Wild Dog Adventure Riding

Riding: Plan, Report and Racing => Ride Reports => Topic started by: Wayne Duck on September 11, 2012, 01:53:55 pm

Title: 21 days through BotsNamZamZim two up May 2011
Post by: Wayne Duck on September 11, 2012, 01:53:55 pm
21 days through Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe – unassisted, two up on a KTM 990R (about 70% tar / 30% dirt)

This trip we did in May 2011, before I joined this forum...a shorter version did appear in Enduro World but with much less pictures.

We (Ronelle and myself) started with the thought of riding up to Kariba and sailing on the ferry...but, after the planning started in earnest (on Mapsource and the internet) in November 2010, we had soon included not only the Kariba ferry, but all the countries mentioned above! By January 2011 we had everything booked and, by April, all the necessary paperwork, travel insurance, vaccinations and, of course, the bike serviced.

Day one, 324 km’s (Sun City, Ellisras, Big Fig Inn):

This was an easy run from home to the Botswana border at Martin’s Drift. We left after lunch and reached the Big Fig Inn, 3 km’s from the Martin’s Drift, at 4.30pm.

All packed and ready to leave home
(http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg489/wduck7/BotsNamZamZim%202010/afecf389.jpg)


Day two, 552 km’s (Martin’s Drift, Palapye, Lethlakane):

We got up early to clear the SA and Botswana border formalities and push on to Palapye for a mid-morning “bacon-less” breakfast at Wimpy (no pork due to foot and mouth outbreak). From Palapye we headed out to Serowe and arrived at the Mikelele Motel in Lethlakane before midday. After removing the panniers we rode off in the direction of Kubu Island, the intention being to try see a bit of the Makgadikgadi Pans. However, in the hot afternoon sun the thick sand was fluffy and difficult two up…both the bike and I were overheating! We decided to follow the dirt road to Masu in a circular route back to Lethlakane (which we re-named Lekker-lanie while “re-hydrating” ourselves at the bar!)

(http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg489/wduck7/BotsNamZamZim%202010/31fb1215.jpg)

(http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg489/wduck7/BotsNamZamZim%202010/a4365ccf.jpg)

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Days three to six, 373 km’s (Lethlakane, Rakops, Maun and Okavango Delta):

This route skirts around the Makgadikgadi National Park. We were amazed at the thousands of livestock walking freely across the huge open “vlakte”, and of course across the road! Arriving in Maun we rode straight to the Old Bridge Backpackers, where we were to spend the night (and leave the bike) before leaving on a 3 day Inner Delta Safari (organised by Old Bridge Backpackers).
In the morning we boarded a “tinny” (aluminium hull speed boat) and threaded our way through the delta’s thousands of channels for four and a half hours until we reached Chief’s Island, deep in the Okavango Delta’s Moremi National Park. Here we set up tents to camp for two nights. During the days we did bush walks and a mokoro trip, seeing a lot of game. A highlight was coming across 3 lion feeding on a warthog...we got to about 40 meters away before they noticed us and ran away, taking the carcass with them. We were very relieved (understatement of the year!) that they ran away because our guide (a chap from the local village just outside the park) was “armed” only with an old pair of binoculars!

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(http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg489/wduck7/BotsNamZamZim%202010/88cd5c1a.jpg)

View from tent at Old Bridge Backpackers
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Swimming in the delta!
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Relaxing at Old Bridge
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Day seven, 439 km’s (Maun, Etsha, Mahango Park, Popa Falls)

All packed and about to leave Maun we had the only “incident” with the bike the whole trip…I turned the key in the ignition and nothing happened, no instrument lights, or the comforting “systems” check or whirr of the fuel pump! In an instant my 30 years of biking experience was forgotten – I immediately thought the worst and set about stripping the tank bag off to check the fuses. All 100%. Next wild thought, the battery must be flat. Nope, the head light and flickers worked. So it must be the fancy-electronic-immobiliser-chip-thingie in the key, I thought! While I was digging in my pockets for the spare Ronelle (with just 3 years biking experience, gained via me!) very tactfully asks “darling, does this bike have a kill switch?” Ok, so now I’m embarrassed  :-[  Duh, bloody kill switch! I gave her a big hug and we were on our way! (I never turn the kill switch off...must have been someone fiddling while it was parked for the three days - that's my story and I'm sticking to it  ;D )

The route up the Okavango panhandle is an easy one and before you know it you’ll be at the Namibian border. From there it’s a short hop through the Mahango National Park to Popa Falls (Rainbow River Lodge) for the night.

