Week 14: Taking Care of Business

Now that I’ve finished cleaning the melted After Eights out of my fleece pocket (lesson learned), I can tell you all about our 14th week, which took us from Jo’burg to the coast.

Back in the ‘Burg

As much as we were excited to start our South African ‘tour,’ the reality was that we had some admin things to take care of. After the Panorama Route we headed back into Johannesburg to pick up some stuff we’d left and to have the Landy looked over one last time before we started showing it off to potential buyers (*single tear).

As Land Rover mechanics the country over were up to their necks in job orders, it took us a while to find someone willing to take a look at it, but after a couple days, the Landy was looking and performing better than ever, and while Jo’burg wasn’t as scary the second time around, we were ready to head to greener pastures.

corner in Johannesburg
Just another lovely suburb of Joburg: tin shacks, garbage and airtime ‘retailers.’

Drakensberg Mountains

And that we did. We headed south to the Northern Berg, where we visited our 6th Unesco World Heritage site in Africa, the Royal Natal Park of the Drakensberg Mountains. The mountains weren’t actually what we imagined – meadows and cliffs versus pointy gray rock – but it was beautiful, and our hike was much needed and the fresh air very much enjoyed.

amphitheater
8kms of sheer wall: the “Amphitheater” in the Drakensberg Mountains.

Downtime in Durban

From there we headed to Durban to check out the waterfront of the south coast. Durban is so much more laid back than Johannesburg and actually reminded us a bit of Vancouver – especially with the ‘neither here nor there’ weather (see patch of blue peeking through massive clouds at the top photo). We ‘camped’ at a game estate – the accommodations were just outside a safari park and there were zebra and impala grazing amid the gardens and backyards! Definitely one of the most memorable experiences of the trip.

baby zebra
Rearview: mama and barely-week-old baby zebra with its adorable full body mohawk.

Some Sad News

And then it came time to say goodbye to our loyal Landy :( I am a mushball and totally admit I got a bit emotional. We had turned the Landy into quite a beast and really loved it! But we found a Land Rover loving couple (blog readers, too! Hi!!) keen to adopt it so we left it in their capable hands to have adventures with from hereon in.

us and landy
We never had a photo taken! A final shot with our loyal Landy before we handed over the keys.

A Coastal Roadtrip

Next up: We continue towards Cape Town in a rental sedan (weird!) for our last (!!) week in Africa. En route: wine, sharks and canoes! (Not at the same time though…that would be ridiculous).

N1
En route southwards.

As always, thanks for tuning in!

Week 7: A Break and a Break-In

Written Sunday, October 12.

We are currently just outside Etosha, Namibia’s famous national park, and very much enjoying the first rain we’ve seen since we’ve been here. It’s so refreshing, and the lightning storm is something else.

We’re staying at a campsite where you can see cheetahs (did you know they meow like kittens??), as well as leopards and brown hyenas. As the latter two have been entirely elusive for us so far, it’s a bit of a bonus before we head on a night drive at Etosha tomorrow.

A Break…

We didn’t do too much sightseeing or touring in the past week. It was probably the longest pause we had taken since we left Johannesburg. As mentioned in Week 6, we found a free campsite with free wifi and took it as sign to relax for a couple of days while catching up on writing and hanging out with Brian, the Londoner we had met in Opuwo.

And a Break-In

Tuesday we were going to set off nice and early to go to Windhoek, the capital, to get some errands done. Unfortunately, as some of you may have read on Facebook, that was the night our campsite neighbours had their camper broken into and no one really slept after that. It really made us a lot more cautious than we had been, and when we did finally leave for Windhoek a bit later than intended, we were newly organized with some game plans for securing our belongings.

But it wasn’t that easy. As the day wore on, a delayed fear set in and we started to get really paranoid (culminating with me in tears because I didn’t want to die yet). Truth? It’s exhausting to travel and fear for your life. It didn’t help that Windhoek had a reputation for being unsafe either. I realized we had to stop replaying the events over and over in our minds and get back to the (somewhat saner) place in our heads that we were just after the break-in happened: learning what we could from it, but knowing we were safe. Regardless, it was another sleepless night.
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Windhoek

Luckily, Windhoek was a pleasant surprise and most of our errands went off without too many snags. The main thing was a small administrative oversight – most of the countries we want to go through from hereon in require passports to have a 6-month validity….Moreno’s didn’t. So, new passport applied for, delicious breakfast (oh how I missed avocado!) devoured, Land Rover parts found, and Brian’s timing belt picked up (he, too, was having vehicle troubles and couldn’t actually leave the campsite). Then there was a new pillow purchased (true story: I had been sleeping on my fleece for the past month) and new books gotten from Uncle Spike’s Book Exchange. And, a car wash! Success!

