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South Africa - Mozambique

South Africa
Although the Digest should not really include South Africa, some general points may be of use for those, like us, who knew little about travelling and camping in South Africa.

Camp Site Guide
The readily available and free (or at least we got ours free!) Camp and Live guide we found essential. The write up (sites have paid for their submission to be put in) is both accurate and useful, nor does it seem to mean a price hike. The star grading system is a useful benchmark and we found the Forever Resorts chain to be good value and of high quality. For those that haven’t any stars or have no write up, don’t ignore them; we found them to be perfectly adequate. We enjoyed staying at the Nature Reserves, so will you if you like birdlife, but the standard did vary a great deal. The sites with the highest standard and price are the National Park ones.

A reduction for pensioners is normally available, it was only the National Parks that checked the residency entitlement.

Privacy and Shelter
Particularly when the sites are crowded, and South Africans have little concept of personal space, we found putting up one or other of the tent awnings to be a great boon. They also make a great windbreak.

All sites have electricity hook up (standard caravan two pin or South African three round pin, for the latter converters are readily available) potable water, ablutions and braai stands. The vast majority have hot water and most have a bath or two (we enjoyed the occasional long soak!).

Not all pitches are flat, making the caravan levellers very useful.

South African Holidays
Make sure you know when the annual holidays are, particularly those that create a long weekend and the school holidays. The latter can vary from province to province. If you are camping over one of these periods then it is wise to book ahead and be prepared for crowded sites and some disturbance.

Camping Supplies
The Camp and Live guide has details of the locations of both Outdoor Warehouse and Campworld outlets. We used both and on balance Campworld had a wider selection of the unusual/’where on earth can I get..’ items. Both are good and cover the country.

Eezi Awn Roof Top Tent Repairs
After nearly 18 months on the road, the tent needed some minor repairs before we set off north. As it was on our route out of South Africa, we took the tent to the manufacturers on the NW side of Jo’burg. They took off the tent, leaving us free to use the vehicle, and had all the repairs completed by mid afternoon the same day at no cost! Details (location, contact telephone number, etc) are available on their website ( www.eezi-awn.co.za ) Talk to Jack, the owner, or his son Jess; they just couldn’t have been more helpful.

Toyota 4X4 Specialist
Having been recommended by Chris Coombes, a moderator on The Hubb, we took the vehicle to Baille’s Off Road, located between Jo’burg and Pretoria, for a final check over and service. I can’t recommend Stuart Baille highly enough; he must be THE South African expert on all things Land Cruiser and Land Cruiser preparation. Contact details can be found on his website ( www.bailles.co.za) and they can put you in touch with an excellent nearby B&B (Huleen, who ran the B&B, was happy to collect and return me to Baille’s).

East Africa Route in/out of South Africa
We found the route into Mozambique via the Pafuri gate to be superb. The northern Kruger has game, although not on the scale of the south of the park. However the lack of traffic, the growing sense of wilderness and the Crooks Corner area more than make up for this supposed short coming. Punda Maria is a lovely ‘intimate’ camp and campsite and ideally located for the border crossing. Once over the border the route via the Mapai crossing of the Limpopo to Mabote is magical, near deserted and police free; it is also a (welcome) contrast with South African overlanding. For anyone travelling north-south the loss of the delights of the south Mozambican Indian Ocean holiday resorts may weigh against this option.

Limpopo Crossing.
The route to the crossing is straight forward and if, as in our case, unused to travelling on a rough piste can seem to be going on forever. It took us three hours and the turn to the crossing is clearly signposted at a left turn off the track and about half a mile in from the river, ahead is a large sign for the Limpopo National Park. The crossing, providing a safe route over river sand, was at the end of June no more than a foot deep at its worst point. It seems the crossing can be used for about 8 months of the year. It cost 200 m*** (you can pay in rand, it was 70R).

Bushcamp. GPS S22 42.854’ E032 12.169’.
There seem to be two Mapai’s, one by the river largely deserted and devastated by the floods in Feb 2000, the other inland and above the floodplain. The mappage, including Tracks 4 Africa, varies and the inland town could well be Jorge de Limpopo. Anyway the main track from the crossing leads to this town, at and just before the rail track turn right and run alongside it for about a mile then take the left turn and cross over it (using Tracks 4 Africa all this is no problem).You will see blue signs for Vilanculos.
For the bush campsite; the turn for the hardly used track is on the right hand side of the piste, you are doing a dog leg back the way.

Bushcamp. GPS S22 04.446’ E033 59.024’.
On the left of the piste, a track that has been created /cut in the scrubby woodland in the last 3 years (no mines!). Go as far in as you want, it is perfect!

Vilanculos. Baobab Backpackers. GPS S22 00.526’ E035 19326’.
Not signposted, but there are plenty of young lads ready to guide you from the main roundabout as you enter the town (there are two banks with ATMs here).

Inhassoro. Hotel Seta Campsite. GPS S21 32.059’ E035 12.143’.
On the left of the main road into the village and just before a sharp right hand bend. Good site, right by the sea; the hotel has a restaurant and bar. Reasonable ablutions, electricity hook up and water, and there is shade as well as a great supply of crayfish and tiger prawns!

Beira. The Beira Guest House.
We heard bad things about the campsite on the beachfront, insecure and very cramped, so used this Bradt Guide recommendation. The price seems negotiable and includes an internet connection in the room and wifi in the breakfast room, as well as a good breakfast. There is a good restaurant nearby and you are in the middle of the old town. The owners’ daughter works in the Teledata internet cafe (good connection .. no pun intended!).

Gorongoza National Park Chitengo Campsite. GPS S18 58.748’ E034 21.113’.
Follow the main entrance piste to the main gate and then into the centre of the park. Good value, with average ablutions and hot water in the showers, electricity hookup available but not throughout. Good restaurant with free wifi (good connection and sometimes can be picked up in the campsite).

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