(http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg489/wduck7/BotsNamZamZim%202010/a06e4510.jpg)

(http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg489/wduck7/BotsNamZamZim%202010/d08ec446.jpg)

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(http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg489/wduck7/BotsNamZamZim%202010/d5394246.jpg)

Many foot and mouth spray downs along the way
(http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg489/wduck7/BotsNamZamZim%202010/1adea597.jpg)

(http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg489/wduck7/BotsNamZamZim%202010/555e5b26.jpg)

Nice cool swim at the end of another hard day in Africa!
(http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg489/wduck7/BotsNamZamZim%202010/90f9ae3e.jpg)


Day eight, 453 km’s (Popa Falls, Caprivi Strip, Chobe, Kasane)

Anyone who’s ever ridden the length of the Caprivi Strip will know it’s very long, very straight…and hard on the bum! We were fortunate to see two Cheetah right next to the road, allowing us to stop 50 meters from them for a while before they disappeared into the bush again. Entering Botswana again at Ngomo border we rode through Chobe to Kasane (Mowana Lodge) to overnight.

(http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg489/wduck7/BotsNamZamZim%202010/29d5a3fc.jpg)

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Entering Chobe
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(http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg489/wduck7/BotsNamZamZim%202010/103aa039.jpg)

This little chap wanted to hitch a ride into Zambia
(http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg489/wduck7/BotsNamZamZim%202010/1fa41756.jpg)


Days nine and ten, 95 km’s (Kasane, Kazungula Ferry, Livingstone)

Chaos! That’s all I can say about the Kazungula ferry into Zambia! I wanted to do this for the “real African experience”…and boy, was it an experience! I can now cross that off of my bucket list! From this border (which, miraculously, we cleared in just two hours) we rode to Livingstone to spend two nights at the Royal Livingstone Hotel (yes I know that this is not usual accommodation for adventure riders but after 25 years with Sun International I do get to enjoy the perks!)

The wait for the ferry begins...
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(http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg489/wduck7/BotsNamZamZim%202010/ceb44332.jpg)

...and finally on the ferry, squashed in like sardines!
(http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg489/wduck7/BotsNamZamZim%202010/fa0c9f37.jpg)

Cleared the border now finally in Zambia. Truckers seem to pile up in these long queues at most borders through Africa, I'm glad I do not have their job.
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First sight of the falls "smoke" as you ride out of Livingstone
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Next, into Zimbabwe...
Title: Re: 21 days through BotsNamZamZim two up May 2011
Post by: roxenz on September 11, 2012, 02:17:31 pm
Ah, sounds like a grand tour you guys had, Wayne!  Looking forward to more...  :biggrin:
Title: Re: 21 days through BotsNamZamZim two up May 2011
Post by: katana on September 11, 2012, 02:38:17 pm
What was your secret for the 2 hour crossing at Kazungula?  It took me 4 hours and USD200. 
Title: Re: 21 days through BotsNamZamZim two up May 2011
Post by: Wayne Duck on September 11, 2012, 03:14:02 pm
....continues

Day eleven, 202 km’s (Livingstone, Vic Falls, Mlibizi)

Leaving Zambia via the famous Vic Falls bridge was amazing, the spray from the falls (in flood) soaked us! The red tape at the Zim border was delightfully easy, with all border officials friendly, smiling and helpful. As we rode through Vic Falls I was very anxious, we were now heading into a region of Africa I had not ridden before. Leaving the tar 11 km’s outside of the Vic Falls town we turned left onto the Zambezi Gorge road to Mlibizi via Deka. This road is twin track, alternating between sharp rock, deep soft pebbles and sand. We stopped at the Hwange Fishing Club at the confluence of the Zambezi and Deka rivers for cold drinks and reached Mlibizi at 3pm, where we would board the ferry the following morning.