And Back…

Then it was back to Kamanjab for another few days of nothing (and to celebrate Brian’s birthday) before our first day in Etosha. Verdict so far? Great! We saw 11 different species at one waterhole!! (Note: Elephants terrify all of them). Tomorrow we stay inside the park and have a chance to see the watering hole at night.

No idea where we’ll be this time next week, but I’ll be turning 30!! :D

Remember to say ‘hi!’ in the comments! We’d love to hear from you!

Week 3: False Starts and Perfect Beginnings

This post takes us away from Jo’burg (finally!) through lakes and red sands to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park.
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As I write this we are resting between animal viewing at the Twee Rivieren campsite inside the Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park. We finally managed to be up for the sunrise and got in just as the gate opened! But more on that later. Here’s a quick breakdown of our third week in South Africa (already!) and what’s in store for us next.

The Guests that Wouldn’t Leave

After Pilanesberg, we came back to Jo’burg, picked up the foam for our mattress, and after taking our hosts out to a nice steak dinner (that only cost us $80 CDN for 5 people!!), we opted for an early night to get out ASAP the next day.

But alas, there were a lot of small fixes the Landy needed, and by the time we were packed up it was once again after 3pm – way too late to get on the road, especially since we still needed some supplies. Nevertheless, we were determined, so we took photos, said our goodbyes, and started off on our great adventure.

Moreno with Kuda just before leaving - Anywhere Bound
Moreno with Kuda just before leaving (the second time…)

And then, driving out the gate and on every speed bump thereafter, we heard a horrible metallic clunk somewhere in the back. When, after shopping, Moreno still couldn’t tell what was wrong, there was nothing left to do but put our tails between our legs and go back to our hosts for help.

I can’t even tell you how agonizing it was – it was one thing to overstay our welcome, but a whole other to come back, again. But they took us in, helped us figure out what was wrong (one of our shocks broke!!), and found us a mechanic that had the parts we needed. On top of that, I had apparently forgotten my toothbrush! Phewf!

The Landy getting its shocks fixed - Anywhere Bound
The Landy getting its shocks fixed.

And We’re Off!

In the morning, we squeezed in a visit to the Apartheid Museum, one of the only real tourist attractions in the city, and the only thing I had really been set on doing so that our time in Johannesburg wasn’t just spent hurrying up and waiting. Then we got our heavier shocks and we were off, and wanted to get as far away as possible from Jo’burg. The little site on the Rietspruitdam Lake was a perfect beginning to our ‘on the road’ adventure.

Camping on Rietspruitdam Lake - Anywhere Bound
Camping on the lake. A perfect beginning.

We didn’t get as far as we expected on the second day, so we camped and drank ciders and beer while star gazing among antelopes that came out of the bush.

Camping - Red Sands, Kuruman, South Africa - Anywhere Bound
Where we put our feet up and watched the stars.

The Kgalagadi

We found out there was a border crossing into Namibia within the Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park (one of the best places to see cats), so we changed our route to head there instead. This was our first time at a real big park, and we were very surprised to find that they didn’t have any room for us. We booked a spot for the two following days and found some camping on the red dunes which were absolutely stunning and the view right behind our Landy was one of my favourites ever.

My favourite view, Kgalagadi Lodge, South Africa - Anywhere Bound
Love love love this view from our campsite.

It doesn’t look like much, but the colors were absolutely stunning. Shortly thereafter, I became convinced the prints around back where giant cat paws, so I was pretty much terrified the rest of the night.

At the Kgalagadi we finally saw some cats, mostly a bunch of lions lazily resting under some trees, but our biggest happy moment was when we saw a cheetah! They have some absolutely beautiful animals here, with patterns and colours that are out of this world. We’ll have posts full of photos to show you what we saw soon.

We also attempted to tidy up the car since we had a couple of days not filled with driving, but it. was. HOT.

Kat cutting bench fabric in the heat of the Landy - Anywhere Bound
Kat sweating profusely while cutting fabric for the bench in the heat.

Next up: Our first border crossing into Namibia!!