Setting Off

Our goal was to leave work by 2, leave Joburg by 3:30. After stressful weeks tying everything off at work to Cheryl and I that meant “if we leave by 5pm we’ll be happy…” To Micahel and Lisa, our German regimented travelling companions that meant “if we leave by 3:30 we’re already late…” We left at 4:30. We were pumped. Michael and Lisa felt we were already behind schedule.. We immediately hit traffic.

We won’t miss this…


Now we are off for a 3 day drive to Mana Pools. I write this from the car just North East of Gabaronne in Botswana. The drive last night was relatively uneventful. The boarder was surprisingly efficient with some of the friendliest immigration officials we’ve come across since we’ve moved here. Maybe this will be a trend on this trip. Wishful thinking?

Our itinerary for today: 430km to go to Francistown, then onto the Plumtree boarder post to cross into Zimbabwe. We drive through Bulawayo and attempt to avoid the many police checks we are anticipating before getting to Gweru. Here the main event occurs. We pick up roughly 20kg of meat from the butcher. Pre-ordered and vacuum packed. It’s about time we fill up this freezer. We’ll do a quick shop for vegetables and bread then decide to either spend the night in Gweru or continue for two hours north. Depends if we have daylight.

Tomorrow it’s up to Mana Pools where the wild begins. I have visions of sipping a G&T as the sun goes down over the Zambezi. Then I’ll feel like I’m finally on vacation…

Packing Up

We’ve made all of our purchases, we’ve got our Hilux back from the shop, kitchen installed we are good to go. One small, little thing to do: packing it all in.

Looking at the amount of stuff we had scattered about our apartment I wondered to myself how everything would fit. Since it’s my job in the relationship to be the packing optimist when Cheryl said “you haven’t said space isn’t an issue yet so I’m nervous” I secretly agreed while mumbling something about “I think we can do it.”

In the end packing only took one (ish) attempt but there’s not much room for anything else. Definitely no room for parents to join us. But that’s two months from now Josh and Cheryl’s problem. Not today. Not tonight. Tonight we ride!

Cheryl in packed car

Med kits

I’m not sure why I chose this as the first post about the trip but you’ve got to start somewhere I guess.

Maybe it’s just to placate our moms.  We’ve thought this stuff through.

Med Kits

We’ve got an emergency med kit (green), our non-emergency med kit (orange) and then a lot of other stuff that’s not even in the photo.  We have pain killers, nausea meds, cold meds, prescription meds, burn kits, diarrhea stoppers, re-hydration salts.  We’ve got band-aids coming out the wazoo (plasters for our South African readers). Hopefully we never need any of this stuff but we’ve got it just in case.  In case something worse happens that we can’t handle ourselves our health insurance has emergency medical evacuation from everywhere we’re going back to South Africa for treatment.

When it comes to medicine the question I get the most often is: what are you doing about malaria?  It’s a question that every longer term travel to these area thinks of.  For us, the prospect of taking malaria medicine every day (or every week) for three months just doesn’t sound like a good idea.  When we went to Mozambique for a week, we took it.  This trip, we’re not going to.

Instead of malaria medicine we’ve packed a bunch of malaria test kits and the prescription drugs that you are given once you’ve got it.  We’ve both seen the effects of malaria on people and the effects of the preventative medicine. (When I was in Madagascar I got sick from it every week and a few people taking the medicine on our program got malaria anyway.)  We’ve decided treatment is a better course of action for us.  That and a lot of bug spray…