Vic Falls bridge covered in spray
(http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg489/wduck7/BotsNamZamZim%202010/0127a471.jpg)

The view from the Gorge road looking towards the falls in the distance
(http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg489/wduck7/BotsNamZamZim%202010/ae8f1828.jpg)

This route is very remote, this was the only shop and people we saw until reaching Hwange Fishing Club, and then there were only three staff there!
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A welcome cold drink in the bar at the fishing club
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Mlibizi accommodation for the night
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Day twelve to fourteen, ferry across Lake Kariba and Kariba town

This started out as the whole reason for the trip, and it was magnificent! The ferry arrived at Mlibizi early, off loaded a bunch of 4x4’s and we rode on board…we were the only vehicle and the only passengers for the 22 hour return trip to Kariba (12km’s per hour for 22 hours)! Excellent food (and lots of it). Friendly staff. Hot showers. Stunning 360 degree views all day. A sunset like no other and a comfy bed out on deck under the full moon. Wow!
After breakfast we disembarked and rode to Warthogs Bush Camp for two nights, exploring Kariba town and visiting the dam wall the next day.

Up early waiting for the ferry
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Bike safely stowed below decks for the trip
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We stayed in this little cabin at Warthogs camp, Kariba
(http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg489/wduck7/BotsNamZamZim%202010/f67d3b78.jpg)

Went sightseeing...the dam wall,
(http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg489/wduck7/BotsNamZamZim%202010/d3688406.jpg)

Notice the static charge in the (h)air!
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Lunch at the Carribea Bay Marina
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Day fifteen to seventeen, 75 km’s (Kariba to Gache Gache)

The ride to Gache Gache takes you through the wild and remote Charara Safari (hunting) concession. The twin track wound its way through very densely wooded hills. Along the way we often saw fresh signs of elephant (we could smell the urine and “meaty smell!), but we did not get to see one!  After about two hours we reached Gache Gache Lodge right on the water’s edge, which was all ours for three nights…again, no other guests, terrific!

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Our cabin
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Filling up my 8 liter fuel bladder for the long haul to Binga (yes that's from a watering can!)
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(http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg489/wduck7/BotsNamZamZim%202010/b5db8dd0.jpg)


Day eighteen, 329 km’s (Gache Gache to Binga)

After topping up the fuel and filling up the petrol bladder the day before (8L to extend my range to +400 km’s) we made a very early start. Thank goodness for the packed lunch the staff had prepared…there is NOTHING between here and Binga! I’ve ridden remote before, but this carried on all day! More than 300 km’s of twin track, high middlemannetjie, bad corrugations, soft pebbles and in places even softer sand. It took us 10 ˝ hours to reach Binga, 9 ˝ of that in the saddle. Although Ronelle is pretty used to being pillion over rough roads and tracks, I was nonetheless extremely impressed, and proud of her for enduring this day!

A dawn start to a long day
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Emptying the bladder into the tank after about 120km to lighten the load on the back of the bike
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Arriving in Binga after 5 that afternoon the only place open was the "Spar"...only had bread, slap chips and bully beef, so this was our dinner after a long, hot shower!
(http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg489/wduck7/BotsNamZamZim%202010/f4ec08e5.jpg)

Arrived just in time to fill up at the govt garage before it closed for the day
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That night my bike deserved to sleep inside with us!  ;D
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Day nineteen, 525 km’s (Binga, Lupane, Tsholotsho, Plumtree, Embakwe)

Binga to Dingavivi, where we turned onto the main Vic Falls / Bulawayo road, was hilly and very scenic. We turned south just after Lupane and hit the dirt tracks to Plumtree, where we refuelled. We then continued 40 km’s south to overnight on a friend's farm near Embakwe Mission.

(http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg489/wduck7/BotsNamZamZim%202010/06dcd318.jpg)

(http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg489/wduck7/BotsNamZamZim%202010/9e9731cf.jpg)


Day twenty, 338 km’s (Embakwe, Mphoengs, Mmadinare, Selebi Phikwe, Martin’s Drift)

Leaving the farm we rode south and through a very quiet border post into Botswana at Matsiloje. With directions from the farmer of a “new road” that’ll take us to Selebi Phikwe, we turned south at the border (west would  take you to Francistown) and followed another rough-as-all-hell track for about 80 km’s where quite suddenly it opens up into a wide as-fast-as-you-like (Chinese built) dirt highway...it felt scary (but good fun!) to go fast again after the previous week of averaging around 40 km’s/h! We pulled in to Kwa Nokeng Lodge at Martin’s drift at 4pm to spend our last night of this unforgettable trip!
(not many photos of this section...think we were tired by now!)

