Monthly Archives: June 2016

How to extend a Carnet de Passages in South Africa

When we found out that our booked RoRo shipping from Port Elizabeth was cancelled due to a strange decision of the South African government, we had to find a new way to ship our car. Another difficulty that we now had was that our carnet would expire on the 5th August, less than two months later ... our time to organise a new shipping was very limited, especially so as one populat shipping method was impossible.

Obviously, one of the very first things we had to try to do was to extend the period of time in which our Land Rover could still legally be here in South Africa.

...

As our Carnet was issued by the German automobile association "ADAC", they were the first people we contacted. We were absolutely surprised when we got a reply from Germany within 18 minutes (absolutely impressive for German circumstances!). The lady from the ADAC who replied to my mail (contact details: Anna.Zinitch@adac.de, Hansastraße 19, 80686 München, phone: +49 (0)89/ 7676 3149, mail: 
anna.zinitch@adac.de , web: 
www.adac.de) told me that via the South African automobile association "AASA", it is possible to ask for a "Letter of Grace" from the South African Customs to extend the validity of the Carnet by up to three months. To get that "Letter of Grace", one has to send an informal email to the AASA which explains why the Carnet has to be extended and why exactly one will not be able to leave South Africa before the Carnet expires including all relevant personal details. Attached to the email has to be a copy of the Carnet (we sent the first page and the page that was stamped in when we entered Botswana and thus the customs and revenue union of Southern Africa and included) a scan of the Carnet holders' passport.

Here are the contact details of the people at AASA that can help with this procedure:
Odette Pombo: opombo@aasa.co.za
Cleodene Sauls cleodenes@aasa.co.za
Tel.: 0027 – 11 – 799 1042; Fax: -1040

After the AASA had informed us that the "Letter of Grace" had been approved by customs (within less than 24 hours), the AASA asked us to pay a fee of 650,00ZAR (at the moment around 38 €) via credit card.

After the AASA had received the payment we were then forwarded the "Letter of Grace" via email.

The complete procedure from contacting the ADAC in Germany until receiving the "Letter of Grace" via mail took less than 24 hours - for both European and African circumstances a very fast period of time!

If the "Letter of Grace" has to be used, a copy has to be forwarded to the issuing organisation of the Carnet de Passages (in our case the ADAC).

Overlanding in a Land Rover!? Would you do it again?

On this overland adventure, we drove 34.126 km through Europe and Africa in a relatively new Land Rover Defender 110.

Albania, July 2015

Albania, August 2015

Greece, September 2015

Sudan, November 2015

 

Egypt, October 2015

 

Would we do it again in a Land Rover? This question we have been asked by quite a few overlanders-to-be who contacted us during the last few weeks ...

Land Rovers are unreliable, right?

Well, ours definitely is NOT! We didn't have one "real" Land Rover issue AT ALL! The only Land Rover thing that broke was the central locking of the right passenger door ... That's it! Quite unreliable, right?! But we have to admit that we invested a lot of time in maintenance (i.e. checking bolts weekly and after rought tracks) and serviced the Landy every six to eight thousand kilometres ... just to "repair" things before they break!

 

Tanzania, January 2016 ... rough tracks around Ol Doinyo Lengai

 

Everything that really "broke" on the trip was of aftermarket origin, such as the keep of the double shockers (due to a really bad track we took and maybe a loose bolt that I had not discovered early enough) and the front prop-shaft (which still worked but made funny noises, so I took it out and had it repaired in Namibia). The other thing that happened was too few fuel in the Diesel (actually 50% of it was water) ... I guess any engine would have ceased to continue working then - even a Mercedes G Wagen! The funny thing is that the chip that everybody "demonizes" when it comes to overlanding vehicles, most probably saved the engine and thus prevented us from any real damage. So, we "only" had to drain the fuel system and clean the tanks.

The EGR valve we exchanged in Greece when it started making different noises ... before anything broke actually! At the moment the engine sounds a bit more like a "tractor ", but we will give the Landy a good service once we are back home.

