Friday, 23 August 2013
Kyalami to Elephant Sands
On the road bang on 4am, we debated for the 1st 10kms on whether to take the easy, quicker route and aim for Martins Drift or the less used, dirt road to Zanzibar Border Post. Speed and timing won the toss, so Martins Drift it was.
The drive was uneventful with very little traffic, just the huge trucks heading for the border that we managed to get past. We rolled into Martins Drift around 8.30 and were through and into Botswana by 9.oo. Thankfully a very pleasant lady at the search point on the Bots side decided our vehicle was hardly worth looking at, so we departed with a full fridge, we’ll be eating well this trip!
Apart from a go-slow section coming into Francistown, the going was good and we eventually rolled into Elephant Sands at 2.20pm – 10 hrs & 20 mins after leaving home. As we rounded the back of the chalets, the lodge & waterhole came into view and we were greeted by the sight of about 30 ellie’s milling around the waterhole, literally a meter in front of the lodge.
We checked in at reception and then drove the short distance to our basic but comfortable chalet, 2 single beds and an en-suite bathroom were all we needed. The view was great, looking across the waterhole to the lodge, however it was a balmy 32 deg, so we dumped bags and took a walk along the driveway to the lodge, the bar and an ice cold Savanna. We spent the rest of the arvy chilling in the shade watching the Ellie’s up to their various antics, rumbling to each other, playing and rolling in the water and the odd scuffle breaking out, followed by much trumpeting and flapping of ears. They were a real bunch of oddballs, one Ellie was sporting a car tyre round his ankle, another had a spaz ear that folded forward almost covering his eye and few one tuskers. it was a perfect way to finish off the arvy.
With the shower calling, we headed back to the chalet to freshen up before dinner. Having done my fair share of basic chalets through all our travels, the shower in this particular chalet left a lot to be desired. Possibly a total of 10 pinholes that functioned by spraying water in every direction except downward.
The ellie’s were still hanging around when we got to dinner, patiently waiting for the water to be pumped so their water trough would fill up. The lodge was very busy with individual guests as well as 2 overland groups so while the ellie’s patiently waited for their water, we patiently waited for food. Eventually we heard the sound of running water and the ellie’s all moved as one towards it, 30 odd trunks all vying for a share, the odd greedy Ellie pushing & shoving the others away.
Our dinner eventually arrived in the form of steak, chips, salad and veg all served buffet style. After stuffing our faces and chilling with the ellie’s a bit more, we hit the sack.
Sat, 24th Aug
Elephant Sands to Shumba Picnic Site
After a fabulous nights sleep, I woke up feeling totally refreshed. We packed up, and hit the road, heading up to Pandamatenga. Along the way, we passed a lone Ellie, 4 giraffe and a small herd of kudu. We refuelled at Pandamatenga, my heart going out out to the myriad of starving dogs roaming around the fuel station, with their pleading eyes begging for food, prominent rib cages and obvious signs of lactation, these poor dogs clearly got no TLC whatsoever.
After a long wait for our P75 change we ducked off the main road and hit the gravel all the way to the border post. The same 2 vehicles that we’d seen on the road from Jo’burg, and at Ellie Sands were parked at the Bots side when we rolled in. We got thru with no problems and then drove the short distance to the Zim side. This border post was as immaculently kept as the Bots side, neat flower beds, and lawns edged off with various cold drink cans…. Gotta love Africa!!
The police clearance certificate we’d been told to get wasn’t even asked for…. All they checked was the engine & chassis number against the vehicle documentation and didn’t even open the back off the car, thankfully.
Onward we trundled, a rather crappy road that eventually branched off to the right and took us to the entrance to Hwange. The guy manning the gate was extremely friendly and very happy to see us, and after signing in, we drove on to Robins Camp to sign in. En-route, it became apparent that the park was extremely dry and in desperate need of rain. The wildlife was rather scarce and we saw very little between the main gate & Robins Camp. 6 hrs after leaving ellie Sands, and approx 270kms later, we arrived at Robins Camp, which had a rather desolate and sad feel to the place, but once again the staff were incredibly friendly.
After parting with a vast sum for park fees and vehicle fees we headed off to Shumba camp, our home for the next 3 nights. The drive was long and it was hot, 33 deg, and not a lot of game around. But suddenly we drove round a corner and were confronted by a vast water filled dam, with plenty Ellie’s milling around and about 10 hippo basking on the bank…. This was Masuma… The camp I’d tried to book but unfortunately someone else had already snapped it up.
