The Expedition Route

We are setting off in April 2007 and aim to arrive at the Cape at the end of October 2007 – 7 months of adventuring.

Here’s a rough itinerary

France 4 days April
On this occasion, we don’t intend to do much sight-seeing in France. We’ll probably stop in Paris, since we love it, but then we will make our way south to Italy.
Italy 2 weeks April
Our plan in Italy is to ‘do’ some culture. It will still be April – so certainly not the prime time for a visit to this mediterranean hotspot, but hopefully spring will be a good time to enjoy Italy’s famous cities. We’re hoping to visit some/all of the following centres – Milan, Florence, Pisa, Rome, Naples.
Greece            10 days April – early May

We plan to be in Greece in May – a bit earlier than the hordes of summer visitors. Although we’re not there in the height of the season, we’re still hoping that we may be able to bask in the sun on some glorious Grecian beaches….. It’ll still be warmer than Portmahomack in July!

Turkey            2 weeks May

One thing we’ve realised when planning this route – Turkey is huge!

It is also full of historical interest and ‘must-see’ sights. Having two little children with us reminds us to pace ourselves, relax and enjoy what we can without attempting to cram everything in.

We’ve decided to leave Istanbul, Troy, Gallipoli and Ephesus for another time. On this trip we’ll concentrate on the southern coasts, with perhaps a trip inland to the Cappadocian mountains. We’re only there for a fortnight so we’ll enjoy what we can and accept that!

Syria            1 week May
From Antakya in Turkey we expect to cross the border and go straight to Aleppo in Syria. Aleppo is renowned for its souks – covered markets dating back to medieval times. The other main sights we hope to see in Syria are Crac de Chevaliers – an enormous, intact crusader’s castle and the ruins of Palmyra. We will also visit Damascus – another biblical destination, following on from those of Turkey. Syria is famed for the warmth and hospitality of its people, so we look forward to meeting the friendly Syrians.
Jordan            1 week May – early June
We will cross the border from Jerash in Syria to Amman in Jordan. From there we plan to go to Madaba and then on to visit the Dead Sea. Hammamat Ma’an provides an excuse to laze at hot springs before continuing south to another impressive castle at Karak. From Karak we go to Petra, the number 1 tourist destination in Jordan. Our final visit in Jordan is to the scenic and atmospheric Wadi Rum which will give us our first experience of camping in the desert.
Egypt            3 weeks June

We plan to arrive in Egypt early in June, crossing by ferry from Aqaba in Jordan to Nuweiba. Our first African country!

By this time we will have been on the road for over 9 weeks and we reckon we will be happy to chill for a while. We hope to take some time out to enjoy a lazy beach holiday on the Sinai peninsula before immersing ourselves in the sights. We’ve never been to Egypt before, but obviously Egypt’s historical heritage is unique and there is lots to see and wonder at.

In Egypt we hope to meet up with a friend from back home, Steven Blanche, whose holiday to Egypt coincides with our time there. Steven knows Egypt well and speaks Arabic – so that’ll come in handy. Looking forward to seeing you there, Steven!

From Sinai we’ll go to Cairo where we will visit embassies to get some visas. Anne’s brother, Willie, joins us in Cairo for the next 3 weeks of our trip (whay-hay – a babysitter!).  With a full complement of 5 passengers, the Landcruiser moves on to Luxor and Aswan, where the road ends.

Sudan            2 weeks June – early July

To cross from Egypt to Sudan we will take an 18 hour ferry trip from Aswan to Wadi Halfa.

Between Wadi Halfa and Khartoum we will drive through vast expanses of desert. Our plan is to follow the Nile, passing by the few habitations on its banks.

Up until Egypt we will have limited our driving to short stretches of a few hours a day, but we realise that in parts of Egypt and Sudan there will be long days of driving. We will have the facility to watch movies on the laptop and so we hope that Shrek and Mary Poppins will join forces to make these long days more acceptable to the girls!