Then to the "performance" of the car ... the Landy with a weight of more than 3 tons actually did very well on all kinds of terrain and in all kinds of situations, be it in the sandy desert, the mountains of Ethiopia, on rough tracks and the good tar roads in Namibia or South Africa.

 

"Bridge" in the Moremi Game Reserve in Botswana

 

Even though people consider the td4 engine (2.4l) as not strong enough, we think everything is absolutely OK with that engine. The fuel consumption was 12,8l on average, which also is not too bad. Actually on rough tracks and in sand the fuel consumption even dropped considerably!

 
 

The most important thing with the Land Rover actually is that everybody, really EVERYBODY likes Land Rovers (including our two daughters who consider the car to be a "family member" called "Nyati", (water) buffalo)!

 

After Mischa handed over the Land Rover to Duncan from "African Overlanders" for the shipping, Anouk was desperate because she couldn't even say "Goodbye" to the Landy ... only Landy books helped in that situation!

 

Also, we experienced the "Land Rover brotherhood" (and "sisterhood") as some kind of "second insurance" and also as a great opportunity to meet new people. With what other brand would a manager of a garage take you home with him to stay for the night because your car broke down?

The Landy broke down about two kilometers away from the Land Rover garage in Arusha

... and Ian, the manager, took us home with him.

We have been invited by so many Land Rover people and the Land Rover groups on Facebook or in Forums have always been a great help whenever we needed it.

Land Rover friends Erato and Konstantinos in Greece

... Sam in Cairo ...

... Lars in Nairobi ...

... the "Bundu Rovers" in Nairobi ...

 

... Elisabeth and Augustine with their children in Arusha ...

 

... Hugo from Denmark in Rundu ...

... Nyati and Hugo and Marguerite's Landy in Windhoek ...

... the van der Merwes on the farm "Eisgaubib" south of Windhoek ...

... and with Kathy and Ross at Cape Point.

It is really great to be members of this international "tribe" and we are happy to help any other Land Rover owner just as we have experienced it since we bought this car in 2011.

 

A Land Rover collection ... why not!?

 

In some of the following blog entries, we will go through our Land Rover's conversion again in more detail and share experiences, what was good or bad and what we plan to have changed when we are back in Germany.

...

So, going back to the intitial question: Yes, we would definitely go again in a Land Rover and we will do so in overland trips for many years to come hopefully! This being said, we are not fundamentalist in any way on our choice of car, as there are definitely other cars on the market which are also great for overlanding! It is only that the Land Rover suits and fits us best ... maybe its edgy-shape goes along well with our characters!

 

A "lonesome Landy" at "African Overlanders" near Cape Town ... waiting for being shipped.

 

Check! From Cairo to the Cape

Eine deutschsprachige Version dieses Eintrages gibt es hier

 
 
 
 

Well, actually it should mean "from Spiekeroog (Germany) to the Cape of Good Hope (South Africa)"! We have managed it! After 344 days on the road and 34023 kilometres today, the 17th June 2016 at 11:51 o'clock, we have reached "Cape Point", the "Cape of Good Hope", together with Land Rover friends Cathy Calder and Ross MacLean Calder. What a great moment!

The "Cape of Good Hope" in itself is a great place. But, honestly, compared to Cape Agulhas, Agulhas has more "magic" to it ... also because when we were there, there were no tourists around and at the "Cape of Good Hope" we had to stand in line to take photos. ... But maybe, we are just a bit unhappy that this Transafrican trip for us now will be over so very soon.

 

Cape Agulhas - just magic!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A couple of days ago, on the 9th June we stood at "Cape Agulhas", the southernmost tip of Africa. This place is far less touristy than the "Cape of Good Hope"! Behind us there was the trip with all the great experiences and in front of us, down South, only the sea and Antarctica! You can't beat that feeling!

Our stay at "Cape Agulhas Backpackers" was just wonderful and again, both us and our daughters have made new friends there. We will come back there in only a few days! A truly magical place!

The backpacker's in Cape Agulhas is a wonderful place - especially if you travel with children!

