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I hope you get as much fun reading this as I do writing it.







Saturday, 16 November 2019

Africa (Part 2) Roads



4 countries  + 29 Campsites + 35 days  =  5,000 km of roads


The countries we travelled through were

  • South Africa
  • Botswana
  • Zimbabwe 
  • Namibia
It all started in Johannesburg (the airport) and ended at Cape Town (the airport)

South Africa

The majority of the roads in South Africa were tarmac so driving was straightforward.  

There was some traffic to contend with but not nearly as much as in the UK. 

The biggest problem was everything else on the road; people waiting; people walking; cattle.  

In the Kruger National Park, which is the size of Wales, it was the wildlife.



Botswana

The major roads are tarmac with very wide gravelly "shoulders". 

These were used as grazing by livestock; as a thoroughfare by carts pulled by donkeys as well as  people.

Set far back from the road and the gravel "shoulders" were the buildings surrounded by fences. 
This was to keep out the wildlife. 

The driveway to the campsites and villages was mostly sand sometimes gravel necessitating careful driving.


Zimbabwe 

Road to Victoria Falls was tarmac.  It was a relaxing trip as we were taken by coach

Namibia

Only the major routes were tarmac. 
All other roads were gravel tracks commonly called "washboard" roads. These were so called
because the ridges running across the road looked very similar to the old fashion washboards.
Driving on these roads was an experience.
To have a smooth ride one needed to find the optimum speed;

  • too slow and everything shook; 
  • too fast and the vehicle was out of control..

Also finding the best place on the wide track could greatly improve the ride.
On these roads the greatest hazard was having a puncture.
The average number of punctures was 15 so many spare tyres were carried.
To aid those who found themselves with a dud tyre we travelled in pairs on these "washboard" roads.


The compensation for such a challenging drive was the spectacular scenery.






We must have all been excellent drivers because our group only had 5 punctures in total.
For this we all received a distinction in the "Driving Extraordinaire"

However I also received the "Wooden Spoon" as I had 2 of the 5 punctures. 

Enough said!!!



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