We spent 111 days in Namibia, 80 days in South Africa, 54 days in Zimbabwe, 25 days in Botswana and 23 days in Zambia. In total we drove 37,899 km with our Donkey through these five countries. The map shows the driven route of this travel section.
The average consumption over all routes and the total kilometers was 13.69 liters of diesel per 100 km. We are very satisfied with this in view of the dimensions, the weight and, above all, the partly strongly consumption-increasing surfaces. We suffered three punctures in Namibia. We lost one (new) tire, the other two were repaired. We only visited workshops to give the Donkey his regular service. The Land Cruiser is reliable as expected and has brought us safely through the countries without any problems.
The cabin is very successful – except for a few small details that still need to be improved. Even if our ideas were not implemented in all details, we are very satisfied with the result. The balance of the vehicle is fantastic. By having the cabin built without a passageway, i.e. not integrated, we were able to use the space between the axles to place a lot of weight at a low center of gravity. Guido could not notice any difference in the handling compared to our Land Cruiser located in Switzerland.
Problematic are the installed pull-outs for drawers. Unfortunately, these are inferior China quality and will be replaced by us with solid European goods after our return. Despite the lightweight construction, the cabin is very robustly built and in the end there were two minor necessary repairs: firstly, a screw on the roof had to be resealed because water entered the cabin there during heavy rain and secondly, our step at the entrance had to be glued. Both are not big things and were done in one morning.
Our country assessment: what was flop and what was top?
Zimbabwe was our top travel destination. According to our impression, the pandemic had no negative impact on tourists. The people were unchanged lovable, friendly and obliging. Everywhere in the country new gas stations were built in the meantime. There was something like a spirit of optimism. The supermarkets have been offering the kind of food we know from other African countries for a long time. We have not experienced a shortage anywhere. The travel costs are significantly lower than those of Botswana, although we feel that the wildlife on offer is on a par with Botswana.
To our great surprise, Zambia was our flop travel destination. The people had changed in the meantime and the excessive begging affected us negatively. We could not really understand the reason given to us for the massive increase in littering. In addition, we felt it was extremely weak when mistakes made by the customs staff at the border, which resulted in additional expenses of about 200 USD for us, were not corrected. On the contrary, when we approached for a refund and thus a correction, we were smiled at. We will very definitely avoid the country for a longer time and consider alternative routes.
Namibia and Botswana are still solid travel destinations. Namibia is unbeatable from our point of view in terms of landscapes and colors. We stayed there the longest for a reason. The price-performance ratio is top and Namibia is a very safe travel destination. Touring Botswana is just as fun. Unfortunately, the costs have risen massively, so we have to think twice if we want to continue to enjoy the country.
In South Africa, we have not personally experienced any dangerous encounters, but the trend gives us a big pain in the stomach. The steady increase in crime is a major negative aspect. As beautiful and varied as the country is, we have to realize that we are getting tired of always being highly attentive in order to be able to recognize possible criminal activities in advance. We do not expect the situation to improve – rather to worsen – and we will limit ourselves to short visits in the future.
Where do we travel next with the Donkey?
When we return from Europe, we will travel extensively through Mozambique and Malawi. Whether we then travel through Tanzania to Rwanda or Uganda to the mountain gorillas is still unclear. In any case, there is still much to discover and we are looking forward to the upcoming leg, which will begin in the second half of 2023. At the moment we are trying to find something positive out of the fog, the cold and the mood in D-A-CH.