Flat tyre!


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.

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