4 adults and 4 kids under 10 in a 7-seater glorified minivan, along 3300+ kilometers of African roads. Dream or nightmare? Believe it or not, it was wonderful!
We wondered if we would ever leave Lilongwe at first. The Zambian embassy was closed the 2 days before we were set to leave, so we had to get our visas that morning. I almost cried when their photocopier was "out of toner" we had to drive around town to find a place to copy our passports for them! Meanwhile, Chad was trying to get a letter from InterPol saying we hadn't stolen the car, and the police station's printer ran out of ink. Really--you can't make stuff like this up! But we finally made it out, and boy was it worth it!
We saw lions with a fresh kill, elephants from just meters away, zebra and giraffe and hyena in South Luangwa Park, Zambia. We went to a mall and had milkshakes in Lusaka (ok, not the absolute highlight of the trip, but still!) We were struck dumb by the beauty and magnitude of Victoria Falls in Zambia and Zimbabwe. We got stuck in the Kalahari-like sands of Chobe Park, Botswana. We floated the Zambezi river in dug-out canoes at sunset. We caught fish with teeth on Lake Kariba with good friends. There are not words to describe what an awesome time we had. No break-downs. No border problems. We discovered that gas stations in other countries actually have gas without 4-hr lines. And the kids did great on the several 9-hour days of driving and it really was a trip of a lifetime. Literally. I'm not keen on doing it again until my tailbone heals and my spine is realigned!