24 November 2011
Distance covered: 825km
Total Distance: 2430km
Start: Pretoria from Eduan and Enit's home
Sleep: Nata Lodge, Nata, Botswana
This morning was the day! After a quick farewell, we left Eduan and Enit, took the N1 north to Bela Bela and took a beautiful drive through the bushveld with its rolling hills and green bush to Ellisras. Magical countryside, roads so-so. Got to Groblers Bridge and within 30 minutes we were finished with both SA and Botswana border procedures with staff on either side very friendly and efficient. Botswana is already lush green and drove under constant cloud cover with only a few drops of rain. With very little traffic we made good time and at 18h00 we pulled into Nata Lodge. A bit on the expensive side for camping, but good ablutions with super strong hot water. After a long day, that is what one needs. We just had our tents put up when the first rains started. Our first day camping and we got tested. Fortunately Arina's awning was up in no time and we watched the lightening and the smelled the fresh veld during the rains.
Had some lovely pasta which Arina made prior to departure and in no time it was ready.
Two small set-backs today - my chair broke. Yes, all the good food on my 5 star tours, did take its toll. Can still sit on it but it will go completely in the next few days so looking around for another one. Then Arina's rooftop tent makes a nice swimming pool - lets all the water in but nothing leaves. She slept for about 3 hours while trying to swim at the same time. So, she might be stuck to her ground tent when the weather looks iffy. Will try to get some waterproof spray tomorrow but you can be sure it is not something every local needs.
25 November 2011
Distance covered: 407km
Total Distance: 2837km
Start: Nata Lodge, Nata, Botswana
Sleep: Livingstone, Zambia
At 5am the rain stopped. Just in time for us to break camp. Not a morning person and between that Arina's not having sleep, everything wet, it was not a good start. But with a rusk in the hand and watching our first sunrise between the makalale palms, it was all good. The road from Nata is being re-built but the side road is not bad either. First went into Kasane on the border to Zambia to try to find a chair and waterproof spray but it was like looking for water in the sahara.
Soon after we crossed the ferry and it was as always way too quick over and to me this is one of those special African experiences. On the other side we got bombarded as per usual with paperwork and red-tape. First passports, then Carbon Tax (not sure if it is for the carbon we breathe out or that of the vehicle) but we first had to change money on the blackmarket to pay. The starting price was 500 zambia kwacha to the Rand but soon got 650 for the Rand. Then Council Tax (the Council staff must also be able to drive in a Mercedes you know) of US$40, then Road Toll, then stamping the carnet and then paying for the ferry, then 3rd Party insurance and then by now you have cut enough trees for all the paper that it is no wonder the Sahara is so big! About R850 worth of red-tape later and we are out of there. Only a quick drive to Livingstone to say hi to a colleague at the Zambezi Sun. And how good is he to us. We got 2 rooms for free to stay at this fantastic hotel right at the Falls! We watched zebra grazing next to the pool. Arina walked to the Falls but it is very dry this time of the year. I had an afternoon shut-eye and we were invited for dinner by Roelf and his wife Suzette. They gave us some update on the road conditions for tomorrow.
So off to bed in luxury!!!