We have planned, and are now offering a once-only adventure in September 2019. Named “The Warm Heart of Africa” because this is what Africans call Malawi, and Malawi is the central point, “heart”, of this journey.
A total of around 4000 kms, we will start and finish our adventure at the epic Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and will bike through the four lesser known countries that surround Lake Kariba - Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia.
On sealed roads with the possibility of some short lodge accesses being unpaved, the group will total 28, made up of 17 bikers and a total of 8 pillion/4x4 passenger partners, plus John as motorcycle guide/tour boss and myself and the dedicated paramedic as support vehicle drivers.
As is the norm on all MOTO AVENTURES tours we will run it fairly freely with every bike having a GPS with the days route installed to follow as a purple line, and regular meet up points will be decided by John for refueling, coffee/snacks and regrouping. This way the tour will split into smaller groups which is a much more pleasant way to experience these places and John will be travelling up and down the groups. We will have satellite communication between him and the two support vehicles which will be travelling the same route and seeing and experiencing everything the bikers do.
You will be met at the airport and transferred to our accommodation which is ideally situated
being close to both the Falls and the town centre. The decor of our lodge evokes an era of
early adventure and the quest for discovery in Africa. The National Park borders the front of
the property and it is quite normal to see a group of warthogs or other wild animals crossing the hotel lawns, with the spray of the “Smoke that Thunders” in the background.
The Victoria Falls are situated on the Zambezi River, on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe and are roughly 1.7 km (1 mile) wide and 128 m (420 ft) high. They are considered a remarkable spectacle because of the peculiar narrow slot-like chasm into which the water falls, so one can view the falls face-on. It is described by the Kololo tribe living in the area as ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya’ - ‘the Smoke that Thunders’ and in encyclopaedias as ‘the greatest known curtain of falling water’. We also like to consider it the adrenaline and adventure capitol of Africa with a range of activities aimed at your wilder side.
The rest of the day free. Meet up for dinner on the terrace at the lodge.
Early morning pickup in a minibus for the bike riders and transferred the 45-minute ride through Zambesi National Park over the border into Botswana, where the bikes will be waiting your arrival. John will be on hand to help with handover and then head back into Zimbabwe and to the hotel.
Rest of the day free to acclimatise, for bikers to try out their bikes a bit more, fuel up and in the evening a pre-dinner drink on the terrace where we’ll give the first briefing of what your adventure is about.
Leaving early, we head south towards Bulawayo to our peaceful African Lodge situated in the Matobo National Park. Today’s road is mainly straight running alongside different parks including Hwange National Park where the famous lion Cyril lived and died. Watch out for wildlife crossing the road.
Matobo National Park is known for the Matobo Hills – an amazing natural arrangement of balancing granite rocks formed by erosion.
Our accommodation is in individual, beautifully appointed Matobo style rooms set amongst the granite rocks with large sunlit windows offering breath-taking views out over the hills and surrounding bush.
The plan is to arrive around lunch time, so we have time to freshen up, have something to eat and then in the afternoon we have organised a safari into the National Park to see the last wild and free-roaming population of Rhino found anywhere in Africa. The park has both black and white rhinos.
If there is time you might manage a walk to the grave of Cecil John Rhodes, whom Rhodesia – now Zambia and Zimbabwe – was named after.
Dinner in our lodge.
Today we turn west and having skirted round Bulawayo yesterday, today we’ll have the pleasure of experiencing driving through this relaxed and attractive city, the second largest in the country. With its wide, jacaranda-lined avenues which in September should be in full bloom, beautiful parks and charming colonial architecture, it breaths an air of shabby gentility. Take your time to view the old Railway Station, Club House, City Hall where the flower sellers show off their wares and the Bulawayo Club – all of which are now heritage sites. Sparkling clean limos alongside very dusty 4x4s, and immaculately kept suburban lawns make this a city of fascinating contrasts.
From here we continue in the direction of the capital, Harare. About an hour from the capital we arrive at our destination for the next two nights, a beautiful riverside lodge set in the middle of 13000 acres of untouched bush and wilderness.
Breakfast when you feel like it and then the day to enjoy all the activities this beautiful lodge has on offer.
Horse-riding, canoeing, bush walks, fishing are just a few of the optional activities on offer. We have arranged a Lion’s Den Encounter where you will get up very close to these beautiful animals and learn the threats they encounter in the wild.
Lunch is included and of course we will all meet up for dinner in the evening.
Totally relaxed and ready to continue our journey, we leave after a good breakfast. Today is the first border control of our adventure and we never know how much of an “African Experience” we will get. This is an important arterial road serving Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi so there will be many lorries.
Mozambique continues to be a politically torn country with the government group and the rebels periodically fighting each other in different areas of the country. Our one night in this country will be in the sprawling noisy metropolis of Tete which is the centre for their coal business. The Zambezi river runs through the middle of Tete and since our last visit they have completed another major bridge across it, as long queues would form.
Dinner in the hotel.
Leaving after an early breakfast we turn in a north-westerly direction towards our second border crossing of this journey at Dedza. The first part of our journey will be through rolling hills and bushland, with countless small thatched villages along the way. A lot of villagers walking in the road going about their daily activities.
