Going to Southern Africa tomorrow!

Old Sep 23rd, 2008, 08:56 PM
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Going to Southern Africa tomorrow!

Hi All,

The wait is over. Tomorrow me and my wife going to Southern Africa for over 3 weeks.

The plan is:
Arrive to Livingstone, Zambia on Friday Sep. 26. Sundowner cruize on Zambezi. Next day we are going to Chobe National park for 2.5 days (arranged with Bundu Adventures) On return going to the Falls (Zambian side), do microlight flight, then elephant back ride in the afternoon.
On Oct 1st going by Intercape bus to Windhoek, where we rent a car and explore Namibia for 11 days.
4 nights in Etosha National park (all 3 campgrounds), then to Damaraland and Sossuvlei (2 nights booked at Sesriem campground.

Then return to Windhoek and go again by Intercape bus to Cape Town. There we rent a car again and going in general Eastern direction for 6 days. No exact plan for that part yet - will decide on the way.

Hope everything works, and will post the trip report after.

Wish us luck!



Nick
Old_Elephant is offline  
Old Sep 23rd, 2008, 09:09 PM
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Good luck and have fun!
Leely2 is offline  
Old Sep 24th, 2008, 08:41 AM
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Sounds like a great trip! Looking forward to hearing about it when you get back.
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Old Sep 24th, 2008, 02:07 PM
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You'll be feeling like a young elephant soon. Have a great trip!
atravelynn is offline  
Old Oct 21st, 2008, 07:17 AM
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Just returned yesterday. It was even more of a trip than expected! Report to follow soon...
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Old Oct 21st, 2008, 02:44 PM
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We have no time for "soon" here. Trip report now please?
lisa is offline  
Old Oct 22nd, 2008, 05:28 AM
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Looking forward to the trip report!
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Old Oct 22nd, 2008, 07:02 AM
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I hope that "more of a trip" is in a good sense!

Now deliver!
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Old Oct 24th, 2008, 07:30 AM
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Here we go

So, we planned the trip for end of September to October starting in Zambia and finishing in Cape Town.

Why in this direction? Several reasons:

1. It's dry season and animals still concentrated around the waterholes.

2. It's still spring in Namibia, so it shouldn't be that hot, however the daytime temperatures hovered around +38 +40 C anyways, with the night time temperatures around +14 +15 C

3. Beginning of October is still cold enough in South Africa, so it's better to go there by the end of the trip. (BTW, we've met several people in Livingstone who just came from Cape Town and were complaining about cold and rain there in the end of September).

Arrangements/equipment

Vaccinations:

We had hepatitis vaccinations (TwinRix) previously. We did the boost of tetanus/diphtheria and typhoid vaccinations. We took Malarone tablets.

Equipment:

Two small airline bags ~8.5 kg each with clothes (we always travel light). I had a pair of light sneakers and leather sandals and I was mostly wearing sandals all the time. Sneakers were also used for swimming in the Victoria falls and in Sossuvlei on the dunes.

One big airline bag (23 kg) with the tent, big air mattress, two sleeping bags, air pump for the mattress and compact car air pump.

Two 240 ml bottles of sunscreen (were not used and not even opened 2 small bottles of insect repellent (again, no use for them). We had with us a roll-on sunscreen bottle (partly used in our last year Australia trip) and didn't even use that completely.

One reason is that we were already pretty much tanned after summer, another is that in the national parks trip you are either in the jeep/boat with a tent or in the car all day (like in Etosha park). I mainly used the sunscreen on my right hand which was mostly in the sun while driving.

Insect repellents turned out to be not necessary this season - we barely heard 4 or 5 moscitoes in total.

Two cameras: Panasonic FZ-20 and FZ-7 both with optical image stabilizer. They shared 5 proprietary batteries.

Two camera battery chargers and 12/110 voltage converter to use in the car for those chargers.

