Well it was a big couple of days. The route the stupid, thick, dim woman at Chilo gave us turns out to be impossible to do. We were doing about 12- 20 km/hour on horrendous roads threading us across the river numerous times when we met another vehicle. (one of the approx. 5 we met over four days) They were local farmers and told us there was no way we would ever make it through the lower park that day or even the next, despite having done 9 hours driving. Their advice was to exit Gorenzhou and enter again further south – using the main road (dust and very corrugated) out of the park and then duck back in.
We duly did that and just squeaked into our camp site. In truth, it was one campsite too many. We were both over the whole palaver of setting up and crappy ablutions etc. To add to that the linen in the tent is now pretty grubby, there was a dead animal quite close, the hyenas were missing in action, willy thought he could hear a swarm of bees( it was the flies on the carcass) once again no fence so needed to be in bed sharpish. One good thing is the only other camper was intending to head the same way as us in the morning. It is recommended that you have two cars on this route. We agreed to set off early the next morning together
A camp too far.
The idea is to use Sanga border post into Mozambique and then Pafuri into the Kruger. Seems simple and means we don’t need to do the Beit Bridge battle.
After a couple of wrong turns and eventually taking a no entry road to get out of Gorenzhou we got to the border. Zimbabwean side easy. Mozambique side involves
· a tree with two officials. Hand over passports, car papers, all documentation. Everything faithfully written down. Car searched (all of this X 2 as we were travelling with the other couple)
· Move to building on right. Same papers faithfully recorded and two extra forms to be filled in and a 50 USD visa to be bought for each of us. (No receipt received).
· Move to the left hand building and go through the same procedure.
· Move to the boom within direct eye line of the other places and have the car searched again.
· Move on after the customary pleadings for drinks for them.
Into Mozambique. Fortunately, our travelling companion had some idea of where we were to go as we then set off through their back gardens, passed their church services, around their donkeys and then into deep and empty bush with the faintest of tracks. Willy and I would never have attempted it on our own. Note the warning on Tracks for Africa. ( land mine hazard)!
Numerous hours of sand later we arrived at the Limpopo river. It is very low being the dry season and an easy crossing compared to ones we have been doing.
However still needed to do the whole tyre malarkey.
As we exited the riverbed at approx. 10km/hr two policemen stepped into the road and asked us in Portuguese where our seatbelts are (no doubt with the intent of extracting money). A negotiation later we were at the Moz /SA border post. Repeat the whole procedure and into the Kruger.
Nice night at Mopani camp spoiled a bit by the honey badger opening our fridge and trashing it and a bat in our bedroom that coudn’t find its way out. Necessitated us moving into the bunk beds in the chalet that reeked of urine.
On the up side – magnificent sightings in Northern Kruger- all off the main road as we were essentially using it as a short cut. A super herd of 1000 buffalo, hyena, two lion, numerous Ellies drinking out of reservoirs (they still seem to be operational in the north).
I am SO ready for some concrete, carpeting, windows, a bath.
With distress, I note that a German tourist has been killed at Mana. First reports would suggest that it was on the very campsite Willy and I occupied – by deduction one of the Elephant we encountered daily. I am heartbroken to think that one oG these Elephant may now be destroyed. She was apparently trying to get a better picture and he trampled her to death.
Countless times these elephants came down for drink, Willy and I would look at them, step back a few steps, go behind the car, in some way acknowledge that they had right of way. We witnessed unbelievably stupid behaviour by European tourists in the main.
There was a lion kill in the region, early in the morning. The kill was 200m off the road. As we drove past at about 7.00am ie the kill was very fresh, there were people who had parked their cars and walked toward the kill – a distance of some 200m.
We watched four Germans walk into the bush near us after dark, to look for a lion in the area ?!?!
Three young boys fishing in the area that Willy and I had been marvelling at the sheer enormity of the crocodiles.
The list goes on.
Zimbabwe has no rules (or perhaps no enforced rules) therefore it is really a case of visitor USE YOUR BRAIN.
Sad end to the wonderful trip