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Published: September 3rd 2019
Can't believe this is it, the last journey of our epic voyage.
We were booked into the Springbok Inn for B&B but at 5:30 we were both up and decided to make an early start, again. We were on the road by 6 heading south down the N7 towards Cape Town. The roads were pretty quiet, and we made decent progress. The Northern Cape is very sparse but also beautiful at the same time. As we watched the daylight appear on our last road day it was quite emotional thinking back over the last week and a half. We got into the Western Cape and the scenery became more and more familiar with a real hint of spring in the air with the rapeseed fields coming into colour. We stopped for fuel just before Clanwilliam and continued south and then took the R44 at Piketberg to cross country to Worcester. Eventually we reached Ashton and it was interesting to see the progress on the new road bridge, we then pressed onto Swellendam to pick up the N2 for the last leg home.
I’d needed a coffee for a while and Rita insisted we pressed on
so we did and waited until we got to Swellendam at my favourite coffee stop, imagine my dismay when we found it was randomly shut. We headed into town to grab (another) Wimpy. After lunch we took a quick stroll to stretch and ended up in the sweetest antique shop chatting to the 2 really lovely guys who owned it. There were several things we really needed to pick up while in town and we managed to grab them all at the antique shop. A broom, antique iron, a hessian sack and of course a salad/fruit bowl that is frankly way too nice to put anything in so will never actually get used for anything. What we didn't manage to get was something for dinner when we got home which was the real reason for going into town in the first place. We headed back to the car and moved on.
The N2 was getting a bit busier by this time and it was a struggle getting past vehicles at times. At one point I was caught behind a hay lorry, bearing in mind the last time I saw one of these it was on fire. I
thought it best to give it a wide berth and overtook it and instantly regretted it when I saw the Police Officer in the middle of the road waving at me. He waved me in and as mentioned in previous posts it's all very cordial, "afternoon sir, how are you" etc. I'd managed to stop when flagged down right in front of the speed camera so the cop asked me to move up a little and I replied, "yes of course, at least she'll be able to catch someone else then". He was a good sport and saw the funny side. We chatted for a while and he wrote stuff down, all the time I was nice, friendly, made no attempt to get out of anything. The result was a R200 (that’s about 12 quid) and he let me off the crossing the solid line because he's just nice like that. I've got my paperwork and just need to nip to the traffic office to protest it now so they will reduce it by 50% if I agree to pay it there and then.
We finally made it back to Knysna and collected Tiggy at 5:30, having
been on the road all but 12 hours. By far the toughest days driving, and shopping expedition of the trip.
Highs & Lows - So I thought I should end this with a few highs and lows and some travel information.
High Point – Absolutely without doubt seeing the first Elephant in the wild at the side of the road on the way up to Kasane from Nata
Low Point – Seeing a recently passed young Elephant on the side of the road in the Chobe National Park
Best Accommodation (Quality) – Taranga Safari Lodge in Rundu, Namibia
Best Accommodation (Location) – Without doubt the Big 5 Chobe Lodge on the banks of the Chobe River in Kasane, Botswana
Worst Accommodation – Cresta Hotel in Palapye, Botswana
Total Mileage – 6217.3km
Avg Fuel Economy – 9.0 l/100km (31mpg) In a 3.0 V6 personally I am absolutely delighted given we did 1 medium (4 hours) and 1 very long (6 hours) stretch at a constant 160kph
Toughest Drive – The last leg from Springbok to Knysna
We visited 4 countries, South
Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Namibia and never felt in any way at threat or uncomfortable in any of them, not even Zimbabwe. The majority of people we came into contact with were extremely friendly and some went out of their way for us such as Kabo Jone the caretaker of the Kharma III Museum in Serowe, Botswana. On Sunday afternoon when we arrived late, having not been able to contact him and he took time out of his Sunday off to show us the museum and cemetery of the Khama family.
Anyone who has not witnessed wildlife in its natural environment if you possibly can you need to, it’s an amazing experience which we’ll never forget. Simply being in the presence of these majestic animals in their back yard is a very humbling experience. We encountered countless Elephants, sometimes at very close proximity. We showed them nothing but respect and they returned the compliment.
Until the next time
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