Header image  


A short drive in the Southern Hemisphere

Smokey Joe and the 48 day dash through Africa
In progress - currently being typed in from the original notebook (we didn't have computers and weblogs then you know!)

Johannesburg, RSA; Sunday 15SEP1996

Today is the day we will finally be ready. The Landrover, Smokey Joe, (Joe for short), is already full and we still have the “washing machine” and two bags to go in.  We manage to find a small space for the washing machine and decide to just throw everything else on top.

At 1030 we say fond farewells to the neighbours and we’re off.  We’re all glad to be on our way at last.  Fifteen minutes later we pull over, the roofrack tarpaulin is blowing a bit.  A few minor adjustments and we’re off again.  We decide to get to the Zimbabwe border and get an early start the following morning.  We find a reasonable hotel in Messina, the Impala Lodge Motel, ZAR80 for a budget single or ZAR150 for a luxury double.  There is not much between the two but good valus none the less.  After dinner we retire to bed eager to get a good night’s sleep and an early start.  Ash wakes up in the night – something has bitten him six times – we turn on the air conditioning to deter any more bugs and go back to sleep.

540 kms

Messina, RSA; Monday 16SEP1996

We woke up a 0500 eager to be on our way.  We pack up Joe, strangely we can’t get things back in the spaces they came out of.  With a bit of pushing and shoving we squeeze everything in.  We are just about to jump in when Ash notices we have a flat tyre.  Strangely enough it is the one that was mended in Jo’burg!  We wake up the other motel guests in the process of pumping it up with our air compressor, thank goodness we didn’t have to pump it up by handpump.  We drove to the garage to fill up with fuel and change the tyre.  We decided to get it mended when we finally get to Harare.

Beitbridge was very quiet, we cleared RSA customs and immigration in fifteen minutes and Zimbabwe in twenty minutes.  Third party insurance was ZAR22 and the toll bridge was also ZAR22.

The drive to Harare was very uneventful except for seeing a warthog family and a troop of baboons.  We managed to navigate through Harare without difficulty and easily found a garage to fix the tyre for Z$30 (=ZAR15=£2). Diesel Z$3.30, petrol Z$3.90 per litre.