Africa

Travel to Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa. 21 day route

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The first thing would be to make a brief presentation ...
We are three friends that we made in August 2014 a trip to Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa, in which Isabel He actively collaborated with his advice and directions. In turn, Isabel encouraged us to tell our experience to help other future travelers to make a similar trip. Our trip lasted 21 days and without any doubt we recommend it 100%. We will talk about our routes, our times, our accommodations and restaurants, our activities and our anecdotes, with the intention that those future interested travelers can plan their own route adapting to their tastes and needs.

Let's start with a summary of the itinerary:

Day 1/2: Madrid-Yeddah-Johannesburg-Pretoria
Day 3: Pretoria-Serowe
Day 4: Serowe-Maun
Day 5 / 6: Maun
Day 7: Maun-Kasane
Day 8: Kasane
Day 9: Kasane-Victoria Falls-Johannesburg-Sabie
Day 10: Sabie-Limpopo
Day 11 / 12: Limpopo
Day 13: Limpopo-Johannesburg-Port Elizabeth
Day 14: Port Elizabeth-Knysna
Day 15: Knysna-Oudsthoorn-Mossel Bay
Day 16: Mossel Bay-Hermanus
Day 17: Hermanus-Cape Town
Day 18 / 19: Cape town
Day 20: Cape Town-Johannesburg
Day 21 / 22: Johannesburg-Yeddah-Madrid

Day 1/2: Madrid-Yeddah-Johannesburg-Pretoria

We took the tickets in March. Until that date we did not have the days in which we were going to make the trip although the destination was clear, so if you have decided, and you know the dates, do not wait and take them as soon as possible.

We fly with Saudi Airlines Stopover in Yeddah. We did several searches for flights with Skyscanner, Kayak ... The flight from Madrid to Johannesburg (round trip) we finally took it with Expedia for € 460 per person. The airport lacks much to be an international airport so we strongly recommend avoiding long stops. We left Madrid towards Yeddah and at that airport we suffered what was an endless 16-hour stop. After that ordeal, we embark on our destination.
During our stay in Africa we traveled with a rental car so as we arrived at the airport and made the entry procedures we headed towards our rental company.

At the airport O.R. Johannesburg Tambo is all perfectly indicated and we arrived without problem to the company. We made all the rentals with Avis from Spain and, as we had requested, they had all the papers prepared. This included crossing borders, driving through a country other than the country where we rented, and even leaving the car in another country. This is possible between South Africa and Botswana although it cannot be done with Zimbabwe. Our first rental included departure from the O.R. Tambo, border crossing to Botswana, and return of the car at the Kasane airport in Botswana after 6 days at a cost of € 362 with a medium-sized compact car (a Toyota Corolla to be exact). We recommend that when you take the car you request full insurance since driving through Botswana is "wild". Later you will find out why this recommendation.

To guide us through South Africa and Botswana, we had downloaded the browser Sygic on the mobile with their respective maps and we must say that it did not fail even once and although the times of the routes were not real because the roads are in continuous improvement, it always took us to the indicated destination.

Once we were in the car we headed to Praetorship where we had reserved accommodation in the Arcadia Hotel. The cost of the hotel was € 23 p / p. And it has a private parking that they charge you separately but the cost is insignificant and worth it, since it is guarded. The hotel is integrated into a small shopping center with entry and exit to the street and parking. It is one of the fairest in which we have been during our stay but it is clean, has buffet breakfast included and is well located.

It was late when we arrived at our final destination that day, so we headed to a restaurant near the hotel, the Coffee 41. This cafe is a franchise and has several around the city. We went to the one in Eastwood Village. The site is a very cozy place and with very generous portions. The natural juices were great. Very good price / quality, € 26 for three courses and three juices.
With a full gut we returned to the hotel and ended what was our start of the trip.

Data of interest and GPS coordinates

We leave Yedda at 9:45 '. We arrived in Johannesburg at 4pm. 46.6km - 32 '
- O.R. AIRPORT TAMBO: -26.136649, 28.241403
- ARCADIA PRETORIA: -25.742893, 28.204151 The hotel is integrated into a small shopping center with access to the street and parking. The parking in front of the hotel is public but there is an area reserved for the hotel with 24-hour security guard
515, Johannes Ramokhoase (Proes Street), Arcadia, Pretoria, Gauteng, 0083 SOUTH AFRICA tlfn: 27 (12) 3269311234
- CAFE 41 RESTAURANT Eastwood Village, Cnr Eastwood and Pretorius Street -25.745207, 28.222689

Day 3: Pretoria-Serowe

The morning of the third day we woke up early as we wanted to see the city of Praetorship, and then we had a long road to the reserve of the Khama Rhino Shrine in Serowe.

