Day one started off about an hour late and we found ourselves releasing some serious tension build up after leaving! Yes, we started our holiday with a full blow argument LOL.
It was months and months of endless preparation and planning to get to that day. We’d been counting the sleeps for as long as we could remember when and FINALLY we were on the road heading North! Zimbabwe, Malawi, Northern and Central Mozambique were our destinations and all were new territories for us. We couldn’t wait! The journey ahead was to be a very interesting 7000 odd km!
So our phones started playing up and our radio packed in within the first 20 minutes. The phone was vital for obvious reasons including internet access, navigation, accommodation bookings etc. and the radio was our link to the BBC English channel to keep an eye on the political situation in Mozambique with their looming elections and Zimbabwe with their recent elections that had been held at the time. Thank goodness I had put all the songs from iTunes onto my iPad and brought an array of speakers and things to make it all play. A road trip is not a road trip without the music after all! First was a light snack just before Pongola which was a combination of cheeses, biscuits and biltong… Our favorite landed up being blue cheese and warthog cabanossi! What a combination!!!
We followed the route through endless townships, roads with cattle, donkeys, taxis and heavy pedestrian traffic which made the going very slow. Later we learned that we had miscalculated the route and our Tom Tom navigation was taking us parallel to the national highway. Oops! A mistake that could have knocked off at least an hour or two from the days journey but I always believe there is an upside to frequently getting lost and in this case it was the unplanned backdoor tour of Mpumalanga and Limpopo.
We arrived safely 11 hours later in Louis Trichardt at Lalapanzi Hotel/Chalets which were clean, spacious and highly recommended. We quickly discovered that it was the bar lady’s last night there before she jetted off to live in Miami and the bar was abuzz with the makings of a serious farewell party. With the trip to Harare and the unknown issues at Beit Bridge on our mind we only had one drink and then went off to get a few hours sleep before waking at 3:30am. Our plan was to miss the busses and trucks at what is well-known as the worst border post in South Africa. Had we known how bad it actually was and the traumatic experiences we were in for, we would have opted for a trip all the way around Zimbabwe via Botswana and Zambia regardless of the extra 1000km! But more on that on tomorrow’s blog of day 2 of our journey…