After Dedza there is a definite change in the air – lighter hearted and more smiles around – as we proceed to wind our way down the escarpment of the East African Rift. As we descend you will start to catch glimpses of Lake Malawi – the 9th biggest lake in the world and the 3rd in Africa – which was naturally formed in the southernmost part of the East African Rift system.
Arriving at our lodge and retreat, home for the next 2 nights, you can appreciate the beauty of the lakeside setting. Our rooms are private bungalows looking out over the lake.
We have timed our visit so that the spa is open during our stay so make sure, if you feel like getting some African pampering, that you book your spot.
If your idea of a day off is water-skiing, the spa retreat, sailing or simply lying in a hammock under palm trees reading a book and gazing out over the lake, there is something for everyone. If you enjoy fishing it is worth mentioning that this lake is home to more fish species than any other.
If there are enough of you interested, we can arrange to charter their boat and go out to Boadzula Island where you can snorkel and see the colourful fish darting in and out of the rocks. On the way we can watch the proud Fish Eagles swooping down to catch the fish thrown from the stern of the boat.
Dinner again by candlelight on the lakeside terrace.
A shorter day today. We retrace our route back towards the Rift Escarpment and then follow the lake northwards before turning east to the capital of this “Warm hearted” country.
Our pleasant country lodge is situated in 650 hectares of a private forest reserve and a successful dairy farm. The hotel also supports a Cultural Village that you are welcome to go and visit.
Dinner back at the lodge.
A total of 4 game drives can be taken during our stay and watch out for the elephants that frequently roam through our camp. Impala, hippos, giraffe and many others also call by, as curious about us as we are of them!
Always a bit sad to leave Flatdogs after the amazing wildlife experiences we will have had, but our journey continues to our next night’s destination in a small local village.
Our 2* lodge is a real African Experience. Owned by an ex local diplomat Mr Mwelwa Tembo and his wife, all the rooms which are in small bungalows have been gaily painted with local wildlife scenes to recreate a Zambian village atmosphere.
Small private terrace and gardens where we can sit and enjoy a local beer before our dinner. Maybe we’ll be given their famous “Village Chicken”!!
An early start so that we can get to our next lodge in good time. We must brave our way through the mad traffic of the Zambian capital, Lusaka, before heading northwards into the countryside to the Private Game Park where our lodge is located.
Arriving in good time means we can go and interact with their cheetahs. These are the fastest mammals on earth and they are quite willing to let you get up close, but you always feel you are being honoured to be in their presence.
The lodge has various “insaka” areas – village lounging places – where you can relax and enjoy the amazing panoramas of the Zambian bush. The Impili Insaka & Deck is a great place to have a sundowner whilst looking out over Chitoka Lake and seeing one of Zambia’s stunning African sunsets. A full-sized pool table and table tennis are available if you want some “exercise” after the plentiful buffet dinner!
Shorter day today, but we will plan to leave at 09.30 to try and avoid the rush hour traffic as we head back south through Lusaka and then on down to the north-eastern side of Lake Kariba. This is the world’s largest man-made lake in volumetric terms.
Our lodge which is located on the eastern shoreline sits on a green hillside with magnificent views out over the water. Surrounded by tropical gardens there are a total of 4 swimming pools to choose from. The main one has a large terrace shaded by jacaranda trees where you can enjoy a lunch snack, and this is where we will also eat our dinner buffet in the evening.
During the afternoon, time and weather permitting and for those wanting, we can arrange a sundowner boat cruise on the lake. You can also arrange to enjoy a relaxing massage in the hotel’s spa.
Leave straight after breakfast as a long rather uneventful ride today. Get to our spectacular 5* lodge situated on the banks of the Zambezi as early as possible to enjoy the beautiful setting and make good use of the wonderful spa facilities. A very impressive high Mokuti roof forms the entrance hall and lounge area with wonderful views over the river.
Optional possibility of joining a sundowner river cruise.
Dinner will be on the deck of the Gwembe Terrace situated by the river and around the pool. Watch an amazing African sunset over the river while enjoying a cocktail and sampling some of the plentiful variety of food from the buffet.
Distance: 85km or 14.5km
On this the last day of our adventure we will all depart after breakfast but in two directions. Those with motorcycles to return will proceed to the border with Botswana at Kazungula and then on to Kasane where the bikes will be checked over and handed back. From there it will be the same 45-minute transfer through the Zambezi National Park to our lodge in Victoria Falls where the rest of the team will be waiting.
The non-bikers will be taken by transfer from the David Livingstone lodge, across the “bungee” bridge and back into Victoria Falls to the lodge.
Time to relax and enjoy the surrounds and in the evening we’ll all meet up at the terrace bar for a drink before our adventure celebratory dinner on the terrace, 16 days and 4000 kms later.
On this your final day of the tour breakfast is served as usual at the hotel and depending on your travel arrangements you are then free to explore this exciting, colourful area more. Transfers to the airport on this day are included and will be arranged for you.
If you are interested in a place on a full tour contact SU to be put on her waiting list & be advised if a place comes free.