Plans Go Pear Shaped

Trip Start May 20, 2010
Trip End Sep 05, 2011

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Where I stayed
Mbizi Backpackers

Flag of South Africa  , Gauteng,
Thursday, July 28, 2011


Day : 428
Temperature : 15 degrees
Weather : Sunny but freezing!!!

After the success of our Whaleshark experience we were all feeling positive and decided to leave early morning to try to make it over the border back to South Africa in one day. Luckily I managed to avoid a trip to the local Mozambican hospital when I fortunately spotted the scorpion that was lurking in my underpants just as I was slipping them on in the morning! Very close call!  Apparently scorpions are fairly rare in Mozambique, but wouldn't you know it, the one which had been hiding in my clothes happened to be one of the most dangerous types in this region....lucky, lucky, lucky! It would have been great to get a photo of it, but unfortunately my head wasn't in the right place for photos when I was chucking my knickers across the floor in horror!!

And so having escaped unscathed we packed all of our stuff into the car once again and headed south. Now, driving in Mozambique can be pretty tricky as we have discovered. Not only are there goats, chickens and the odd child which spontaneously runs onto the road without warning, but at night time there seems to be dozens and dozens of people walking around at the road edge, or worse on the road itself. Combine the fact that they are dark skinned, wear dark clothing and have no reflective gear on, it's amazing that more people aren't killed here. It's treacherous!  Additionally, as a tourist you also have to avoid the police who are ever so eager to pull over a foreign car in the hope of an on-the-spot fine because they don't like the look of your lights, your car or your face!

We'd been pulled over three times already, but fortunately everything was in order and the policemen, dissapointed, had to let us go. However, by now Kevin's international drivers license (which all foreigners need to have for driving in Mozambique) had expired two days previously. Realising that this could potentially cause problems should we be pulled over yet again, we devised a plan to hand over Kevin's Blockbuster Video Card and plead ignorance, claiming that we didn't speak English.  We were quite excited with this plan and so you can imagine our dissappointment when we managed to reach the South African border without being pulled over once more, meaning that we couldn't test our theory that the police wouldn't know the difference between a Blockbuster Video Card and an International Driving License. Shame.

After stopping overnight in Komatipoort in South Africa we rose at daybreak the following day and headed back into Kruger park. Within minutes we saw a lion eating a kill under a bush directly at the side of the road. Within minutes a hyena skulked into the picture, obviously hoping to scavenge some food, and sat about 50 yards from the lion, the two animals staring each other out, neither being first to look away. We moved on further into the park, and just as we spotted some elephants on the road our little Canon point and shoot decided to pack in as well!! Can you believe it? Two cameras die on us in one week. So now we are in Kruger without anything but our video camera...unbelievable! Fortunately, Lynsey has kindly donated her photos for us to use on this blog so you can see some of the animals that we spotted.

Anyway, we had a very successful day in the park, spotting 4 out of the big 5. Sadly the leopard was the only one that we didn't see. At 5.30pm, after a full day on the road we left Kruger and drove down towards Nelspruit, stopping in a lodge for the night in White River. The folllowing morning we had another early start and drove the 4 and a half hours to Johannesburg. We stopped by the Nikon Centre to get our D700 looked at in the hope that it could be quickly repaired. But nope, when the centre phoned us back we were informed that both the camera and the lens were unrepairable and should be written off!!

Kevin and I were in shock as you can imagine. Our 10 month old camera had died on us. Apparently our pride and joy looked like it had gone for a swim in the sea, and had corroded away inside, probably over the course of several months if not a year....very, very strange....possibly due to faulty seals?! Who knows. It's a mystery, but apparently not unusual so we are told, for cameras bought in Asia to have similar "problems". Thankfully, it's insured, so panic not folks.

So we headed to our guest house having to work out what we were going to do about being camera-less when I realised that I had left my little rucksack at the hotel in White River that morning!!! They say things come in 3's....our two cameras and now this?! Fortunately, the hotel have found my bag and are keeping it for me, although they cannot guarantee that all the items I had in it are still there. I am now in the process of arranging a courier to collect it and deliver it to Cape Town in the next couple of days...fingers crossed.

The following day we made the decision to get a replacement camera, for which we can claim on the insurance when we return home. And so we ventured into Johannesburg once more, and returned with our wallets a little lighter and our rucksacks a little heavier, with a brand new camera and lens for Namibia and Botswana.

Today we swapped our little Opel Corsa for a mighty big pick up truck with a hard top which we have now called "Bucket". We are currently in the process of deciding which route to take down to Cape Town having discoverd that the main motorway to Durban is closed, the Drakensberg Park and Lesotho are under 1 metre of snow!

Ah how plans can be overturned in a second..........

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