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Mar 03 2013

Waiting for the vehicle part 1

Johannesburg, South Africa

It almost feels like we are back in preparation mode … so it feels quite natural to fall back into my weekly “preparation” update posts – only this time they are “between stages” updates. :)

When we arrived in South Africa, we thought we had only a few days until our vehicle arrived.  We had our clearing agent all lined up, and family in Cape Town eagerly awaiting our arrival.  Viking Explorer then contacted the shipping company, to find that they had done the world’s fastest transhipment in Abidjan … and moved our container from one ship to the next within 48 hours.  Apparently, unheard of.  Unfortunately, this ship is taking the scenic route of west Africa, rather than the express service we had been quoted on.  So, rather than arriving on 1st March, the vehicle will now arrive some time between 20th and 29th March.

It would have been so easy to get annoyed, frustrated and angry.  It would have been so easy to stamp feet and throw toys.

But we have opted to look on the bright side – it gives us time to relax, spend time with friends and family in Johannesburg, and start our planning for stage 2.

We continue to enjoy the glorious weather that we became accustomed to in Senegal – blue skies and hot hot hot!  I still haven’t quite shaken the old habit of waking up and expecting UK grey skies … and am almost surprised every morning with the blue skies and beautiful sunshine.

This week we have started getting fit again.  After 4 months of driving and sitting, we are both horribly out of shape.  We have started running and walking.  We have a great walk/run program which gradually builds up time.  We started at 6 minutes when we arrived, and today we already clocked half an hour – followed by a half hour walk.  It feels great and we’ll keep working at it.

We have started planning our tour of southern Africa. We have purchased maps of Botswana and Namibia and a few 4×4 and travel magazines.  (Botswana and Namibia are at the top of the priority list!)  We have spent hours reading about where we want to visit next, and the logistics of border crossings in the south.

Johannesburg also has many outdoor and 4×4 stores, and so we have been getting quotes for the few additions and repairs we need.  Of course, it would be much easier if we had the vehicle, but we have been relatively successful.

And we have enjoyed being in Johannesburg and experiencing yet another country!  We had to giggle as we passed a mosque when Friday prayers finished.  It was such a sharp contrast to the Friday prayers in Morocco: the men (some even dressed traditionally) exited the mosque – and climbed into their luxury automobiles!  Jaguars, BMWs, Mercedes and even Bentleys …

We continue to experience the friendliness we have been enjoying in our adventure through Africa.  A smile and a “hello, how are you” elicits grins from most people we come into contact with, and a helpful attitude. Maybe we have also had a change in our approach to the world …

13 comments

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  1. Margaret (gemini)

    Good to hear from you again and that things are progressing calmly. Are you doing touristy things in Jo’berg? If so contemplate a day at Jozi Gold mine. We thoroughly enjoyed it and also managed a visit to the Apartheid museum which is just across the way. See you have Map Studio maps – did you look at the T4a ones ? we found them very useful especially with journey times on the roads as well as lots of other information. The one drawback is the size not good to unfold in the car !!!!
    Let us know your plans for Nam & Bots and perhaps we can give you some help re camping etc. Enjoy your R&R especially the weather.
    Love and envy
    Margaret & Mike

    1. African GirlChild

      Hi Mike & Margaret. Oooh – didn’t see the T4A maps. The MapStudio maps look good because they have lots of GPS waypoints marked on the map, and a good level of detail for the roads. Any info on camping etc in Namibia and Botswana would be helpful – I’ll drop you an email. And yes – enjoying the stunning weather! xx

  2. Vic

    Hi guys. Glad you’re enjoying the weather. You’re not missing anything here on the soggy island. The only good thing is that the days are getting longer, and summer time isn’t far away! I’m guessing that you want to time your trip so that you get to see the Okavango at its best, which is in the winter months. Maybe we ought to time our arrival down south so that we can join you!! Hmm..

    1. African GirlChild

      Hi Vic & crew. Yes, loving the weather! Although we did have rain one night and into the morning … As you said, timing the trip to travel southern Africa in winter is good timing. At least it cools down from the 40+ degrees! And of course, we always welcome fellow travellers ;) xx

  3. Ian

    It was good to hear from you again
    We have spent some time in Namib it is a fantastic place and very friendly on your way up you should make plans to overnight in the capitol and dine at a place called Joes bear house it is a fantasic place just make sure you are hungry!!

    1. African GirlChild

      Thanks for the tip Ian! We’ll add it to our itinerary. kind regards.

  4. trevor

    hello….i have replied to u before.. am not notified when u have replied… and mail does go to my spam box…… i was back packing down the west coast. i quit when i go to Liberia.. a freind went to casamance when the shootings took place. she said it was the safest place in Africa after that..
    any ways…. be patient about ur vehicle…. a japenese guy who shipped his bike from Lagos to CT , it took 3 months and it arrived minus all his gear. this is Africa….. a night mare…… i flew to Paris, took a train to londoan and then after 5 days flew to Turkey…. am done with Africa…..

    hope ur vehicle arrives soon…..

    Trevor

  5. Shara

    Hi guys! We’re about to head off via the East route shortly but I’m just curious as to why you decided to (assuming) fly to Cape Town and ship the vehicle. I’ve been following you guys and was expecting to see you journey down the West the whole way? We’ve considered doing the West but it seems a little unsettled at the moment. Any advice for us would be great – thanks! Shara

    1. African GirlChild

      It’s all in the blog!!

  6. Mike & Sue

    Hello, we are preparing for the same journey beginning in Nov. and have been following your adventure. We have the same question as Shara. We would be interested to see your reply to Shara.
    Waiting for the next installment.

    1. African GirlChild

      It’s all in the blog!!!

  7. Piet de Klerk

    Saw your Brodie in Onrus today…… self a Landcruiser addict driving a 80-series 1996 4.2 diesel GX (named: “Saqomolo) now at 392K km @ ready to going anywhere…………..good luck with your venture

    1. Viking Explorer

      Hi Piet,
      Yes, it is a good vehicle – bullet proof and goes anywhere. Brodie is currently at 169k miles, 272k km, but with lots more to go.
      We are heading out early tomorrw, back to Jo’burg to do final preparations for our next stage; watch this space for updates.
      Hope you have a special trip planned somewhere too!
      Cheers,

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