The Ultimate Road Trip, Part Two

In my first article, I discussed how to get from the northernmost drivable city in the western hemisphere to the southernmost, by ground travel only. Today, I will discuss the best way to get from the southwesternmost to the northeasternmost drivable cities in the eastern hemisphere (Cape Town, South Africa, to Magadan, Russia), all by land and sea!

Like last time we will use an RV, with multiple people to rotate driving, so we can drive for up to 24 hours in a single day (although we never will).

The first one was 53 days. This one is a bit longer…

DAY 1 – We will arrive by plane in Cape Town, South Africa. We’ll get our RV and stay the night.

DAY 2 – This morning, we will snorkel with the playful Cape Fur Seals! In the afternoon, we’ll visit Boulder Beach (home of wild penguins), Cape Point, and take a beach horseback ride.

DAY 3 – In the morning, we’ll visit the brightly painted houses of Bo-Kaap for a traditional “Cape Malay Cooking Tour”. In the afternoon, we will do an epic hike up Table Mountain.

DAY 4 – Today, we will cross a major item off our bucket list: skydiving! We will also do sandboarding (snowboarding on sand dunes)!

DAYS 5-11 – We will spend one week in Cape Town’s townships, volunteering to teach and spend time with the children of the region.

DAYS 12-13 – We have two days to enjoy South Africa’s coastal Garden Route. This 15 hour drive includes shark cage diving in Gansbaai and beautiful scenery in Knysna. We finish in Port St Johns.

DAYS 14-19 – We join Animal Ocean for six full days of witnessing arguably the ocean’s most dramatic event: the Great Sardine Run on South Africa’s Wild Coast. According to Animal Ocean, “some of the ocean’s top predators follow these rich, oily fish – and their presence makes for awe-inspiring underwater encounters.”

A Common dolphin bursts from the ocean in pursuit of sardines during the annual Sardine Run, East London.DAY 20 – We spend the day at Oribi Gorge, trying out a gigantic rope swing into a canyon.Oribi Gorge Swing - Jumps into the Abyss in South Africa

DAY 21 – We will arrive in Mpumalanga in the morning. At sunrise, we’ll see Adam’s Calendar, said to be the oldest manmade construction on the planet! Passing by the wild horses of Kaapschehoop, we’ll visit the Jane Goodall Institute of Nelspruit (aka Chimp Eden). On the road north, we’ll pass Sudwala Caves, dubbed the oldest caves in the world! We will then drive the beautiful Panorama Route (pictured below) and spend the night in the Kruger Park area.

DAYS 22-28 – We will spend one week on an African safari! But not any ordinary one – it’s with the Balule Conservation Project, where we will work with saving the lives of wild African animals, such as rhinos and elephants.

DAY 29 – Today, before leaving, we check out the highly rated “Roots of Rhythm” in Hoedspruit for a tribal dance. We drive through Bulawayo, Zimbabwe to Victoria Falls.

DAY 30 – We arrive at the famous Victoria Falls this morning, a World Heritage Site! After gazing into the falls, we grab lunch at the Devil’s Pool – one of the most dangerous places to visit on earth – where you can literally look over the edge of the falls in a natural infinity pool! We’ll finish the evening with a sunset cruise.

DAY 31 – Today is arguably one of the best whitewater raft rides in the entire world! A full day of rafting the Zambezi!

DAYS 32-33 – We will drive north through Lusaka, Zambia, and two days later arrive in central Tanzania.

DAY 34 – We spend the day in Ngorongoro Crater, spotting wildlife in the picturesque landscape.

DAY 35-40 – “Climb Kilamanjaro” is on nearly every bucket list, and for good reason. Dubbed the world’s tallest walkable mountain, the six-day summit will be breathtaking (literally and metaphorically). Days 35 to 39 are spent summiting the 20,000 foot giant. On the 40th, we drive 5.5 hours to Nairobi.

DAY 41 – We will wake up at Giraffe Manor, in Nairobi. We’ll be able to eat breakfast with live giraffes! Really a once in a lifetime experience. We will then explore Nairobi, checking out the Maasai Market. In the afternoon, we drive five hours through Kenya to Maasai Mara.

DAY 42 – Today is spent at the Maasai Mara, in Kenya, on a world-class safari.

DAYS 43-44 – We spend two days at the world-famous Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. One of the highlights is the migration of zebra and wildebeest.

DAY 45 – We drive, 16 hours, to the eastern border of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

DAYS 46 – Today we will trek Mount Nyragongo to see the world’s largest lava lake!

DAY 47 – After a short night drive to Rwanda, we spend the day with the ultimate experience of trekking gorillas! A bucket list adventure!

DAYS 48-57 – After a night drive, we embark on the Baker Trail. Crossing 360 miles from northern Uganda to South Sudan it is hardly known and hardly documented online, but has been listed as a “Top 20” bucket list hike by National Geographic. Says kabiza.com, “this new trail will be a great opportunity to discover the Africa off of the beaten path, meet the people along the way, enjoy visits in remote villages and see the scenic wonders, wildlife, birds along the way”. This is true adventure – you’re going where no man has gone before! As this trail is open to mountain bikes, we will go 36 miles per day (which is well under the standard 40-60 bike miles per day).

DAYS 58-61 – After 10 days of true adventure, we have crossed the border into South Sudan and have arrived in the city of Juba. We now have to drive 48 hours to northern Sudan, then ride a ferry for 30 hours to get to Aswan, Egypt. We have four days to do it.

DAYS 62-71 – We will live out a dream! On a ten day Egyptian cruise, we’ll see Aswan, Edfu, Luxor, Valley of the Kings, and a whole lot more! The perfect cruise to see the wonders of Ancient Egypt! On the day of the 71st, we dock in Cairo.