(http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg489/wduck7/BotsNamZamZim%202010/3b3d7e0d.jpg)

(http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg489/wduck7/BotsNamZamZim%202010/e642a70c.jpg)

The next day (day 21) was an easy 329 km’s home.

Home, safe and sound! This was a really enjoyable trip. Just the two of us, on one bike, over 4000 km’s - no punctures, petrol available wherever we had planned to fill up, friendly locals…and wonderful memories! We’re definitely going back to explore Zimbabwe more, the follow up trip to this was done in May 2012. We did Zim anti-clockwise, up through the Eastern Highlands, across to Harare, Kariba, ferry to Mlibizi then Plumtree, Bots and home...RR already done in August 2012, find it somewhere in this section  :)

(http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg489/wduck7/BotsNamZamZim%202010/cb7fdd0c.jpg)

Statistics:
261 litres petrol R2 415; Ave R9.22 per litre; Ave 6.15 L/100 km’s (I ave 5.7 L/100 solo); R978 border fees; R26 000 accommodation, food and drinks and ferry...this seems expensive but it was mainly two places that cost most of this - The Inner Okavango Delta Trip and the three days of fully catered for bliss at Gache Gache Lodge!


From a pillion’s perspective - a short add on by Ronelle

Going on a motorbike trip for 21 days, with only one pannier mine…what does a girl like me pack!
With space and weight limitations, I was happy that only the hairdryer stayed behind. With small, flat containers I was able to take all my toiletries, facial products, make-up and perfume! My carefully selected clothes helped with hot days, chilly nights and “freshness”, and dried quickly. All modern “quick-wick” stuff, cotton is a no no! From camping to five star hotels, I easily transformed from Jane of the Jungle to the Princess of Livingstone.

Even though I have a lower back problem and pain was to be expected, I travelled comfortably. It was only during the two consecutive (long) days of dirt riding in Zimbabwe that I experienced pain in my knees and under my rib cage. I became particularly aware of movement and the balancing game was perfected. My favourite part was standing on the wide pegs fitted for me. Hie ha!

I keep the camera handy in my jacket for quick snap shots on the move. So were my tissues and lip sunscreen. I loved peeking over Wayne’s shoulder to study the information on the GPS and, with the intercom, I was able to ask him questions. As a pillion I also enjoyed the sightseeing without having to concentrate on riding. I felt safe at all times, what a wonderful experience! I am hungry for more!
Title: Re: 21 days through BotsNamZamZim two up May 2011
Post by: tifua on September 11, 2012, 03:18:23 pm
Question that often pops up when seeing these trips (and the trip looks like a dream come true) is the costs. One is never sure if its rude to ask or practical - routes can be figured out, bike prep can be done from numerous lists on the web and experience...... but the cost / budget when planning a trip is always question. What do you budget for fuel, accomodation, food etc, daily allowance especially when the very nature of adventure riding means you go far from banking infrastructure.

Without asking anything personal - what would a trip....what did a trip like this cost, what were the daily costs etc so rest of us can use as a guide to plan.

Maybe a thread somewhere that lists know costs would also help ie everytime a WD goes through Kazangula he updates the price online so we alwasy have a sort of living document of costs.

Further to that - amazing trip. Thank you for sharing with us. I grew up spending my school holidays in Chobe, Kasane, Savuti, Maun, Shakawe, Livinstone, Vic Falls. Some amazing memories and hopefully someday soon I will enjoy them again... just got my Bots passport renewed ;-)
Title: Re: 21 days through BotsNamZamZim two up May 2011
Post by: Wayne Duck on September 11, 2012, 03:20:33 pm
What was your secret for the 2 hour crossing at Kazungula?  It took me 4 hours and USD200.  

Ha ha...probably a very early start and luck! Just looked back to my spread sheet...this border crossing including the US$7 for the ferry, cost me R206. Can't imagine what cost you US$200!

I never use "helpers" at any borders, and I have been travelling over many, sometimes daily, for most of my life (lived in Swaziland, Lesotho and Namibia for 14 years)
Title: Re: 21 days through BotsNamZamZim two up May 2011
Post by: tifua on September 11, 2012, 03:22:09 pm
saw the prices you included after my post was up. Thanks for that. Its gives a great start for planning.
Title: Re: 21 days through BotsNamZamZim two up May 2011
Post by: DUSTRIDERS on September 11, 2012, 03:30:00 pm
Wow nice trip. Brings back good memories. :thumleft:
Title: Re: 21 days through BotsNamZamZim two up May 2011
Post by: Brandt on September 11, 2012, 03:32:39 pm
Nice trip  :thumleft: Thanks for sharing.
Title: Re: 21 days through BotsNamZamZim two up May 2011
Post by: cocky on September 11, 2012, 03:33:32 pm
Wayne,
Awesome trip and great RR, FANX for sharing. :thumleft:
Title: Re: 21 days through BotsNamZamZim two up May 2011
Post by: Wayne Duck on September 11, 2012, 03:34:56 pm
saw the prices you included after my post was up. Thanks for that. Its gives a great start for planning.

