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Adventure Big Five ABF1601

Saturday, August 27, 2016 | Domenico Schiano Moriello | Africa

Day 16, Kasane - Victoria Falls

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!!!

entering Zimbabwe
the first look at the Victoria Falls, that prepared a spectacular rainbow to welcome us!
the monument dedicated to David Livingstone
Andrzej and Stefan
rain forest
one indigenous from the rain forest
again the Victoria Falls, from the other side
The bridge over the Zambesi river, famous also for one of the top bungee jumpings in the world! In case anything goes wrong, many crocodiles wait for unlucky people in the river!!!
time to say goodbye

Day 15, Nata - Kasane

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.

we like the danger!
attention, elephants crossing... but not today
maybe this bus was hit by elephants??
our bikes parked for the lunch break
lunch break
boat safari starting!
mr. Crocodile
buffalos (one of the big 5!)
elephants, the biggest of the big 5!
some other impressions...
Hippopotamus!!! Here a happy family
this is the kind of shooting we like!
Another Hippo. Did you know that the closest living relatives of this animal are cetaceans (whales, dolphins, etc.) from which they diverged about 55 million years ago?
on the way back... almost sunset!
at dusk from our hotel

Day 14, Maun - Nata

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.

briefing with our pilot
ready to go!
aerial views of the Okawango delta
back on the road!
a huge termite mound, like many along the road!
Gabi and Lisa
an impressive baobab tree
planet baobab

Day 13, Safari in the Okavango Delta

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

the safari started very eraly in the morning!
quite chilly in the morning...
some impressions of our safari...
Michael and Lisa (thank you for the pictures!!!)
today's big event... Alan shaving! It happens only once or twice per year!!!

Day 12, Ghanzi - Maun

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!

landscape in flat Botswana
a break along the trans-kalahari highway
alan taking selfies with some children
Lake Ngami
Andrzej surrounded by children. They all wanted to sit on the bike... hard job with a temperature of 34°!
at dusk from our lodge

Day 11, Windhoek - Ghanzi

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!

long straight road... cruise control on!
our bikes parked at the border check-point
leaving Namibia
in Botswana
some riding, here Stuart
this is where we left the bikes...
... and this is how we reached the lodge...

Day 10, Swakopmund - Windhoek

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!

Coffee break at the Namib Oasis
Til, Michael, Stuart and Pascal
a giraffe!!! We will see others in the next days! And well, today also a crazy monkey crossed the highway just in front of me!
Christians Church on Fidel Castro Street
Windhoek from the roof of our hotel

Day 9, Namib-Naukluft National Park - Swakopmund

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!

birds waiting for the crumbs of our breakfast
Alan feeding squirrels
first break at Solitaire... but looking at all the stickers this place does not seem so lonely!
crossing the Tropic of Capricorn!
Somebody did not make it!

Day 8, rest day in the Namib-Naukluft National Park

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!

the first of many picture stops
Lisa and Michael
the sand dunes were amazing!
our jeeps
driving on sand is easier when you have a 4x4 vehicle!
Til was sometimes too lazy to get off the car for taking pictures
Gabi and Pascal
Inside the Deadvlei. This clay pan was formed after rainfall, when the Tsauchab river flooded, creating temporary shallow pools where the abundance of water allowed trees to grow. When the climate changed, drought hit the area, and sand dunes encroached on the pan, which blocked the river from the area. The trees died and the remaining skeletons, which are believed to have died 600–700 years ago, do not decompose because it is so dry!
Til and Michael
quite crowded to be a desert!
Lunch in the Sossusvlei
Sessrien Canyon
when we came back, a lot of squirrels were "banqueting" just outside the lodge

Day 7, Mariental - Namib Naukluft National Park

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!

At the petrol station in Maltahöhe
gravel until the horizon...
sense of freedom...
... but the support van is always there!
Pascal, Michael, Gabi, Skumbi and Michael
Entering the area of the National Park
a few impressions...
we reached the hotel just in time before the sunset!
everybody happy!
barbecue ready!!!

Day 6, Keetmanshoop - Mariental (Kalahari Anib)

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!

Quivertrees, one of the symbols of this region
Skumbi warming up!
At the Giant's Playground
These rocks (dolorites) are magma that was pressed up, but cooled off just below the earth's surface. The softer parts of the stone and the top layer of the earht's crust erodated away, which left the dolorites exposed.
Group picture
ready to go again!
At the Kalahari Anib

Day 5, Fish River Canyon - Keetmanshoop

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.

The Fish River Canyon
here we are!
some riding fun near the canyon...
Canyon's Roadhouse, where we had lunch. What a cool place!
along the road.. did you notice that I have changed bike? The GS800 got a flat tyre...
Chamieites train station... does not look very busy but has its charme!
The Naute Dam
cheetah feeding at the lodge. What a big cat!!!
we fixed the tyre but Domenico didn't want to switch bike back! Loving the 1200 Adventure!

