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Zambia pic

 

ZAMBIA- INFORMATION AS OF AUGUST 2011

VISA: You can get a 30 days single entry visa at the border for 50USD (EU contries), 80USD (UK)

ONWARD VISA: No need to arrange visas in the embassies since Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Botswana, Zimbawbe and Namibia, if visa required, are easily obteined in the border. However check the situation for Angola and DRC.

WHEATER: Try to avoid the rainy season from November to April. The best is to bike in the cool season which is from May till end of August.

FOOD: Local food in ZAmbia is very basic. For breakfast you can find doughnuts (same type as mandazi in previous countries), samosa, boiled eggs and bread in the supermarkets of the bigger villages. For food the most common dish is shima with beans, chicken or beef (if you are lucky you can find some rice too). The supermarkets in Lusaka, Chipata and Livingstone (eg Sophrite, Spar) have all you can imagine, same products as in Europe but double the price. Basic fruits easy to find in all the country were just bananas and oranges.

WATER: It is not recomended to drink water from the tap. However it is very easy to find boreholes that provide excellent water, especially in the countryside

SLEEPING: Guesthouses are expensive in Zambia

CAMPING SPOTS: We were able to find nice spots to camp without the worries of being disturbed thanks to the many open spaces in Zambia and the little population living in the countryside. Great landscape for wildcamping from Chipata to Lusaka and easy access to water of the boreholes.

ROUTES: We entered Zambia coming from Malawi at the Chipata border. From there we went to Lusaka (very scenic and isolated stretch of road btw Kacholola and Lukwipa via Luangwa bridge) and then onwards to Livingstone (heavy traffic on the way out of the capital). We entered Botswana at Kazungula border (ferry crossing)

Zambia map

 

ROAD: The main roads in Zambia are good tarmac

TOPOGRAPHY: From Chipata to Lusaka the terrain is very hilly (be ready for constant up and downs). After Lusaka it is less hilly and from Mazabuka it is almost flat.

ORIENTATION: Easy to navigate in general

LOCALS: Zambians keep the distance and will never bother you. They are respectful and educated. In contrast to Malawian children Zambian kids will very rarely ask for money or "give me...". The common greeting is "how are you?" Easy to communicate in English.

ANIMALS: We saw some animals near Livingstone along the Zambezi river

ONWARD TRAVEL: Roads to Tanzania, Malawi, DRC, Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique are open for foreigners (check visa regulation for DRC and Angola)



 


 

 

Botswana pic

 

BOTSWANA - INFORMATION AS OF SEPTEMBER 2011

VISA: You can get a 30 days single entry visa at the border for free (EU countries)

ONWARD VISA: No need to arrange visas in the embassies since Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa, if visa required, are easily obtained in the border

WHEATER: Try to avoid the rainy season from December to April

FOOD: We never saw food in the street. All we found was fast food chains and supermarkets with take away food. Chicken, beef, beans, boiled eggs, papa (same as shima or ugali) and rice are the most common dishes. Wimpy and KFC are also there, same as some excellent Indian restaurants. Bread should be easy to find. The supermarkets (Choppies, Spar and Sophrite) have a huge variety of food. Fruits and veg are not very common, all comes from South Africa.

WATER: You can drink the water from the tap

SLEEPING: Guesthouses are expensive in Botswana

 CAMPING SPOTS:  It is easy to find nice spots to camp since the population in Botswana is very low and settlements hard to find. However be careful about wildlife. There is no rivers and sometimes the water is difficult to find

ROUTES: We entered Botswana coming from Zambia at Kazungula border (river crossing by ferry  for free, bicycle is charged 2,000 Zkwa). We rode from Kasane towards Nata (lots of elephants!! and long distances btw water-food points, no need to be worried but ask the locals before how many kms to the next point!). Afterwards we headed to Francistown and exited to Zimbabwe at Plumtree border

 Botswana map 

ROAD: The main roads in Botswana are good tarmac and most of them are being upgraded

TOPOGRAPHY: Botswana is a very flat country

ORIENTATION: Easy to navigate

LOCALS: It is difficult to find people in this country out of the villages/cities/farms. There is hardly no one living in the countryside. There is a large "white" population in Botswana (they will be very helpful and interested in your travel). Local "black" people are quite distant and do not go the extra mile to be polite or greet you (they are just correct and answer your question if they understand you, if not they will simply ignore you). Forget about the frequent warm welcome you had in Zambia! Common greetings: Dumela! How far?! How much are you paid for this?...show me what do you sell?? (only one time .-)

ANIMALS: We saw many elephants on the road between Kasane and Nata next to the Chobe NP (you really pass close to them!)

