We landed in South Africa with virtually no plans, just that we wanted to see Africa. Logistics had not been given a thought. Things like when, where, and how – the typical things that come to mind when planning a trip were all blank.
We arrived in South Africa via the Seychelles on an airfare deal we found just a month prior. Even the gate agents for Air Seychelles warned us that we were going to face troubles at immigration since we had no reservations or outbound tickets from South Africa. However, we took our chances and got on the flight anyway. A risk that was well worth the reward.
Hi – I’m Natasha, one-half of the blog called The World Pursuit. The short story I told above was five months ago, and yet here we are still in Africa with a car we now own and a paper map.
My partner and I are driving across Africa, don’t worry we’ll make it out alive! Here is how, why, and where we are going on our grand journey around the continent, or as we call it “Hashtag Africa.”
Why are we traveling through Africa?
The two of us didn’t know each other when we were younger, but we did have one childhood favorite in common – The Lion King (Cameron’s first movie).
Ever since 1994, I have been dreaming about visiting Africa to see the incredible wildlife. As I grew older, the list of reasons for venturing around the continent only grew longer.
We’re eager to explore a continent famous for smiles despite its hardships. Traveling to destinations away from the typical tourist tracks is often rewarding. It opens the travelers eyes.
Africa is home to some of the last nomadic tribes in the world. It is where some of the oldest evidence of humans lay on the continent. We find traveling is a quest to understand how others live and perceive life. Africa is where all life thrives despite adverse conditions, from our understanding it is beautiful and tragic.
Aside from the wildlife, landscapes, and culture Cameron and I are yearning to travel differently.
We have traveled around Europe, Asia, and Australia. They are all parts of the world that we both can’t wait to return to.
However, Africa seems like the last “untamed” land for us. Although driving around Africa won’t be the most comfortable trip we have ever embarked on, we know we will reap many rewards.
How are we traveling through Africa?
Once we landed in South Africa, we got a two-month rental car to travel around. The car was a Nissan NP200 bakkie and we took it through South Africa, Mozambique, Swaziland, and Lesotho. About five hours into Mozambique and we knew the rental car was not going to cut it.
The Nissan was a 2×4, and unbeknownst to us, Mozambique is 4×4 country. While we were stuck on one of the many sand roads in Southern Mozambique we swore to ourselves that we would get a 4×4 next time for any trip out of South Africa.
Three months later we were at a used car dealership in Cape Town handing over our hard earned money for a 1989 Toyota Land Cruiser. Renting a car for a journey through Africa would prove far too expensive, and we want to get more further off the beaten path than public transport would take us.
Our 1989 Cruiser is named “Charlie.” He is our saving grace and our work-horse across Africa. We have outfitted him to camp anywhere we go. He’s also come sweet bells and whistles like a bush bar, roof rack, and built-in drawers.
Although we bought him in South Africa, our goal is to sell him back wherever we end (we’ll see about that though)!
Where will we be heading?
When we landed in South Africa we had no idea where to go from there. We knew we wanted to get to places like the Okavango Delta and to see the mountain gorillas in Virunga, but we had no concrete plans.
We decided to start small and travel into Swaziland, Mozambique, and Lesotho before coming back to South Africa. After just one week we knew we weren’t leaving Africa anytime soon.
We settled in Cape Town for a two months to work and get our itinerary sorted out. Now, we think we have it a little more finessed.
From Cape Town we will drive into Namibia, followed by Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, and Ethiopia. That’s as far as we have planned right now!
Do you expect any problems?
We are not expecting anything to go smoothly by any means, TIA. However, we have tried to prepare ourselves to the best of our ability.
We’ve stocked up on camping supplies, purchased new tires, and have at least half of a pharmacy in our car. Besides expecting the unexpected we are watching the news in some of the countries we want to travel through.
One of the highlights of this trip was to travel through Ethiopia; however, as of now the country is going through a period of unrest. Zimbabwe is on the brink of collapse so we are also playing that by ear. We always just need to remind ourselves that “this is Africa” and things change on a moments notice.
Another problem we are facing is border crossings. We have read and researched that bringing a foreign registered car into Kenya can be a pain. As much as we want to travel to Kenya, we don’t have a carnet and the Kenyan government requires a deposit to ensure taxes of the vehicle before you can bring the car in.
Another dream for us is hiking the Nyiragongo Volcano in the DRC, which may be dangerous and downright stupid to enter into an unstable country. Hoping things will change by the time we get in the area – but we are realists and are not holding our breath.
As adventurous as we like to consider ourselves we will never knowingly throw ourselves into a dangerous environment, especially in Africa. Hopefully, sometime in our lifetime, there is world peace, and we can eventually travel freely to all these amazing nations.
Cameron is keeping a daily travel log of our adventure, and we will be updating our social channels whenever we have Internet. We want to bring readers all of what Africa has to offer, and even the not so great times, as seen through our eyes.
We’ll also be here sharing our story on Y Travel Blog every month as we go – I hope you enjoy following along!
Have you traveled Africa before? Do you have any tips on couples travel in Africa or overlanding Africa in your own car?