It was a rude, but exciting awakening with an early morning wake up call at 2am. As new friends, we somehow still managed soft jokes in the frigid air of chilly Cape Town. We got to packing and as we squeezed in the last of our bulging bags, it was difficult to tell what was steam from the coffee and what was cold breath.
With a three-day journey ahead of us we were particularly grateful for the automatic vehicles that seemed to go with the same speed and vigor as any light automobile.
We awoke still to the orange lights as the city still slept, it was another early start at 3am. By 4am we were on the road and very ready to enter Botswana! The border crossing was a breeze and their biggest demand was that we didn’t take any raw meat across the border; lucky for us we had a car full of predominantly vegans and vegetarians.
We reached Tati Siding in the light and were very pleased with our stay at EBAT Guest Lodge. Immaculate rooms were sprawled between the courtyard and thatch bar area. We each shared a room with one other team member as we relished in the last time we would be sleeping in a bed for a very long time!
And did we see animals! We were treated with sights of elephants, zebra, kudu, warthogs, and a group of giraffes. All of them were as close as next to the road for incredible viewing! It felt wild and brilliant to be seeing these magnificent animals casually on our way.
After paying $30 for each vehicle to cross the Zambezi River on the pontoon ferry, we were swarmed by ‘fixers’ that relentlessly offered their help and each emphatically pointed us in multiple directions of where we needed to go. Crossing the border is easy with Botswana, but going into Zambia with a vehicle requires a lot of paperwork. In each vehicle, we had flip folders that were almost full with vehicle registration documents, letters of permission from VW, cross-border permits, and so on and so on. We were hustled from counter to counter as we paid for the relevant forms and displayed the necessary document as demanded.
If you are interested in joining our Zambian adventure, find out more here.
- Distance: 3 days and 2449km from Cape Town to Livingstone
- Recommended 1st Stop: Johannesburg, South Africa
- Distance: 1400km
- Recommended time of departure: 3 AM
- Place to stay: The Backpacker’s Ritz of Johannesburg
- Recommended 2nd Stop: Francistown, Botswana
- Distance: 680km
- Recommended time of departure: 4 AM
- Place to stay: EBAT Guest Lodge, Tati Siding
- Border Crossing: Martin’s Drift
- Opening Hours: 06:00 – 22:00
- Botswana does not permit fresh fruit, vegetables, and raw meat to cross the border
- Tip: there are stops throughout Botswana where you have to get out of your car and walk on disinfectants. Have all your shoes in a bag so that you avoid getting stopped and searched.
- Last Stop: Livingstone, Zambia
- Distance: 566km
- Recommended time of departure: 5AM
- Place to stay: Livingstone Guest Farm with Greenpop!
- Border Crossing: Kazungula Border
- Opening Hours: 06:00 – 18:00
- A very busy border between Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia
- Check out the Zambia Tourism site for the documents you will need to cross the border (have everything in a flip file ready to go!)
- Tip: Have some Dollars with you and most of all, have your wits about you! Fixers will rush to your aid but most of them will want payment or for you to buy insurance through their company. You will have to move from desk to desk between buildings so always double check with the authorities first.
Greenpop Foundation NPC is a registered non-profit organisation. Registration Number (NPO): 151-411 NPO.