ONWARD TRAVEL: Roads to Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa are open for foreigners

 


 

zim pic

 

ZIMBABWE- INFORMATION AS OF SEPTEMBER 2011

VISA: You can get a 30 days single entry visa at the border for 30USD (EU contries), 55USD (UK+Ireland), 70USD (Canada), 100USD (Angola)

ONWARD VISA: No need to arrange visas in the embassies since Mozambique, Zambia, Botswana and South Africa, if visa required, are easily obteined in the border

WHEATER: Try to avoid the rainy season from December to March. The best is to bike in the cool season which is from May to September.

FOOD: Local food in Zimbabwe is sadza (same as ugali, shima, papa, posho,...) with beef and some vegetables. Chicken and pork are also easy to find. Coming from Botswana you will be happy to see again local restaurants and not only take away fast food chains (welcome back to Africa!). You can also find supermarkets (eg. Spar, Sophrite, TM, OK) with a good range of products and bread. The food situation in Zimbabwe is not bad at all and it has improved a lot since the big crisis in 2008-09 (shops are well stocked!). For breakfast you can find a kind of porridge (sarapoco), bread, butter, eggs, tea and coffee.... Regarding fruits you will find bananas in the street vendors, supermarkets have all fruits you can dream about (imported from South Africa)

WATER: Almost everywhere you can drink the water from the tap. There are also boreholes in the more remote parts of the countryside.

SLEEPING: Guesthouses are expensive

CAMPING SPOTS: Easy to find nice places to camp outside the big villages/cities. There is no security concern and Zimbabwe is not highly populated.

ROUTES: We entered Zimbabwe coming from Botswana at the Plumtree border. From there we went to Bulawayo and then onwards to Zvishavane - Masvingo - Birchenough Bridge (very little traffic on these roads and nice biking through a hilly landscape) Afterwards we turned to Mutare (nice landscape with big mountains on the side of Mozambique and a continous gentle climb till Mutare) and crossed to Mozambique at Manica border (very little traffic in all this route along Zim)

 

  Zimbabwe map

 

 


 

 

Mozambique pic

 

 

Information as of October 2011 

VISA: You can get a 30 days single entry visa at the border for 80USD. It is much cheaper to apply in embassies or consulates in advance (we got ours on the same day in the consulate in Mutare, Zimbabwe for 40USD, in the embassy in Swaziland it costs 25USD)

 

ONWARD VISA: No need to arrange visas in advance in the embassies since Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Tanzania and South Africa, if visa required, are easily obtained in the border 

 

WEATHER: Try to avoid the rainy season from November/December to March. The best is to bike in the cool dry season which is from April to September.

 

FOOD: It is easy to find very good bread everywhere in the country either on the street or in bakeries. Vegetables (tomatoes, peperonis, potatoes) are also very common. Fruits we found in October were few pineapples, oranges, bananas. Cashew nuts is another highlight. And of course fish and shrimps are very popular along the coast. There are not so many local restaurants but if you are lucky to find them you can have rice, french fries, salad, chicken, beef, xima for good value. The local beer is Manica, 2M and Laurentina. You can find very few supermarkets (eg Sophrite), it is better to buy in the little shops in the street (usually run by Chinese or Indians)  

 

 

WATER: In the centre and north of the country you might have some problems to get water. However they are starting to build more and more boreholes in the countryside.  

 

SLEEPING: Guesthouses are overpriced, use instead pensions that are a bit cheaper (eg. pensao africana in maputo north of Eduardo Mondlane street: 600M/double) 

 

CAMPING SPOTS: Easy to find nice places to camp outside the big villages/cities. There is no security concern. 

