ZIMBABWE AND ZAMBIA:
The Zambezi River forms the natural border between Zimbabwe and Zambia. Both countries each follow a completely different course, but they are similar to each other in terms of landscape and socio-culture. There is a wealth of natural and human wealth on both sides of the river, it is a pleasure to cycle through!
The hippos on arrival at the campsite on Lake Kariba leave no doubt about it: this is 'Out of Africa'. Boat and canoe safaris on the Kafue and Zambezi River show you crocodiles, elephants and other wildlife. In Zimbabwe, Hwange National Park is a hotspot for game viewing. And the Victoria Waterfalls are nature at its most overwhelming.
But what is perhaps even more impressive on our bike ride from Harare to Victoria Falls?
Living in the African countryside. The quiet roads and paths, the huts on the side, the villages and especially: the friendly, hospitable people who give you such a warm welcome. You are really on a journey of discovery here.
We support the tour with an overland truck, in which there’s room for everyone plus all bicycles and luggage; large double tents; camping gear and a full field kitchen. As a result, we are prepared for everything, self-sufficient and flexible, because we can cover larger day distances with transfers. 'Overlanding' gives the ultimate feeling of nomadic freedom. Hotel nights and restaurants are a nice intermezzo.
For those who have the time, two weeks of Overlanding Zim & Zam can be perfectly combined with three weeks of Overlanding Namibia / Windhoek -> Cape Town.The charm of Zim & Zam lies in the African countryside, the people and 'wet' nature. Namibia, on the other hand, let’s no one indifferent because of the dry infinity, the fascinating views and the incredible diversity. Two worlds, one journey.
You can find photos, maps and graphs at http://cycling.martinhilbers.info/ZimZam/index.htm, the visual travelogue from Martin, one of our 17 participants in Zim & Zam 2019.
ROUTE CYCLING HOLIDAY ZIMBABWE & ZAMBIA
- Day 1: welcome to Harare and a short city tour by bike to the Shona Sculpture Gallery, with Zimbabean sculpture.
- Day 2: transfer to Makuti and from there 50 km by bike to Lake Kariba, the world's largest man-built lake (over 200 km long), through which the Zambezi 'flows'.
- Day 3: cross the Zim-Zam border, to Chirundu (50 km cycling). At the end of the afternoon a boat safari on the Kafue River, with a beautiful African sunset, gaping hippos and other game.
- Day 4 & 5: 55 km of very rural and unpaved cycling kilometers to the Mvuu Lodge on the Zambezi river. A canoe or a walking safari on the day of rest. Elephants, crocodiles and more wildlife, this is pure Africa.
- Day 6: to Chilanga, near Lusaka. A taste of more urban comfort (hotel). Provisioning for the upcoming, remote days to the Victoria Falls.
- Days 7-10: over Mooring's Campsite (Monze), Bruce-Miller Game Farm (Choma) and Kalomo to Livingstone, the Zam side of the Victoria Falls. We cycle on deserted roads, paths sometimes, and hardly use the Great East Road. The people are incredibly friendly and hospitable, in these villages foreigners never pass on a bicycle. We cycle around 60-90 km per day. Livingstone suddenly becomes touristy, but the waterfalls also immediately make clear why: the force of nature is overwhelming all senses, is unique. The Zambezi is clattering down here.
- Day 11: Cross the Zam-Zim border to Hwange National Park, the most famous wildlife park in Zimbabwe. Hwange has been financially put under pressure by the Zimbabwean economic crisis, but as a result it has a special, original appearance. Jeep safari at the end of the afternoon.
- Day 12: to Victoria Falls, the village on the Zim side of the Vic Falls. Sufficient time to cycle a good stretch through this remote corner of Zimbabwe.
- Day 13: Due to its location, Victoria Falls is the only place in Zimbabwe that has never really suffered from the crisis and hotel & restaurant make the stay wonderfully enjoyable. A well-deserved finish or a nice stopover to charge the battery for those who travel with us from Windhoek to Cape Town.
