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Posts Tagged 'chobe'

Zanzibar to Johannesburg - The Overland Trip Experience

Monday, December 12th, 2011
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Anyone visiting Africa might wonder, where do rangers go when they have holidays? Well, Africa is still the perfect place! I decided to become a safari guide after travelling to Africa on overlanding trips and have now made South Africa home. By keeping in contact with friends and family over Facebook I was invited to enter a competition by Overlanding Africa that could lead to winning a trip from Zanzibar to Johannesburg. What do you know, I won! Starting out on the beaches of Zanzibar, I was introduced to my group. We swam with turtles, we drank cocktails in hammocks on the beach, my camera even decided to take a trip without me around a local village before making its way back… luckily unharmed.

Tweedie01_Zanzibar

Above: Zanzibar Beach

Many days were spent driving through the vast expanses that Africa is known for but this meant that everyone in the truck was forced to interact to keep each other amused – and this is where friendships are made. This is what overlanding is mostly about and why people will always come back to this style of travel. It’s the people - everyone travelling together, initially as strangers and then leaving as friends. You can visit some fantastic places and see wonderful things but you know you’re going to meet some great individuals along the way. Malawi, too, is all about the people and, of course Lake Malawi, or “Ocean Malawi” – so big you can’t see the other side. Being able to meet a witch doctor on these shores was a highlight. Apparently I’ll be married within 3 years with 3 children and a successful career, great stuff! But it was surprising just how moving it was seeing the children around there. Tweedie09_LakeMalawi Tweedie05_MeWithWitchDoctor

Above: Left - Lake Malawi / Right - Alex Tweedie with a witch doctor

As we walked through little villages the younger children, not old enough to be in school, would yell out “The muzungus* are coming!” as they would crowd around and reach for your hand (or belt loop as I gathered a growing brood of 6 children at one point). On the shores of the lake we collected sunbeams and discovered “Exotic Fanta” during games of “Funny Bunny.” The favouritism of Exotic Fanta was only lost over the border in Zambia when a new drink “Janta” was discovered. It’s often about the little things when you travel, the stories that come out that often only your group will ever understand. Janta came about during a Birthday Cruise on the Zambezi. With drinks aplenty, the sun shining after the first storm of the season and birthday hats and party blowers for everyone we watched as the sun set over elephants crossing the Zambezi. It even overtook the fact that my tent got completely flooded – Janta can cure all of your woes apparently.

Tweedie06_MalawiKids

Above: Children in Malawi Livingstone

On the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe is the centre for an adrenaline rush related activity you can think of, the most well known of these is the bungee jump over Victoria Falls. As I had done this previously, I didn’t feel the need to go again but went to support the overlanders who were tempted. Even those that came for moral support along with me ended up jumping by the end of our visit! For some it can prove a life changing moment of overcoming fears (or in the case of a friend, realise that your fears are not of heights… rather of bridges). For others it is a pure excitement of living in the moment! I often get told to “bring out the Indiana Jones in yourself” at work, and this is a prime example –WWID, What Would Indy Do? For the quieter types, there are always options available, high tea overlooking Victoria Falls rather than jumping might be more to the liking of some (the scones are worth it I hear!). With the mix of people, you’ll get reviews first hand of places to consider going to on your next visit.

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Above: Livingston Waterfront

Seeing the wildlife from the point of view of a guest rather than the ranger is something not to be taken for granted in my line of work and the possibility for wildlife sightings on an overlanding trip is unlimited. Of course you’re at an advantage having someone with knowledge of the environment around you rather than going it alone, and most guides have travelled the routes numerous times and gained an insight into the workings of each location – natural world and otherwise.

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Above: Stalls in Victoria Falls

Chobe and Kruger were the stand outs for wildlife on this tour. Botswana’s Chobe National Park provided us with a never-ending supply of elephants, crocodiles, buffalo and hippos on the Sunset Cruise. Red lechwe, water monitors, and amazing birdlife including the rare saddle-billed stork were also located in a photographers dream setting. Taking the land option, Chobe gave us many other animals but the brief sightings of wild dogs and sable made the day for this little ranger. It doesn’t have to be the big things to make it memorable. In Kruger National Park, probably South Africa’s most famous National Park, watching a dragonfly in love with a backpack or reacting to a very cheeky vervet monkey who had a taste for Doritos (inside our vehicle!) were just as fun as seeing the rhinos and elephants not five-minutes from the gate. Buffalo, mating lions a fantastic Giant Eagle Owl spotted by one eagle-eyed guest, were some of the other delights of the day. With the final evening at hand, we said hesitant farewells around the fire and blessed Facebook for an easy method of keeping in contact. Many of the group since being on the tour have already caught up further in their travels again in various places around the world – South Africa, Brazil, Australia to name a few. Although some may have gone straight home, for others, they’re always travelling. But in this sense it makes a tour like this even more memorable – now you have more friends to either live vicariously or to plan your next adventure with!

