Phew! That was a lot of hard work... also, of course, a lot of fun.
At the time of the
50th Anniversary tour
, Ina Cotton mentioned that
they were thinking of organising a tour around southern Africa for
2000. This tour would cover Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana
and Namibia. So, the stage is set, and plans get made.
The trip was scheduled to run from the start of June to the end of July, eight weeks in all.
And then, things started to go wrong. Mozambique had rain, lots of rain, and most of the roads were washed out. Ina decided to spend more time in Zimbabwe, so that the route changed to South Africa - Zimbabwe - Botswana - Namibia - Botswana - South Africa.
The "road" from Kasangula
to Sesheke (Zambia).
Now, I have nothing against national parks. They're great, and we need more of them. But to spend a month going from one national park to another does not float my boat. I want to see, meet and interact with the people when I go to a foreign country. Animals are nice, but it does get fairly boring after a week or two. In any case, I decided that I'd rather make a detour into Zambia than spend all that time in Zimbabwe's nature reserves. I mentioned this plan to Pim and he agreed with me, so the planning started.
Ina's route would take them anti-clockwise around Zimbabwe. I decided to start slightly later than them (based on the fact that I would still have to get up to the Zimbabwe border from Cape Town, and on Pim's arrival date), visit Bulawayo and Harare, and catch up with the group at Mana pools. We would then break away and tour Zambia, meeting up with the group again at Victoria Falls.
All well and fine, and more plans get made.
Unfortunately, Robber Bob Mugabe also makes plans, which don't work out so well, and Zimbabwe finds itself in a bit of a stew. With no fuel and a civil war threatening. Ina wisely decides to cancel Zimbabwe, figuring that they will start later and just do the Botswana and Namibia parts of the tour.
But... we already have bookings for Messina (where we would meet Pim) as well as for a few places in Zambia. So, we decide to enter Zambia via Botswana, do a circle route around the southern part of Zambia. (By now, both our start (Pim's arrival) and end (meeting the Cottons) dates are fixed, whence the itinerary.)
Read all about it:
Ina wrote an article for LRO Magazine.
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