Cape town to Victoria falls
First overland safari trip in Africa, from Cape town to Victoria falls
Safari Trip December 2003
Our December Vacation began with a week in Cape Town & surroundings. The second week our Safari Trip started with Sunway Safaris (South Africa based company). From our personal experience we do NOT recommend anyone to go on a Tour with Sunway Safaris. The tour was called "Cape Town to Victoria Falls" and lasted 23 days. The trip itself looked like this:
Day 1 CAPE TOWN - We visited the African Penguin colony en route to Cape Point Nature Reserve.
Day 2 CEDARBERG - Our first night Camping, Melanie & Zayera went for a Hike in the afternoon to a small Waterfall.
Day 3 & 4 GARIEP RIVER in Namibia (very close to the Border between South Africa & Namibia) - We camped at the Orange/Gariep River. The second day we went for canoeing in the Orange River, where we saw the Birdlife and many wonderful Birds.
Day 5 FISH RIVER CANYON - We saw the Fish River canyon, the second largest canyon in the world.
Day 6 & 7 NAMIB DESERT - We walked through the Sesriem Canyon the first day. The second day we saw the red sand dunes of Sossuvlei in the Namib Desert. We climbed on a Dune to see the sunrise. We walked to the Dead Lake and saw the dried out vegetation. (According to the Schedule we would have stayed one more night in the Desert, but the Tour Guide decide to move on. We were very disappointed and faced our first conflict with the Tour Guide & Group.)
Day 7 - 9 SWAKOPMUND - On our way to the Coast, we saw the Lunar landscapes. In Swakopmund we had free time to explore the City. Here we spent Xmas, and on Xmas day we went on a Boat Tour, where we saw Dolphins, Furseal, Pelican and lots of other birds. We tried out quad biking which means driving on small 4-wheel motor-bikes on Sand dunes. The max speed was 90 kmh.
Day 10 & 11 SPITZKOPPE & Ugab River- On our way to Spitzkoppe, we passed the Cape Cross seal colony. At Cape Cross the seal have a breeding colony, and we saw hundreds of baby-seals. The seals-babies have a survival rate of 30-40% therefore we unfortunately also saw alot of dead baby-seals too :-( We camped at Spitzkoppe, which is a huge granite dome (hils about 1800 meters)l rising out of the desert. The next day we spent at the Ugab River (dried out at this time of the year), which is suppose to be the home to the rare desert elephants. But we did not see any elephants neither :-( (again we were very disappointed at the opportunities provided by the Tour here, since one had to pay extra cash to go by a 4X4-vehicle with a Ranger to go look for Elephants). We went to see the White Lady, and Rock Art including some of the the oldest paintings on Earth, which were 12000 years old!
Day 12 - 14 ETOSHA NATIONAL PARK - The Etosha National Park is called “the great white place of dry water”, which has a rich variety of wildlife. We went for game drives to see Animals: we saw Antelopes, Zebras, Giraffes, Cheetah (from a distance) and Lions. The Tour Guide decided to stay at the same camping site for 3 nights. At this time of the year, it had started raining, therefore the Animals did NOT come to the "provided waterholes", instead we had to be lucky if we actually saw them on the game drives we did. [In my personal opinion I think that the Tour did not avail the opportunity to show us the rich variety of Animals in this Park.]
Day 15 WINDHOEK - New Years Eve we spent in Windhoek, the Capital of Namibia. We went for a dinner with the Group to a Restaurant, afterwards we awaited the New Year at the Hotel and crashed into Bed (no partying this year!).
Day 16 KALAHARI in Botswana- We camped at D’kar, a “bushman” settlement but the Bushmen were on vacation! Therefore no Bushmen encounter :-( (I guess in Africa unexpected things happen more often, than what should be expected from any Tour Agency.)
Day 17 - 19 OKAVANGO DELTA - The first day we stayed at a campsite in Maun. We did an optional activity here, which was going for a Plane ride over the Delta with a small 5-person-plane. This was a very bad idea since both Zayera & Melanie do NOT like small planes with fast turns and turbulences in the Air. The next day we went with a Jeep to be taken to the Okavango Delta. While driving from and to the Delta we saw Elephants and Giraffes at a very close distance! Unfortunately the Tour did NOT stop so that we could enjoy the Animal sighting :-( We were taken on the Makoros (wooden canoes) out to camp in the wilderness on "remote islands". At the time being this region is very dry, hence no water, no delta feeling and no big variety of Animals neither. The Animals we saw here were: Baboons, Antelops, Giraffes and Zebras, as well as several types of Birds. We were also taken to see the famous BAOBAB tree [Africas Sacred Tree].
Day 20 MAGADIKGADI PANS - We stayed at a Campsite but were not given the opportunity to see the PANS. The Tour Guide decided that it was not worth going there! Again we were very disappointed since we did not what we came to the locality to experience!
Day 21 - 23 LIVINGSTONE/VICTORIA FALLS in Zambia - Last day in Livingstone. We saw the Victoria Falls and enjoyed a day on our own. We left a day earlier from the Tour and flew back via Johannesburg.
Our overall experience is very positive from Africa, but very negative from the Tour Agency, the Tour Guide and the experience of being limited to doing most of the activites in a Group. For the next trip to Africa, we will plan it on our own and travel around on our own as well!