namib and the deep south but in lion country I prefer to be snoring in a steel box. Wimpish I know, but I want to sleep at night. Last time I looked rentals with full insurance waiver were running at £120 a day, so if you know anywhere that is good for prices on long term rentals I would be grateful for the information.

As for driving all the way to SA, it is not for me. Anyone seriously considering it should think very carefully first. Mali? DRC? No thanks. Egypt or Ethiopia? No thanks. SA is worrying enough. Give me the sanity of Namibia and Botswana. I'm finally admitting to getting old.
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PostSubject: Re: UK to Zimbabwe    Fri May 31, 2013 5:51 am

Hi there!

So many comments to answer - just don't know where to start!

Hiring a vehicle in southern Africa seems to be the way to go. We have seen literally hundreds of rented 4x4s here in Botswana and Namibia. One couple we chatted to in Botswana had rented theirs from Asco in Namibia and paid 2,500 euros for 4 weeks. Lots of other companies in SA and Namibia doing rental I can find out more if you want. Yes, you also avoid having to have a carnet if you rent.

As for suspension - normal is just fine. We have not encountered anything in Botswana or Namibia that couldn't be done in a normal 4x4. My dad and uncle have travelled extensively in southern Africa for the last 10 years and haven't even upgraded from their road tyres! And we crossed some pretty "interesting" places in ZAmbia with them!

Safety wise - always a terrible misconception about this part of the world. OK, you may say I am biased, but our friends Noel & Ping (travelled in Morocco with them, then again in SA, again in Namibia) spent 3 months in SA before finally heading into Namibia and had not one problem. (Their blog is online if you search for it - something like "Noel and Pings adventure")

Transnamib - as I have said before - please give SA a chance. It is not the scary place you make it out to be. (Margaret - if you are reading this, please give your comments too. I know you have travelled this area extensively)

And if you come out to southern Africa, Jas, do see if you can make time to visit some of the other countries too. It is a really magic corner of the globe, and I am thoroughly enjoying exploring it. Botswana and Namibia in addition to Zimbabwe would be worth it. Maybe even Malawi?

That's my 2 cents worth.
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PostSubject: Re: UK to Zimbabwe    Fri May 31, 2013 7:48 am

Everything Girlchild says thumbsup

You could also have a chat with Foleys. I know they have 2 vehicles at least down there (one in Kenya, one in Nambs I think) fully set up and which they will rent out for periods of time. Roof tent rather than inside (and Discos not cruisers) but they look good.

As for the danger of sleeping in tents around lions .. you'll be 100% safe if you are sensible. Lions don't attack people in tents and I can speak from personal experience that there is nothing more exciting to know that a lion or 3 ton elephant is only a canvas width away Very Happy I wouldn't change that experience for the world

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PostSubject: SA on my list; lions and elephant   Sat Jun 01, 2013 6:01 pm

Thanks Girlchild for your comments on SA. I know we have spoken about this before but I am really not against going there. Perceptions can of course be misleading - not so long ago the municipal campsite in Mariental was robbed but it won't stop me going to Namibia or to Mariental. One off events are just that.

My concerns with SA are with the urban areas a visitor necessarily has to negotiate. You have to be a little careful even in Windhoek and don't forget I am on my own and of advancing years so I do need to bear those things in mind. Thanks for the Asco tip - I will follow that up. I am very envious of your current wanderings in Namibia and can't wait to get back there. As someone with recent experience you may be in line for further questioning about destinations in SA - I hope that's ok. At the moment I am looking at the Northern and Western Cape and to start with the Richtersveld. Any comments would be gratefully received.

SafarDude I understand the point about the proximity of lion and the thrill; I have had lion and elephant within a few feet of my vehicle and that was thrilling but I don't need it again. I am not as excited by game as most people seem to be. I am there for the landscapes, the space, the silence, the desert. Thanks for the Foleys tip.

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PostSubject: Re: UK to Zimbabwe    Sun Jun 02, 2013 8:07 am


Thanks for all the info, still building a plan and checking quotes, thanks.

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