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Entry14 : Back in Beautiful ZA! Pristine roads... So all good things have to come to an end!

Coming in from Mozambique, at the South African Border post, was the first and only bit of border trouble we encountered... The South African Customs official convinced himself that our bikes were of Mozambican origin and hence we need a D17... whatever import document... The more we tried to explain to him that these were South African registered vehicles, and hence we were NOT importing them, the more uptight he got... and kept interrupting us with "But you're not hearing what I'm saying... you need a D....!!!" Eventually after minutes of arguing, we dug out our vehicle registration documents and showed them to him... "Oh.. why didn't you say so.."  was his reply.. DUHH!!! We got the little stamp on the customs form and off we were... nearly 1.5 hours later... (yeah, somehow the line at immigration took 45 minutes to reach one of the 3 officers...

Just as we were driving out, we got to the customs gate (for which we needed that tiny piece of paper with the stamp of the aforementioned customs official.  The officer took my customs slip, had a look at my passport, handed it back and then pointed to the see-through map pouch of tank bag... "What is that?" pointing to the little plastic holder containing 4 ear plugs... "Those are my earplugs" I replied, "Are you sure those are not drugs?" In my mind I recited the response: "Oh yes officer... you've got me.. I'm smuggling 4 pieces of foamy tasting drugs, lightly salted, hidden in plain site!", but I was proud to tone it down to: "You are welcome to taste them, but I promise all you will get is yesterday's fresh ear wax!"... He smiled, followed by "You can go..."

Whooohoo! officially back in ZA!!!

We were heading for Johannesburg, but decided to take the scenic route through Mpumalanga... We spent the evening in Graskop and the next morning we drove up the Blyde river canyon, passing Pinnacle Rock, God's Window, Bourke's Luck Potholes and Three Rondavels...

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Once we reached Johannesburg, it was time to attend to the bikes... Both bikes needed a new Low Beam... Kobus lost in Uganda and mine stopped working in the south of Tanzania, on the return leg... I was amazed the made it this far... with all those rough roads, countless speed humps (serious ones).. not to mention the corrugated roads and potholes! The R1200GS Adventure also needed a new front... As you can see, this one had outlived its time! But 14,000km on a Karoo... not bad... However, I was still going strong on my TKC 80's.. The front has some minor flat spots, and the rear is still good for another couple of thousand kilometers! Remember, I had my front fitted some 1,600km before the start of our trip, and my rear in Windhoek, Namibia, 1,500km into the trip (we new we would chase up that initial stretch and decided to keep the old rears till then, so we could get max use of them into Africa...)


We spent the following evening in Colesberg, a quaint little town... and a lot colder than I had hoped!  We were not kitted for the cold.. and the morning was a chilly 1 degree C! We let it warm to around 4.5 degrees C, before setting off...  BRRRR...!!!!! Through the passes in the Noupoort area, the display on my instrument cluster dropped to 3 deg.C ..and then 2.5 deg.C... Although my heated grips were going at full blast, my finders were freezing... and my mind was wondering what it takes to get frostbite..?  Luckily that didn't last too long, and soon the temperature was up to 6 degrees ...and rising...

We took a detour to the Owl House in Nieu-Bethesda... this would probably be the last 60km of gravel of our epic 16,000km journey!  And we enjoyed every minute of it... Most gravel roads in ZA are in good condition and we could comfortably go twice as fast as most paved roads in the rest of East Africa!


The Owl House is well worth a visit!  Miss Helen (as she was known) decorated her house and garden with crushed glass and cement statues...

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We took the coastal route back... with excitement mounting as we swooped through the twisties around the False Bay section...


Home, Sweet Home... just more than 16,000 km (10,000 miles) later!

...I guess all god things have to come to an end...


Were you ever in danger, harassed or scared?

 Never, never and never... Statistically, the countries we passed through were all a LOT safer than South Africa! (you're welcome to google the crime statistics)

Would you go again, if you had the chance?



Final thoughts?

 If you ever wanted to do a trip like this, MAKE the time!!!