Botswana, we head into South Africa.
crossing is real smooth and free, and we plan to drive most of the
way, straight to Lesotho, where we can enjoy additional three days
of adventures. The first 125 kilometres is a pretty good
gravel road, leading in-between fenced cattle fields and some
game-farms. It is getting more and more fertile, and the altitude
goes from Botswana's 1000 metres to 1500 metres. After 200 kilometres, we reach the rather large city of
Kuruman, and I would like to buy some internet time to
my South African cell-phone, making it possible to check Gry's
flight and emails.
We park in the middle of the town, and after quite some asking
around, we find a shop, selling internet bundles.
When we return to the car, a guy try to pull Gry's backpack of her back. She grab it back, and shouts at him. I
don't see anything, because another guy is first blocking my door,
then ripping out the smartphone-GPS from the car. I do not
appreciate that, and chase him down, through him to the ground, and
retrieve my phone. Then I see Gry running up the street, and try to
get in contact with her. I get her to stop, figuring chasing a gang
of criminals is a bit to hazard around here. Then I see a police
officer grapping the guy I left on the ground, and carrying him off.
Now I learn, the other guy stolen Gry's back from within the car.
Two cameras, all her photos, her passport, credit card and cell phone are among
the loot. The policeman is gone, and despite it is a rather busy
street, people are kind of gone too. A few Indian shopkeepers approach
us, and advise us to go to the police-station, 100 meters up the
street. On the way up there, I stupidly tell Gry, the "officer"
might be one of the gang, rescuing his mate.
The police station is real busy, but we get to talk with a engaged
officer. He can't find anyone, arresting anyone, and it doesn't look
good. We walk back, and ask the cell-phone repairman, standing on
the corner. He says, is was a member of the K9-group, and we head
back to the police station.
They still can't find him, and one of the bosses drives with us to
the scene of the crime. Suddenly, no one saw anything. Then one guy step up, and
give some real good information. As fare as we get it (not knowing
their languish), they actually
know the criminal. Back at the police station, they only fill out a
report, if Gry intend to meet at court within half a year or so.
Finally, we get them to write it down in the day-report and a
OB-report, and give
Gry a paper for her insurance company. The police might go and pay one of the
criminals a visit, and we should stay around and see, if they retrieve
any of Gry's belongings.
We find a nice lodge with a rondawel a bit out of town, and they
even have a restaurant. A really shitty start for Gry's third South
Africa experience! On top of that, we just realised; they got my
passport as well: it was in Gry's bag. The manager of the lodge is
really helpful, but we fail to get anywhere this evening.
3/2 We head into the police station, and
get the chief of the K9-section to try to locate Gry's belongings
and the passports. We sit and wait for him until noon, but he
returns empty-handed. Then we have to head for Pretoria and the
Danish embassy, 600 kilometres away. Gry need her passport Saturday,
and time is limited.
It is a real good road, cutting through endless cattle fields at
first, then sunflowers, corn and more cows. We pass a single lake
with around 2-300 flamingos, and see a few Springboks and ostriches.
We can't reach the embassy before it closes, and decide we rather
sleep in the countryside, rather than Pretoria/Johannesburg.
We make a detour around (not through) Johannesburg, and
stop right outside Rustenburg, in what seems like game- and tourist
After a bit fumbling around, we get a nice house for 610 ZAR. The
thunder have been in the distance all day, and we been hit by a few
wind tears. Now, we are right under the thunder, and I don't miss
the tent. We get emails from the embassy, and we do have to pay them
a visit - and 4000 ZAR, before noon tomorrow. It is only 120
kilometres away, real close in South Africa terms.
We spend the evening making copies of my pictures to Gry. It is fare
from what she had with her two cameras, but better than none, I
4/2 Despite we leave rather early, the 120
kilometres to the embassy in the middle of
Pretoria take almost
three hours. We almost find it, but the road is cut in two, and we
are at the wrong end. We walk there, and are advised to bring our
car to their guarded parking lot.
We fill out a single paper each, and I hand in a new passport photo.
Then we walk to the nearby mall, and get new photos of Gry. Back at
the embassy, they have made the call for the Danish police, and at
noon, we have two brand new emergency passports.
We celebrate with lunch
at the mall, and a bit of shopping, before we get the car, and head
towards Bloemfontein. To avoid Soweto and Johannesburg in general,
we do the Rustenburg detour again. Then south towards Kroonstad.
