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Browsing: Southern Africa

I was sitting around a fire with my Dad one Sunday in March, when our general discussion moved to Botswana, a country that has crept into my heart over the last couple of years. We were talking about the Zebra migration every September and October, when the game starts massing in its thousands in the Nxai and Makgadikgadi pans, and then, as if by some group signal, heads to Xhumaga (also known as Khumaga) on the banks of the Boteti River in search of greener grass. We decided this was the year that we should take a trip to see

Few people are aware that the mighty Namib Desert extends into southern Angola. This seldom-visited region lies in the very remote south-western corner of Angola, straddling the border with Namibia. My paper maps and GPS show virtually no roads, and not a single town for many hundreds of kilometres.  I intend to take a route through some of the most remote, and least inhabited, terrain on the entire African continent. To increase my maximum petrol capacity, I strap a 20-litre container to the spare wheel. Together with the stock tank and my Titan Transfer Tank, I now carry a touch

As one of the least densely populated countries on the continent and one with a stunning array of wildlife and natural beauty, Botswana is high on the must-see list for any visitor to Africa, and a country I have been looking forward to for a very long time. It has extremely strict conservation laws, and in the more than 17% of the land mass dedicated to National Parks, animals roam freely and are a fixture of everyday life. National Parks are well organised and affordable, and thousands of kilometres of remote tracks lie waiting to be explored. In many regions,

Having been involved in several severe 4×4 challenges of late, it came as a welcome relief to tackle the Nossob Eco Trail, which runs through the remote Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. Here was a chance to enjoy open wilderness without any stress about vehicle damage. Starting at the Twee Rivieren post right on the border of Botswana in the Northern Cape’s most northerly point, the five-day, four-night trail begins at the point where the Aoub and Nossob river intersect – hence ‘Twee Rivieren’. These rivers flow only once every century, but, even so, are lined with massive camelthorns and populated heavily

For many years, it had been on my wish list to drive from Gauteng to the Serengeti. Flying would be the easiest, but I wanted to drive. I have done numerous 4×4 trips into Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and Lesotho, as well as through South Africa, and I have reasonable experience of this type of adventure. However, the Serengeti is over 4 000km away, and this adds a new dimension to travel – especially if one wants to do it in twelve days. So, where does one start to plan a trip of this magnitude? My starting point was to see

Most people head up to Namaqualand during the annual spring flower season, but for those who prefer peace and quiet, rather travel during the secret ‘Green Season’… Intrepid travellers who venture along the lesser gravel roads high along the western reaches of the Northern Cape, where arid desert land tumbles towards the tempestuous Atlantic Ocean, will be lucky enough to discover ‘Eenkantland’. This ‘Land on the Side’ is also known as Namaqualand, and the region’s Namaqua Coastal Route traverses the north-western parts of the area. It is a place of stark, jaw-dropping beauty, where a semi-desert inland escarpment transitions into

Everybody’s heard a Zimbabwe travel horror story. Under the rule of Robert Mugabe, corruption thrived in all but the most remote reaches of the vast and diverse country. One would encounter dozens of roadblocks between Bulawayo and Harare, each ‘staffed’ by police or scammers seeking nothing more than to extort one for a couple of trillion Zim dollars. Journeys by road became arduous and expensive – and often dangerous, too. Well, I’m happy to report that things have changed. Zimbabwe, it seems, is open for business. The fall of Uncle Bob has paved the way for optimism and recovery, and

PART II: THE EDGE OF NOWHERE In September 2017, adventurer Peter van Kets and Jacques Marais set off from the southern Angolan border to tackle a gruelling world-first pedal across the unforgiving Namib Desert. This is Part 2I of their ‘Beyond the Desert Edge’ story, capturing a few of the incredible adventures they experienced during this 1200km crank… Day 1: Climbing the Cunene valley There’s no easy way to escape the Cunene River valley from Serra Cafema. Behind you, the in-your-face, belligerent landscape of the Zebra Mountain ranges of Angola bristle with intent, while ahead of you, a massive mother

Adventurer Peter Van Kets and photo-journalist Jacques Marais decided to ride their mountain bikes from Angola to Swakopmund. But before they could crank off on this incredible adventure, they first had to get to the Cunene River … This is one of those journeys that started quite some time ago. I’ve always been keen to get on board one of Peter Van Kets’ amazing adventures, but when we started chatting about a possible adventure collaboration earlier this year, I never expected that we’d launch the first in a series of ‘Beyond Expeditions’ less than six months later. Somehow it all came together

Barefoot Adventurers Club duo, Calum Buckmaster and Willie Badenhorst, have just returned from a seven-month travel fest through eight countries in a 400cc diesel-engined Tuk-Tuk – top speed 40km/h. All to raise awareness for the endangered species of southern Africa. “Eish!” “What are you Mzungus doing?” “From there? To here? In this?” “Barefoot?” “Ah, no, man!” A fairly typical greeting from people we met – including policemen. Friendly, but puzzled and amazed. Fair enough.  It’s not often you see a couple of young blokes in remote Africa in a little cargo Tuk-Tuk. Getting started The idea stemmed from the time

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