We’ll relax in Khartoum for a little and then Willie will be flying home and we’ll be heading off on deteriorating roads to Gedaref close to the Ethiopian border.

Ethiopia            3 weeks July
After the intense heat of Sudan, we’re sure that the cooler Ethiopian highlands will be a relief. Ethiopia seems a fascinating country with rich history, an ancient connection to Christianity, mountainous scenery and abundant wildlife – especially birds. However, by all accounts, the other thing Ethiopia has is rubbish roads. When guide books quote times to travel between one place and another in terms of days rather than hours, you know that it won’t be easy. We’d like to visit the historical sights of Gonder, the beautiful Simien mountains, the Blue Nile Falls, Lake Tana and the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, but we may have to see what road conditions are like and change things as we go along. After 3 weeks exploring Ethiopia, we head to Kenya via the border town of Moyale.
Kenya            3 weeks August

The first section of road in Kenya will involve another long day driving on a rough road, in a convoy.

Kenya is the first ‘game park’ destination – the stereotypical, picture-postcard Africa. There are numerous places of interest in Kenya, but our plan is to visit the following areas – Mount Kenya National Park, Aberdares National Park, the rift valley lakes of Lake Nakuru and Lake Naivasha, dramatic Hell’s Gate National Park, the capital Nairobi and, of-course, the Masai Mara. We are excited about seeing the wildlife of Kenya – from the flamingos in the lakes to the big game of the Mara.

In previous years we would definitely have climbed Mount Kenya (and Kiliminjaro in Tanzania), but we’re not planning that this time. Maybe we’ll return when the girls are old enough!

Our good friend Alasdair Matheson will be joining us for the 3 week stretch from Nairobi to Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania. Once again, I’m sure we’ll be happy to see a ‘kent face’.

Tanzania            3 weeks August - September
Tanzania is a country of big views and big skies. We hope to enter it via the border crossing between the Kenyan Masai Mara and the Tanzanian Serengeti. From the Serengeti we will move on to the huge Ngorongoro Crater for more game viewing and then to Mount Kiliminjaro another of Tanzania’s wonders. We plan to go to Dar es Salaam where we will probably leave the Landcruiser and head off for a few days in the Zanzibar archipelago. Returning from Zanzibar, we will continue on to our next country – Malawi.
Malawi            10 days September
Malawi – the warm heart of Africa. It has been recommended to us as a beautiful place, with wonderful people. Malawi also has close links to Scotland, through David Livingstone. We will wind our way down the western side of Lake Malawi, stopping wherever we feel like, to enjoy the scenery and beaches of the lakeside. After 10 days in Malawi, we will move on from Blantyre to Tete in Mozambique.
Mozambique            2 weeks September – early October
Our 2 weeks of wanderings in Mozambique will be mainly in the south of the country. We plan to enjoy the wonderful beaches and soak up the atmosphere of Mozambique’s old colonial towns. From Tete our route will wind down to Chimoio and on to the coastal town of Beira. From there we will continue south to the Bazaruto archipelago, Inhambane and on to the capital, Maputo. We will drive through Swaziland en-route from Mozambique to South Africa, probably staying overnight, but not lingering long
South Africa 3 weeks October

Our final country of the journey! It seems that South Africa has loads to offer the traveller. We are looking forward to more beautiful beaches, the scenery of the ‘Garden Route’, discovering new environments such as the St Lucia wetlands, whale watching off the East coast or Hermanus, ending our days with a glass (or few) of South African wine and of-course reaching our final city, the awe-inspiring Cape Town.

Our route through South Africa will follow the curve of the coast from St Lucia to Durban, Umtata, East London, Port Elizabeth, Plettenberg, Mossel Bay and to the southernmost tip of the continent at Cape Agulhas. From there we will turn northwards and head to Cape Town where hopefully Anne’s parents will meet us for a relaxing week or two.

The Cape of Good Hope will mark the end of our journey and we expect to fly home to Scotland at the end of October – poorer in pocket, but richer in experience!

Fly back to Scotland end October

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