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Browsing: Travel

Destination & Trails

Towering volcanoes, deep-water lakes, mountain-top calderas, verdant jungles, highland coffee plantations… There is so much more to Rwanda than its iconic silverback gorillas. Jacques Marais explores this tiny East-African country by bike, boat and Isuzu, as part of the “Beyond the Rift Valley” expedition. Peter van Kets and I first came up with the route for the ‘Beyond the Rift Valley’ expedition early in 2018, thinking this would be a pretty ambitious foray into the heart of the Mother continent, and a chance at last to get to see Rwanda’s gorillas up close and personal. That was the starting point…

The Makgadikgadi Pans of Botswana are one of the harshest environments on earth and a 4×4 adventurer’s paradise. Come and join us as we explore some of the untouched gems these enormous salt pans have to offer as we venture off the beaten track and head into the heart of the pans. We will be visiting places that are rarely encountered by other travellers so this is a totally unique pans experience. We will however include a night at the mystical Kubu Island as no trip to the pans is complete without visiting this magical destination. Some of the other…

Back in Johannesburg, it feels odd to look out from the window over a bustling carport of busy people with fancy cars. There’s a selection of sushi revolving in front of me, yet my boots are still freshly covered with the dust from Mana Pools. Just two days ago, we were observing one of many herds of elephants wandering curiously around our campsite at Mana Pools, and later sitting around the hypnotising campfire listening to the hysterical ‘whoop’ calls of hyena in the background. And then, there was the long, dreadful and often-infuriating drive back to Joburg, during which an…

I have no idea what to expect from the mountain nation of Lesotho. Although tiny compared to South Africa, I have been repeatedly told that the mountain scenery is second to none, and that the locals are extremely friendly. Always on the lookout for new mountains to explore, I know this is a must-visit country. Into Lesotho At a small and quiet border in the North, we are quickly stamped out of South Africa and into Lesotho with a minimum of fuss. The six-month Temporary Import Permit for the Jeep is also valid in Lesotho, so I don’t even talk…

Kaokoland is one of the last remaining wilderness areas in Southern Africa. It is a world of incredible mountain scenery, a refuge for the rare desert-dwelling elephant, black rhino and giraffe, and the home of the Himba people. The topography in the south of the area is characterised by rugged mountains which are dissected by numerous watercourses, but north of the Hoarusib River the scenery is dominated by table-top koppies. Still further north, the Otjihipa Mountains rise abruptly above the Namib floor to form the eastern boundary of the Marienfluss, while the west of the valley is defined by the…

Journalist Carolyn Dempster joins an Ultimate Adventures tour through Zambia to witness the extraordinary annual bat migration at Kasanka National Park, and finds that the bonhomie of a diverse tour group has some key advantages Let’s be clear. This is not a bland travel tale. The kind where you skim over a script stuffed with adjectives, flick through photos, linger as long as your attention-deficit-disorder will allow, and move swiftly on to the next picture fantasy. No, this is next-level stuff. Stay with me… This story starts before the break of dawn, with the swelling sound of millions of jubilant…

The dry season in Hwange National Park reached its height in late September. My partner Ashley and I huddled in our Pajero, trying to keep warm in the chilly midnight air on the bank of Mandavu Dam. The water shimmered silver under the full moon as night-owl storks stalked the shallows. Sudden splashing alerted us to the thirsty arrival of an elephant herd on the far bank. I strained through binoculars to count the drinking adults and playful young – a herd of 23. Scanning back to our side of the dam, I found four huge bulls right next to…

What a week that was! 4440km later, and after countless hours of driving, I was sitting comfortably in my home, having kissed my baby and realised that I was glad to be back in the comfort of my space, where everything was familiar. When friends asked how the trip was, I became aware that I was conflicted: there had been good times and trying times. Road tripping through five African countries in one week had never been in my plans, mostly because I feared the unknown. However, I gave into peer pressure on one hand, and my curiosity on the…

Last month, Andrew Middleton wrote about his journey up north from Mozambique to the top of Malawi, exploring dams, lakes and national parks. It was a tough ride, but the trip back down threw up a few challenges too… This month, he heads from Malawi into Zambia, explores Lake Kariba, and moves into Zimbabwe to the incredible Victoria Falls. Then it’s back into South Africa for the return-leg of an epic journey of 12 500km, through five countries, and all in less than a month. We woke up to a blissful campsite on the Nyika Plateau in northern Malawi, knowing…

Having wrapped up Africa, King and crew set their sights on unfamiliar climes, tackling Asia in the first of their Africa And Beyond expeditions. I’m sitting in The Pudding Shop in Istanbul, with delicious roast chicken in front of me, and Kingsley Holgate beside me. It’s my fourth day in Istanbul, and we should have been hundreds of kilometres away by now, exploring the ancient history and magnificent landscapes of Turkey. Instead, we’ve been waiting, and waiting, for Turkish officials to release the two Land Rover Discoverys and the one Defender 130 from customs. And, because of other delays in…

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