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Part 4 – The long road home

[Also in Afrikaans @ http://pgjonker.co.za/?p=134]

BOTSWANA & ZAMBIA TOUR 2008

PART 4

 (by PG Jonker)

Katima Mulilo and Caprivi

Day 8

Today we will travel on the Zambian side of the river to enter Namibia at Katima Mulilo.   The borrowed Minus 40 in the back of my bakkie has stopped functioning, and I now have a huge ornamental box taking up space. 

But first we would like to have a look at the falls from a distance.  At the border post to Zimbabwe you receive a free pass, a little scrap paper with a number on it, indicating the number of people in your group.

Bridge between Zam & Zim

We walk halfway across the bridge to get a nice view of the Victoria Falls.  What strikes one is the lively trade apparently going on, with vehicles and people crossing the bridge with wares for sale.

 

 Two of our travel mates each buys themselves a Z$50 000 000 000.  They were advised that this would go a long way to purchase a hamburger and a cool drink.  Quiet, brothers, there goes my billionaire friends.

 Eventually we depart for Namibia.  As we exit Livingstone in a Westerly direction we get charged an exit fee of R30 each.  In Rand, nogal.  We aim for Sesheke, but the GPS voice insists that I should turn around and drive through Zimbabwe.  I ignore her.  When we pass the turn-off to the Kazungula ferry, the voice implores me to take the turn-off, but I ignore her. 

After each such turn-off that you miss, the GPS recalculates the remaining distance to your destination.  But once I passed the Kazungula turn-off the GPS now calculate my distance to Katima Mulilo as 1100km’s.  It bothers me slightly.  Surely the GPS should know there is a border crossing at Sesheke / Katima?  We enter Sesheke.  I do not see any border post.  As we travel through the town I can eventually see Katima getting smaller over my left shoulder, and still there is no border post.  I’m running out of fuel.  Could the GPS know something that I do not know?  For instance, like that there is no border crossing at Sesheke?

Eventually I give a sigh of relief when I find there is indeed a bridge across the river into Namibia!   

The control office is badly marked.  In fact, I don’t think it was marked at all.  A few locals, upon spotting vehicles with foreign number plates, give welcome unsolicited gestures in the direction of the building where you need to attend to when they see you aim for the border without stopping.

The officials on both sides are friendly.  They did confiscate our long life milk, though.  On the Namibia side there is another (unmarked) building where you need to pay your road tax before proceeding. 

Being back in Namibia it feels like back home again.  People speak Afrikaans, you pay in Rand, and the shops look the same as ours.  Ja nee, die Kaap is weer Hollands.

After replenishing our stock and refuelling we head for Namashushu lodge on the Kwando River. 

At the lodge you have the option of staying in luxury bungalows, or to camp.  The ablution to the camp site sports a notice that warns against hippo and elephant movement at night.

This is the last evening for the whole crowd together.  We have a nice potjie and braai, even a few speeches and some farewells.  Indeed, a nice tour was had by all.

Kwando, Rundu, Grootfontein Otavi

Day 9

After a nice breakfast in the lodge we depart the next morning as part of a three vehicle convoy.  We plan to fill up again at Divundu.  Arriving at Divundu there is no petrol station any more.  Eish!  Fortunately we find another petrol station not too far off.  Even a 24h service station.  Well, sort-of. 

 

Some local boys, clearly school going age, make talk with us, asking for money, and in general behave rather mischievous.

On the road from Divundu to Rundu Dirk realises that he lost 80 litres of diesel from his long distance tank, and Pierre’s air-condition stopped working.  Fortunately my bakkie don’t break down at exotic destinations.  That sommer happens at home.   The vehicles are attended to in Rundu.

Dirk lending a helping hand

At Pupkewitz Toyota in Rundu I could not help but find humor in the close proximity of the ‘customer toilet’ notice to ‘Pupkewitz’.  However, this is only entertaining in Afrikaans.

Pupkewitz Toyota

We decide that I will go ahead and get a place to sleep for all at Grootfontein.  The rest will follow as soon as they have their vehicles fixed.   With the sun still high when we reach Grootfontein we decide to aim for Otavi.  There we find ample place at the Khorab Lodge, about 3km’s South of the town. 

It took some juggling to get the three families and their attachments settled into the various bungalows in a way that the numbers fit the available beds. 

It is this group’s last night together.  From here I will be travelling back home, with the rest of the crowd heading for Swakopmund.

Today we travelled 835km’s.

Otavi to Windhoek

Day 10

We travel down to Windhoek where we will stay with family for the night.  At Otjiwarongo we stop at a shop.  The car watch is armed with a gun.  I kid you not.  I did not even consider not paying him for looking after my car. 

In Windhoek we are just in time to attend the end of the Biltong festival. 

Windhoek to home

Day 11

After a leisurely departure from Windhoek after nine in the morning with the idea to sleep over at Springbok we decide that we’d rather be in our own beds tonight. 

From Mariental I have to contend with a funny noise coming from my clutch every time I have to engage gears.  Fortunately the relative in Windhoek is a banker who knows someone in every town in Namibia, so I have the comfort that he will be able to fix me up with someone should something go seriously wrong with the clutch.   Eventually, back at home, I had to have the spiggot bearing replaced, whatever that might be.

At Vioolsdrif, for the first time on the tour, we encounter an official with an attitude, but nothing serious.  On the Noordoewer side the member of the SAPS who should decide whether I should unpack the bakkie for inspection or not gives my children one sideways glance and waives us through. 

After eleven days without as much as a cloud in the skies, we run into storms and floods at Vanrhynsdorp.  Strange how short a distance the remaining 295km to home suddenly feels!

By 00h54 the next morning we are at home.  At 01h15 the house is asleep.  Today we travelled 1476km’s.

 Home, sweet home!

Statistics: 

Distance travelled:    5922km

Fuel uses:                  843liters

Consumption:            7km/l [14,3liter/100km]

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