The campsite was awesome, very elevated with its own hide… I made a mental note to get this campsite if we return one day. Without stopping we drove on to Shumba, a further 15 odd km’s away. The open grasslands were real cheetah country as we approached and again, we came across another big pan, full of water but no animals in sight….this was our waterhole.
The campsite was about 500m away, fenced, with huge trees for shade, 2 toilets, a shower, very basic kitchen and 2 thatched pergolas to eat under as well as a fireplace, concrete tables and benches completed the picnic sight. Although it was rather run down, it was a tad more civilised to the campsites we usually frequented, but not in a good way. I like our own setup, it’s convenient, small and personal. This campsite was huge and we had it to ourselves!!
After a very late lunch, we then threw a poitjie together and left it to cook over the fire and headed off to the hide at the dam. The sight that greeted us was unbelievable, herd upon herd of ellie’s all heading down for their last drink of the day. Our total tally was 120 plus about 20 buffalo.
The photo opportunities were excellent with a beautiful sunset as the backdrop to all this. We sat there until it was too dark to see anything more and headed back to camp for dinner.
Retiring early for the night, I was woken frequently by extremely close hyena, whining and laughing nearby, ellie’s munching right next to the campsite and the wind getting up.
Sunday, 25 August 2013
Waking up very early this morning, we sank 2 welcome cups of tea, not having had any since we’d left Jo’burg. While sitting in camp drinking our tea, we heard the Scops Owl in the tree above us. So out came the iPad with Sasol eBirds and while I played the call so the Scops would reply, AJ found him very quickly at the end of a low branch, nestled amongst the leaves.
He was tiny…much smaller than I’d anticipated, and not in the least worried by our antics below, cameras and tripods being moved around as we tried to find the best angle… But it was a real highlight for both of us as we’ve heard these owls so often when camping, but never seen one.
9am we then left for a game drive, heading to Masuma to check out the action. On the way, we took a detour down a small road and immediately caught whiff of a rather nasty “I’ve been dead for a long time” smell. Driving to the edge of an embankment we looked down and saw the remains of a large ellie, and 2 hyena heading off that we clearly had disturbed. 3 white headed vultures were picking at the scraps too but they soon took off when we turned off the engine.
The 2 guys we’d bumped into at the border then rolled in next to us and told us the ellie had been killed by lion a week ago…. This explained the smell…. But it must have been a sight to see…. We then drove onto Masuma where we sat in the hide for a while watching hippo and crocs in the water. The hippo’s had a couple of very young babies with them which were very cute. We also saw a nice herd of zebra come down to drink, good photo opportunity.
After leaving Masuma, we headed on to Mandavu Dam, but not 2 minutes down the road, we stopped to say hallo to another couple we’d met the day before who pointed out a lioness in the long grass, in shadow and quite far off the road….not ideal for a good photo.
After watching her for a while thru the bino”s, we climbed back in the car and carried on. Eventually we arrived at Mandavu Dam, which should have been called Mandavu Lake…. It was a huge expanse of water, with lots of dead trees protruding from the water like sentinels standing guard.
We popped into the hide, and once again bumped into our 2 vehicles from the border and Ellie Sands…. I was beginning to feel like a stalker!!!
With stomachs rumbling we decided to head back to camp, stopping in at the lions on the way….. More of the pride was now visible….1 male, 4 lionesses and 4 cubs…. Sadly still not visible enough to get decent shots, but great to see nonetheless.
We headed back to camp to find the couple from the lion sighting had taken up our offer to share our campsite with us.
Johan & Koekie, on day 46 of their travels round Africa. A huge respect for this guy, travelling solo with his wife who’d suffered a stroke last year which sadly had left her very much compus mentos but lacking in co-ordination and the ability to speak full sentences. I have never seen a man dote on his wife as much as he did, just incredible. And they were great company, sharing their tales of their travels to date which included Uganda, Tanzania & Kenya.
Sunset found us at the waterhole again, but due to Hurricane Hilda, there was not much to see…1 ellie and 2 hippo. But eventually the wind began to drop and slowly the ellie’s appeared in the distance, streaming down in single file to drink, but it was certainly not the huge quantity we’d been spoilt with the night before.