In Pretoria we saw Union Building, Church Square and the town hall. We walked around Pretoria and headed to our next destination. I have to say that you have to be careful with the African equivalent of the "gorrillas" which you will find throughout the journey, only that there are some more legal than others, some are officers set by the town hall and others are not. In certain places there are stipulated rates and in others you have to negotiate the price well before anything else.

We, unlike Isabel, decided not to take gas cans, because we were going to change vehicles several times and it was not worth it. We had no problem since we found several gas stations throughout the journey.

He border crossing is explained perfectly in Isabel's blog and we only had a problem in the final payment, since the officer on duty did not want to charge us in rands and he did not admit us the card, so we had to change money in the checkpoints that are in the border itself (these checkpoints are already in Botswana, so you have to leave the car at the border crossing, and walk on foot to the checkpoints that are at the door itself, that is, a minute on foot). Even so it was fast.

As you pass the border you realize the difference between South Africa and Botswana, and it is something to take into account when planning the trip well, since in the first plot of the trip you find a road full of potholes and animals loose However, they are constantly improving and it may not be a problem when you decide to make the trip. We sinned in confidence and the night fell on us.

Driving at night is not advisable Due to the two problems that I have mentioned and we suffer both, to the point of suffering a small incident with a cow that passed happily from side to side of the road. The fright was considerable, although for the defenders of the animals I must say that she left as if nothing and we were supposed to have a huge headache. New advice ... If you have an accident with an animal, the first thing to do is go to the police in the area and file a complaint for the accident indicating ... place of the accident, vehicle address, animal address, animal color ... Just as it costs to file a complaint in Spain, multiplied by three in terms of time and bureaucracy. For us to make the report we had to pay (21 pula) and this report is necessary to submit it to the rental company.

We continue direction Khama Rhino where we had hired the accommodation, the night safari and the search for the rhino on foot (Rhino Tracking). We had hired a villa for 4 people and the total cost of accommodation plus activities was 2658 Pula. This does not include dinner or breakfast, but you can buy food at any of the gas stations along the way. Both activities are more than recommended. We never thought you could see a rhino so closely ... An unforgettable experience.

Data of interest and GPS coordinates

- UNION BUILDING: -25.740098, 28.211963
- CHURCH SQUARE: -25.745857, 28.187334
- CITY HALL: -25.752529, 28.187773
- MELROSE HOUSE MUSSEUM: -25.755233, 28.192341
575km 7h16 '. Arrive at Khama Rhino before 7pm. You have to cross the border, fill in the deposit a couple of times and buy dinner. At the latest leaving Pretoria at 12 noon
* MOKOPANE GAS STATION
MARTIN'S DRIFT GAS STATION (BORDER)
* GAS STATION PALAPYPE and HAMBURGUESA IN WIMPY (DINNER)
- KHAMA RHINO SANCTUARY: -22.387955, 26.706048
25 km north west of Serowe, PO Box 10, Serowe, Botswana tlfn: +267 4630713

Day 4: Serowe-Maun

With the rush of having seen the rhino on foot, but with the awareness that we could not entertain ourselves along the way, we headed to the next stop, Maun. This road was better than the previous one, although the animals are still roaming freely so you can not be distracted for a moment.

We arrived in Maun with plenty of time, so we first went to the Audi Camp To formalize our reservation. We took a Tent Deluxe and it was a highly recommended experience. They are luxury tents, with private bathroom facing the river and with its own barbecue. The cost was € 205 in total (3 people), with breakfast, 3 nights.

The first day in Maun we had hired the plane flight by the delta. All the activities we do in Maun are contracted with Old Bridge Backpackers which are the cheapest and best organized option there is. The 45 'flight cost € 59 per person, with the company Major blue. You have to go half an hour before to the offices of that company that are next to the airport passport in hand. This activity offers flights of 45 'and 1h throughout the day, although it is best to do it first or last minute to enjoy the sunrise or sunset and see more animals. After the flight, we assaulted the supermarket and bought everything necessary to make us a delicious barbecue by the river.

