Last day of the tour, and this time without bikes (sad!). Today we hopped on a bus and reached the amazing Victoria Falls! The first European to discover the falls was David Livingstone, Scottish missionary and African traveler. He heard about them in 1851 and discovered them four years later, on November 16, 1855. In honor of Queen Victoria, he named them “Victoria Falls.” The local Kololo called the falls Mosi-oa-Tunya (the smoke that thunders). The name comes from the mist that rises up to 985 feet and can be seen as much as 20 miles away. Victoria Falls includes a rain forest, which owes its existence to the moisture from the ever-present spray. In February and March, when the Zambezi River runs full, the largest curtain of water on earth is produced! After a visit to the falls, some relax and then we met again for our "last supper". It was really a great tour, thank you everybody for such an unforgettable experience!!!
Through the area of the Kalahari savannah trees, we followed the road along the border of Zimbabwe, paying always attention to animals that could cross the street at any time! Three hundred kilometres of straight road allowed us to reach Kasane in time for what was the real highlight of today, the boat safar on the river Kwando. Simply amazing... take a look at the pictures! One more thing, today we reached Africa's 'Four Corners', where four countries almost meet: Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The day started with an early flight over the Okawango delta, to have the full experience of this incredible place! After that, on the northeastern edge of the Kalahari, the road led us east. Through savannah and salt pans, sometimes interrupted by boabab trees, we soon reached Nata, located on the northern edge of Sua Pan.
Imagine one of Africa's longest rivers ending not in the sea but in a vast oasis in the middle of the sandy desert of the Kalahari. The encounter between the dry and arid Kalahari and the fresh, living water of the Okavango provides the particular appeal of the world's largest inland delta. Extremely diverse and dense wildlife has settled in the area. To date, 71 species of fish, 33 of amphibians, 64 of reptiles, 444 of birds and 122 of mammals have been identified. On 22 June 2014, the Okavango Delta became the 1000th site to be officially inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List
After reaching the main road again, we continued our trip through the tableland of Botswana. Lotss of children along the road waving at us, making us want to stop every few minutes... and when we finally stopped somewhere it was an invasion! Along the way we could see also lake Ngami, whose size depends from the rainfall... and that is an important habitat for birds and wildlife. Reaching the hotel, it was time to say goodbye to Michael who tomorrow is leaving the group to fly back to Europe a little bit earlier... and then go to bed soon after dinner because tomorrow two jeeps are coming to pick us up at 6am for the safari!
Very long ride today, more than 500km and we also had to cross the border to Botswana, so departure time was at 8am! Leaving Windhoeck, a perfectly paved (and straight...) road took us to Gobabis and then to Buitepos where we finally left Namibia. The landscape did not change much, but the number of animals on the street increased and we had to pay much more attention! Once we reached Ghanzi, a "little" surprise was ready for us, 5 kilometers of deep sand to reach the lodge! Not really a pleasure after a long day, so we decided to park the bikes outside and our van and the lodge's Pick-up track shuttled us in!
Not many pictures today, we left Swakopmund around 9 am and most of us stopped just once or twice for a break, so we could reach the Capital of Namibia in time for a walk through the (not really big!) centre. The temperature was very cool in the morning, around 14 degrees, but moving towards the inland it very quickly increased up to 32! Tonight everybody needs a good rest, because tomorrow we have to enter Botswana and it will be a long ride... plus border control!
Around 230 of a great gravel ride took us to the Atlantic coast again, so we could see the ocean for the first time after we left Cape Town! But the day was full of surprises, first the trailer broke down forcing us to leave 3 bikes behind (that we had to go to collect later!) and then also Jurgen's bike broke down! A long day, but we made it!
Our "rest" day started very early! At 5:30 two jeeps came to pick us up to take us deep inside the Namib desert, to the Sossusvlei area where we could admire some of the greatest sand dunes in the world. Impressive sights! Sossusvlei nowadays is one of the major visitor attractions of Namibia. Along the road we could also see a zebra and several onyx, the animal that is the symbol of this country. We came back to the hotel around 2pm and, after resting a bit (it was a rest day after all!), another great barbecue was ready!
What can we say after such a day? Just a big wow! We left Mariental and, after a short stop at the petrol station for buying water and snacks, a long straight road took us to Maltahöhe where we had lunch. And then the fun began! Beautiful gravel roads led us into the Namib Naukluft National Park that encompasses part of the Namib Desert (considered the world's oldest desert) and the Naukluft mountain range. After around 200km of gravel, we finally reached our destination... where a nice barbecue under the stars was ready for us! And tonight we have to go to bed early because tomorrow (at 5:30 am!) a great safari through the desert is starting!
Quite an easy and sometimes not really exciting ride today, we first went to see the Giant's Playground and then, along the paved B1 (the not exciting part!) we reached Mariental where we had lunch. Another few kilometres and we were close to our lodge... but to reach it we had to ride for 3 kilometres on sand, a very good training for the next days!
Our first stop for today was at the Fish River Canyon, the largest canyon in Africa and the second in the world. About 160 km long, up to 27 km wide and in places almost 550 meters deep, definitely an impressive sight! Then, endless miles on gravel took us to Keetmanshoop and a little bit further to the Quiver Tree Forest Camp where we will spend the night.
Leaving Springbok, a quite boring long straight road took us to the border with Namibia and then, after about one hour or more to enter the country, we could soon hit the beautiful unpaved desert roads that took us to Canyon Village, what an amazing place!!!
Looking at the map, the route for today did not look very exciting, the whole day on the N7 to cover the 400 km that separate us from Springbok... but we managed to add some fun reaching Lambert's Bay by the coast, and then having a little gravel road training to reach the main road again! And, well, after lunch 3 brave riders (Andrzej, Stefan and Michael) decided to add even more fun and Domenico joined them... take a look at the pictures!
We left Cape Town under a black sky and some annoying rain, not really a great way to start our tour, but we are sure that the weather will get better and better! Our first stop was in Paarl, to visit the Afrikaans Language Monument, and then beautiful twisty roads between fruit trees and vines took us to Ceres for lunch. After that, we got our first “off-road training” on the Middelbergpass, around 20km of gravel that were the last challenge before reaching our destination for today.
The Adventure Big Five is about to begin, Tour Guides Alan and Domenico are in Cape Town waiting for the eager motorcyclists that are going to join them on this wonderful tour!