Monday, 26 August 2013
Very early rise & shine this morning…. We even managed to photograph the sun coming up which is nothing short of a miracle for us.
Whilst closing the door to the kitchen last night, AJ had unknowingly trapped and killed a snake which he found this morning, rather flat and dead. We ID’d it as an Eastern Tiger snake, venomous, but not deadly…. Well not anymore….!!
While making tea, Johan spotted a large bird land at the top of a tree in the distance. After some time viewing thru the bino’s we we eventually ID’d it as a Martial Eagle. A quick drive to the waterhole delivered 3 hippo, 5 ground hornbills and a small herd of impala coming to drink, it was very quiet…. Largely due to the wind I reckon.
We headed back camp and threw breakfast together and bade farewell to our companions.
Once we were fed & watered, we headed off to check out the action at Masuma. Lots of baboons were lurking on the waters edge, a big male waterbuck and the usual array of crocs and hippo. After parking off for about an hour we headed back to the car and noticed the bird water dish hanging off a tree, attracting blue wax bills, sparrows, green wood hoopoe and a Meyers parrot, a bird I’ve not seen before.
According to T4A, there was a river drive, not far from Masuma, so we decided to go off and explore it. It was very pretty, with the dry riverbed on our right, dense bush on our left. We spotted a few herds of ellie’s taking refuge in the shade as it was rather warm. Suddenly we came across a track leading off to the right, so being our adventurous selves, we followed it. After a 10 min drive, the road ended up in a beautiful bush camp, well hidden, it featured 3 canvas dome tents and a dining area, all perched high up on the edge of a ravine, looking down into the dry riverbed and onto the backs of 3 rather hot looking ellie’s below and nearby I spotted a warthogs bum protruding from its burrow.
It was a gorgeous setting!! We thanked the staff for letting us have a look around and continued on our way. The road wound along the river but after a while we decided that it was too much of a trek back to camp, so we turned around and backtracked back to camp.
The afternoon was spent chilling in camp, feeding the 4 dwarf mongoose that kept us company and the odd squirrel. 5pm we jumped back into the car and drove the short distance to the dam for the evening show. Fortunately the wind decided to drop and after about 15 mins we spotted the first ellie heading thru the bush to drink. By the time we left, at 6.45pm, we’d counted 48 ellie’s, including 2 very young ones, 22 buffalo and the usual 3 hippo and the croc.
Back at camp we thru a pasta tuna salad together to the evening bush sounds of a very close hyena, some very angry shouting going on between the Ellie’s, some jackal, a Scops owl, the splashing of the hippo and the munching of the buffalo nearby.
Tuesday, 27 August 2013
Shumba to Kennedy 1
Tea and pack up kick started today as we were off to Kennedy 1 for the next 3 nights. My turn to drive we eventually left around 9am. The road was terrible to start with, a narrow strip of bitumen left from a bygone era, badly potholed and extremely narrow with no verge. But eventually the disintegrated tar gave way to gravel and some time later we caught up with the grader, very considerately leaving me a pleasantly smooth sand road to follow all the way to Main Camp, Along the way we pulled in to Guvalala Platform where they were busy upgrading the viewing deck, which overlooked a lovely waterhole set in a vast open plain…. this would have been a great place to camp, except for the lack of shade. Not a tree in sight.
We saw a sable antelope, something i have not seen in the wild before, as well as a few kudu. once back on the road, a bit further along, we came across another waterhole where there were 9 giraffe drinking, we got some good shots until some moron rolled in in his minibus, aircon blasting and engine running, scaring off the giraffe….. thankfully he didn’t hang around. Eventually we arrived at Main Camp where we pulled in so I could phone the kids. Main Camp I found was a lot more “happening” than Robins, with self drive visitors and covered safari viewing vehicles coming and going, it was busy.
Back on the road we drove the 25 odd km’s to Kennedy 1 along a horribly corrugated road, arriving around 2pm. The campsite was huge!! Far too big and spread out for just the 2 of us, but once again we were met by 2 very friendly chaps who “were here to serve us during our stay”. We unloaded the car, made some lunch and then chilled in camp for the arvy until it was time for an evening drive.
