4x4 or 4x2, Go Big or Go Home, Tour de Malawi

Overview

This tour does not have serious 4×4 stuff and a 4×2 will be fine. Bring your kit and join us. 

Driving from Mbeya Tanzania, through tropical plantations with splendid bananas on the road side, tea plantations and the best cocoa around, you arrive at a crest. Crossing over it you are greeted with the most magnificent sight of the Eastern rift valley and the shimmering water of Lake Malawi. 

The scene of a short naval battle. On 16 August 1914, Lake Malawi was the scene of a brief naval battle when a British gunboat commander heard that World War I had broken out, and he received orders from the British Empire’s high command to “sink, burn, or destroy” the German Empire’s only gunboat on the lake. The British disabled the German boat with a single cannon shot from a range of about 1,800 metres (2,000 yd). This very brief gunboat conflict was hailed by The Times in England as the British Empire’s first naval victory of World War I.

Today Malawi is one of those places where you can loose yourself in tall drinks on the fresh water beaches, or scuba diving or snorkelling the vast species of fish in the lake. 

The ultimate in fish and chips at a lodge beach pub. Or a game drive in one of the splendid parks. Tour the tea plantations or take a sundowner cruise on a river bordering a national park.

Malawi just has the ability to slow you down and bring you back to Homo Sapiens pace, breathing the fresh tropical air, seeing the thunderstorms on the lake, swimming in fresh water that feels like an ocean. It is so different than you think…

The Itinerary

Day 1. 28 October 2020

We meet in Francistown Botswana. I drive here in a day from Johannesburg if you want to join me. We discuss the route and start our holiday. 

Day 2.

We head up to Kasane for our second night. We should be in town in the early afternoon and you would have time for a bit of shopping. This is the night before we cross in to Zambia.

Day 3.

Bright and early we pack our gear and cross the mighty Zambezi river. My border agent should make this process a little easier. Once we are through we make our way to Lusaka. The Zambezi river levels should not be very high and normally the Victoria falls would not be too spectacular at this point, so we skip the falls and head north. We sleep in Lusaka for the night. 

Day 4

Another push north will take us to the gateway of South Luangwa, voted best park in Africa a few times, this is a rather special spot. We make our way to Chipata town for the night.

Day 5

We head in to town to stock up on our necessities and then we head out to South Luangwa for two nights. 

Day 6

After breakfast we make our way in to the park and enjoy a game viewing day. Picnic under a tree, lunch in the bush.

Day 7

We take a late morning and make our way back to Chipata for the night. If you missed the steak and chips here 3 nights ago you have another chance for this treat.

Day 8

We pack our stuff and head to the Malawi border. We do the necessary paperwork and get ourselves in to Malawi. Then on to our first night in Malawi. This is on the northern road in the mountain section. Being on the edge of the rift valley, Malawi has some of the most beautiful mountain landscape in our region. We make camp here for the night.

Day 9

We continue north, stop for groceries at the Shoprite in Mzuzu and then the last push to our camp for the next 2 nights.

Cocktails on the beach, Carlsberg beer, swim in the lake, relax is on the cards for the next 5 nights.

Day 10

We take the day off and you can shop around for a few wood carvings, order yourself a carving that will be completed somewhere during the night. Malawians are known for their wood carving.

Day 11

We start our journey south and follow the road on the lake edge. Through rubber plantations again to a wonderful campsite. green grass and relax after a rather short day.

Day 12

We pack our gear and head south towards cape McClear for two nights. This iconic spot is well known and we will spend two nights here.

Day 13

Another day to spend doing what you want to do. Lots of activities around. Kayaking, boat cruises, feed the fish eagles, snorkelling and scuba in the fresh water. Also good meals in the restaurant.

Day 14

We continue our journey south, and down to Majete game reserve. Two nights here visiting the area with newly introduced big 5 game will make for a good time.

Day 15

We head in to the park for the day to see what animals are around. The roads are a bit rough, but that is what the 4×4’s are for.

Day 16

We make our way to the Mozambique border to take the shortcut home. If there are issues in Mozambique we will head back as we came via Zambia. We sleep in the Mutare area in Zimbabwe for the night.

Day 17

We head further south and make our way to the Lion and Elephant motel for our last night. This means we have an early start on the border and it should take us only about 30 mins to get through. Should be in JHB just after lunch.

Day 18

We cross the border early and head home.

Tour specific comments

Vehicle:

A normal 4×2 or 4×4 as you buy them from the shop floor. No special kit required. Normal tyres or all terrain tyres are good

Drivers:

No experience required, I personally guide the tour and will give you everything you need as we go.

Towing:

You are welcome to bring something to tow. Only off road trailers and vans please. I have had trailers and small off road vans on this route before.

Other:

Bring your swimming kit and camera

Here is a video of the route

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