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Monday, 29 August 2011

Waiting, waiting, waiting…

We are currently in Pietermaritzburg, waiting for the Kota Lawa to dock in Durban. The vessel was a couple of days late, arriving off Durban on 24th August. Since then it has been at anchor in the Durban outer harbour waiting for a berth. The current best estimate is it will dock 08:00 tomorrow morning, 30th August.
We knew we would need to learn to wait in Africa, we did not anticipate it would be so early in the trip.

We left Melbourne on the 14th August to Singapore. We had a pleasant couple of days there, doing the normal tourist things. Looking at the shops (our cases were too full to buy!) and eating. We went on the “hop on – hop off” bus around the Island, walked around the new marina precinct and went to the night safari at the zoo.
We caught up with Derek Fisher (ex BG Tunisia) in Singapore and had a wonderful dinner with him. Surprisingly, it turns out he is a Republican.

We left Singapore for Johannesburg at 02:00 on the 17th August. At this time the vessel ETA was still 22nd August.
It was 2oC when we arrived in Oliver Tambo airport. The airport was very efficient (no issue with not having an onward flight) and we were quickly on our way to Pretoria to stay with Avril’s brother. It was great to spend some time with Graeme, Jenny and Alex. Lots of catching up and talking! On Saturday evening we went to a show at Monte casino in Johannesburg.

We used the time in Pretoria to get visas for DRC, RoC and Gabon (if you are going to follow the blog, you will need to work out the acronyms). They were all very simple to get. The RoC went out of their way to be helpful issuing the visa in 3 hours instead of the normal 3 days. So we now have visas all the way to Cameroon, where we meet the kids for Christmas.
We receive daily updates on the ship ETA. It soon became clear that we would be looking at delays. So, we took the opportunity to go to Cape Town for a few days. It was really great to catch up with our niece (Brittany) and Avril’s uncle and his family.

We went around the wine route to Stellenbosch, Franshoek etc. Despite the incessant rain we had an interesting day. The mountain scenery is spectacular. The South Africans have yet to discover the concept of a measuring line on a glass, so when you order a glass of wine – that is what you get.
We stayed at Camps Bay (full breakfast at a foreshore café = R 20 i.e. A$ 2.80), watched wonderful sun sets, walked through the down town Bay area and strolled around Kirstenbosh Botanical gardens. Then, back to Pretoria.

The daily shipping report continued to be discouraging. We had intended to visit with Jen Crooks in Pietermaritzburg. Jen is Avril’s “twin” from university days and the person who convinced her to take a safari to SWA/Namibia in 1978. We had originally planned to spend the weekend of 20/21 August with her, but with the delay in the ship, we pushed this back to the 27/28 August. We went to a bird park and small game farm near the city on the 28th.
Steve and Ing Marshall have arrived in Cape Town. We had originally planned to meet them in Springbok in the northern Cape (to look at the wild flowers) – now it looks like to we need to make alternative plans.

Fingers crossed on the ship!!!

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