“What route are you taking?” is the first thing everyone in South Africa asks us ( and “Are you mad ?” is the first question from Germany).
From Cape Town we will quickly head to Namibia, from there direction east into Botswana, Zimbabwe, for Christmas we will meet up with friends on a beautiful beach in Mozambique, then continue to Zambia, Malawi, then head towards Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, then Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt. That would be the master plan, but due to the actual situation in Egypt our Plan B would be to ship the car from Mombasa to wherever we would like. Should we manage to go through Egypt, there are two options: If ferries between Egypt and Turkey go, we would go through Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, if not we would go through Israel, take a ferry over Cyprus to Turkey and continue as above.
Our previous travels have shown us, that a plan is just made to change it a hundred times. So this time there is no real plan. We only put the countries we would like to go to on our list, where we will eventually go and where not- we will see and leave us the freedom to decide every day what we feel like doing and where we want to go.
After nearly 5 month of traveling our route had been changed a bit a few times. The first big change was, that we skipped Botswana. After we had lived/travelled in Southern Africa for 5/10 years we knew Botswana and Namibia quite well. After most of Namibia was mainly repetition, we were ready for something new, so we decided to directly head to Sambia. Then the political unstable situation in Nov./Dec. 2013 made us decide against going to Mosambique, and with this decision we also skipped Zimbabwe and went to Malawi and Tanzania directly instead. Spending 2 months in Tanzania we realized what a luxury it is to really get to know a country and decided to not go to Rwanda, but spend more time in Uganda. Of course it would be nice to have more countries “on the list”, but we realized the kids ( and us) learn more, if they get a chance to really get “into” a country, instead of changing every 3 weeks.
Also visas are quite an issue, as we are 6 people that have to pay. With at least $300 per crossing for all of us, this makes every border crossing a budget killer. Right now, we are in Uganda trying to plan our route further up north. It is nearly impossible to get visas for Ethiopia from any country except the country of residence, as Ethiopia stopped issuing visas for overland travelers at the borders, so we heard. Visas for Sudan and Egypt are also tough. In Dar Es Salaam we spent hours at both embassies, only to be told that Egypt only issues a visa once we have the Sudan visa, and Sudan would only issue a visa once we can prove we have an Egypt visa. The political situation needs to be considered as well. Foreign embassy home pages all warn about going to these 3 countries, but other travelers blogs and local people tell us it is fine. Should we go? Not an easy decision as we have 4 little ones on board. Right now we are thinking of sending our passports to a visa agency in Germany ( Ser visum) with DHL to get them sort out all the paperwork, which would leave us without passports in Uganda for about three weeks. Not a nice thought, but better than turning back south.