The camp’s waterhole was about a km down the road, and after the set up at Shumba, this was a bit of a disappointment. The pan was small and set quite far off the road, so we pulled up next to a termite mound, grabbed our bino’s, camera gear and a couple of drinks and climbed onto the roof to await the ellie’s arrival. After about 30 mins, as the sun sank below the horizon, we saw the first 2 making their way to the waterhole. Clearly they were not used to seeing a car parked where we were as they stopped short of the waterhole, trunks up in the air, having a good old sniff in our direction. 10 mins later they decided we were harmless and came down to drink. They wasted no time and after quenching their thirst they headed straight back to the trees they’d emerged from. Thinking that was it, and feeling rather disappointed, we were about to climb off the roof when we noticed a long line of ellie’s off in the distance heading our way. They stopped as their paths crossed with the 2 departing ellie’s and we decided they were having a quick discussion about the funny black thing parked near the waterhole and that it didn’t bite because eventually they continued on towards us. 47 ellie’s in total, a massive herd. The biggest yet!!!
After they’d drunk they then rounded the waterhole and headed straight towards us. Deciding this was now a good time to get back in the car, we quickly climbed off the back, and moving slowly, inched our way along the side of the vehicle and climbed inside. The matriarch eventually stopped about 20 meters in from of us, growling and flapping her ears and shaking her head, obviously very upset by our presence. By now, in the last light of day, we could just make out the rest of the herd were all standing behind her. Deciding that we should perhaps move out their way, AJ reversed the car and moved further down the road and suddenly all the aggressive behaviour from the ellie’s stopped and they trundled calmly behind us and crossed the road….. We’d been blocking their route….. Quite amazing to witness.
Back at camp, we tucked into the poitjie we’d put on before leaving, which was absolutely delicious, and then retired to the tune of munching ellie’s and whining hyenas.
Wednesday, 28 August 2013
Up at 7am, we made tea and decided to head straight for the waterhole while it was still early and the light was good. Packing rusks and mugs of tea with us in the car we headed off, but besides 5 or 6 zebra and a kori bustard, there wasn’t too much to see. We drove on to Kennedy 2 waterhole where we found a small herd of kudu and some zebra.
Back at camp we made breakfast and then decided to go and check out Ngweshla. Along the way we saw giraffe, various buck and a massive herd of buffalo….200 strong easily which we had to drive through to get past, there was no going round them. Cute woolly youngsters mixed with the adults, it was quite a sight to see.
On arrival at Ngweshla, it once again became clear that Masuma and this camp were definitely the 2 to book if we ever headed this way in the future… 2 waterholes of its own, it was a beautiful set up. Apparently they’d had lion this morning and along with the 6 hippo resident at one of the waterholes and various giraffe, wildebeest and zebra, there certainly was no shortage of game around here.
As we trundled round the winding bush tracks, we suddenly came across a brand new leather lounge suite, partly wrapped in plastic, just dumped in the middle of nowhere….very amusing…..didn’t realise Coricraft had a branch in Hwange!!!
By now the temp was sitting at 33 deg with very little wind, so we headed back to camp for some lunch and chillax time.
On arrival at camp we found the 2 travellers still parking off that had rolled in at around 8am this morning. Wondering if they were planning on camping with us, we strolled over to chat to them. It turned out they had come over from Switzerland and were staying at Main Camp as they felt Kapula was too far to drive… However having seen Main Camp yesterday, privately I felt that the extra couple hours drive to Kapula, with all its luxury would have been a far wiser move!! After chatting to them for about an hour, they then packed up and headed back to their Club Med for the night and we chilled until it was time for some ellie viewing.
We left camp at 5.30 for the waterhole but when we got down there, the Ellie’s and buffalo had beaten us to it….30 odd ellie’s drinking and playing around in the water and a good sized herd of buff grazing alongside them. However, our arrival seemed to upset one of the herds of Ellie’s as they suddenly turned and legged it, 10 or 12 of them running and trumpeting frantically as they headed back to the bush. The rest seemed unperturbed and we sat watching them until the sun sank and darkness fell. Back to camp for dinner, after which we got the camera and tripod out and set up to photograph some scorpions in the nooks and crannies of the trees in the campsite with the aid of the UV light.
Once we’d managed a good shot using the macro lens, we then pointed the camera skyward and took a few shots of the night sky. Set at a 30 second exposure, the results were phenomenal!!!
