Cliff and I married in March 2005 and planned an African Adventure honeymoon, the highlights would be Victoria Falls and a place called Bovu Island on the Zambezi river. The plan was to drive through Botswana, stay at Chobe Safari Lodge (my brother’s wedding present to us), cross over to Zambia by ferry, visit Vic falls and Bovu Island then cross the Caprivi strip into Namibia and drive south from Etosha in a neat circle. This became an 11 000km zig zag drive.
Pic above from a safari boat at Chobe
All went well until we tried to cross from Botswana to Zambia on the ferry. We had not remembered that the car was registered in my father in law’s name, our passports were stamped to leave Botswana but we could not leave because our car papers were not in order. After many phone calls trying to get help from the family at 5pm we decided to drive back to Gauteng and start again with the right papers. We drove right through the night without stopping. The only highlight of that awful drive was a leopard crossing the road in front of us. We arrived at the border at Gabarone early the next morning, exhausted and stressed. When trying to leave Botswana to get back into SA we were then told that we were illegal immigrants in Botswana as our passports had been stamped for departure the previous day at Chobe. We were taken to a small back room and treated horribly by officials who were aggressive and clearly looking for a bribe. They eventually let us go (without a bribe). Back home, we sorted out the papers for the car and cancelled the bookings which we had made. We loved Botswana but the border experience put us off ever visiting again.
Pics above Etosha
It so happened that the desert was in flood while we were making our way through and I lost count of the times we traveled for over 100km only to find a river in flood making the road impassable and having to turn around to find another route. Namibia is so diverse and wonderful. Soussusvlei was dramatically beautiful. Swakopmund was immaculate and Fish River Canyon was awe inspiring.
Pic above Soussusvlei
Our poor old Monza took a battering on Namibia’s hellish dirt roads and Cliff had back trouble for months after from all the driving.
One of our last stops on the way home was the beautiful, character rich town Port Nolloth in South Africa where we spent the night in a wooden house overlooking the sea. At about 3am we were woken by a man shouting and banging at our front door (which could I’m sure be huffed and puffed right down) we woke confused and rather fearful, eventually establishing that the man wanted to sell us “snoek”. When we got home our neighbor who grew up on the West Coast told us that “snoek” was a code word for illegal diamonds. We never saw Vic falls or Bovu Island, maybe one day …