Pretty soon, we drive through the farmers' huge fields and pass some
rather large lakes and posh villages.
One time, we go through a tunnel, just to turn in on a dam. The breath look
down the backside of the dam
reveals some great looking nature. In a remote gas
station, we feed our trusty truck with 75 litres of diesel.
The GPS apparently know a shortcut, and we turn into a gravel road.
It have just rained, and the surface is steaming. Back on sealed
road, we pass a huge grass field with Blessboks, Springboks, Élans,
Zebras, Kudus, Oryxs, Wildebeests - and three horses and a goat.
Around five, we pass a cosy little town with quite some tourist
offerings, and decide to call it a day. A nice, Japanese-styled
house, surrounded by a perfect keep succulent garden, and a fantastic vegetarian dinner at a real nice restaurant in
the same lot. They are fully booked and down staffed, but we have
the entire evening, an just enjoy the surroundings and the setting
5/2 Gry get to organise her (remaining)
belongings, while I try to catch up with the rest of the world.
The manager advises us to have a stroll along the river, and we do.
It is a real nice garden along a beautiful river. Then
we head for Bloemfontein, 300 kilometres to the south. The first 20
kilometres is gravel, then it is one straight toll-road. It it
through the usual endless fields on huge, low hills. A few farmers
have Springboks, Blessboks and giraffes, the rest different type of cows.
We reach Bloemfontein in the early afternoon, and find the ZOO. It
turns out, they don't have the special big-horned cattle we were looking for,
and we are not really here to see the giraffes and elephants in
We check the location of the airport, and find a real nice
lodge nearby. Then we give our trusty truck a much needed
overhaul, which is mandatory, when I return it. It kind of look
strange in white, but it is amassing how well it have taken the
beating thought six countries, rivers, lakes, mountains and deserts.
So fare, I have driven 12.000 kilometres, Gry have joined the 9.000.
We relax a bit before dinner, which we get at the lodge's nice
restaurant. The young cook is a bit challenged. He have only had one
vegetarian costumer before, about a year ago, but he manages to find
some frozen "fake" stakes and serve them with mashed potatoes and a
Gry have had it, and I get to work at the computer the rest of the
6/2 A real slow start on the day: Gry
still sleeps, and I spend time at the computer. We only have to be
at the airport, seven kilometres away at two, and have little to do
meanwhile. We check out at eleven as asked to, and make a stroll in
the large wedding garden, across the suspension bridge. It is huge,
and have several lakes.
Back at the lodge, we sit in the lounge and drink tea and Fanta,
chatting. At one, we head for the airport, but check-in is first at
two. It is a nice but real tiny "international airport" - with only
domestic flights. I keep Gry company until boarding time, and then
head out, into Africa again.
I have two days to reach Johannesburg, and I don't intend to be
there too early. I know the short route: Only cattle fields in a
flat landscape - a bit like the dull, part of Jutland a dry summer.
I rather make a bit "U on the side", passing over Lesotho, just
nicking Swaziland and entering Johannesburg from the east.
I start with some good, but narrow gravelroads. When I think my
internal organs need a rest, I find a toll-road towards Kroonstad.
Then I turn of towards Bethlehem. I'm not really familiar with this part of
South Africa, and it seems like I haven't missed much. Cattle-land
around 1500 meters height, that is all. Then, after 200 kilometres,
Lesotho is seen as blue mountains to the south, and single table
mountains is getting closer.
I reach Bethlehem last time, where I shopped on the way to Lesotho - so long
ago. I just realized: The car have been real quiet to sit in, for the
kilometres. I got so familiar with having a co-driver.
find a B&B in the quiet neighbourhood, and talk with the owner for
an hour. Then I realises; I have to get something to eat, before it
turns completely dark.
Back to centre of town, and try to find some vegetarian food. They don't
but fix something. Salad, fries and mushrooms. Back in the
dark to my little play-house in the back of the garden. It have an
attached bathroom and tea kitchen; all I need. I sit and work all
evening anyway. At least, I don't feel bad about is tonight, as I'm
alone by now.
7/2 Despite the day's stint is only
kilometres, I get an early start. First I gas the car, then I head
towards Phuthaditjhaba, and stop for a self-made breakfast at a
great viewing site. The landscape have turned hilly or even
mountainous, and the plants are interesting in 1700 metres height. I
do several detours out on gravelroads, and botanizes along them. At
one stop, I keep finding new species, and I leave without being
finish. Some of the fields are fenced with barbwire, sitting on
ancient stone poles.