Even more new friends!

Certainly we have succeeded! We have made our dream of an extended family overland trip through Africa in a Land Rover come true! It is great to know that each and every one of us is part of a family team and all the four of us have our share in the family's success!

But it is also clear that that we have made it on this adventure through Africa is not only the result of our own personal energy, endurance and commitment, but that of the complete "team" behind it.

First of all we have to give a big "Thank You!" to the innumerous number of wonderful Africans we have met on this trip. You are the most friendly, welcoming, warm-hearted and sharing people we have met in our lives! Africans of all skin color, religious and cultural background and origin have been the most important aspect of this trip! These experiences will for ever stay in our hearts! Africa absolutely rocks!

And Berlin is so far away!

 

Traveling is so great - meeting new friends again and again. Thanks, Ross and Cathy with Melissa and Aisha for being part of this wonderful day!

 

And then there is the "team" of people who directly helped us before and during this overland journey. Without the friendship, support, help and inspiration of all you people named below, we would not be where we are today ... So, we simply want to say "Thank you!" to you all for long nights of talking, dreaming and planning, for advice concerning overlanding, gear and converting the Land Rover, for constructing this blog, for on-the-road help, for a place to stay for the night, for sharing food, stories, knowledge and information, for traveling together ... and many other things, most of all for humanity, friendship and love. Thanks - and you'll be with us wherever we go!