 

ROUTES: We entered Mozambique at Machipanda border coming from Zimbabwe. We rode to Chimoio and Inchope where we turned towards Vilanculos (from Inchope to Rio Save the area is bush and very isolated but water is never a problem). From Vilanculos we continued on the EN1 to Maputo (very nice riding with palms and laggons but quite hilly) and exited Mozambique at Namaacha border to Swaziland.

 

Moz map

 

ROAD: The road from Machipanda (Zim border) through Chimoio to Inchope is not the best tarmac, it also has some heavy traffic of logistics trucks. From Inchope till Vilanculos the road is bad in some parts with patched areas. After Vilanculos the road is perfect tarmac to Maputo with more and more cars 

 

TOPOGRAPHY: Coming from Zimbabwe, the section btw the border and Chimoio is quiet hilly, then it is almost downhill till Inchope. Afterwards it is quite hilly again from Maxixe to Xai Xai. In other places the wind will make a huge difference depending from where it comes from (we had it facing). 

 

ORIENTATION: Easy to navigate 

 

LOCALS: Mozambiqueans are very friendly and smily people, easy to talk to them (provided you speak a bit of Portuguese, Spanish or something similar, you will have some barriers with English) They are very easy going and they do not seem to be worried in life. They will always be respectful and very rarely try to cheet you with prices. 

 

ANIMALS: We did not see animals on the biked route 

 

ONWARD TRAVEL: Roads to Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Swaziland and South Africa are open for foreigners

 

 

 

ROAD: The main roads in Zimbabwe are good tarmac

TOPOGRAPHY:  It is quite hilly all the way but not boring at all!!. There is a nice gentle climb from Birchenough Bridge to Mutare

ORIENTATION: Easy to navigate

LOCALS: Zimbabweans are easy people to talk to. They are very happy to see you (tourists in general) and you can have very interesting conversations with them. They are also very friendly, educated and respectful (no more mzungu calls). At the beginning they will not be as much excited  as in other countries, they will not rapidly react with a greeting or a smile (they are rather shy and reserve) but no doubt you will receive a warm welcome! Easy to communicate in English.

ANIMALS: We did not see animals on the biked route

ONWARD TRAVEL: Roads to Mozambique, Zambia, Botswana and South Africa are open for foreigners

OTHERS: There is absolutely no danger of traveling in Zimbabwe despite all the warnings you might have heard in the media. People are friendly and extremely happy to see visitors. Shops are well stocked and there is fuel in all the country, however there are some powercuts but nothing exceptional same as in most of other African countries. The official money is USD and SA Rand, the Zim Dollars are not anymore in use. You can withdraw USD from ATM easily.

 


 

 

Swazi pic

 

Information as of October 2011

VISA:  Most nationalities do not need a visa 

 

ONWARD VISAS: Mbabane is a good place to get the visa for Mozambique, otherwise no need of visa for South Africa 

 

WEATHER: Try to avoid the rainy season from November to April. The best is to bike in the cool dry season which is from May to August. 

  

FOOD: All the food is sold in supermarkets and it is difficult to find it in the street. Local restaurants are not very common and self catering is the norm. Supermarkets are very well stocked 

 

WATER: No problem to find good drinking water 

 

SLEEPING: Guesthouses are overpriced 

 

CAMPING SPOTS:  Easy to find nice places to camp outside big villages/cities   

 

ROUTES: We entered Swaziland at Lomahasha (Namaacha) border coming from Mozambique. We rode to Manzini through Hlane Game Sanctuary. Then we went through Mankayane to Sicunusa border to exit to South Africa.

Swazi map

 

ROAD:  Good tarmac road 

 

TOPOGRAPHY:  Coming from Mozambique it is mostly down till Manzini with a few climbs. After turning to Mankayane you have a long climb. Till the border it is mostly flat or down 

 

ORIENTATION: Easy to navigate

 

LOCALS:  We only spent a few days in the country....  

