The Erasmus family is on the road again and they’re already enjoying their latest adventure.
We woke up early last Thursday morning (the 8th of August) ready to hit the road for our long-anticipated trip. Seeing my clothes on the hanger reminded me of a conversation I once heard on 94.7 Highveld Stereo between Samantha Cowen and Darren Simpson. It was about the foreign tourists in safari outfits with those ‘magical zip pants’ that turn long pants into shorts in a flash. I smiled to myself because, by the time we were dressed and ready to hit the road, we actually looked like tourists on safari, rather than ‘caravaners’. Usually when we start buzzing so early in the morning my daughter comes slumping down the stairs with a hairstyle reminiscent of Bonnie Tyler in the 80s. However, ‘Bonnie’ did not make her big appearance that morning – instead, Safari Kyla came down looking for coffee and rusks!
After long hours and days and weeks of preparation for the trip, we finally hooked up the caravan on the Thursday morning with hand gestures that only a husband and wife would appreciate and understand. As we set out we said goodbye to the lights of Pretoria in the rear-view mirror and greeted the African sunrise in the East. After a quick breakfast at the Wimpy and a ‘tank-op-toppie’ for the V8 at Mokopane, we were ready for the long weekend chaos of the border post at Groblersbrug. We were happily surprised when our passports were stamped and we were waved through within 10 minutes – but that was on the South African side. Alas, the Botswana side lived up to the expectations of an African border post, with only one cashier open for registration … on the day before a long weekend!
While in the queue I started chatting with two Congolese truck drivers. They made our 90-minute wait fly past with their stories, political opinions and experiences of (and hopes for) their country. For the first time I can truly say that I now have a grasp on the situation in the Congo. Then and there I vouched that on this vacation we would make a special effort to interact with the people that crossed our path: from the wood sellers to the lady behind the counter and the ‘ou’ walking across the street. I really want us to get the experience of being a part of the continent we call home.
I laughed my butt off when we stopped at the Caltex station in Kwa Nokeng to quench the V8’s thirst. Maria, the petrol attendant, was amazed: ‘Jô, Sir! This is da big chief’s car. Sorry, nor you sir, da thing you are driving. His (the car) just sitting by the fire eating ‘mieliepap’ and getting fat!’
If only petrol was the price of ‘mieliepap’, then the almost 20 L/100km would not have been too heavy on my pocket. We spent the rest of the afternoon at the Kwa Nokeng Lodge. The Lodge is very neat and tidy and travellers to and from Botswana will be well looked after by the staff.
We lounged around reading our books, after which I played cricket with Dirko and then we went about exploring what the Lodge has to offer.
A bilateral agreement between the veterinary authorities in Botswana and South Africa has made it possible that travellers no longer require an import permit for the importation/exportation of the following quantities of animal products per vehicle: 25 kg meat, 5 litres milk, 1 kg butter, 3 kg poultry and 1 kg of eggs.
Movement of meat within Botswana: An inter-zonally (within Botswana) moval permit is not required to move meat from the south of Botswana to the north.
Please note that when travelling from the vaccination zone (the Red zone) of the north, fresh meat will be allowed entry into the free zone (the Green zone) of the south, but biltong is subject to a permit. Vacuum packing and freezing does not change the status of fresh meat. This arrangement is likely to vary along with any changes in disease status of each country … so always make sure and check before you leave.
Distance: From Irene in Pretoria to Kwa Nokeng in Botswana = 411km
Average petrol consumption: 19.80 L/100 km
Fees: Kwa Nokeng 3 x adult, 1 x child = R370.50
Road Tax Return Botswana: R410.00