Itinerary | London to Cape Town Trans Africa
As we will be camping and travelling for an extended period of time, you must be prepared for an adventurous challenge. It can be hot and dusty, and will sometimes be out of contact from the rest of the world. This means no telephones, shops or any other mod cons. We need you to participate and work with all members of the expedition. For the Trans we use sturdy purpose-built vehicles for these rugged off-road conditions.
Week 1 – 4: Europe, Morocco. We start the trip at Gibraltar. Crossing the straits of Gibraltar to Morocco, we visit the coastal capital city of Rabat and visit Casablanca. Meknes, on the high plains is of the many ancient walled cities with covered markets and a labyrinth of narrow winding streets. We visit the ancient Roman ruin of Volubilis, followed by Fes, Marrakech and the Atlas Mountains.
Week 5: Mauritania We pass into the Sahara Desert and follow the Atlantic Coast – it is never forgotten; oases with cool water surrounded by palms, stretches of sand as big as a small country, old forts, camel trains following centuries old trading routes, and a night sky undiluted by city lights. We go hundreds of miles off road, sometimes digging the truck out of the soft sands to get through.
Week 6 – 10: Senegal, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Ghana We enter the Sahel; the vast semi arid desert that separates the Sahara from the forests of black Africa and cross the Senegal River into Senegal. We reach St Louis on the coast and the capital Dakar great night clubs. Into Guinea; spectacular scenery, thick jungle, rugged mountains, green as far as they eye can see, except for the red dirt roads, winch ferry spanning the rivers. Trek to chimpanzees, where they live wild in the forest. Ivory Coast and the magnificent Basilica of Our Lady of Peace in Yamoussoukro, modeled on St Peters Basilica in the Vatican. Followed by Abidjan with an impressive skyline of high rise buildings, the ocean and a camp on the beach. In Ghana we cross the jungle to the beaches of the Gold Coast and visit the slaving forts.
Week 11 – 13: Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, Togo and Benin are only fifty miles wide. Here the religion is the African tradition of Voodoo. On Nakoue Lagoon you can take canoes to visit the fishing villages built high above the water on bamboo stilts. Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, with 100 million people. We visit Lagos, the commercial capital and largest city in West Africa and head on to Abuja the political capital, then time at Wikki Warm Springs to relax for a few days. Leaving the warm springs we head to Calabar, passing the outskirts of the Cross-River National Park.
Week 14: Cameroon Entering Cameroon, we stay on the beach at Limbe. For those that are adventurous, you can climb West Africa’s largest mountain, Mount Cameroon. From the coast we visit the capital Yaounde.
Week 15 – 17: Gabon, Republic of Congo, Cabinda (Angola) Leaving Yaounde, we cross into Gabon, a country which consists mostly of tropical rain forests. To the Republic of Congo. Driving through bamboo forest tunnels we make our way back to the coast reaching Pointe-Noire. Here you can visit the Jane Goodall Chimp sanctuary, or relax on the beach.
Week 18: We enter Cabinda the oil rich exclave of Angola with the Congo to the East and the Atlantic to the west; where you can watch the flames burning off from the offshore oil rigs.
Week 19-20: Angola only opened up to tourism in 2004, With the closure of the routes through Sudan, African Trails started going this way through one of the largest and least visited countries in Africa.. The people are friendly and the views astounding. Driving along the red mud roads we reach the coast and the capital Luanda, it’s very Portuguese in its buildings and Brazilian in its beach attire with a line of beach bars and restaurants in the bay. We follow the coast passing lots of waterfalls on the way to Lubangotown 2000 meters high on a plateau. It is home to the third of the great statues of Jesus; the others being in Rio and Lisbon.
Week 21-22: Namibia We encounter a vast array of environments and cultures. Once occupied by Germany, Namibia produces a blend of German, African and Afrikaans influences. The Himba peoples of the North are most noted for their red ochre body paint and their traditional lifestyle.
Etosha Pan National Park. Thousands of years ago this vast saltpan was a lake, till Kunene River changed course and deprived the lake of water. Now the pan and surrounding bush support large numbers and a wide range of wildlife. We view game from the truck and spend the evenings by the floodlit water holes at the park’s campsites. These water holes provide an excellent opportunity to observe animals that are hard to find during the day, particularly rhino and also smaller animals such as the genet. Elephant, lion, giraffe, zebra, oryx, ostrich, springbok, jackals, hyenas and meercats are also likely to be seen here.
From wild animals to tame ones, we spend a night at the Cheetah Farm where you can scratch the big cats behind the ears before watching them tuck in to their evening meal. Heading for the Atlantic Ocean Coast, Swakopmund is an old German colonial seaside resort with plenty of things to do for the energetic and plenty of beer cellars for those after a more relaxing time. The energetic can go horse-riding or sand boarding on the dunes, deep sea fishing in the Atlantic or scenic flights over the coastline.
Heading inland, we enter the Namib Desert, famous for the 300m high sand dunes. We enjoy sunrise at the top of the most photographed dune, Dune 45 before taking a tour with local guides into the remote parts of Sossusvlei. After an overnight stay in the desert we drive south to Fish River Canyon, at 85km long and 400m deep it’s second in size only to the Grand Canyon. You can trek down to the bottom of the canyon and, from the viewpoints at the top, watch the setting or rising of the sun. There are seasonal hot springs in the south at Ai Ais. Our last stop in Namibia is the Orange River, which forms the border with South Africa.
Week 23: South Africa Crossing the river we arrive in South Africa and travel south to Namaqualand, South Africa’s prime farming areas. We drive through the mountain valleys of the Cederberg and stony semi-deserts before arriving in Stellenbosch, the centre of one of the Cape’s many wine routes. A wine tour with plenty of tasting makes for a great day out.
Cape Town is a beautiful city, nestled at the foot of Table Mountain; plenty of cafes, pubs, clubs, markets and sights. You can climb the mountain or take the cable car to the top for some wonderful views of the city and the Cape Peninsula and visit Robben Island.