Spectacular Drives In Southern Africa

by | Jan 25, 2024 | Adventure, Featured, Outdoors

A visual celebration of some of the most remote and spectacular drives in Southern Africa.

Overlanding isn’t about ticking off scenic stops. It’s about embracing the unknown, pushing boundaries and forging your own path. It’s an unforgettable experience that transcends a typical holiday.

Leba Pass, Angola

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Leba Pass, Angola. (c) Jazz Kuschke

Leba Pass, situated in the part of Angolas Huíla Province is a known mountain pass that connects the towns of Lubango and Namibe. Its fame stems from its breathtaking and dramatic scenery as it winds through the Serra da Leba mountain range.

What sets Leba Pass apart as a notable drive is its series of hairpin turns that meander, through the mountains offering awe-inspiring views of the surrounding landscapes. The road reaches an elevation of 1 845 meters above sea level providing travelers with a perspective on Angola’s diverse topography.

Kunene Region, Namibia

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The road to Purros, Namibia. (c) Jazz Kuschke

Namibia boasts a population of elephants known as the desert-adapted elephants. These incredible creatures have successfully evolved to thrive in the arid and semi-desert regions of northwestern Namibia in the Kunene Region. Their ability to survive in conditions is due to their development of adaptive behaviours and physiological traits. The dry riverbeds and surrounding regions around Purros, including the Hoanib River, are recognized hotspots for observing elephants and making for adventurous drives. Adapted to scarcity these remarkable animals often search for water by digging into riverbeds while relying on vegetation’s moisture content.

Etosha National Park, Namibia

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Etosha in the wet season. (c) Jazz Kuschke

During the wet season, Etosha National Park in Namibia undergoes a remarkable transformation, turning into a lush and vibrant landscape teeming with life. The wet season typically occurs from November to April when rains rejuvenate the arid environment. Seeing the Thirstland transformed makes for amazing photography opportunities, unique wildlife sightings and great off-road drives. Read more here.

Zambia

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The road to Bangweulu Swamps, Zambia (c) Jazz Kuschke

Zambia is a land of contrasts and a long-time favourite of discerning overland drivers. Among a long list, remote yet notable areas stand out for spectacular drives. One of them is Zambias Luangwa Valley. The primary ecosystems in the valley consist of evergreen miombo woodlands containing diverse flora such as wild mango, African ebony, fig and Natal mahogany, along with the alluvial zone that supports riverine vegetation. The plains are home to more than 50 mammal species, such as the African wild dog (Lycaon pictus) and the critically endangered Black Rhino (Diceros bicornis). Additionally, the area serves as a significant breeding habitat for birds, including Merops nubicoides, Merops bullockoides, and Hirundo paludicola.

Another hidden gem in Zambia is the Banguwelu Swamps waiting to be explored by birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts. This wetland paradise offers glimpses of wildlife and an abundance of bird species (including the shy shoebill stalk). To get to the swamps expect drives across a vast floodplain.

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Luangwa Valley, Zambia. Jazz Kuschke

Southern Mozambique’s Coastal Trails

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Somewhere in Mozambique. (c) Jazz Kuschke

Overland drives along its routes allow explorers to immerse themselves in diverse landscapes, where turquoise waters meet sandy beaches. Sandy trails lead to secluded coves and untouched corners of the coastline. Southern Mozambique guarantees an unforgettable combination of natural beauty, cultural vibrancy and the exhilaration of exploring the coast.

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Near the border. (c) Jazz Kuschke

Drives Through Maputaland, Northern KZN

Spectacular Drives In Southern Africa
Magical Maputaland. (c) Jazz Kuschke

Maputaland in far eastern South Africa is known for its natural beauty and diverse ecology. This coastal haven boasts unspoiled beaches, lush forests and expansive wetlands. The heart of Maputaland lies within the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site comprising a variety of ecosystems such as reefs, estuaries, grasslands and coastal forests. Within the park, there is an array of wildlife to see, from hippos and crocodiles in the wetlands to the black rhinoceros roaming the savanna. Additionally, visitors can immerse themselves in the heritage of local communities which adds a special dimension to this captivating region.

Drives Through The Mountain Kingdom

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The Mountain Kingdom. (c) Jazz Kuschke

Lesotho, often known as the “Mountain Kingdom ” offers a thrilling and demanding adventure for drivers exploring its magnificent landscapes. The winding mountain roads in Lesotho take you through towering peaks and deep valleys giving overalanders an exhilarating experience. Drives along these roads that cling to cliffs you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of alpine meadows, trout-filled rivers and snow-capped peaks. These roads carved into the mountains not only test your driving skills but also provide a feast for the eyes of those who seek the unmatched beauty of high-altitude terrains.

Get some more overlanding adventure inspiration and driving tips, here.

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