Thursday, 29 August 2013
This morning was a go slow, with us only leaving camp around 9 for a drive. We decided to head off towards Main Camp via a 4×4 track AJ spotted not far from our campsite. I had opted to drive this morning, and was I pleased I had……. I would highly recommend this drive if anyone enjoys driving off the beaten track and doesn’t mind getting their car scratched. I don’t think this track had been used for months as there were very few signs of tyre tracks and the grass was pretty long in places on the middle mannetjie. But it was lots of fun, negotiating round trees, driving thru dense forest terrain and the track was generally very sandy. no dreadful corregations along here, so much better than the rock hard, corrugated main road.
The track ended up as a 2 hr drive bringing us out next to Dopi Waterhole. Along the way we spotted plenty of kudu, giraffe and steenbok. But the highlight was a leopard – slinking through the dense bush, it was impossible to photograph, but a pleasant surprise nonetheless. Another one for the list….. Near the end of the track, we found a small herd of Ellie’s resting in the shade of a huge tree. After watching them for a couple of minutes, we were about to drive off when they all suddenly swung into action and headed straight towards us.
Passing the back of our vehicle by mere meters, they headed up a hill and disappeared from view. Following the track we rounded a corner and found Dopi Dam on our right, already full of Ellie’s and the other herd we’d encountered could be seen heading in the same direction along the ridge. Another great Ellie sighting.
After watching them for a while, we headed onto the Main road and decided to pull into Main Camp to see if we could find some soap and shampoo and make a couple of phone calls. However the shop the shop was shut and no-one answered their phones, so that was a waste of time…. So back to camp it was for lunch and some chilling.
5.15 we headed out to the waterhole to be greeted by the sight of about 300 buffalo spread out across the plain and around the waterhole. It was incredible.
And while we sat there watching we could see a continuous stream of them filtering through the back line bushes. And endless line of them, I have never seen so many of these huge animals in one sighting ever. Eventually the Ellie’s showed face too, charging at the buffalo with shaking heads and flapping ears, making a pathway through the horde to the waterhole. By the time we left, I reckon there was easily 450 to 500 buffalo spread out in front of us. A sighting worthy of a Nat Geographic documentary!!!
Later that evening while chilling round the campfire, we could hear the Ellie’s very clearly nearby, lots of growling, trumpeting and angriness going on and suddenly we could hear gunshots going off. What the commotion was all about I’m not sure, but someone had mentioned that the lodges sometimes fire off a couple of warning shots if too many Ellie’s come into camp…. Who knows…..
Friday, 30 August 2013
Kennedy 1 to Kapula Private Camp
Today we were off to Kapula Private Camp. After packing up and saying goodbye to the camp staff at Kennedy 1 and leaving them some meat and money, we hit the road. The drive back along the way we’d come 3 days earlier went much quicker thankfully and we arrived at Kapula around 12ish.
The camp was lovely, 4 tented chalets with a central kitchen/communal area in the middle with a dry water pan directly in front, and a small man made water trough further back, all set in a big open plain. The chalets featured king size beds, bathroom en-suite as well as an outdoor shower with full view of the open plain and the bed looked out onto a wooden deck and beyond onto the open plain, absolutely gorgeous.
As we were early, the room hadn’t been cleaned, so we left the staff to it and took the private road thru the concession to Masuma which was probably 2kms away as the crow flies. The hide at Masuma was empty for a change so we sat there for a good hour or so watching Ellie’s bathing, hippo’s grunting, crocs sleeping and guinnea fowl being guinnea fowl with baboons, waterbuck, kudu and impala off in the distance.
Eventually we decided the staff had had enough time to sort our room out and we headed back looking forward to a good shower and scrub up. Once we were clean we chilled on our deck, watching 3 Ellie’s come to drink as well as a few kudu consisting of a magnificent male an his harem.
Around 6pm we headed off to the nearby kitchen area to find a fire lit for us to braai on. The setup was impressive with a fully equipped kitchen, big outdoor lounge area and a 10 seater dining table as well as a huge viewing deck. We soon realised we had the place to ourselves as the other 5 guests expected had not pitched. So after the staff had shown us were everything was and how everything worked they bade us goodnight and left us to it.
Braaiing some burgers didn’t take long and after cleaning up, we chilled to the sounds of Scops owls and Ellie’s going in the distance. As we sat there taking this all in, we heard rustling in the grass next to us and suddenly a big spotted hyena appeared out of the gloom and sauntered up to the braai. Realising there were no scraps for him, he ambled in our direction and took a drink from the bird water dish not 2 meters in front of us. This was the closest I’ve ever been to a spotted hyena, exhilarating to say the least. After staring intently at us for a few minutes he turned and disappeared back into the darkness.
