Determined to cure my Africa blues, for the summer 2017, I plan a trip through South Africa, Botswana and Namibia.
This time I won’t be alone: Chiara, my girlfriend, has decided to come with me.
I have planned a route that will exceed 10,000 km and touches three neighbouring, but very different states, allowing me to cross between changing landscapes, ranging from mountains to savannah, from deserts to forests.
An adventure like this involves a few months of preparation: needed to organize the motorcycle’s shipping via container, airplane flights and itinerary. The trip is set for August.
Our trip starts off in Durban, South Africa’s city bathed by the Indian Ocean.
After taking the motorcycle at the forwarder’s headquarters, we head to Pretoria, to the north, approaching Botswana which we will arrive the following day.
Entry to the country is quick: in 20 minutes, you cross the border.
Everything seems easy to me; probably this feeling is reinforced by my past experiences with bureaucratic lengthy protocols and long waiting times that traveling around North Africa and the Middle East usually entails.
The landscape around us changes in a few hours from the savannah, with the characteristic bush to the desert in Kalahari and then a complete change when we arrive at Maun, a town south of the Okavango Delta.
This river does not flow into the sea, but disperses in a swamp that also presents a natural reserve and a unique ecosystem.
The amplitude of its delta is second in the world, only to that of the Niger River and houses elephants, hippos, crocodiles in addition to the big felines and many species of birds.
After 3 days of safari we get back in the saddle to reach Namibia; we enter the country riding along the Caprivi strip and the Angolan border, and in the following days we reach Opuwo, capital of the Himba and Herrero’s people.
Going South we visit the large Etosha park and in the following days we come to Swakopmund, a place along the Atlantic coast, entrance to the Namib desert with its characteristic red sand and its dunes – over 300 meters high!
The peculiarity of this desert is another: it occupies the west coast of Namibia overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
We walk through dusty slopes full of holes, sometimes with sandy passages that, with a loaded motorcycle and a passenger, make riding rather challenging.
When we return to South Africa we are welcomed by an unusual cold atmospheric condition. In this part of the world it’s winter but usually the temperatures are moderately mild. We cross the Karoo area, from Upington to Kimberly and then head to the Lion Park in Johannesburg.
Descending towards Durban we approach Lesotho crossing the Drakenberg mountain range (dragon mountains) and the Golden Gate Highlands National Park, known for its sandstone cliffs.
Returning to the starting point, we spend the last days resting and dealing with formalities for the motorcycle’s transportation.
On this trip I saw an alternative Africa to the one I knew, met very different people and saw animals that usually you see in documentaries on television.
The veteran Transalp 650 and the equipment were excellent.
I realize that my Africa blues is just getting worse, but there is no remedy for that … I’ll just have to go back!
none. All customs formalities are completed at the border by filling in the forms for immigration and by submitting the passport.
Overnight stays and meals:
All visited countries are equipped to accommodate tourists. You can choose from the campsite and the hostel or the 5 star Hotels, from 500 euros per night.
Numerous are the restaurants and fast food chains. From this point of view you often have the impression of being in a typically western environment.