 

ANIMALS:  We saw a few wild animals in the Hlane Game Reserve 

 

ONWARD TRANSPORT: Roads to Mozambique and South Africa are open for foreigners

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

Lesotho pic

 

Information as of November 2011

VISA:  No need of visa for most nationalities, you get an entry stamp valid for 14 days 

 

ONWARD VISAS: No need of visa for most nationalities for South Africa 

 

WEATHER: Try to avoid the rainy season from October to April. The best is to bike in the cool dry season which is from June to August. Be prepared for cold weather or storms anytime of the year, you are almost all the time over 1,800mts and weather conditions change very fast  

 

FOOD: In some villages you can find vegetables to sell in the street. There are bakeries and little shops run by Chinese in middle size towns. You find supermarkets with good stocks in bigger cities 

 

WATER: It is not a problem to find water (bore hole, river, tap...) 

 

SLEEPING: Guesthouses and camping sites are overpriced 

 

CAMPING SPOTS:  Easy to find nice places to camp!! Lots of open spaces with very few people around

 

ROUTES:  We entered Lesotho at Sani Pass coming from South Africa and crossed the country from east to west through Thaba Tseka, Mafeteng,... exiting at Sephaphos Gate border to South Africa

 Here is a roadbook with the route description in the highlands of Lesotho:

10km after Sani Pass Top direction Mokhotlong there is another mountain pass (alt. 3,280mt)

From the top of this pass till the junction going to Molumong it is 34km

From this junction to the next village (Rafolatsana) it is 3km

From Rafolatsana to Molumong it is 4km

12km after Molumong there is a mountain pass (name: Menoaneng with alt. 3,030mts)

From the top of the pass to Linakeng it is 43km

From Linakeng to Taung it is 11km (Taung is in the junction going to Sehonghong)

From Taung to Senqu river crossing (alt. 1,880mts) it is 6km

From the bridge to Mohlanapeng it is 6km

From Mohlanapeng to Thaba Tseka it is 19km (the tarmac starts from here all the way to Maseru)

20km after Thaba Tseka there is a pass (name: Mokhoabong with alt. 2,860mts)

27km after the pass there is a village (Mantsonyane) located at the junction going to Auray

5km after Mantsonyane there is a pass, Cheche pass alt. 2,560mts

11km after the pass there is the Senkuyane river crossing (alt. 1,850mts)

The village Marakabei is 2km after the bridge

13km after Marakabei there is the Likalaneng pass (alt. 2,610mts)

7km after the pass there is the junction going to Mohale Dam

4km after there is the village of Likalaneng

17km after Likalaneng there is the Blue Mountain Pass (alt. 2,620mts)

6km after there is the God help me Pass (alt. 2,280mts)

9km later there is the Bushmen Pass (alt. 2,260mts)

8km after there is the big village of Nazareth

Lesotho map

 

ROAD: The road from Sani Pass to Thaba Tseka is all piste. It is a tough road with very steep passes (where you will have to push) but with awesome landscape (we really loved it!, it is the landscape in the highlands what makes Lesotho so particular, once in the lowlands all the beauty is lost). Some considerations: there are very few cars on this road and it is better to stock up on food before you attemp this road (bear in mind that your average per day will be around 40-50km and that you may be stucked in some remote places due to bad weather). After Thaba Tseka the tarmac appears. 

 

TOPOGRAPHY:  Extremely hilly country!!! If you do not like climbs Lesotho will be very painful. The passes are one of the steepest passes we have ever cycled and they are on piste (sometimes with stones...) With a fully loaded touring bicycle you will have to push along the long climbs. Once you are out of the highlands it is much easier (eg tarmac) and more flat 

 

ORIENTATION: Easy to navigate

 

LOCALS: Basotho people are like the weather, hard and rude. They are extremely poor people in the rural areas (huts are basic and they are dressed just with a blanket and some broken plastic boots). In general locals were friendly but we were frequently dissapointed by the constant cries of: SWEETS!!! and GIVE ME SOMETHING!! They will always tell you how poor they are and ask you to help them with some donation. Even when cooking they will sit next to you and ask for some food: I AM HUNGRY, GIVE ME SOMETHING (In all these cases the best is to ignore them). If you need to pitch in a village ask for the chief, he/she will make sure that nothing happens to you and your belongings during the night (in Lesotho it is a tradition to do so when there are visitors in the village) 

 

ANIMALS:  We did not see animals on the biked route

 

ONWARD TRANSPORT: Roads to South Africa are open for foreigners

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