Three of us met at my house in Centurion – Petra came from Mbombela by shuttle bus and Sarie from George by aeroplane. We picked up Anna along the way at her house in Mokopane. We were travelling in my 2006 Subaru Forester, loaded with four suitcases, good hiking shoes, a first aid kit and a crate full of food. (A bottle of Anna’s sherry was stashed in between the bread, biltong, maize flour and rusks.) On the other side of Polokwane, as the wheels sang on the tar, we knew there was no turning back. And by the time the wheels were kicking up dust on the dirt road beyond Alldays, nothing could stop us!
Platjan is a small, quiet border post – one of us had to go and find the customs officer to handle the formalities. These were completed quickly and we were the chuffed owners of freshly stamped passports.
We crossed the Limpopo River via a concrete causeway. They do say this is where Africa really starts: north of the Limpopo! As if on cue, we saw a crocodile lying on a sand bank with gaping jaws, sharp teeth showing.
At customs on the Botswana side, we must have aroused suspicion because the Subaru was thoroughly searched. They even picked through Petra’s bag of medication. Nevertheless, everyone was friendly and we were waved on our way.
The dirt road was in good condition. We drove slowly to look at the scenery. It was remarkably peaceful. The Tuli Block is basically one big game reserve, without many fences and gates. We soon started to see kudu, impala, giraffe and elephants next to the road.