the Jansen and Stahl families and all our close friends; Mohamed Abouda; Patricia & Rikki Abuda; the team at "Abu Simbel Clinic"; the staff at "Adigrat Vision e.V. Kindergarten" in Adigrat; the members of "African Overlanders"; the team at "Agoro Lodge", Adigrat; the members of "Australian Land Rover Owners"; Dr. Awimbo; Judy & David Batten; Jacqueline Belcher; Luisa & Graeme Bell ("A2A expedition"); Camille, David, Lucille and Felix Bellais ("DaCaLuF"); Uschi Berger ("Seabridge"); Irmgard & Max Beyer ("Dornhügel" & "Beyer Self-Catering"); Magdi Boshara; Mélanie, Arnaud, Liou, Jade & Alix ("Lafamille Bostrotters"); Ian Boyd and the team at "CMC Automobiles Ltd." in Arusha; Scott Brady ("Overland Journal" & "Expedition Portal"); Stephanie Bretonniere & Normand, Gaspard & Faustine Roux ("KUMP around the world"); The "Bundu Rovers Land Rover Club" in Kenya; Dr. Elke Busch; the Bürkert family; Erin & Malan Conradie and the team at "Cape Agulhas Backpackers"; Hans Derveaux; Dr. Karamba Diaby; Erato & Konstantinos Dolkas; Elisabeth & Augustine Douillet; the Ebeling family ("Spedition Ebeling"); the team at "Spedition Ebert"; Samuel Embiza & Genet Bizen; the team at "Eskaleh Nubian Ecolodge" in Abu Simbel; the crew and members of "Expedition Portal"; Georg Feil; the Freyer family ("Claratal"); Hugo Gaarden; Olga Gaumann; Hagos Gebremariam, Elsa Saarsema & their extended family; Beniam Gebretensai; Dr. Stefan Geuer; Nicola Ghaui ("Kisolanza Farm"); Lilli Gramberg-Danielsen; Jörn Gressmann and the team at "Fiume Bush Camp"; Marie, Thomas, Louison, Leonine, Oscar & Achille Gueudet ("6 en piste"); Laura Marleen Harder ("Petromax" & "Feuerhand"); Uwe Hasubek; Florian Fock and our colleagues at "Hermann Lietz – Schule Spiekeroog"; the members of "HUBB"; the members of "International Overland Families"; Claudia Janssen ("Wildjourney"); Zbynek Janousek, Martin Pouba & Kamil Prokop ("Around-Africa"); "John", "Bill" and the team at "JBK Land Rover Specialists" in Athens; Duncan Johnson ("African Overlanders"); Katie Jones; Dr. Christiane Kamps; Sami Kangas; Petra & Philip Kaupa; Dr. Hayelum Khsay; Dr. Matthias Krüger; Stefan Krummreich & Jasmin; Anna Lamaj; the members of "Land Rover Owners International"; Kirsty, Tommy, Sally & Indy Larmour ("Letters from the Larmours"); Dr. Claudia Lauterjung & Martin Schwarzwälder; the Leiste family; Kidane Lemlem and his family; Dr. Gerhard Liening; Lefteris Linos and the team at "Mani Beach Camping"; Prof. Dr. Dr. Matthias Löhnert & Dr. Dr. Susanne Löhnert; Dr. Andrea & Dr. Gerd Mader; Nermien Mamish, Fathy El Said and the team at "CSF" in Alexandria; Cathy Calder & Ross MacLean Calder, & Cameron MacLean Calder; Marit van Meekeren & Jan van Os; Ady Meili ("Fanello"); Debbie, Adriaan & Stefanus van der Merwe and Susan & Wouter Taljaard ("Eisgaubib"); Marina & Heinz-Werner Meyer; Ivar Mjøvik-Hoel; Adam Mkwawa, Chief of the Hehe, and his family; Kamal Muawad; Sheikh Mohammad Mubarak and his extended family; Jennifer Myrick Sparks; Ulla Nagelschmitz; András Németh; Dr. Marguerite, Dr. Hugo, Frankie & Ernest van Niekerk; the team at "N'Kwazi Lodge" in Rundu, Namibia; Christophe Noel ("Expedition Portal" & "Overland Journal"); Karl-Gunnar Norén; Tyseer Omer; Katja & Lennart Petersen; Amanda Philipps and the team at "River Valley Camping"; Florian Raasch, Micha Schäfers and the team at "Offroad Manufaktur Hamburg"; Ute Ramming-Spitzer; Jan Reiners & Kirsten Schiller-Reiners; the team at "Reise Know-How Verlag Peter Rump GmbH" (esp. Franziska Feldmann, Birgit Hempel, Peter Rump and Gunda Urban-Rump); Mika Riecken; Dr. Yolanda Rodemer Bernardo & Dr. Gerald Rodemer; Dr. Thomas Roos; the members of "SaharaSafaris"; Bara Sarr & Ngone Fall; Cleodene Sauls ("AASA"); Edgar Sauerbier; Mohammad Sayed; Birgit Schade & Gerald Aper; Dominik Schenke ("Cologne to Capetown"); Familie Smolana ("Alpengasthof Koralpenblick"); Familie Söker & Dieter Schwarz ("Druckerei und Verlag Söker"); Dörte Stähler; Ulli Stirnat & Lena Wendt ("A Journey"); Eulouka & Wynand Stolp with Ayla; Flora, Lars, Chantal & Erik Svensson; Jonas Taureck ("Petromax" & "Feuerhand"); Annette Theeron; Wil Tondok ("Reise Know-How Verlag Tondok"); Karin-Marijke Vis & Coen Wubbels ("Landcruising Adventure"); Wolfgang Vogel; Annelene Wagner; Sam Watson and the "Cairo Sand Rovers"; Anne & Dr. Stan Weakley ("Slow Donkey") with Sarah & Peter Weakley & Christel Koops; Brian Wilkinson; Silvia & Christoph Wintersberger ("Mankei-Travel"); the members of "Wüstenschiff"; Candelaria, Pampa, Tehue, Paloma, Wallaby & Herman Zapp; The people of Zikallay, Tigray, Ethiopia; Anna Zintich ("ADAC"); Friedhelm Zirkoli; Esther, Bas, David & Angél Zuidberg ("Migrating Mountains"); all our followers on Facebook and on our blog

From Krüger NP to the South African south coast – back in “real Africa”, a great school in Swaziland and relaxed time at the Indian Ocean

 

Krüger National Park ... was just wonderful!

