There is a word in the german language: “vorfreude” – the happiness created by the anticipation of something (booked trip/wedding/delivery/etc). Well in corona years, this was much needed, but it needed to be taken with caution, since, you never know when a new rule/variant/closing/add more to the list is going to pop up.
And aside all the new and old version, we made it, not as initially planned, but I think it was for the better, since we got to enjoy more and drive less.
A trip around south-east Africa in 40 days in December and January, it was equally good as it sounds, even for non-animal adorers or long drives lovers, which is me.
The inital plan – Zambia – Botswana – Zimbabwe – Malawi (via Mozambique) – Tanzania – Zambia.
The actual trip – Zambia – Botswana – Zimbabwe – Malawi (via Zambia and Zimbabwe) – Zambia.
The plan is that you cant plan everything or should I say anything, but that not necessarilly is a negative thing.
It started super soft in Zambia, where a local had arranged the transport, and the points of sightseeing, also in a lodge, pretty much European, except hippos are your field mates, a trip to Victoria Falls, and exploring nice lodges, and what would become a regular activity on our trip, visit to the local hospital for a PCR test, which was always a memorable experience.
Then we continued to Botswana, where you do not even need to enter a national park or a game reserve to see the wild wild life. You can start with a parking lot, then the highway and your accommodation, the amount of animals in insane, shockingly insane. At moments I had the feeling we were just driving, but that is why we were there, I didn’t know where to put my eyes first. It were not only the animals, but also the road, often we drove just 10km/hour here in “BOC”. Regarding the people they were friendly, but not very attentive to tourists, everyone was minding their own business. The highlight for me was Chobe National Park, it was like National Geographic Channel filmed with my very own eyes.
The lush green “Christmas Box” land or as locals nicely call it “ZIM”. Zimbabwe was a complete change of scenery compared to Botswana. Here the nature was so green and so rich. Even in the country alone the scenery was changing with every next kilometer from west to east. Green hills, stony hills, banana fields, savannas, waterfalls and then repeat. People were veeeery to extreemly friendly, but it was also a country where we were asked about the famous “Christmas Box” (chocolate, sweets, small money, anything that you are ready to give) the most times. Regarding wildlife, here we saw the least, the Rhinos are protected and you can only see them if you take a tour with a Ranger, but there is so much beauty in many other things. On the negative side, the prices in the supermarkets are on the very high level, and I don’t know how the locals are doing, having in mind that I didn’t buy the $4 tuna can, neither the $7 halloumi. Yes there are bigger problems than halloumi in the world, but those prices are just not fair.
Our last and longest stop. Before we went here I only knew it was the “warm hearth of Africa”, it was warm indeed, and the people were as well. My highlight was Mumbo Island, maybe it has to do with the fact that it is how I got to know about the country, but also the people. Everyone that we met a local or an expat was extremely talkative, and warm and willing to share about their life and experiences. And it was the most crowded country. If in Botswana you can drive and not see a person for 2 days, here you are surrounded by people constantly. Malawi also had many different faces, in the Natural Parks, where we became winch pros, to the Lake which is different comparing north to south, and also the mountains. The country kind of has it all.
My personal favorite? Maybe Malawi, maybe Botswana, maybe Zimbabwe if we stayed longer. I can’t tell, but maybe Malawi. Overall all the countries exceeded my expectations, andalso fulfilled my only wish that everything goes smoot(ish) from first till last day.