DAY 72 – This morning and afternoon are spent on an adventure: exploring the city of Cairo. Then, as the sun goes below the horizon, we will take a sunset camel ride to see the Great Pyramids, one of the Seven Wonders of the World!

DAYS 73-74 – It’s a 34 hour drive to Tunisia. We have optional stops, including Alexandria in Egypt, Tripoli in Libya, and Sousse in Tunisia. We will spend an afternoon in the city of Tunis.

DAY 75 – After a night ferry ride, we arrive in Italy. We drive across the island of Sicily, stopping in Palermo and, later than afternoon, Pompeii. We spend the night in Rome.

DAY 76 – We spend the morning in Rome seeing the highlights, and the afternoon in Florence to see some art and walk the markets.

DAY 77 – Our first stop is the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and then we hike the beautiful coastal Cinque Terre Trail for a glimpse of some Mediterranean beach towns (pictured below). After 4 hours of driving, we spend the night in Venice.

DAY 78 – After a night of sleep, we spend the morning and early afternoon in Venice, and after a 3.5 hour drive, the late afternoon in Zagreb, Croatia.

DAY 79 – We sleep for the night. Before midday, we’ll stop in Belgrade, Serbia. By late afternoon, we’ll reach Sofia, Bulgaria.

DAY 80 – After a six hour night drive, we spend the full day exploring Istanbul.

DAYS 81-84 – The direct route from Turkey to India is Turkey-Iran-Pakistan-India. When researching this portion, I found that Google Maps refrains from passing through Pakistan and that Yahoo Maps refrains from passing through Iran.  Meanwhile, Bing Maps logs a route from Istanbul to Dhamma Sikhara, India, directly through Pakistan, to be 64 hours, and MapQuest logs it at 71 hours. Well, although many of my articles on this website use conservative estimates, this is not one of them – this is all idealism! So let’s give ourselves 4 days to drive from Turkey to India, and we will make lengthy stops to enjoy the cities of Tehran, Iran, and Lahore, Pakistan, along the way.

DAY 85-95 – We will embark on a 10 day meditation course in the Indian Himalayas, at Dhamma Sikhara, home to the Dalai Lama. This will take tremendous stamina, as 10 hours a day will be spend meditating. It is supposed to change your life. The evening of the 95th, we’ll arrive in New Delhi.

DAY 96 – Spend the day exploring New Delhi!

DAY 97 – We spend the morning exploring the beautiful city of Jaipur. In the afternoon, we get the rare experience to view the endangered tigers of India at Ranthambore National Park!

DAY 98 – We wake up this morning in Agra to see Taj Mahal in the sunrise. Today is a free day in Agra, as long as we get to Varanasi tomorrow, which is 9 hours away.

DAY 99 – We begin with a boat ride in the Ganges, where we will see the people bathe in the sunrise. We spend another day driving through India.DAY 100 – We will spend the morning exploring Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), perhaps in the flower market area. The afternoon will be spent driving in the Sundarban area of Bangladesh (this is a place I’ve always wanted to visit…it’s the focal point of the human impact of climate change, as it’s rising seas are about to displace millions of it’s impoverished inhabitants).

DAY 101 – After a night drive, we will spend the day with Nijhoom on a Photography Tour through Dhaka, said to be the busiest city on Earth!DAY 102 – This morning we will travel through rural Bangladesh, and take a ferry to Haitya Island. Although this is a detour, it is important to see, as it’s the new home of 32,000 Rohingya Muslim refugees, escaping religious persecution in Buddhist-majority Myanmar.DAY 103 – Today is spent driving through Myanmar. Time for stopping.

DAY 104 – This morning is spent in Yangon, Myanmar, on the circular loop train perhaps. The afternoon is spent driving towards Bangkok.DAY 105 – This morning we witness the subject of a popular YouTube video – a market built directly around a train line in Bangkok. We’ll spend the whole day in Bangkok.DAY 106 – A great experience this morning – visiting Angkor Wat in Cambodia! We arrive at Ho Chi Minh City in the evening.

DAY 107 – Today, we’ll visit Ho Chi Minh City.DAY 108-109 – We have two days to drive up the Vietnamese coast. We can stop at various beaches, Hoi An, and more.

DAY 110 – We spend the morning in Hanoi, and the afternoon at Halong Bay.DAY 111 – After a night drive, we’ll arrive in Guangzhou, China, arguably the largest urban area in the world. We’ll spend the morning there, and at midday we’ll take a 10 hour hi-speed rail trip to Beijing, where we’ll re-rent an RV.

DAY 112 – We spend a full day exploring Beijing.DAY 113 – We hike the most intense/challenging part of the Great Wall of China to Jiankou – for five hours.DAYS 114-117 – We give ourselves four days to drive a beautiful 71 hours through China and Russia. We finish off in Magadan, Russia, the northeasternmost drivable city in the hemisphere.Озера рядом с Колымским трактомThat’s it! In four months, we’ve driven (or taken alternative ground travel) from the southwesternmost (Cape Town) to the northeasternmost (Magadan) drivable cities in the world! What a fun ride! (Yes, now fork over the twenty thousand dollars!)

UPDATE (1/31/16) – I hashed out the all-encompassing pricing for 2 hours, and found that it would cost approximately $130,000 for 4 people to do both Road Trips 1 and 2, taking a 23-day scenic cruise from Ushuaia to Cape Town, in other words the end of Road Trip 1 to the beginning of Road Trip 2 (to replace the four day cruise). The margin of error for the $130,000 is approximately $10,000. This seems bad, but for 191 days and 4 people, this is approximately $171 per person per day, which is not bad by any means! I mean, if I got three of my richest friends to contribute $43k each, I’d have the time of my freaking life…for free! Any volunteers?…

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