Thursday 30 May – After a wonderful breakfast at the Lodge prepared for us by the owner’s wife who was originally from South Africa, we set out for Xai Xai. Turning off the main road to get down to the road that runs along the coast, we encountered very deep sandy conditions. This was where the fun began. Alex got stuck!
Alex is a qualified 4×4 instructor but to be fair he did have a huge heavy trailer to pull. Anyway, in the end, with the assistance of the rest of the men, they unhitched the trailer, turned it round and then Alex pulled it out from there. Needless to say, in true male tradition, he was not going to be beaten and having hitched the trailer back on he took another stab at the sand road, this time at very high speed, and made it through.
It then fell upon us to follow but fortunately, having been pre-warned, we let down our tyres, put our gears into proper 4×4 mode and all made it through, although it was quite scary doing it.
Our efforts were rewarded with the most magnificent drive along the beach road with breathtaking views of the reef and the sea. This area was obviously popular as a holiday destination as there were lovely private homes along the way.
We eventually came to a hotel on the beach where we decided to try and get some famous Mozambique prawns for lunch. Sadly this was not to be but they did eventually produce an amazing crayfish lunch – I was amazed to get 3 crayfish for R200!
Thoroughly satisfied after that feast we motored on to our last stop of the tour – Casa Lisa Lodge just north of Maputo. Once again we upgraded to a cottage with en-suite bathroom and hot showers and Alex, seeming to have now got tired of cooking, organised another lovely meal in the lodge restaurant.
Friday 31 May – this is it – it is over, however not without some last-minute glitches. We woke up early in the dark with no electricity. However, nothing was going to stop me having that hot shower, even if it was in candlelight! Could have been quite romantic but after what my husband had put me through over the last 5 weeks I’m afraid romance was definitely not in the air.
We left very early as we had to drive through the city of Maputo to get to the final border crossing which was really hectic. The traffic was dreadful and it took us some time but eventually we were there and crossing over back into CIVILISATION. Once we were through the border we travelled on to Melalane where we stopped for a final Wimpy breakfast and our goodbyes. I got down on my hands and knees and kissed the ground – I have never been more pleased to get back to South Africa. After our goodbyes we set off for Bosau Guest House B & B in Pretoria which is where we had started from all those weeks ago.
After a wonderful welcome from Willie, we dashed out to buy some proper doughnuts from Woolworths but sadly they were out of stock. Having had such little success in getting prawns in Mozambique we were now dying for them and fortunately managed to find a magnificent restaurant up the road called The Famous Fish Hoek Co. There, we pigged out on the most magnificent tiger prawns I have ever seen and I really think I deserved every last morsel!
Saturday 1 June – After a wonderful breakfast and fond farewells to Willie and his wife, we set off on our way to Cape Town via Colesberg. The weather immediately started getting cooler which was a sure sign we were heading south. We hadn’t made a booking in Colesberg thinking there wouldn’t be a problem as we usually stay at Die Kleipot B & B but when I phoned them they were full. Fortunately they referred us to an amazing place called the Herb Garden Guest House which turned out to be absolutely wonderful.
Our room had everything in it you could possibly need and a wonderful brass bed to complete it. Marius, the owner, recommended we eat at Die Plattelander restaurant in the village and it definitely did not disappoint. The weather by now was freezing cold and we returned to our cosy room at the Herb Garden, switched on the electric blanket and crept into bed for the last night of our journey.
Sunday 2 June – Our last early start with a promise to stop on the way for breakfast. At Richmond we stopped for petrol and were greeted with a temperature outside the car of 5°C – I thought I was going to die! At Beaufort West we stopped for our famous last Wimpy breakfast, then travelled on to Cape Town, marvelling at the snow covered mountains – I thought we had made a wrong turn and ended up in Switzerland. At 3.30pm we arrived at our daughter’s home to be greeted by our much loved grandchildren – oh how I had missed them. What a wonderful reunion that was!
After 13 322Km, mostly on my coccyx, our journey was finally over. The End
Well, I know I have loved Marion’s account of their amazing adventure - seeing the Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Crater is definitely on my bucket list and it must hopefully coincide with the Wildebeest migration. Will I will do it camping? well… not so sure about that but, there is always more than one way to skin a cat, so I may just have to save a little harder so that I can have a little more luxury :)
So, who has added this trip to their bucket list? And, don’t forget, don’t wait until its a special occasion or you retire or your best friends can make it, JUST DO IT!!!