Here are not much of the bigger wildlife, but a few white storks,
two Secretary Birds, flying across the road and a lot of small
birds. In some areas, the small falcons sit on every telegraph-pole.
After the 1690 meter Van Reenes Pass, the landscape drops drastically, and
as the roads twists it way through, the views are fantastic. Then, I am
in KwaZulu-Natal at 1100 metres height, and it is just back to
dull cattle fields. Only a few rocky hills offers some large Aloes.
I do a short stop outside Bergville, but here are not that many
I stop in Ladysmith to get some cash, and do a stroll in the rather
cosy, old town. The entire area is scatted with old battle sights -
not my thing at all. I rather walk through the small forest I meet -
and can't get into due to the rusty barbwire.
A breath stop in
Dundee for lunch, then Newcastle is the next target. Besides from
the nuclear plant, it seems so much nicer than the Scottish one, and
I take a stroll. It is Sunday, but a posh
is open, and I do need some maintenance. For 80 Rand, I get both
hair and beard shortened - kind of the way I wanted it. At least,
the young fellow is way easier to communicate with, than my usual
home. On the other side of town, I pass Laingsnek Pass at 1680
metres, but soon after, it is just cattle-fields again. Here, there
are a few tiny villages with huts and rondawels. A single lake
houses 60 flamingos, way out on a field.
I reach my target; Heidelberg at six, but having a real hard time
finding the centre of town. The GPS favourites an industrial area
with numerous car dealers. The true centre turns out to be four
kilometres away. I find it after having seen the Muslim part,
another industrial area and partly given up after half a hour.
First I find a Chinese Yummy Kitchen, and figure I can't be picky by
now. I get a surprisingly tasty and large Veg Chop Soui for 38 Rand,
and directions for the lodge-area.
Some are closed, some real expensive, and I have to settle for one -
in the dusk - at 500 Rand. But it is truly cosy with a small kitchen
and good internet. I upload some of the
and the flowers from
there. Then I get the last Zimbabwe
photo up, and finish with the entire
Botswana album - during the
night, and the Mac-part of the computer get updated too.
8/2 I'm up early, but not really in a
hurry. My 25 litre backpack is a bit stuffed, and I might have to
bring the heavy boots and food in a second bag. The car is kind of
clean - well, at least compared to before we washed it. It even look
I try to relax and enjoy the great room I got, but at eight, I'm too
restless, and head for the KEW office in Johannesburg. It does
involve a lot of big, packed, multi lane roads, leading around the
capital, and despite the GPS, I make two bad turns. Newer the less,
I reach the office just after nine, and give the
truck a last sip of diesel next door. It have now used 1212 litres
on the 12.798 kilometres we have driven together in six countries. Not bad
for a big truck in such challenging terrain. The old fart at the gas
station ask for spare food, and he get the lot, including
toiletpaper. His best tip of the day, for sure!
Every thing is all right with the truck, except the dent I made in
the right door. I did not draw-up a 19.900 Rand insurance, and I have
to pay the 6726 Rand along with the 500 Rand return-fee. They are so
much going to feed me tea, until I have to go to the airport! I
dress up in boots, and the rest can be fitted into the bag.
even the fleece jacked and the spare food and tea.
I spend the waiting time updating the accountancies with the bad
news, look at the first photos and listening to others, heading out
on adventures. I'm ready for one more, right now!
Then I speak with a Scottish couple, doing tours like mine, until we
are driven to the airport. My skinny paper-passport does not cause
any problems, but I have to go back to arrival-area to try to
exchange my Mozambique Monopolies money. Here, the passport is a
problem, but not more than a big smile and a good story can fix. It
is not a good rate: 75%, but better than nothing.
It is a bumpy ride, but I manages to sleep most of the way to Port
Elizabeth. Here, the entire family is waiting for me - except from
the dog. Bo's car is still not finish at the workshop, and he have
rented a huge Jeep. I'm signed on as a second driver, and do the 200
kilometres back to the Farm in the dark. It seems like the dog have
missed me. I sort out my stuff and
diary while the others cook. Despite the lack of a heads-up, Bo
actually create a delightful vegetarian dish for me. He and I sit
and talk to two in the morning, than I have to recharge a bit.