Data of interest and GPS coordinates
518km 6h35 '. Arrive at Maun airport before 16h (flight 16h 30 ').
* MOPIPI GAS STATION
- MAUN AIRPORT: -19.975867, 23.428093
Botshabelo Ward, Maun, Botswana (Major Blue: (+267) 686 5671)
(Old bridge backpackers: (+267) 6862406)
- AUDISAFARIS: -19.930357, 23.511336 tlfn: +267 6860-599

Day 5/6: Maun

For the second day in Maun we chose as the second activity the ride on mokoro. This activity lasts all day and for this you have to show up at the Old Bridge Backpackers early, which was 5 'from our accommodation. There they wait for you with a van to take you to the river. With this excursion comes a lunch (yogurt, a boiled egg, a sandwich, a piece of fruit, peanuts and a bottle of water). Once on the river they take you by boat to another area where all the mokoros. The activity also includes a walking safari where they explain how to identify the different tracks and trails left by the animals. We were next to a herd of zebras and on the way back in mokoro We saw a huge crocodile a meter away. 100% recommendable. Cost per person: € 59.

That day we decided to have dinner at the Old Bridge itself, which, in addition to being a campsite that organizes activities, turned out to be a meeting place for young tourists where you can eat spectacular burgers and drink local beer at a very good price, about 250 pula for 3 Once again, by the river and with free Wi-Fi.

And for our third and last day in Maun, we chose the activity of Moremi day safari. Very early, we were picked up by a car at the Audi Camp. Although they provide you with blankets and coat ponchos, on the dates we went cold, it is recommended to go warm. This activity included breakfast and lunch. On the way to Moremi you can observe a spectacular sunrise. We saw a lot of animals, lions, hippos, crocodiles, zebras, elephants, several birds, giraffes ... Cost of the activity: € 120 per person. The activity, for its value for money once again is one of the best options. That night we went back to the Old Bridge for dinner since we really liked the option.

Data of interest and GPS coordinatesBe at Old Bridge Backpackers at 7h 45'am for the ride in mokoro
- OLD BRIDGE BACKPACKERS: -19.944263, 23.488618
by the hippo pool, Matlapaneng Ward, Maun, 319, Botswana tlfn: +267 6862406
Reception of the Audi Camp at 6 am for the Moremi safari.

Day 7: Maun-Kasane

After our time in Maun, we headed to our last destination in Botswana.
The road between Maun and Kasane was the best road of all, in every way. Not only is it the best in infrastructure that we find, but during the journey, we could see from the same road several animals ... From impalas, zebras and ostriches that ran along the side of the road to a herd of elephants that crossed it sideways on the side An unforgettable journey.

In Kasane we stayed at the Water Lily Hotel, run by a most peculiar Uruguayan and with whom we had some fun times. Once installed, we go to the office of Avis from the airport to return the car and we returned to the hotel by taxi. For that day we had reserved an activity in the hotel itself consisting of a boat safari on the Chobe river where we enjoy a movie sunset surrounded by wildlife drinking a very refreshing local beer. Our guide was a young man who has been working for the hotel for years and who proved to be very competent and fun. It was spectacular to see how a herd of elephants crossed the river, we saw buffalo, hippos, crocodiles, various types of deer and birds ... and all at a short distance since the boat could approach the same shore where all these animals enjoyed a deserved break. This activity has a cost of 320 Pula per person and in the hotel we stay in a triple room, two nights, with a total cost of 400 Pula per person.

That night we decided to go to dinner at Old house where we enjoy a varied and very generous dinner for 300 pula all three.

Data of interest and GPS coordinates612km 8h. Duration of the cruise: 3h. Departure of the cruise at 3pm (leave between 5am-6am)
- WATERLILY LODGE: -17.794540, 25.153826
President Ave, CP 405, tlfn: +2676251775
- KASANE AIRPORT: -17.829627, 25.163487 (leave before 17h)
Upper Road, Kasane, Botswana

Day 8: Kasane

New day in Kasane and new activity. As we did not have breakfast at the hotel, we made purchases at a nearby supermarket to be full of energy. This day we had hired two safaris, one in the morning and one in the afternoon through the Chobe National Park. Both safaris in total left us for 570 pula per person, park entrance fees included. Each safari lasted an average of 3 hours and they also offered us a small lunch and a small snack in the middle of the park. Although we enjoyed both safaris a lot and saw a lot of animals, the three of us agree that the best safari in the area was the one we did the previous day by boat.