One external 5-AA battery container (self made) to use as auxiliary power source for the cameras - just in case.

Archos GMini400 MP3/Video player with 20 GB hard drive for photo storage, plus 10 2GB SD cards. We brought back ~ 9450 photos and some video clips.

Canon 10x30 IS image stabilized binoculars and another compact 16x binocular. Image stabilized binocular is a must on such trips. Press the stabilizer button and enjoy the detailed view of the elephant eyelashes or lion whiskers without any shakes.

Lots of other small electronic stuff - cell phone, charger, USB charger, USB card reader, headphones, microphone to use to make the Skype calls from the hotel/internet cafe computers (if they don't have it). And even spare fuses for chargers/adapters.

Oh and, of course, GPS - Garmin 750. For GPS we had a map of Namibia and South Africa bought from http://www.tracks4africa.co.za/ and full Southern Africa GPS map.

Little 500W water boiler - was used to make coffee for breakfasts in the campgrounds. (all Etosha campgrounds have power outlets almost on every campsite).

Hotel bookings:

We never cared for big stars hotels and wherever possible stayed in bed and breakfast. And practically all places where we stayed were absolutely gorgeous places.

We booked ahead the campgrounds in Etosha National Park and Sesriem campground (through http://www.namibiareservations.com). We actually found that there sites available in all campground including Sesriem, so it looks like for October period the advanced booking *might* not be necessary.

In Livingstone we booked Chanters Lodge (http://www.chanters-livingstone.com/). Richard Chanters is a great person and it's very easy book and deal with him over email. There was no advance payment and Richard also arranged most of the activities in Livingstone for us.

In Windhoek we booked the Kashima [email protected] (http://www.kashima-namibia.com) - great place just 10 minutes walk to downtown.

We did not book anything in Cape Town (or South Africa) and it was very easy to find B&B accommodation there. We stayed at Little Lemon B&B (http://www.littlelemon.privat.t-online.de/index.htm) around Green Point - just 15 min walk to Victoria & Alfred Waterfront.

For the rest of South Africa trip we stayed anywhere when sunset caught us - all were gorgeous places.

Bus tickets:

We had the bookings for Intercape bus Livingstone-Windhoek and Windhoek-Cape Town through http://www.intercape.co.za.
One hiccup was with that advanced booking. The Livingstone-Windhoek booking went through the web site fine, but Windhoek-Cape Town failed and charged my credit card twice with no tickets
However, it was quickly sorted out after the Skype phone call to Intercape - within the week my credit card was reimbursed, but then I booked the Windhoek-Cape Town tickets just over the phone.

Car rentals:

Car rentals were arranged through http://www.carhire.co.za/

Another hiccup was with Windhoek car booking. While we had the correct booking voucher, the rental company found in their system that the booking was made from August 2 (instead of October 2) and then cancelled.
However, they found the car for us in a couple of hours and delivered it to our B&B. It was Toyota Corolla 1.6 Automatic with air conditioning. We also asked for two spare wheels and got them.

There were no any problems with the car booking in Cape Town.

We did not drive from Namibia to South Africa - it was cheaper and faster to rent two separate cars in both places and go by bus instead.
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Old Oct 24th, 2008, 12:23 PM
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Money:

We had $1000 in American Express travellers cheques, $1000 US cash (used in Zambia where you can pay in US dollars anywhere, including any stores); 5,000 South African rands cash. SA rands are on par with Namibian dollars and you can pay with them anywhere in Namibia.

We also got 4,000 Namibian dollars in ATM in Windhoek. BTW, the North American bank cards (Plus) with 4 digit PIN code work the best in FNB ATMs (First National Bank) Other ATMs didn't want to work with it.

4,000 Namibian dollars were enough for us to pay for food, gas, etc.(gas is only for cash in Namibia) and when Namibian dollars ended we used SA rands.

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Old Oct 26th, 2008, 09:05 AM
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ttt for later.
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