9/2 Despite the late night, I'm ready at
eight - leaving the house to me alone, for quite some time. It is
still a fantastic view over the property from the porch, and I enjoy
my breakfast here. Bo turns up,
and we plan the day. A tour to town
to shop groceries - a way different experience, that to do it with
Gry. Then the builders marked to get few spare parts for the
house, and a stop at a second-hand shop to look for furniture. In
stead, we find some needed plates, a fork and a knife. Lunch at the
mall, where the sushi bar actually have veggie chop mei. Then Bo get
his African telephone reclaimed.
While we left the Farm, I elegantly removed most of the front of the
huge Jeep on a stub, hidden in the tall grass. When we return, I
clip the front on, and add a single screw, and it look like new. It is
ridiculous thin plastic, felt and paper-like material, without a
single piece of metal. Nothing like the 30 kilos of iron the truck
had! American flimsy look-alike.
Then I show Bulelani how to replace the windows he broke, and add a
hook to the door, preventing the mistake another time. Then the
toilet door get a lock, a missing light-switch is installed, a table
get glued together and last but not least: The bloody stub that
wrecked the car, meet me
and the huge axe - and it looses big! A large, invasive
locus from Asia passes through the garden, and I show it the door.
Bo is cooking, among others; a real tasty couscous salad. The
evening is spend talking about the use of the land and project in
10/2 I get a head-start on the day, eating
breakfast on the porch and spoiling the dog. The fan on the
house-computer is running all the time, and I clean the inner fan -
without any effect. Then we talk about the possibilities for making
a volunteer project in connection with the farm.
What does it take,
what can the farm offer, what should the tasks involve, what form of
business form and how can it be financed. Then I wait for the rest, and
we drive to town to
shop for second-hand furniture, parts for the house, food and have a meeting at an office.
On the way back, we must have hit a piece of metal: One back-tire is
getting flat quite fast. I change it, put a chain on the other
terrace door, make panels on the side of the terrace door, but need
a drill to fit them. Same goes for the towel-hooks for the bathrooms
and changing the lock on the frontdoor.
The biggest challenge of the day is to brake into the guesthouse.
Someone have lost the key for the brand new door, and the lock
refuses to be picked. I manages to open the bathroom window,
and climb through a 40x25 centimetre hole. Just opening that window
is a challenge: It have been fitted by what appears to be a blind
man, and I have to remove quite some concrete, just to open it.
Inside, I can open a window for Bulelani, who gives a hand. Finally,
we get the hinges on the door opened, and then we can open the
door. Inside, it can be a real nice guesthouse. Everything just need
to be finished.
11/2 The main task of the day was to go to
Port Elizabeth and exchange the Jeep for Bo's Volvo, but it is still
not finish. Plan B is to continue fixing small things around the
house, when I got some drills. We drive to town after lunch, and
find a lot of small spare parts for the house and some tools. We
even find a new, small working table for the house, and squeeze it
into the Jeep.
At the first stop, a young man tells us; one wheel is hissing, and
it turns out, our spare tire is having a puncture too. We find a
fixer real close, and get both tires fixed for 80 Rand. Next to the
shop, a honest sign announces "Cheap Wine and Lousy Food"! We don't
Back at the house, I set up hooks for towels, shelf for shampoo,
rack for dishwashing tools, panels along the floor and a few other
Then I get a email from the last true botanist at Copenhagen
History Museum, which I work with. A International famous
orchid specialist. Due to cut-backs, he, the leader
of the garden, another lab-botanist and four gardeners out of 17 are sacked. At
the same time, they are building a new museum of natural history for
a billion Danish Kroner - without any botanists??? Denmark is a no
longer a civilised country.
To get that one to settle, I take the dog for a walk. At the
churchyard, we find two huge tortoises. One male of 35 centimetres,
the female 48 centimetres. Real great to see we have wild animals
like that on the farm.
While I update the diary, the others listen to the TV. At first, I
thought it was a comedy, but it is from their parliament. I make the
mistake to check the weather forecast from Denmark: -7 at night, up
to 3 at daytime, rain and snow. What exactly is I'm heading back
to??? And why???
12/2 Not much action in the morning, but
after noon, we head into Bathurst town to find a drilling machine, some
groceries and a serious haircut for me. We make it back to the farm
without a single puncture today; a nice change. I finally get the lock on the
main-door installed, but then, here is not much more I can do by now.
At dinner, Bo have overdone him self with a collection of Indian
dishes, accompanied by a fantastic Nobel Late Harvest vine. A
strange but perfect match.
