So here we are, are last night at Gibela’s in Durban – a little backpackers that has become home over the last 2 weeks, but tomorrow we are heading off in Africa to begin our long drive home. Kylie arrived as expected on Friday – which was a miracle, having been told that once in port it could take anything from 2 days to 2 weeks! We’d also had another slight mishap with paperwork as we didn’t have a waybill or original port of landing bill, again, something we thought should have been flagged previously, but nevertheless, the agent worked her magic and within hours had managed to obtain an ‘Express Release’ stamp. Having been told not to get our hopes up for a Friday pickup, We’d made plans to meet a friend for lunch, but as we were walking out the door, the agent rang to say ‘Come now – your car is ready’. Hearts in our mouths we hurried down to the port, and donning the hi-vis attire waited in the portside cabin for all the final paperwork to be exchanged so we could get our car. Our agent on this side, was amazing and not wanting us to get charged for storage over the weekend, was rallying around everyone to ensure the car would get released on time….we waited. It got to 4pm and just when i thought they’d shut up shop for the weekend, the shipping guy said we could go and get our car! We all hurried out of the cabin and across the busy dock to where amongst hundreds of huge containers, sat our lonely little 20fter! The bolt cutters were raised to break it open, and standing there with baited breath we waited to see if it really was our Kylie inside. What a relief to see her shiny backside! And even more of a relief to see that our rooftent, rooftop box were all still there too! She was a little stiff, when Rich reversed her out, but after letting her run while we put the kit back on the roof she was good to go. It was so good to be driving our car again – she felt so big and strong compared to the little Fiesta we’d been whizzing round it! However, it’s the strangest feeling to be in something so familiar, yet everything on the outside is so foreign – she really is our little home on wheels now.
The last few days, have been busy getting back into ‘traveller mindset’ and organising the last prep for the car. Everything here is so cheap, so glad we didn’t buy everything in Australia as it’s a fraction of the price here. We also had the good fortune to meet up with a friend of a friend, who took us to experience a Super-15’s rugby game at the Shark tank, followed by some local cusine – Bunny Chow – which consists of a half loaf of bread scooped out and filled with hot curry! So delicious, but hot, hot, hot! He also took us to meet his dad up at a fantastic bistro north of Durban which he’s built. His dad is a true bushman and filled us in on his adventures in Africa – so much good advice!. Thank you Jason for you hospitality!!!
And now it’s time to go – tomorrow we head out into the Drakensburg, with out first stop being Lesotho ‘The mountain Kingdom’. Kylie will be put to the test as we head up the Sani Pass – but hopefully she gets us up to the top where a beer at the highest pub in Africa awaits!
There she is!
So here we are, in Durban, IN AFRICAAAA!!! Still can’t quite believe we’re actually here, but i’m sure we will be saying that the whole way round! After a very easy flight, we arrived into Jo’burg in -1°C freezing fog conditions ( a little cooler than we expected!) so were glad to be moving quickly onto a connecting flight to sunny Durban. We are currently staying in a fantastic backpackers – Gibela Lodge – in a very salubrious part of town, Morningside. We couldn’t have been made more welcome here and the standards and cleanliness make it hard to believe this is only classed as a backpackers – it is so much nicer than the hole we stayed in, in Freo and a fraction of the price. It really is our little oasis, and although we’re in a good area, all the houses are securely locked in behind high walls & electric fences – which we both found unnerving to start with, but you quickly get used to it!
Durban is renowned for being a dangerous city, but we’ve found that as long as you follow some common sense and avoid the no go areas it’s actually pretty pleasant. The city is a mix of beautiful old colonial buildings, alongside very rundown sections all sitting along a beautiful ‘Golden Mile’ of beach . The area we’re staying in, is very close to Florida Road, which is full of amazing bars and restaurants – after $10 beers in Australia, we’re loving the cheap beer here ($2) and Rich is getting fully stuck into the various types of biltong which seems to be available in any animal! We are just so impressed with the food, the service and the high standards that everything seems to operate on here.
Today we headed down to the shipping agents office to being sorting out our paperwork. Kylie is due next week and we’re keen to get going as soon as she’s arrived. We spent ages gathering our paperwork, expecting our first African admin meeting to be a nightmare, but it was fine. We met Maurita, our agent, who spent the first 20minutes talking about her cheesecake recipe – followed by a tour of her grandchildren who’s faces were proudly stuck up all over her walls. The paperwork part took about 2minutes, but she seemed to want to talk about anything other than shipping. She seems to become quite fond of her clients – particularly those coming from Australia – Oli and Lisa, if you’re reading this, she was asking after you and was thrilled to know you’d ‘got to the top’ already! Send her an email, she’d love to hear from you and see some of your photos.
So with Kylie still a week away, we’ve decided to hire a car and head off on a mini adventure. Tomorrow we’ll head north up to St Lucia (wetlands area) for a couple of days before heading into our first game park Hluhluwe-Imfolzi – which although much smaller than Kruger still has the Big 5. Excited much??? We’ll then venture out into the old Zulu battlefields to find Rorke’s Drift –although i might have to ban Richard from quoting Michael Cane all the time – ‘Stop throwing those bloody spears at me’. So hopefully our next update will have our first shots of some African wildlife, although, i’ve feeling the car we’ve hired is probably no bigger than a Fiesta, i never imagined our first game drive would be in such a little car – hilarious!