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The Route

 

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africa100 route

 

AFRICA 100 ROUTING

Six Countries, 100 days and more than 10 000km’s in the saddle of a BMW Motorbike, linking all the most incredible sights, adventures and experiences that Southern Africa has to offer.

It all kicks off in the fairest Cape at the most South Western Tip of the African Continent. We ride East to Grootbos Nature reserve, access to Dyer island and the opportunity for an up-close and personal encounter with Great White Sharks. No fear, there are cages and thermal wet suits for the icy Southern Ocean provided! It’s then 4 days of solid dirt road riding to Swellendam, Carlitzdorp, De Rust and down to the coastal town of Knysna. We tackle some of the great pioneering passes of the Southern Cape region, built during the early 1800’s, as people created trading routes into the interior.

After a day’s break in Knysna we head into the Baviaanskloof for some  tough motor biking and an opportunity to hike and explore this untouched wilderness area. On into the Eastern Cape we stay at Addo Elephant National Park where we will have our first encounter with African wildlife, home of the southernmost wild population of African Elephants. The Amaluti, Amatoli and Drakensburg mountains loom ahead as we thunder north for another 3 hard -slog days to reach the top of Sani Pass in the mountain Kingdom of Lesotho. Weather permitting we will attempt the highest peak in Southern Africa (11,424 ft),  hopefully being able to see the rest of the challenges ahead.

We hug the Drakensberg Mountains heading north into rural Natal and the Anglo Zulu war battle fields of the late 1870’s. Wonderful stories of courage and gallantry (as well as a bit of embarrassment) are played out on the historical sites of Isandlwana and Rouke’s Drift. Another days ride finds us at the famous National Parks of Hluhluwe and Umfolozi, solely responsible for saving the White Rhino from near extinction earlier this century. Currently well stocked with both black and white rhino, we will have a chance to track them on foot during a three day wilderness walking trail.

Next stop for some well deserved R and R is Rocktail beach where we will welcome friends and family flying in to celebrate Jim’s Birthday. Time will be spent snorkeling, scuba diving and enjoying the treasures of this untouched coast line. After Rocktail Beach we are flying to The Kruger National Park to enjoy some game drives and excellent game viewing, walking trails and 5 star luxury in the Lebombo Mountains…..and to party!  Back to the burning saddle crossing the border into Mozambique, we head north along the coast for another 4 days of rugged riding. With a numb backside we will arrive in the Bazaruto Island Archipelago in Mozambique for some chill time, water sports, fishing and diving with friends and new guests arriving on the set of this beautiful island.

The steaming tar road north is the next challenge, when we will tackle our longest riding day of 350 miles through central Mozambique. The rewards are well worth it as Gorongosa National Park is on the other side. Destroyed during the civil war of the 70’s and 80’s, the Park is now getting back to its former glory as one of the icons of African wildlife conservation.  After a final nights’ camping in the wild escarpment mountains of the National Park, we broach the busy border town of Mutare heading west into Zimbabwe.  We explore the enchanting Chiniminimi mountains and the Eastern highlands, continuing  towards the capital city, Harare. It’s a night here and off again to the Zambian border town of Chirundu where we will drop the bikes and head off to explore the world heritage site of Mana Pools National Park. Game drives, walks, tiger fishing, and canoeing the mighty Zambezi past thousands of hippos and giant Nile Crocodiles will be one of the adventure highlights of the entire trip.

To link us to the southern part of Zimbabwe and our next destination the colossal Lake Kariba stands in our way and there are not too many options of getting around it. A House boat is the answer and so we will spend two nights and a day going from Kariba Dam wall down to Mlibizi on the southern end. After disembarking, Hwange National Park is just over 100 miles away. We will spend a few days exploring the park on foot and by game vehicle. Its then a day’s ride up to the ‘Smoke that Thunders’, Victoria Falls for lunch. After viewing this world famous discovery in the mid 1800’s by the intrepid Dr David Livingstone, we cross the border into Botswana to enjoy a couple of days game viewing on the action packed Chobe River. Our next major adventure is the Makgadikgadi Pans in central Botswana and it will take a couple of days ride to get down there. We hope to get out to the remote Kubu Island where a ring of enchanted baobabs lie stranded in a sea of endless salt of some 25 000 square miles.

Windswept and sun beaten we should make the days ride up to Maun, where saddle sores  can be rested, with a week of safari in the Okavango Delta and the Linyanti Reserve. Leaving the dusty town of Maun we continue west across the great Kalahari to the small bushman village of Xai Xai on the Namibia border. Here we will spend three days exploring a small part of this vast desert region under the guidance of the last remnants of these fascinating people.

The final frontier and probably the most exciting and remote riding awaits as we cross into Namibia. After a couple of days of hot and hard riding we stop on the Eastern side of the famous Etosha Pan National Park. This game rich environment should be packed with animals frequenting the spread out waterhole just before the onset of the next rainy season. It’s then up and around north west, circum-navigating the Etosha for another 300 mile plus day. From the last outpost for fuel and water, Puros  it’s a two day slog up to the Angolan border alongside the skeleton Coast National Park. We will stay at a set up satellite camp in the middle of nowhere en -route to the remote camp of Serra Cafema right on the Kunene River. The landscape and scenery here are from another world, with only the odd Oryx, Hartman’s Mountain Zebra and a couple of clans of the very authentic Himba tribe.

From here we turn our final corner heading south hugging the edge of the desolate Skeleton Coast reserve. This park is completely out of bounds due to the sensitive gravel plains, supporting unique likens and desert adapted plants living off the dew created from the cold Benguela current which passes alongside the oldest desert in the world. We stay at the remote Okahirongo and Grootberg camps, hoping to track down the elusive dessert adapted elephants and rhino surviving in these incredible Martian landscapes.  Its then on through Damaraland for a night, past the towering monolithic Brandberg Mountain for another, and finally arriving at the Atlantic Ocean right alongside the Cape Cross Seal Colony of 60 000 individuals. One nights break hear in another remote set up camp on the cold ocean, before we final see some civilization at Swakopmund. There is no time to rest though as we have planned some sea kayaking and adrenalin pumping sand boarding on some of the highest permanent sand dunes on the planet.

The mirage intense road meanders through the mountains of the moon before we encounter the red sands of the Namib Desert.  Stretching untouched along the western edge of Namibia north of the Orange River for a 500 miles and at least 60 miles inland, the dunes are impenetrable and make up the majority of one of the largest National Parks in Africa. We will be exploring parts of this fascinating landscape when staying near Sossusvlei and hopefully climbing the highest of these towering fossilized dunes. A couple of days of hot and exhausting riding will culminate in standing above the second largest Canyon on earth and distant Fish River carving its way through this breathtaking lunar landscape.

Its then across the South African border into Namaqualand as we burn south through Springbok, Louriesfontein and Papkuilsfontein to reach the ancient Cedarburg Mountains. This final hurdle should test our now honed riding skills, negotiating the rugged mountain passes from Wuppertal to Matjies River. After our final night under the stars we tackle the racy Baineskloof pass emerging through the Wellington Mountains to get our fist glimpse of the long forgotten Table Mountain and the conclusion of this epic adventure…..