Tifua, you are quite right. I read many of these RR's and, because I'm so statistically anal  :eek7: I often think there's a lot missing. I think all my stats would bore the general audience so therefore I only included some. I do have VERY comprehensive records of my trips that I can always share with anyone outside of the actual RR. Perhaps I could attach my spread sheets so if people want to open they can?
Title: Re: 21 days through BotsNamZamZim two up May 2011
Post by: wildside on September 11, 2012, 05:09:33 pm
Thanks for sharing your divine trip. A very pleasant route with lots to see. You were fortunate to board the ferry at Mlibizi .....something I would love to do. Well done to you both.
Title: Re: 21 days through BotsNamZamZim two up May 2011
Post by: roxenz on September 11, 2012, 05:37:08 pm
Excellent RR!   :hello2: :hello2: :hello2:
Title: Re: 21 days through BotsNamZamZim two up May 2011
Post by: Wayne Duck on September 11, 2012, 06:18:58 pm
Thanks for sharing your divine trip. A very pleasant route with lots to see. You were fortunate to board the ferry at Mlibizi .....something I would love to do. Well done to you both.

Hi Wildside, the ferry is running fairly regularly between Kariba and Mlibizi these days...just check their schedule on their website, Kariba Ferries.

Wayne.
Title: Re: 21 days through BotsNamZamZim two up May 2011
Post by: Johnnie Bok on September 12, 2012, 02:01:43 pm
Fantasties!
Title: Re: 21 days through BotsNamZamZim two up May 2011
Post by: Wayne Duck on September 12, 2012, 02:09:03 pm
Thanks people for the positive comments!

Now that I have worked out how easy it all is to post a RR I'll catch up on a few of my others over the years...and perhaps go back and change my last one (Zim May 2012) that I did in pdf and attached, 'cause it's a pain in the butt to download and open each segment  ::)
Title: Re: 21 days through BotsNamZamZim two up May 2011
Post by: Kerritz on September 12, 2012, 02:16:46 pm
Goeie werk Wayne!! Dankie vir die deel......lyk na een moerse trip gewees! :thumleft:
Title: Re: 21 days through BotsNamZamZim two up May 2011
Post by: Just_Plain_Dan on September 12, 2012, 02:19:07 pm
Lekker Lekker Wayne!

Looks like it was an awesome trip!!

Thanx for sharing!
Title: Re: 21 days through BotsNamZamZim two up May 2011
Post by: The 0 on September 12, 2012, 05:44:33 pm
nice one.

This trip you did is exactly the reason i got a bike. It'll be some time before i get there, but I've been dreaming for a long time of that 2 week trip through Africa with my wife and my bike.
Title: Re: 21 days through BotsNamZamZim two up May 2011
Post by: frans1 on September 12, 2012, 08:40:49 pm
A very good RR. This is still on my bucket list. Will reed this one again before I do my long trip.
Title: Re: 21 days through BotsNamZamZim two up May 2011
Post by: Brandt on August 08, 2013, 02:44:19 pm
Nou eers weer gelees. Man it looks awesome!!!
Title: Re: 21 days through BotsNamZamZim two up May 2011
Post by: AntonW on August 08, 2013, 03:39:08 pm
thanks for a great RR
Title: Re: 21 days through BotsNamZamZim two up May 2011
Post by: Cyclops on August 10, 2013, 08:22:28 pm
Thanks for a great RR.
Every time I read a Zim RR it just makes me want to go back there. Got wifey to also read this and now the dates have been set. Provisionally set for April /May 2014.
Thanks again for rekindling old memories.
Title: Re: 21 days through BotsNamZamZim two up May 2011
Post by: Hingsding on August 10, 2013, 10:06:16 pm
Aarde, wat 'n lekker trip! Dankie vir die pics.