Day 4, Springbok - Fish River Canyon

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!!!

birds singing good morning just outside our rooms!
visor cleaning is very important!
leaving South Africa
Namibia! Here we come...
Sometimes it is so nice to stop and look back...
taking the keys of our bunga-bungalows
arrived at the Canyon Village, we went for a short walk and waited for the sunset on a big rock
who painted the clouds? The sky in Namibia is amazing!
some other impressions. Namibia is mind-blowing!

Day 3, Citrusdal - Springbok

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!

The coast at Lambert's Bay
coffee break
People here celebrate birthdays by wearing mustaches?
our bikes parked at lunch stop
we had a very nice lunch prepared by Marieke!
Skumbi, our van driver
Stefan relaxing
we desperately needed some fuel for Domenico's GS800, but the pump was only working until around 40 years ago!
almost sunset... and still 30 km of gravel to do!!! Well, we made it!

Day 2, Cape Town - Citrusdal

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 Afrikaans Language Monument
Afrikaans evolved from the language spoken by the mainly Dutch settlers of what is now South Africa, where it gradually began to develop distinguishing characteristics in the course of the 18th century, also adopting words from many other languages. It is the first language of most of the Afrikaner and Coloured people of Southern Africa.
Afrikaans, one example
And this is how the weather looked like...
picture stop without a view...
riding in the fog...
arrived in Ceres
and ordering lunch...
many of us ordered pizza. Yes, also Domenico... hoping that his neapolitan friends will never know!
Pascal reaching the Midelbergpas
Michael, Domenico and Lisa
Michael, Stefan, Michael, Lisa, Michael, Gabi and Andrzej. Yes, we have too many Michaels on this tour!
The view from Midelbergpas
Also Bella is on our tour!

Day 1, Welcome to Cape Town!

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!

Alan and Domenico
The view of Cape Town from Table Mountain
The Lion's Head
Cape Town Waterfront
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Add a comment Rate this post
Alan Magnoni
Tuesday, August 30, 2016 at 09:58

Hallo an alle Teilnehmer und alle Blog-Verfolger!
Eine unvergessliche Tour, mit vielen aufregenden Momenten und vielen neuen Bekanntschaften. Ich bin wieder in Europa angekommen, trotzdem gedanklich immer noch im südlichen Afrika. Eine einzigartige Tour! Mit Ansteckungsgefahr!!
Wünsche eine reibungslose Rückfahrt nach Cape Town der zweiten Gruppe!!
Danke Ursl für Rasierschaum und Rasierer (und Abendessen) ... danke Wim für den belgischen Humor - der ist manchmal so bitter wie euer Bier ... aber wie du weißt, ein schönes Gesicht braucht viel Platz, folglich musste der Bart ab!! freue mich dich wieder mal zu treffen!!
Danke Manfred und Dagmar für Euer Interesse. Ihr habt die Tour schon selbst miterleben dürfen und wisst genau, dass es auch etwas intensivere Momente geben kann in den 16 Tagen. Trotzdem eine erfolgreiche Tour. Danke Domenico für den Blog!!! Ich drücke dir die Daumen für den Blog of the year!!!
Michael M., hoffe du bist gut gelandet und dass es dir schon wieder besser geht!!
Grüße aus dem Office von EBT
Wim Doms
Thursday, August 25, 2016 at 23:39

Where the hell has Alan gone?? Wow, absolutely amazing pictures guys!
Domenico Schiano
Saturday, August 27, 2016 at 09:56

Thank you Wim! I've been looking at your blog too, very nice as well! Alan says hi, a big hug from Victoria Falls!
Gabi, Michael, Michael, Lisa
Wednesday, August 24, 2016 at 19:18

Super Blog, weiter so!
Vielen Dank für die tollen Tage mit euch.
Wir könnten noch wochenlang mit euch weiterfahren
Ursula Peter
Tuesday, August 16, 2016 at 22:57

Ich würd ein Rasierschaum und Rasiermesser spendieren
Machts gut
LG Ursel
Sunday, August 21, 2016 at 14:18

Sieht doch gut aus, Ursl... Ich glaub du bist ein wenig neidisch
Ursula Peter
Thursday, August 25, 2016 at 23:06

Tobi, ich spendier auch ein zweites set
Dagmar und Manfred Soff
Tuesday, August 16, 2016 at 19:46

Hallo Domenico, Alan und Skumbi,
wir freuen uns Euch gemeinsam auf der Big Five Tour zu sehen. Aufgrund Eures Blogs werden wieder schöne unvergessliche Erinnerungen an unsere Tour wach. Vielen Dank für für die schönen Bilder. Wir wünschen Euch eine tolle Zeit und viel Spaß!
Es grüßt Euch herzlich aus Deutschland
Dagmar und Manfred Soff
Saturday, August 13, 2016 at 11:15

Wow! Big Five underway... Looking forward to pictures of some very cool big wildlife (and Alan and all his hair doesn't count!).
Safe travels from the Belgian who is starting Breweries and Castles on monday. (No big wildlife on that one, but some very big bootbeers )


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