 

After having left Krüger National Park, suddenly we find ourselves back in "real" Africa. Before we enter Swaziland, we drive through an Africa we know from Kenya or Tanzania: small villages, tiny shops and supermarkets not really well-stocked on anything ... and considerably more poor people!

The border crossing from South Africa to Swaziland is by far the easiest ever, we show our passports, have them stamped, pay roadtax and have long long chats about our trip and about our experiences in Africa. Really nice people! The last border crossings on our Transafrican trip are easy - actually, looking back, we didn't have "real" border-problems anywhere on this whole trip!

The "Kingdom of Swaziland" then is even more African. To our European eyes it is a bit "strange" to come to a country which is one of the last absolute monarchies on this planet. The king Mswati III. (title "Ngwenyama" meaning "Lion") reigns together with his mother Queen Ntombi Tfwala (title "Ndlovukati" meaning "She-Elephant"), and has to marry different wives from different clans to ensure the country's unity! Even though the king is extremely rich and can make expensive presents for his countless wives, the Swazi people we meet on the street or in restaurants seem to really love their king because he and his predecessors ensure a peaceful life in the country. Or are they just too scared to state a different opinion in the open!?

But, we are mainly here to visit "Waterford Kamhlaba United World College of Southern Africa", a school belonging to an educational organisation, which concept we think is one of the best school concepts existing worldwide (see the INFOBOX below for more information). "Waterford College" was founded in 1963 by a group of dedicated teachers led by the British teacher Michael Stern as a multi-racial school in opposition to South Africa's apartheid policies.

 

INFOBOX KURT HAHN and UNITED WORLD COLLEGES

The "United World Colleges" is an educational organisation which currently has 15 schools in 14 countries. The idea of the UWCs was introduced by the German Jew Kurt Hahn (who also founded "Schloss Salem" in Germany, "Gordonstoun" in Scotland and the first UWC college, the "United World College of the Atlantic" in Wales) on the background of the two terrible world wars.
Hahn's idea was to make schooling international to create a "United World". Thus, all schools and colleges are multi-national having students from between 50 and 90 countries to ensure an international and intercultural understanding.
Through scholarships the UWCs can choose from the students who apply for them instead of being open for only a limited circle of children from an "upper class" or "rich" family background. It is the student's motivation that counts in the first place!
As indicators for the need of a new education, Hahn discovered "six declines of modern youth", namely
the decline of fitness due to modern methods of locomotion,
the decline of initiative and enterprise due to the widespread disease of "spectatoritis",
the decline of memory and imagination due to the confused restlessness of modern life,
the decline of skill and care due to the weakened tradition of craftsmanship,
the decline of self-discipline due to the ever-present availability of stimulants and tranquilizers,
and the decline of compassion due to the unseemly haste which modern life is conducted. Even though this was "discovered" in the 1950s, all these aspects seem to be very "modern" and up-to-date to us!
Hahn's concept had four "solutions" to overcome these six declines: fitness training (training the discipline and determination of the mind through the body), expeditions (engaging in long and challenging endurance tasks), projects (interdisciplinal learning in context involving crafts and manual skills) and rescue service (e.g. sea rescue or fire fighting). ... Overlanding definitely involves many of these "solutions".

(source: Wikipedia ... and our brains)

 

Unfortunately, Anouk is feverish again, so we spend most of our first day in Swaziland in a private clinic in Mbabane, the country's capital. Luckily, it is not Malaria!

In Mbabane we stay at "Mvubu Falls Lodge", a very good recommendation if you want to stay near the capital of Swaziland.

 

Our house at "Mabuda Farm B&B" ... another very nice place to stay!

 

From Mbabane we continue to the East to a farm recommended to us by our Dutch friends Bas and Esther. We stay at "Mabuda Farm B&B" for two wonderful days and there bump into a German family of five who planned to travel southern Africa in their old converted Magirus truck (here is a link to their blog).

What a great truck!

We exchange guidebooks, ideas, travel experiences and plans ... and place the Transafrican travel bug deep into them ...

Kitchen-party

... and as usual we go to bed far too late!

 

New friends again!