Check out the itinerary and book the

Zanzibar to Johannesburg trip here

Post written by Guest Blogger Alex Tweedie

Tweedie05_MeWithWitchDoctor

Alex is an Aussie expat now living in South Africa as a Field Guide (ie. ranger). She has travelled extensively through Southern and Eastern Africa on a number of overlanding trips as well as taking people around the lowveld of South Africa herself. *foreigner or white person

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Tags: adventure, chobe, experience, kruger, win, zanzibar


Top 5 Botswana Overland Trips

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010
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So, you have been thinking about heading to Africa for a safari... don’t have time to travel the length of the continent but still want that authentic African experience? Look no further than the center of Africa.

okavango delta mokoro

We make it easy for you with the top 5 overland trips in Botswana.

Yawning hippo

Delta to the Falls Local cultures, mokoro cruises in the Okavango Delta, excellent game viewing and adventure activities at Victoria Falls. This short tour has it all!

Delta and Chobe Expedition A quick trip covering the best of Botswana - wildlife filled Chobe National Park and the majestic Okavango Delta. Finish off with the thundering Victoria Falls to get the blood pumping!

Kalahari and Okavango Delta Visit one of the biggest game reserves in the world on this wildlife specific tour. We focus on the Central Kalahari Game Reserve but also visit the Okavango Delta, Makgadikgadi Pans and Chobe National Park.

Central Africa Loop A round trip that encompasses most of Southern Africa's highlights. Meander through the Okavango's waterways, raft the mighty Zambezi or explore Zimbabwe ruins, a trip you will never forget!

Delta Reeds

Southern Loop Explore Southern Africa from Victoria Falls to Etosha National Park, journey to the waterways of the Okavango Delta, and be amazed at the starkness of the Makgadikgadi Pans. Add to that the adventure capital of Namibia - Swakopmund - with endless activities to choose from. Post your comments below or contact the team at OverlandingAfrica.com for more overland tours and budget backpacking advice.

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Tags: botswana-overland-trips, chobe, kalahari, okavango-delta


7 Sensational Camping Safaris in Africa

Friday, April 30th, 2010
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For those that prefer the thrill of sleeping under the stars, camping safaris offer the perfect blend of adventure, nature, wildlife and spectacular views - allowing you to experience the ultimate camping trip in some of the most beautiful destinations across Africa.

Camping Safaris

From the remote rain forests of Uganda, to the idyllic beaches of Mozambique, there is a camping tour to suit all tastes, budgets and travel needs, offering a host of activities, attractions and sights. Camping tours are ideal for travellers who are not afraid to get their hands dirty, and do not mind sleeping in the great outdoors with just their mosquito-proof dome tents to protect them against the elements. For travellers who enjoy being right in the middle of all the action however, these trips offer a memorable travel experience in Africa.

The top 7 sensational camping safaris in Africa that are simply not to be missed include:

1. Kruger National Park Kruger National Park camping safaris offer a glimpse into South Africa's largest game park. This four day safari takes you from Johannesburg to the beautiful Kruger Park, continuing to Timbavati to visit a Cheetah Breeding Centre and Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre. This camping trip is ideal for travellers wanting a short tour with plenty of game viewing.

2. Gorilla Trekking The five day Gorilla Trekking camping tour is one of the most memorable experiences imaginable. See highly endangered mountain gorillas in their natural habitat, high up in the forests of Uganda. The tour starts in Kampala, and continues on to visit Kisoro and Lake Bunyoni. Gorilla trekking, plenty of game viewing and bird watching, as well as camping in the beautiful rain forests of Uganda are all just a hint of what you can expect on these camping safaris in Africa.

3.    Victoria Falls Visit the World Heritage Site of Victoria Falls, the 'smoke that thunders', and see why this mindboggling waterfall has been rated as one of the wonders of the world. There are a number of camping tour options you could consider for Victoria Falls, with many tours offering a stop-over to this iconic destination as an added option. However you get there, camping in Vic Falls is not to be missed!

4.    Namib Desert Safari Explore the land of contrasts with an eleven day Namib Desert Safari that takes you across the staggering dunes and deserts of Namibia. These camping trips start in Windhoek and head on to Etosha National Park, Spitzkoppe, Swakopmund, Sesriem, Sossusvlei and Fish River Canyon before heading back to South Africa via the Orange River.

5.    Madagascar Dhow Island Hopping Experience the serene beaches and underwater wonders of Madagascar's islands with an eight day camping safari that takes you from Antananarivo to key islands such as Hell-ville, Nosy Iranja, Mahalina, Lokobe National Park and Nosy Komba, before heading back to Antananarivo. You will be able to camp in exotic beach spots, view the islands rare and fascinating wildlife and explore the warm waters that are teeming with marine life.

6.    Botswana Delta and Chobe Expedition The beautiful Botswana hot-spots of the Okavango Delta and Chobe have been hailed as the most stunning safari destinations in Africa, and for good reason. The eight day Botswana camping tour takes you across the waterways and game-rich channels of this Botswana paradise.

7.    Mozambique Magic Mozambique Magic tours take you from South Africa to Swaziland and Hlane Royal National Park, before crossing into Mozambique to visit key destinations such as Praia do Tofo, Bazaruto, Inhambane, Maputo and more. These are the perfect camping safaris in Africa for those who enjoy beaches, friendly locals and stunning wildlife.

For information about these tours and much more contact the team at OverlandingAfrica.com!

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Tags: africa, botswana, camping, chobe, gorillas, kruger, madagascar, mozambique, namib-desert, safaris, vic-falls