And so passes another week of waiting for the vehicle – but what an amazing week it has been!
The highlight of the week was meeting up with our dear friends Noel and Ping – again! We travelled with them for a week when we first entered Morocco all those months ago. Then, we met up with them again outside Agadir for a day. It was so wonderful to have a lazy lunch with them and swap stories. They had driven through Guinea and Cote d’Ivoire into Ghana before shipping their vehicle from Tema, Ghana to Durban, South Africa. While our vehicles arrive into different ports at different times, we hope that we’ll be able to meet up in Namibia and travel together for a while. A long while even.
This has spurred us into action to do some planning. We have started looking at Namibia and Botswana in detail, while paying cursory looks at Mozambique. It all looks very interesting, although the costs are certainly higher than we enjoyed in Morocco and Senegal. We’ll have to choose the national parks we want to visit, and may need to actually make bookings, rather than merely turn up as we did in west Africa. Interestingly, there are some places where you can only travel with another vehicle – in the case of a breakdown you may wait a few days before seeing another person or getting help! It seems slightly surreal to us that after west Africa, where we never felt we were ever far from some sort of habitation – we may really find wilderness areas that are truly, truly far from the madding crowd. Now, we just need a second vehicle
We spent quite a bit of time at Outdoor Warehouse this week. Most of it was browsing the very few items we need to add to the vehicle (gas bottles, reflective stickers) but we also picked up some useful travel pamphlets for cross border travel into Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Although aimed at the South African traveller in a South African registered vehicle, it is still very useful. They also have very useful packing lists. (We’ll upload copies for everyone). We found kits to repair tent poles – so at least now we can attempt to repair the broken pole on our ground tent.
We have started investigating solar power for the vehicle and are going to visit BushPower on Monday to find out more and see what systems they have. While we aren’t necessarily ready to make the investment, it would be good to use this time we have to learn more about the technology and requirements.
We are awaiting quotes for the tiny bit of work that needs doing on the vehicle – clutch replacement and securing of the bashplate underneath.
We should also find out more about the whereabouts of the vehicle. We know that it was successfully offloaded in Pointe Noir earlier in the week, and was due to be transhipped over the weekend, hopefully onto a ship heading for Cape Town! Our clearing agent is all lined up with all our paperwork in hand.
But rather that just waiting around in Johannesburg, we are off to Kruger Park this coming week! May as well see some of South Africa before touring the region. We are doing a week long course, which covers (amongst others) ecology, geology, trees, animal tracks and tracking, bird identification and behaviour, amphibians and reptiles, orientation and navigation. The only classroom here – nature herself! Can’t wait. We look forward to putting all this learning to excellent use as we explore southern Africa.