 

Will they change their plans and travel home to Germany from southern Africa? We are impressed by the fact that they managed to be allowed to officially homeschool their three kids even though the German rules and regulations officially do not legally accept that! Mmh ... so it works somehow! New perspectives!

 
 
 

Another "Good Bye" to new friends!

 

Again, we make great new friends on our way! Wonderfull!

 

Misty family photo ... early in the morning - very early! ... After the kitchen party!

 

...

After Swaziland we plan some beach days at the Indian Ocean. Friends recommended "Mabibi Camp" to us.

 

Getting to "Mabibi" is not easy ... but sooo beautiful!

 
 

Indian Ocean beaches are just great!

 

Kids just love beaches! It is important to ensure some beach time every now and then when on an extended overland travel.

136 steps down to the beach

The campsites are extremely wonderful and the beach is just gorgeous. Because of the weather conditions (rain and wind), we decide to "upgrade" our accomodation and not camp but stay in one of the safari tents with ensuite bathroom instead. As the days are warm, we spend wonderful two beach days there until we continue to C(h)intsa near East London, where we are planning to stay with our friends Stan and Anne Weakley (here is a link to their wonderful and most informative blog).

Our "new home" ...

... Thank You, Stan and Anne!

Stan is on - yet another - overland trip, this time to Angola, but we spend some wonderfully relaxed days together with his wonderful wife Anne (our kids just love her!), Stan and Anne's daughter Sarah, and their son Pete with his partner Christel ... and the two cool dogs "Bella" and "Jackson".

 

Cool! Jackson and Bella!

 

Cooking, braaiing, exchanging travel experiences, strand outings, collecting seashells ... Another "holiday from traveling".

Pete and Christel ... going fishing

Rock pools

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

...

As for the completion of our Transafrican adventure we definitely "have to" go to Cape Town and the Cape of Good Hope, after a couple of days, we continue on our way westwards. Also, we want to meet up with a couple of people there, old friends from home and new friends "from the road".

Our first stop on our way is Jeffreys Bay. We like the surfer style atmosphere there, but the place also is quite touristy and most people seem to be there because of the cheap factory outlets from Billabong, Rip Curl et cetera.

 

Landy children!

 

On our second day, we are informed that our booked shipping has been cancelled. After some more research, it seems that the South African government has forbid all RoRo-shipping companies to ship private vehicles from South Africa for June and July, completely! Really strange and disappointing! We had booked our flights home just two days earlier and had planned our last few weeks here in Africa ... and now, everythig is open again. What makes everything even more difficult is the fact that our Carnet de Passages expires on the 5th August, meaning that our Landy has to be shipped back to Europe before that date.

At the time of writing this blog entry, it seems as if the only chance to ship our Land Rover back home to Germany will be a container shipping from Cape Town to either Germany, the Netherlands or Belgium. Safer but also considerably more expensive! Also, with the help of the German ADAC and the South African automobile club AASA, we manage to get an extension for our Carnet de Passages (within one day!). We will share all our experiences, contact details et cetera on a separate blog entry soon.

To sort things out properly, we stay another night in Jeffreys Bay before we continue to Cape Agulhas, the southernmost point of the African continent.

Krüger National Park

Certainly, we had imagined beforehand that the "Krüger National Park" in South Africa would be one of the highlights of our Transafrican adventure ... The reality turned out to be even more spectacular.

With roundabout 20.000 square kilometres (half of Denmark or the Netherlands) the Krüger is one of the largest national parks is all Africa. For about 350 kilometres the national park follows the South African-Mocambique border and is immensely diverse in landscape, ecosystems, plants and animals. In contrast to the "Moremi Game Reserve" in Botswana, here almost all the roads are either tar or good gravel, which might look a bit "unromantic" at first glance, but is great fun to easily drive around for days and see a multitude of animals - even along and next to the roads.

 
 

And: we saw all of the "Big Five" (elephant, rhino, water buffalo, lion, leopard) here ... without booking a game drive but completely on our own using our Land Rover.

