Only in Africa

Tsavo East sitting on top of Landy2

Tsavo East National Park in Kenya, where the roads are red, the Ellies prolific and the views breathtaking … This National Park missed top spot, by a whisker, in the family ratings, to Tarangire National Park in Tanzania. Jess and James survey the landscape. (Photo: Sharlene Versfeld, fellow traveller)

Ninety Days, in a Nutshell…
This lucky editor, handed the phone and computer over to her business partner and team and shifted into another gear for 90 days. It was a magical ride, and one that left us convinced of our deep affection for Africa, despite its monstrous challenges. In a nutshell – if you dream of it, just do it!
10 Travellers – aged from 6 to 76.
Seven Countries – Botswana, Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique and Swaziland
Two Defenders, one Toyota Hilux D4D
13 361 kms in total
90 days away
298 hours, or 12. 4 days in the seat
Furthest days drive: 440km, Kapishya Hot Springs (Zambia) to Utengule (Tanzania). The trip took 10 hours, including the 3 hours at Tunduma border post into Tanzania.
Longest day on the road: Nchalo Sugar Estate, Malawi to Caia, Mozambique took 11.5 hours, which included the 45 minutes at the border post, and the hour of faffing for the ferry. Distance – a paltry 356kms. Average speed 37.6k per hour.
Slowest average speed – Ruaha National Park, Tanzania, to Kisolanza farm, via the “shortcut” was a 6 hour drive, a distance of 144kms, at an average speed of 24k ms per hour.
1561.8 litres of Diesel consumed by the Defender, making a consumption average of 11.7 l per 100kms.
Diesel price: Botswana, 9.9 BP per litre, Zambia, 9.2 ZK per litre, Tanzania 2100 TS per litre (R13.48); Kenya 101 KS per litre (R12.05); Malawi 657 MK per litre (R17.14), Mozambique 41Mts per litre (R14.09), Swaziland R11.50 per litre
Four ferry crossings
41 Destination Flags in total indicated on our Garmin.
Most expensive destination – Ngorongoro Crater
33 Campsites Cost ranged $5 per night to $15, with costing NOT based on standards)
Favourite camps (for a variety of reasons): Kiangu, Kafue Zambia; Ruaha National Park,Tanzania; Makuzi Beach, Malawi, Inhassaro, Goody Villas, Mozambique.
Most economical campsite – Nchalo Sugar Estate, Malawi, the Club Manager’s lawn
17 dinners out, 73 self-catered dinners
Supermarkets – Shoprite Checkers (Francistown, Livingstone, Arusha, Blantyre), Nakumatt (Kenya), People’s and Chipiku (Malawi)
“Favour” monies paid out to officials – zero for family 1, zero for family 2. R10 for the Pensioners.
Curveballs: theft of 1 solar panel (Pensioners), car bashing (Pensioners), stowaway rat for duration of journey (Family 2)
Speeding fines – Pensioners 2, Family 2, 2 and 1 for Family 1
Technical hiccups – Family 1: Defender, 1 rear shock absorber (replaced all four), and 1 cooling water expansion tank leak (replaced), Family 2, two puncture (same tyre, same hole), Pensioners water in fuel sensor activation, Family 1 replaced waterlogged Canon lens, and motherboard!

And this is simply the bare bones of the story … My tan is fading, I have completed the post trip course of anti-malaria pills and I still have to blog the final night we spent in Maputo. There’s a little hole in my soul where our African adventure fitted! It’s not a bad thing, it means that we will be doing more of the same.