We then headed back to our chalet to the sound of lion grunting in the direction of Masuma Dam, the first time we’d heard them at night since arriving in the park…..long overdue!!!!!
Saturday, 31 August 2013
Kapula Private Camp
Last nights sleep was dreadful. Hurricane Hilda blew up which had every strap and piece of Velcro holding our tent down straining at the seams, literally, that it was impossible to sleep. And a very cold morning greeted us when we rose around 6.30.
We took a drive down to Masuma but there wasn’t too much to see and the freezing wind was blasting straight into the hide so we left and took a drive past the Ellie carcass we’d seen a week earlier. It was amazing how much of it had disappeared in a week, it’s entire hide had gone as well as the tusks, which we found out later the parks board guys remove. However the glossy starlings and lilac breasted rollers were still evident, picking away at whatever bugs were left to eat, providing a vibrant splash of colour against the grimness of the huge skeleton.
So I took advantage of the location by practising my “roller in flight” photography, catching that beautiful iridescent blue of their outstretched wings. They really have to be Africa’s most eye catching bird in flight.
Returning to the lodge, we threw a big cooked breakfast together and then spent a couple of hours chilling in the lounge area reading. With the wind still blowing strong there was not an animal in sight from the deck.
Late afternoon found us back at Masuma and it was almost as though the game had come out to bid us farewell – herd after herd of ellie streaming down from all directions, huge big bulls, grumpy matriarchs and tiny little ones, it was spectacular.
Along with all this was the usual menagerie of hippo, giraffe, kudu, waterbuck & crocs. I was feeling incredibly sad to be leaving this amazing place tomorrow and knew we’d be back again. This park truly has so much potential, the quantity of game is quite something and my week here had surpassed all expectations.
Back at the lodge, the 5 other guests had arrived and before we’d even climbed out the car one the guys, Jo, came over and invited us to join them for dinner, which we duly accepted. They were great company, all hailing from the UK at some point, they were just at the start of their trip. We sat around the campfire and at some point in the evening we heard rustling in the grass behind us and assumed our hyena had come to say hallo, but due to our loud conversation and laughter, I think he had a change of mind as he never showed face. We were obviously very fortunate the night before.
Eventually at 9.30pm, everyone’s beds were calling so we said farewell and goodnight after an excellent evening and retired for the night. The bush was unusually quiet and for the first time since we’d arrived in Hwange we fell asleep to almost total silence.
Sunday, 1 September 2013
Kapula to Nata Lodge
Homeward bound….. We left the lodge at 9.30am and headed off to Pandamatenga, arriving there around 1.30pm after an extremely rough, corrugated drive. Border procedures were painless with no other vehicles having been through today, it was very quiet.
The drive was good and we rolled into Nata Lodge at 4.15, checked into our chalet for the night. We’d opted to chalet so we could be on the road at sparrows tomorrow, not wanting to get home too late.
The chalet was really nice, a big thatched A frame with outdoor shower and a small balcony overlooking not much.
While chatting to the manageress at dinner, she told us that due to the flooding and heavy rains earlier in the year, the slot pans were still under water with frolific bird life around. I was seriously pissed off that the rather uninterested staff at reception had not bothered to tell us this when we checked in otherwise we would have made a plan to take a game drive out there to see this unusual phenomenon for this time of year…..PR people….try it, it does wonders for your revenue!!!
Monday, 2 September 2013
Nata Lodge to home
Departing later than I’d hoped due to reception only opening at 6.30. We set off at 6.45 with me driving the 1st leg to Francistown. We rolled into the 1st fuel station, driving on fumes. After filling up with diesel, we had a quick pitstop at Wimpy for brekkie and then carried on our way, fighting our way past the myriad of trucks and roadworks….it was messy and very slow-going. But we eventually cleared it all and found the open road.
The road coming into Martins Drift is terribly potholed and on top of having to negotiate your way round these craters, you also have to watch out for oncoming 18 wheeler trucks doing the same, not my idea of a relaxed tootle. But we made it to the border in one piece and were through in all of 20 mins.
Catching up with the Pretoria traffic around 4pm, we made it home as planned at 5.