 

Our first Leopard! Beautiful and majestic!

 
 

"Our" Leopard's prey hanging in a tree ... that's how we found it. But really spotting the Leopard took us a lot of time - so well camouflaged they are!

 
 

Our first male lion(s)!

 
 
 
 

The Buffalo ... "Nyati" in Kiswahili, the name the kids gave out Land Rover

 
 
 
 

This guy didn't make it!

 
 

A Rhino directly next to our car ... quite scary actually! They are soo big!

 
 

And here are Elephants

 

Aheem!

Elephants don't seem to like Zebras!

 

... not at all!

 
 
 
 

Elephant skull

 

Apart from the "Big Five", we saw a multitude of other beautiful animals. Here is just a selection ...

First the birds:

 

A Saddle Billed Stork

 
 

A Lalic Breasted Roller

 
 

A Ground Hornbill

 

... And some more four-legged animals:

 

Hippos are cool!

 
 

Relaxing on the beach!

 
 

A Spotted Hyaena

 
 

A Bush Bock

 
 

Giraffe - we saw so many since Kenya, but still they are always impressively beautiful again!

 
 

Fighting Springbock

 
 

Warthog

 

Crocs are cool ... it's like looking through a window of time into the time when the dinos roamed this planet!

Accomodation in Krüger is quite good. At Letaba, we stayed together with our Dutch friends Jan and Marit in a wonderful house overlooking the Letaba River. At Skukuza and Berg-en-Dal we booked small rondavels.

 

Our house at Letaba Restcamp

 
 

A house with a view

 

Nighttime ... and a braai of course!

 

Our favorite dessert: braaid "zebra" banana with chocolate - great with Amarula!

 
 
 

Some of the camps have museums which we used for travel-schooling our kids.

 
 

We absoultely enjoyed every minute spent in Krüger!

Illegal in South Africa!

Listening to and reading other people's experiences, we actually feared entering South Africa a bit. From what we heard, people have been rejected because their passports didn't look "proper" anymore, some people did not have international birth certificates for their children (which we have), some had to show a flight ticket back home (which we didn't have) ...

In our case everything went extremely well. ... But before telling the story, you must know that when we arrived at the planned accomodation on the Botswanean side, we discovered that Anouk had quite a high fever (again!) and we were quite worried that it might be Malaria and decided to rather move on to South Africa because of the availability of a better medical service just in case than staying in Botswana.

So, in a way, we were quite stressed because of Anouk's state of health. The border though was the easiest border experience we had in Africa in months. Everybody was relaxed, nobody wanted to see our car and everybody wanted to talk about us having traveled through Africa ... in a Land Rover ... with two children. The passports were stamped, we got our border passes and off we went!

...

When we reached the newly planned accommodation though, Mischa checked the stamps in the passports - something he normally does right at the border, but this time was just too relaxed! ... He did not succeed in finding a South African stamp in Juliane's passport ... simply because there was NONE! JULIANE WAS AN ILLEGAL PERSON! We didn't know that human trafficking was SO EASY!

Again, bearing in mind the many stories of other overlanders who got into severe problems at the South African border, we quite nervously went back the roundabout 45 km to the border post.

But, by now, everybody there had heard of our story of having traveled from our home in Germany to South Africa in a Land Rover ... and ... it was just a matter of two minutes and the passport stamp was in Juliane's passport and we could - now completely legal - move on to find a decent place to stay for the night and take care of Anouk's fever.

...

What a day!

The Okavango Delta, the largest oasis in the world … and the Khama Rhino Sanctuary

 

The Okavango Delta - what a wonderfully beautiful landscape!

 

The Okavango Delta is the largest inland delta in the world, 15.000 square kilometres large. The strange thing about Okavango is that the Okavango River does not end in the sea, but seeps away in the sand of the Kalahari thus forming the largest oasis in the world.

 

A young giraffe

 

The Okavango Delta apparently is one of the last great nature paradises in Africa with hippos, crocodiles, aquatic antelopes, elephants, giraffe, zebras, lions, leopards, a multitude of birds and many many more interesting animals and plants set in a beautiful landscape. What an impressive ecosystem!