A thunderstorm passes bye during the late evening, and the lightning
13/2 The morning is spend fixing a few
at the house and talking about the project. Then we head into
Port Alfred to do some shopping and look for other parts for the
project. Another thunderstorm passes bye, and the temperature drops
I do a bit of working on the computer, while I wait for it to stop.
I get restless, and that is a bad thing. A tour around the premises
only reveal a bit of forgotten barbwire, but that don't entertain me
for long. Then I finish up the slideshows from
South Africa. Some new and some more photos in existing folders.
Now, I just need some internet time to upload.
This evening, Bo is taking us all to Greece with a great salad and
an even better moussaka - both with and without meat.
14/2 Considering I have been in exile for
almost three months, the Danish weather forecast is depressing; just
as cold and miserable as when I left. I have to enjoy this last day,
sucking up all the sun I can get. Meanwhile, I watch a Bushbok (or
something looking a bit that way) in the clearing.
A walk around the premises reveal a new Bromeliad, a natural
bird-bath and yet another pile of trash in the else unspoiled part.
Before noon, we head for the local craft and vegetable marked in
Bathurst. It is tiny but cosy, and it is fun to see some of the
farmers from the area. Next to it is a small back-yard nursery with
some large Encephalartos and a surprisingly wide variety of plants.
Then we head to the big mall and shop for the evening.
Back at the farm, I suck up some more sun and start packing my
limited stuff. Considering how flat the 25 litre back-pack is, I
must have forgotten something, somewhere. Even with the heavy fleece
jacket in, I can fit more. A long walk with the dog to some new
areas of the farm. I try to find the big lake from another side, but
end up on a hill and in a large pine forest. A bit spooky, I find a
bag and two pieces of glass on the back-lawn. They have only been
here a day or less, to judge from the grass underneath. None of us
put it there.
Bo is real mean, cooking the dinner: He fries bacon! Then he ask me
to fire up the braai. At least, he also make a large and delightful
pasta salad, and serve ice with fruits for desert.
15/2 I spend most of the morning enjoying
the sun and warmth, but at noon, it is time to say goodbye. Well, to
the sun, temperature, the dog and Xolea. I set the GPS for the Volvo
workshop in Port Elizabeth, and it leads us inland. We use to drive
on the costal road, and it is not that interesting anymore, anyway.
This road which passes Grahamstown, on the other hand, it a real
thrill. It leads through a pass, rocky hills with flowering Aloes
and hardly any settlements at all. It continues to be this great
natural display the first 120 kilometres pass Grahamstown, on the
smooth motorway. Then it flattens out a bit, and the usual dull
grassland takes over.
At the workshop, which Bo have called almost every day, they admit;
they did get the brand new V90 engine in December. But they lacked
the papers... Now, they have taken the old one out, and they are
just started to clean it for all the bits, which will go on the new
one. They think they can finish Friday - more renting of the
I drive to the airport - with a bit of the same feeling as driving
my self to the scaffold. I manages to get the seat additional ten
centimetres back, and Bo can kind of squeeze in behind the wheel. He
extend the rent of the car, and we say goodbye.
I do the check-in my self, and have three hours to kill, before the
short flight to Johannesburg. That is a long time in a small
airport! I hack the VIP-lounge's internet, and upload the last
slideshows. Then I make my own monthly pay, including the refunding
of the African expenses - good month for me privately, not for my
I sleep most of the way to Johannesburg. Here, the emergency
passport causes me a bit delay. Then I change my last 2700 Rands
into US$ - only because they do not have Danish Kroner. Some of the
rand originates from the Mozambique Monopoly money, and when I
finally get them into something useful - they have vanished.
16/2 Nice night fly to London. I catch up
on new movies like 007 and Minions, and don't get much sleep. They
actually have vegetarian courses for each serving at Virgin. Then I
have three hours to spend in London before the last stint to
Copenhagen - and the train back to Roskilde. Just in London, it is a
cold and miserable experience, and Denmark unbearable. 2C but at
least a bit of sun and little wind.
South Africa have been a great experience,
despise the mugging. Every one else have been so sweet, the nature
is so nice, and the project I visited so interesting. I have driven
around 5000 kilometres and taken 1850 photos - and I will be back!
It have not exactly been a cheep tour, but considered all the
fantastic experiences - it actually have. The entire tour counted
15.000 kilometres and more than 10.000 photos - and a lot of
experiences. Not least the special El Nino year, causing draught in
SOUTH AFRICA EXPENSES
TOTAL SOUTHERN AFRICA:
1/6 of flight
8 day 4x4