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Independent travel in Africa

Australia
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Independent travel in Africa

How easy and safe is it to travel Africa independently. We'd like to visit South Africa, Victoria Falls, Botswana and maybe Namibia. My husband and I (our son's photo has attached to my TA) are 61 and 58, fairly fit and both into photography. We'd be looking for lodge or basic hotel accommodation.

Which is the best way to travel between countries, and within South Africa? I assume we could book any day tours from hotels we stay in.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Port Elizabeth
Destination Expert
for South Africa
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1. Re: Independent travel in Africa

Easy but long distances.

Some of the best places need a 4x4, but this can be costly. Hire something robust with high ground clearance at the very least. A bakkie,pickup, open delivery vehicle. www.britz.co.za might be the best bet.

Read the forums on www.4x4community.co.za

Tempe, Arizona
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for South Africa, Sabi Sand Game Reserve
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2. Re: Independent travel in Africa

I would add that we compare apples to oranges when we look at any 'one-size-fits-all' reply. (Two trite expressions in one sentence. Sorry.) Driving yourself around South Africa is easy and highly recommended. Give yourself plenty of time so you can ramble, not rush. Main roads in Namibia are in good shape and lightly traveled - but some of the best Namibia places to visit can require a 4x4, and some of them shouldn't be in the itinerary for travelers who aren't experienced with 4x4's - and really work best when there a couple of vehicles traveling together. Same could be said for Botswana - simply because you will be in some remote areas where a breakdown or getting stuck would create some problems that are more easily managed when you are not traveling alone.

Ontario, CAN
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3. Re: Independent travel in Africa

Bwanadave...

Just to confirm or "reiterate" then....self drive in SA is perfectly doable - anywhere? as long as you have time on your side?? We are just in the process of planning a "long-stay" of at least 6 weeks and really want the independence of driving ourselves! Thks

Hazyview, South...
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4. Re: Independent travel in Africa

perfectly doable! I would not do it any other way and so do 100thousands every year.

Klaus

-Owner Abangane-

Hazyview

Pretoria, South...
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5. Re: Independent travel in Africa

LOL! Canuck, yes ... to confirm ... SA has a considerable network of roads and it's absolutely doable as Bwanadave and Abangane have advised.

Namibia also has a good road infrastructure, with sealed roads covering the major routes (one main one running up the centre as far as Etosha, and then side branches to all major centres). The main interconnecting roads are often gravel, but in good condition. You can use a standard sedan vehicle on most of these roads. Only the more remote areas require 4X4, and some of these routes are seriously 4X4!

Botswana also has sealed roads connecting all the major centres. To venture off these main roads, a 4X4 is often recommended, and in some cases essential. As Bwanadave indicated, very often it's recommended that two or more vehicles travel together when venturing into certain areas, although this depends entirely on your routing. However, you can self-drive to major access points, and either rent a 4X4 or use specialist local operators.

Remember that distances in these countries are huge in comparison to European standards (100-200kms between towns is not unusual, and sometimes it's a lot more).

There are good accommodation places in many places, but accommodation should be well planned in advance (unless you know the country quite well).

Edited: 04 April 2012, 16:37
6. Re: Independent travel in Africa

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Wickhamford
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7. Re: Independent travel in Africa

I saw your post regarding independent travel to South Africa amongst others and wondered whether you went ahead with the trip and how it worked out. I am at the planning stage at the moment, but we are a little unsure of self-driving through Africa. Any advise would be much appreciated.

Hazyview, South...
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8. Re: Independent travel in Africa

I think a big thing to consider is, if you want to drive thru Africa or South Africa.

You will for good reason get completely different advise.

Klaus

-Owner Abangane-

Hazyview

Northampton, United...
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9. Re: Independent travel in Africa

Hello and I have been self driving in SA for several years. But I do spend most of time when there in KwaZulu Natal. The highways are generally very good and most other minor roads are ok other than the odd stretches of pot holes. There are nearly always 'dirt' to leading to reserves and within them. I have never hired a 4 wheel drive though and have never felt the need for one. I have just let a couple in their mid 60's borrow my maps for their self drive in KZN. I contribute to a web site that you might find useful if considering visiting KZN.

Mark - Owner - SafariKZN

10. Re: Independent travel in Africa

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