- Day 14: goodbye. Or the flight from Victoria Falls to Windhoek.
OTHER TRAVEL INFORMATION
As in all our journeys, we travel 4 to 6 hours a day by bike. The overland truck allows everyone to determine his own daily mileage. Often we continue cycling - after lunch - for a while, so that we can cycle the most beautiful routes as well as complete our entire route Harare -> Victoria Falls in two weeks. One of the biggest advantages of the Overlanding formula is the guaranteed variation, because we move faster on monotonous parts and we can concentrate on the most surprising, impressive cycle routes.
A fit body is sufficient, in principle our Overlanding trips do not require a pronounced top condition. The more you want to cycle, the more a good cycling condition comes in handy.
The roads are alternately well-paved and unpaved. We cycle on roads and sometimes paths, but not on single-track mountain bike trails.
The accommodations consist of hotels and tents (± two-thirds of the nights we camp). You only need to bring your own sleeping bag for camping. The maximum group size is 18 guests.
April and May are considered the most beautiful months to travel and cycle through Southern Africa, the weather is dry, sunny and pleasantly warm. Just after the rainy season, nature in Zimbabwe and Zambia is at its best.
Because large parts of the route are unpaved, a mountain bike is the preferred bike. A randonneur without suspension, with thicker tires, is also possible; it is only sometimes less comfortable. Small gears are a requirement for the toughest parts. Virtually no bicycle material is for sale in many places. We have tools and a number of universal parts with us.
We rent out good mountain bikes from Cape Town. The rental fee is 165 euros.
For Dutchmen and Belgians it is possible to get a visa on arrival in Harare. Buy a UniKaza visa, with which you can commute for a month between Zimbabwe and Zambia. Furthermore, a passport is required that is valid for at least six months after departure.
With regard to vaccinations, the advice is: consult the GGD or a vaccination service in a personal interview. DTP and Hepatitis A are recommended in any case. Malaria risk is present, although we have hardly been stung by mosquitoes in the past tour (and certainly not every mosquito is a malaria mosquito).
We consider the danger of rabies too small to be vaccinated, but this is a consideration that everyone can best make himself.
www.travelclinic.com is a very informative website about tropical diseases and vaccinations.
PRICES CYCLING TRIP ZIMBABWE AND ZAMBIA
Our combination of small groups, foreign areas and full care cannot possibly be low-budget. The use of a fully equipped overland truck results in extra high transport costs. On the other hand, the price of participation covers almost all costs on the spot, because included are:
- all overnight stays
- the complete supply of drinks and food (except alcoholic drinks other than local beer and wine)
- our guidance (by bicycle)
- all transport between start and finish
- all entrance fees; included are the guides.
Participation in the 14-day tour costs 1,925 euros per person.
The supplement for a single room/tent is 250 euros.
We have good mountain bikes from Cape Town for rent for 165 euros.
In practice, pocket money spent will be less than 5 euros per day.
- the cleaning, maintenance and repair of clothes and bicycle. In other words, in cycling terms: the care of mechanics and soigneur. This option costs 130 euros once, and then also applies to all future (hopefully many) Tropical Cyclist tours.
There are several airlines that offer 1 ticket that fly you to Harare and that return you from Victoria Falls. British Airways is one of our favorites.
For those taking part in the full Harare tour -> Victoria Falls & Windhoek -> Cape Town, we take care of the transport of bicycles and luggage between Vic Falls and Windhoek with the overland truck, we arrange the Victoria Falls -> Windhoek airticket and contribute 250 euros (the cost of Namibian Airlines with early booking) to this. The total price thus comes to 3,195 + 1,925 = 5,120 euros. The possible rental of a mountain bike then costs 360 euros.
Interested in this expedition-like trip to Zim & Zam (and possibly Windhoek -> Cape Town)? Our e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org.