It’s time to move

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the restrictions on international travel we have accepted the fact that we won’t be able to complete our trip in the way we wanted.

Our plan was to cross into South Africa via the Noordewer border post, and then travel through the North to Mozambique, up to Tofo Beach to swim with whale sharks before heading back into South Africa and taking the East Coast down to Cape Town.

A few options had come up for a return to Europe but logistically they weren’t viable for us.

Its lucky we had plenty of time to plan for a quick getaway. As when the email arrived on Wednesday morning with the option for us to travel down to Cape Town and take a flight back to Europe, we were only given two days’ notice to leave Walvis Bay and make our way to the capital Windhoek.

This trip was being organised by the British High Commission of Namibia for repatriation of British Citizens to the UK. As travel was only allowed across boarders in authorised government vehicles, it meant we would have to get the Land Rover out some other way.

This is where our planning had come into play. Packing what we needed for a few days on the road and in the air was the easy part. Organising a container to ship a Land Rover thousands of miles across the world is somewhat more complicated.

We had already been in contact with several agents at the Walvis Bay port. We had explained that we would need to move at very short notice once we had a leaving date and Transworld Cargo seemed in the best position to help us out.

After a quick call a container was booked for collection from the port, it would be delivered to the Transworld Cargo yard for us to load up the Defender and trailer on Thursday morning.

We spent that evening packing all our things from the house into the trailer to have everything ready to go to the port in the morning.

We arrived at the loading yard around 10am and with a team of 4 lashers we had the Defender and the trailer loaded in the container and strapped down by 10:30am. After a check of the chassis numbers by customs we got the ok to close up the doors and add the tamper proof seals.

Just after leaving the port we received news that Walvis Bay was being locked down with immediate effect due to a Covid-19 infected lorry driver that had escaped from quarantine.

This threw a spanner in our plan as travel between regions was no longer allowed. With a frantic few phone calls to the Embassy and a trip to the local police station, we had a permit to travel and the plan was back in motion.

After a quick trip back to the house to say goodbye to our “landlord” we jumped on to a shuttle bus for the 5 hour journey to Windhoek.

A hotel had been organised for us close to the Embassy where we would be leaving early the following morning.

With just a few hours of sleep, we were up early to meet the government officials and other travellers in the party. There was 18 of us in total, split between 5 vehicles for the social distancing restrictions.

We were fed a huge breakfast before getting on the road South to Noordewer where we would be staying the night. 800km took about 10 hours as we had plenty of breaks and a stop for lunch on the way.

The guest house at the border was simple but had everything we needed. They cooked a huge stew in a pot on the fire for everyone which was well needed after a long day of travel.

Another early morning for our border crossing into South Africa. All our details had been sent ahead so it all went relatively smoothly. With 700km from the border to Cape Town, we had another long day ahead of us.

The route we took was absolutely beautiful. With a constantly changing landscape we had plenty to look at and keep ourselves occupied. The journey went quickly and we soon arrived at the hotel in Cape Town.

We made it!!! From Alexandria in the North to Cape Town in the South completely by road. Not totally the way we had wanted at the end and the last few hundred kilometres without our vehicle, but non the less we did it. We have achieved one of our life dreams and we have enjoyed every second.

Our journey back home to Italy still consisted of 3 flights, 2 taxi rides, 2 nights in a Shepards Hut, a BBQ and a hire car. But from setting off in Walvis Bay it’s taken us 6 days of traveling to get home.

The world has changed a lot since we left 7 months ago, and I believe we left Africa at the right time but thankfully we have made it home safely.

We hope to get back to Africa and complete the last part of our journey as soon as practically possible.

It has been a pleasure sharing our story with you and we hope you have enjoyed following our journey as much as we have making it.

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