Tantebane Game Ranch Botswana to Bulawayo Zimbabwe

I spent 3 nights at Tantebane Game Ranch. The first night it was packed with a large group of South Africans travelling together. When I woke up the next morning, they were all packing up and left, leaving me alone.

I did a final fix on the broken storage box, plus some other fibreglass fixes. I did some washing, some gluing and fixed some electrical things. It was nice to stay put for two days straight.

On Wednesday morning I set off for the Zimbabwe border. I stopped at the last servo in Botswana to squeeze as much diesel in the tank as possible. Then I exited Botswana, all very simple and straight forward.

It was then the unknown of the Zimbabwe border. I got through immigration in about 30 minutes. I was handled by three different staff and paid $30USD for a visa with my crisp new $USD notes. Then it was off to customs. I had done a eTip on line the previous day. This seemed all OK. I was told to pay $50 USD at the payment counter and given an invoice to take. I do that, thank the guy and go back to the car. First checkpoint they ask for my TIP (temporary import permit), and I show them my reference number for my eTIP, and they are fine with that and I head up to the next checkpoint. The next guy says I don’t have the right stamp on one of the pieces of paper, and I have to drive back and get it stamped. After asking about 3 different people I finally get the right stamp. I pass the next checkpoint, but I have to see two guys in a hut who are eating lunch. I see them and without even glancing at my wad of papers they say I am fine. I then go to the next checkpoint. They say I have to go and see the guy in a different hut. He says I don’t have a printout of my eTIP. So I drive back again and see two different guys until I get to the original guy that I organised the TIP with. He hands over my printed eTIP which I should have collected after I paid. (Sort of my fault, I should have thought of that). Then it is back through the two checkpoints and the guy in the hut, and finally I can leave, after about two hours.

Then its the drive to Bulawayo about 13km away. I get waved through one police checkpoint. I pay $4USD toll at the toll booth about 100km down the road. Outside Bulawayo I hit another Police checkpoint, and they pull me over. After the questions about where I am going etc, the (rather large) Police woman asks me for money because she is hungry. I eventually give in and give her the $1USD note I got as change from the toll payment.

I got into Bulawayo, stopping at the Zonkizizwe shopping centre for a sim card and some supplies. I then contacted Karen, and briefly met her at her lodge, before heading the the Hillside Conservancy for a campsite for the night.

pelicans on the water hole
My second attempt to make another mud flap.
All the solar panels out in cloudy weather
Heating up the donkey boiler for a shower
On the (quite good) road to Bulawayo
Approaching the Toll booth
The daily exchange rate at the Pick n Pay supermarket for the ZIG currency, which I have not seen anyone have. The cash registers at the supermarket had USD$
Camped with power (well until the loadshedding) at Hillside conservancy

Wild camp North of Kokotsha to wild camp east of Ralekgetho

The night was cool. The fibreglass from my repairs had mostly dried, but the temperature was not ideal. However it was strong enough to hold up without anything in it. I got going and stopped a few kms down the road for breakfast.  Then it was about 50km up the highway until Sekoma. Thats where I met up with the main highway the A2. I decided to stop near a fuel stop to ring up Mascom to get my sim card registered. However they told me to go to a post office. The nearest one was Jwaneng about 80km away.

I got to Jwaneng, found the Post Office, but there was a big queue. I asked the security guard if there was a Mascom shop, and there was. Asking someone else I eventually found it. So I sat in the queue and got someone to help me register my sim. However she couldn’t do it either. She said the IT support people were out for lunch. So I went to pick n pay, got some bananas and went back to Mascom at 2pm. She tried again, and again couldn’t get me registered. After more than an hour including multiple phone calls, she eventually got my sim registered and I was back on the internet.

I continued heading east and stopped at a wild camp suggested on iOverlander near an old quarry. Old quarries make good wild camps. I set up camp and proceeded to apply more fibreglass to repair the box.

It was quiet peaceful night, albeit cold.

Camped at the wild camp in an old quarry