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Road Trip from East Africa to South Africa 2010 - Has anyone done it ?


Aug 17th, 2009, 07:53 PM
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Road Trip from East Africa to South Africa 2010 - Has anyone done it ?

We're a group of friends planning an (over)-adventurous trip that starts in June 2010 in Nairobi and ends in Johannesburg South Africa. We hope to get there to attend at least one World Cup Soccer match ! The idea is simple.... visit as many countries enroute to SA, while plotting the shortest route from one country to another.

So how do we plan to do this
1. A knowledgeable experienced driver who can take us there safely. ( the lead car )
2. Hire Toyota Land cruisers fitted with radios for communication between the cars ( 3 cars needed )
3. Maps, GPS, Thuraya phone and GSM phones.

1. Visas for the below mentioned countries ... I know not all can be obtained on arrival.
2. Cash and Security
3. Road Maps ... got some and still more needed
4. Accommodation en-route ... should we camp or stay at a local hotel.
5. Immunization and medical advice.

Here's the route so far and I am not going into specific city locations
Kenya - Tanzania -Malawi - Mozambique - Zambia - Zimbabwe - South Africa.

Has anyone done this before , or something close to this trip ? Is this a bad idea in terms of duration of the trip and security on the way ? Would love some input.
Amber5 is offline  
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Aug 17th, 2009, 09:00 PM
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I've driven several times in the past. Its about beening organized. Really quite easy. But you are on the wrong forum for this.
luangwablondes is offline  
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Aug 17th, 2009, 10:10 PM
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So LB, what forum would you recommend?

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
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Aug 18th, 2009, 04:34 AM
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Your list of problems is just scraping the surface compared with the real issues you face. On the one hand, obtaining visas, road maps and getting the right immunizations for the countries you mentioned are just trivial problems. On the other hand, you don't list as problems several headaches that occur to me off the top of my head, such asbr />
- How are you going to arrange 3 rental cars to be driven one-way from Nairobi to Johannesburg? Who is going to return the cars to their country of origin?

- Are you familiar with the necessary import/export paperwork for getting the vehicles across these borders?

- Do you have experience in off-road driving (especially relevant to Malawi)?

- Do you have the capabilities to repair damage to the vehicles en-route, and pulling them out of mud/sand?

- How do propose to insure the vehicles and yourselves?

- Do you realise this is going to cost $$$?

It's one thing if you an African resident with your own 4WD truck - its not at all uncommon for experienced/adventurous local drivers make such extended trips around the continent. But it's quite another thing expecting to fly in, hire a fleet of hi-end vehicles like this and then expect to do a 1-way drop off. Maybe for an eye-watering amount of money, you'll find someone, somewhere to arrange this for you as a special.

But if you are not in the millionaire bracket, why not join an organised overland trip, and let them take care of the vehicles, the routes, the campsites etc? I've done this myself from Nairobi to Victoria Falls and it was a fantastic experience and hugely less expensive than what you're contemplating. Several well-established companies are in this market (Dragoman, Exodus etc).
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Aug 18th, 2009, 12:16 PM
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I never like answering these. When people realize the cost, they look for other means.
1) you don’t need to hire an experienced driver. Get yourself the Tracks4Africa maps and a Garmin Map capable gps. It has enough info to make you comfortable for all you need to know and maybe the Bradt and LonelyPlanet guides if you are really insecure. I have driven this several times via so many different routes, it would take a whole new thread to go over it. And I did this without no more assistance then a couple guide books and the Map Studio Mapbook.
2)There are issues with radio licences in each country, so maybe bring some hand helds with you from home. You can get sim cards for your phones as you drive from country to country. Those will cover most of the basic major routes in each country. You can hire a vehicle from companies like Bushlore out of South Africa. Look on my site- www.luangwablondes.com
3) not knowing which countries you are from, most visas can be handled at the border, or usually can be acquired within 24-48 hrs in the capital cities at the embassies of countries you want to go to next.
Accommodation and campsites are on the tracks4Africa maps, plus fuel stations and all kinds of other points of interest.
Medical- lots of good advice on the internet. Just be sure to take the meds for malaria. Its not worth getting the disease.
The big mistake people make is turning a trip like this into a horse race. Its not worth it then. You want to take at least a couple months to really do this right.
As far as security, the biggest problem people have is not using their own common sense. Generally, when outside the large cities, it is quite safe. Generally.
Driving between Dawn and Dusk is not recommended. Unless you are into road kill.
As far as paperwork, the rental companies supply all that, including the option of how much insurance coverage on the vehicle.
If you have a problem you can’t not resolve with the vehicle, most of these companies that hire on multicountry rentals have contacts just for this. That’s one of the things the satphone is for. I am not positive about this, but I think the Iridium system is better. Something to review.
This is good enough to start you thinking. If you sign on for an overland trip in one of those trucks, I know it was a waste of my time.
luangwablondes is offline  
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Aug 21st, 2009, 04:41 PM
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You guys have now got me very worried ! No I am not in the millionaire bracket but can afford this trip. Most of the guys are East African residents and there are two Zimbos who moved to Tanzania after the land grabbing saga.

They have it all figured out or so they think so let me now rattle them with your questions.

Going to a quite place now to think about all your advice.

Thank you so much.
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Aug 21st, 2009, 06:26 PM
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Ok. You are serious about this. A little research and you will find that having 4x4s delivered to East Africa, and you drive/return them to South Africa most likely be your least expensive option. Vehicles in East Africa are expensive to hire and most of the rentals do not hire out with all the camping equipment that is the norm in Southern Africa. South Africa and Namibia 4x4 companies offer the lowest rates. So you just need to get over their delivery charge to East Africa. I can recommend some reputable companies with competitive rates if you want, and several routes that offer game viewing and unique drives along the way.

You should keep in mind that some companies offer land rovers and others land cruisers. Anything else, assuming you will be doing some adventurous sightseeing, game viewing, offroad tracks and camping may not be up to the task-- high clearance can be an issue.

Additionally, there are several companies that purchased new equipment with expectations of high demand for 4x4s for 2010. So if you reserve soon, you maybe able to get a committment for some newer vehicles.
luangwablondes is offline  
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Aug 21st, 2009, 06:41 PM
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Btw, if your African friends have camping and offroad experience, then I wouldn't worry about this at all. No need to go overboard. Nearly all the Zimbos I have ever come across have plenty of experience to do this. The T4A map I suggested will tell them enough for starters and then its just specific questions about places along the way.
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Jul 6th, 2014, 09:07 AM
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Was the above trip ever undertaken?

I am a South African working in Uganda and have a Landcruiser which I would like to drive down to SA. Would appreciate any info on routes, Visas, vehicle permits etc.

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