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// APRIL 2017
Where there is a will, there is a way
Johannesburg
Polokwane
Musina
Matobo National Park
Hwange National Park
Livingstone
Kwekwe
Mutare
Lydenburg
Vryburg
Kang
Maun
Zeerust
Johannesburg
Beitbridge
Victoria Falls
Binga
Gokwe
Great Zimbabwe
Komatipoort
Graskop
Blyde River Canyon
Ohrigstad
Pilgrimsrest
Kimberley
Mahikeng
Letlhakane
Gaborone
Soweto

Musina (Limpopo Valley-Border to Zimbabwe)


22nd of April 2017
We are in Africa and nothing seems to be going right….

After an amazing flight, (duration 9.30 hours), with Turkish Airlines,



we landed in Johannesburg. We got through passport control, collected our luggage and went to the Hertz office to pick up our rental car.



We presented our reservation voucher to a representative of the Hertz Company, along with all the necessary documentation which would allow us to drive the rental vehicle cross border to other countries _printed too, for their convenience_ and waited. 

Soon enough, we were informed by the same employee that there were cross border restrictions and therefore we would be able to drive the vehicle only to the 3 of the 5 countries we had chosen to visit: Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.  

So we should forget about Zambia and Malawi.
The Hertz policy does not allow cross border driving to these two countries, when it comes to its vehicles. 
I was astonished! What on earth was that now?
I explained that I had a printed mail by Rentalcars
_I had made reservations for the car rental through their web page_ which was reassuring me that I could drive the vehicle to all five countries. Moreover, in the particular mail the extra cost for cross border driving was also mentioned, along with the names of the two Hertz employees at the Hertz office in Johannesburg, to whom I had spoken, so as to make the arrangements. More specifically, I had spoken to  Mr Thempa and to Mr Zamo.   

    “Where are the employees I have spoken to? I have some questions for
     Mr Thempa and Mr Zamo”
    “They are not here at this moment”.
    “Yes, but you can always call them, right?”
    “I can not disturb them right now…”
came the answer from a lady in charge, who, meanwhile, had taken the place of the previous employee, so as to offer us a more professional assistance. 

   “What are you talking about? I have booked and prepaid hotels and activities
     based   exactly upon the reassurance of those two gentlemen!
    The whole schedule of my journey is suddenly blown up and all you can say to me
     is that is inconvenient to disturb them right now?”

 And there it was the unacceptable and highly unprofessional answer:  

   “Even if they said such a thing, it was their mistake and I can assure you
    that I will have a word with them…”

Oh, great! That would fix everything, now!

Since she was going to have a word with them, there would be no problem at all and no need for me to be worried! And since things were so smooth, I could repeat the same excuse to the hotels I had booked rooms at, in Zambia, Malawi and the Northern part of Mozambique and the… happy managers were definitely going to tell me: 

      «Oh, fine, no problem, things happen sometimes, you can take your money
        back now. No harm at all…
»

I was trying so hard for a whole month to discover which routes we were going to take, what was the condition of the roads, how many hours it would take us to reach our destinations and now, thanks to a couple of irresponsible dismissing words, everything was about to blow up!  

Ok, then! Deep breath and we continue. 

  “Could we, at least, return the rental car earlier, if we manage to find a way
   to go to the places excluded by you?”

  “Yes, this can be done and as far as the bill you will be able to make
    new arrangements with Rentalcars Company”.

    “Ok. I want _and when I say I want, I mean I demand_ new car, good
      and reliable tires and everything that is written on the papers:
      reflectors, phosphorescent vests, warning triangles and a fire extinguisher,
      so as to be able to drive in Botswana and in Mozambique without problems”. 

    “They are all in the vehicle”. 

We went to the parking so as to check the vehicle.

The car was new and everything seemed ok. After all, we had the reliable reassurance of the lady in charge, who had spoken to us on the behalf of the company… 

It is not always right to trust and to be well intentioned.
You may well find yourself in trouble.
It wasn’t long before we discovered that we should have been more skeptical…

We had to cover a distance of 500 km towards north, non stop, because, after the delay at the Hertz office, we were afraid that night would fall before we were able to reach our destination.
Fortunately, the road was in a very good condition. 
Unfortunately, we couldn’t avoid driving at night, but we had the chance to enjoy the first glorious African sunset of our journey. 



We finally arrived in Musina, near the border post to Zimbabwe.  

We found a motel, the Baobαb Chalets and we asked the receptionist, which hour was the best, in his opinion, to cross the border next morning. 

At that very moment, two South Africans were moving towards the reception desk too and they looked really surprised when they heard that we were planning to cross the border to Zimbabwe. 

   “Are you sure that you want to go there? Why don’t you stay in South Africa?”
   “We’ve been here before…we’ve seen most of it…”
   “Go to Botswana then, or, even better, to Namibia”.  
   “We’ve been there too. It’s Zimbabwe and Mozambique that we want to visit”.

At that point they stopped being polite and looked at us with some kind of pity…  

   “Do you have all that is required?”
   “What do you mean? I asked the Car Rental Company and they reassured me that
     all we need to have is in the car”.

The pitiful look became more obvious.   

   “Come along and I’ll show you what I mean”, said one of them. 

So we came out of the motel and followed him to his car. 

   “Do you see those things? Do you have them? I mean the reflectors…
    2 white ones on the front bumper and 2 red ones on the rare bumper?
    Is there any fire extinguisher in your car? Do you have warning triangles
    and phosphorescent vests?”

We searched the trunk.
    “No. We have none of those here”.
    “If you don’t have them, at the first police roadblock they will force you to return
     back to South Africa. That’s why I’ m suggesting you better stay here or go to Botswana”. 

How could I ever sleep after all those warnings?  



My mind was working non stop all night long.

Until the 25th of April our schedule was feasible. Perforce, pass to Mozambique from Zimbabwe.

At this point, we would have no other option than going to Vilankulos. From then on we would continue towards Maputo, since it would be easy to take the plane from there and go to Pemba.

From Pemba, with local rental car, we would drive till the Island of Mozambique, which sits off Mozambique’s north coast, and from then on we would fly back to Maputo. In Maputo we would take the South African rental car, perforce left there for a few days, and we would continue our journey.  

Until almost three o’ clock in the morning, time that we had to get up so as to be at the borders at four o’clock, I had found alternative routes, air tickets to Pemba, at the northern part of Mozambique, rental car for the northern part of Mozambique and possible solutions for us to go to Malawi or to cross the borders to Botswana. 

Country: South Africa
Date: 2017
Route: Southeastern Africa 2017
Cities: Johannesburg, Polokwane, Musina, Matobo National Park, Hwange National Park, Livingstone, Kwekwe, Mutare, Lydenburg, Vryburg, Kang, Maun, Zeerust, Johannesburg
Duration: 12
Cost:
Population: 54.960.000
Rating:
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Country: South Africa
Date: 2017
Route: Southeastern Africa 2017
Cities: Johannesburg, Polokwane, Musina, Matobo National Park, Hwange National Park, Livingstone, Kwekwe, Mutare, Lydenburg, Vryburg, Kang, Maun, Zeerust, Johannesburg
Duration: 12
Cost:
Population: 54.960.000
Rating:
comments
VIEW
Country: South Africa
Date: 2017
Route: Southeastern Africa 2017
Cities: Johannesburg, Polokwane, Musina, Matobo National Park, Hwange National Park, Livingstone, Kwekwe, Mutare, Lydenburg, Vryburg, Kang, Maun, Zeerust, Johannesburg
Duration: 12 days
Cost:
Population: 54.960.000
Rating:
comments
VIEW