This day we made the meal in a KFC near the hotel and for dinner we decided to repeat in the Old House since we liked the experience of the previous night. The Old House besides a restaurant is a very charming hotel and it was our first option, but being full we enjoyed the experience of the Water Lily, and although you stay in another hotel such as the Old House, we recommend doing the activities with Water Lily as they offer good value for money.

Day 9: Kasane - Victoria Falls - Johannesburg

Last day in Kasane and this day two country changes were waiting for us. They picked us up at the hotel early, so we could go to the Zimbabwe border. The border crossing is slow, so it is advisable to go as soon as possible as it is filled immediately and officials take it easy. Zimbabwe's visa is $ 30 per person. After crossing the border, we headed to see Victoria Falls. A wonder to behold. The entrance to the falls from Zimbabwe is € 25 per person and in about two hours you can see it calmly.

Isabel, on her trip, was inside the falls in the Devil's Pool which is done from Zambia, and we saw them from Zimbabwe since in the season we went it was just after the rainy season, it was winter and the water was freezing so we do not consider it advisable. When you make your trip is something that you will have to decide depending on the season and the desire, See the falls or be in the falls? Both inside and outside the falls there are bars where you can have a drink if you have time.

We had arranged with the hotel manager a transfer from the falls to the Zimbabwe airport where we had to catch a flight that would return us to Johannesburg. The transfer from the hotel to the falls and subsequent transfer to the airport had a total cost of 500 pula per person.

At the Zimbabwe airport we find our second setback of the trip. We arrived with time to spare at the airport, and we did not find the information of our flight anywhere, so after asking for information we learned that our flight had already taken off ... 3 hours in advance! The day before, as before making the trip, we had tried to do the check-in and check the status of the flight without any success. We had bought the tickets at tripsta.com and they contained that our flight company was a Swedish airline, which on its website seemed to only operate between Stockholm and Umea. Upon arrival at the airport, they told us that the airline that corresponded to our tickets was the airline Air Zimbabwe which, as we discovered later, years ago because of the crisis had to close, and since 2012 it operates again only with regular flights between Zimbabwe and Johannesburg. After the chaos of the news, we got some tickets with another African airline (Fly africa). It is a low cost airline. The British Airways also operates from this airport but with more expensive tickets. If you have chosen to fly from this airport, be careful of the Air Zimbabwe airline. And if someone has found himself in a situation like this and has gotten his money back somewhere he can tell us what steps he took because we have not succeeded today. The cost of the first tickets was € 70 per person and the cost of the second tickets was $ 124.
Updating of information:
We are pleased to announce that in March 2015 we got compensation regarding the problem of the plane tickets we had in Zimbabwe. After looking at it in different places, it was Tripsta's own page, which after studying our case and verifying that there was indeed a change in the schedule of which none were informed, have decided to proceed to the full refund of the purchase we made to them. From here we want to thank the Customer Service of Tripsta who have followed and studied our case in order to satisfy their customers.

Finished this little setback and with our feet already in Johannesburg, we headed for the second time on our trip to the office of Avis from the airport to rent the car. We would use this car only in South Africa and return it to the same initial office after 4 days at a cost of € 71.

Already on the road we headed to an intermediate stop on our route that turned out to be a most pleasant stop. Given the hours we arrived at and what it took us to reach our final destination, we saw that we were going to find the entrance to the closed park. Therefore, we chose to spend the night at a nearby hotel. The hotel was the Gunyatoo Trout Farm, a cabin complex in the middle of the mountain. We reserve a beautiful cabin with three bedrooms, open kitchen, dining room and a bathroom. It had a garden with barbecue and terrace. We had dinner what we had bought on the road sitting in front of the fireplace in the cabin. The cottage with breakfast (homemade, hearty and delicious) had a total cost of € 72.

Data of interest and GPS coordinates
Departure of the plane at 1:10 '. Arrival: 14h45 '. 340km 4h.
- GUNYATOO LODGE: -25.204043, 30.675212
Rhenosterhoek 213 JT, Sabie 1260, South Africa tlfn: +27 13 764 1814

Day 10: Sabie-Limpopo

On the tenth day of the trip we woke up in a wonderful place (from the terrace we could enjoy a spectacular sunrise), we had breakfast like kings, we chatted with the charming owner of the complex and we headed to the star destination of our trip, the Shiduli Reserve. Along the way we enjoy incredible landscapes, which would only be the beginning of the wonders that awaited us.

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