The journey

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Wrexham, Wales, United Kingdom
For the past 5 years, me and my best friend Nathan have talked about the possibility of travelling around the world by land and sea, and so finally we have a route, savings and time to set off around the world. What we are doing is living out a dream, a dream we share with many people worldwide, a dream of travelling this vast, diverse, beautiful and interesting planet, but unlike the many others who keep it as a dream, we have the tenacity to make this dream a reality.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Days 103 & 104: South Africa

Day 103

For a while we had realised that we would not have enough money to carry out the intended second part of the trip around South and North America, after many things along the way had cost a lot more than expected and having swallowed up the contingency money in preparation, and travelling through Europe. Plan ‘B’ was to get to Cape Town and ship the car back to the UK, but after speaking to Beverly in Khartoum who had travelled down the west coast of Africa, we realised that once we got to Cape town it might actually be just as expensive to drive back up the west coast as it is to ship the Landrover back to the UK whilst we flew back.

The new route back home would take us through Namibia, DR Congo, Rep Congo, Gabon, Cameroon, Nigeria, Niger, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco and Spain, and would involve getting numerous tricky and expensive visas prior to starting our return journey. The Angolan visa we knew would be the trickiest, and so we thought we would visit every Angolan embassy along the way to improve our chances of being successful, the first of which was is Gaberone. The official at the embassy told us it wasn’t possible there, but possibly in Pretoria, Cape Town or Windhoek (the next three we knew we could visit).

With no visa obtained, we headed east out of Botswana and into South Africa, the final country on the first leg of our journey. Once we arrived in Pretoria, just like Botswana it was proving difficult to find cheap accommodation, and the one place we had in mind had closed down, so yet again we found a campsite on the edge of town to camp for the seventh night in a row, the longest sequential spell of camping on the journey so far.

Day 104

The night was cold for the first time since Turkey as we were now below the Tropic of Capricorn, well into the southern hemisphere and a temperate climate once more. The first task of the day was to find a few of the embassies of the countries we intend to travel through on the west coast and enquire about visas.

We found the Democratic Republic of Congo embassy and began our visa application before heading to the Angolan embassy to see if we would be able to get a visa there. After chatting to the security guard, we then got to speak to the ambassador who informed us we could only really get them in Namibia. On the way out I explained to the security guard that we couldn’t apply for the visa in South Africa, and he commented: “I don’t know what’s wrong with these people.”

The next task was to find a cheap hostel, as the campsite from the previous night we could only describe as depressing. We managed to find a place near to the world cup stadium and shared a room with a Canadian called Ben, who knew more about world geography and politics than anyone else I know, and we chatted into the evening discussing everything from American States to African politics.

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