 

Wooden bridge ... adventurous driving with sand tracks, water crossings and the such!

 

Even the way to the Moremi Game Reserve where we are going to stay for the next couple of days is a bit of an adventure, as the gravel roads outside the park are full of potholes and before reaching the reserve, the roads are full of elephant-sh**, and gazelle and other animals are a common sight.

After entering the game reserve, the roads become more farm roads from a European point of view than "proper roads". But this makes traveling here even more adventurous and "real"! We are so impressed and enjoy traveling here so very much that indeed we forget to take photos. Anouk doesn't like driving here and gets "seasick" as the Land Rover is rolling like a ship while Sóley enjoys it so much that she starts singing her favourite pirates' songs. We drive through a nearly untouched nature ... more or less alone ... and behind every corner, you simply don't know what to expect, an agressive elephant, grazing gazelle or a roaring lion. Wonderful!

We stay there for three nights at "Xakanaxa" campsite. As the campsites are not fenced, as soon as it is dark, the animals take over that territory as well and elephants or hippos might wander through your camp as well as lions or leopards might. That's why you should not leave the car or tent at night and all night long the sounds of the animals are around you: a munching elephant, a howling hyena, roaring lions in the distance and a multitude of more or less silent footsteps. Especially with young children this can become quite stressful, as they should not be allowed to play alone and only near the car at all times. As soon as the sun sets, they have to be in the tent or car as they perfectly well fit into the predator-prey system of the big cats and hyena.

Still, during daytime we relax in the camp and enjoy the great view into the delta and visiting gazelle. We also really enjoy the game drives in our Land Rover and especially so the evenings around the campfire in the middle of the wilderness.

 

New friends: Marit and Jan from the Netherlands

 

An important highlight for all of us is the boat trip we do on the delta together with our new friends Jan and Marit whom we ment at "Audi Camp" in Maun" and planned our stay in Moremi with.

 
 

The African Jacana ...

... or "Jesus Bird" because it's "walking on water"

 

A Cormorant

 
 

A majestic Fish Eagle

 
 

Hippos, Hippos, Hippos! ... hiding Hippos

 
 

Aquatic gazelle

 
 

Wonderful landscape!

 
 

Beautiful water lilly ...

 

African wilderness, a boat trip, game drives, a campfire and great company ... what more does one need!?

 

The stars here simply are impressive! We stand in absolute awe!

 
 

The morning sun on a hippo-made waterway

 

Only the baboons are really a pain in the ***, as they don't fear humans or fire anymore. We are lucky to be able to chase them away and prepare the camp in a way so that the baboons couldn't steal anything from us. South African neighbors were not so lucky and their camp was raided completely. Apparently, baboons can even open tents using the zipper! And they do like South African red wine, too!

...

After Moremi we continue on our way down south and stop to spend some time at the "Khama Rhino Sanctuary" near Serowe.

The reception we recieve is not so very promising: a bored and uncommunicative lady behind the counter is rather unfriendly and we can't really understand why we have to pay an entry fee for the park for the day we arrive even though we cannot drive into the park AND have to leave the next morning BEFORE TEN! No 24h rule applies here which would have been more than fine for us. The manager understands the problems we have with this policy and we pay for 24hours ... Apart from the lady at the reception everybody here is exceptionally friendly and interested.

 

Our camp in the evening ... just great!

 

The campsite under a big tree is beautiful and on the next day we see a multitude of animals.

 

Water hole ...

 

A large Kudu ...

... not really sure if he likes us!

 

Warthog waterhole

 
 
 
 
 
 

I guess I know what these guys think of us!

 

So many animals at the waterhole: vultures, Hartebeest, Zebra, ...

... more vultures ...

... Zebra and vultures ...

... Eland ...

 

... and more Hartebeest.

 
 

Some Rhinos in the distance ...

 
 
 
 
 

The "Khama Rhino Sanctuary" definitely is worth visiting!