Africa has the last laugh!!!
We all slept well after the previous days events but were up early as we had a long way to travel, we would be driving all the way back to Port Elizabeth. We had pre packed the afternoon before as we knew we would be having an early start, and after loading all our gear and ensuring everything was secured we set off into the predawn darkness. We spent the first couple of hours of the journey reliving the events of the previous few days, we watched the sun rise over the Kalahari one last time and had a quick bite to eat in the town of Kuruman.
Not long after leaving Kuruman our troubles started, first we started loosing air from one of the front tyres, not a big deal we would just keep an eye on it and pump it up every time we stopped, besides we had a spare. Then a little while later Greg noticed the Landy was running a little hotter than usual and as the day warmed up it got worse until, when we stopped to pump up the tyre it boiled over.
We did a bit of roadside fault finding and decided the engine was just working a little hard and the radiator wasn't quite coping due to the heat, as it was quite hot, so we topped up the radiator and once again set off. We made it to the next town ok and despite the engine heating up again it didnt overheat and we decided to see if a local tyre shop could repair the tyre.
The tyre guys did the best they could but warned us to get a new tyre at the first opportunity as they could not say how long the repair would last. With this in mind we made plans to get a new tyre when we passed through Kimberly.We set off again hoping things would be ok but unfortunately about half an hour later the tyre gave out and we had to stop and change it by the side of the road. Then the radiator boiled over again, things were not looking too good at this point. Jack and I had a flight to catch in Port Elizabeth the next morning and I was starting to wonder if we would make it?.
After a quick discussion we decided that we would have some lunch in Kimberly while Greg got a new tyre fitted. We slowly made our way to Kimberly and had lunch at a great little shop and then headed off after Greg had a new tyre fitted only to have the radiator boil over again about 10 km down the road. At this point we decided to head back to Kimberly and explore some options to get Jack and I to Johannesburg the next day for our flight home. It certainly looked like we would not make Port Elizabeth the way we were going.
We tried flights from Kimberly and rental car companies and settled on a rental car. We found a rental car company that said they were open at the airport so we decided Jack and I would overnight in Kimberly. Then in the morning we would drive to Johannesburg in time to make our flight home, while the others continued to Port Elizabeth, we then headed out to the airport only to find the rental car company office all locked up and closed. Looking around I noticed an Avis office that was being renovated and asked one of the staff if they would be able to help us out, well a big thumbs up to Avis they had us sorted out with a rental car in next to no time. While I was sorting out the car Richard was looking for a hotel for us and found one not too far away, with a rental car and a room for the night we were all set to make our flight in Johannesburg the following day.
We transferred our luggage from the Landy to the rental car and followed Richard Greg and Jacu to the hotel. Our adventure together was now over as we said our goodbyes in the hotel car park. Our adventure had ended not as we had wanted but still we had done so much together in the short time we had Smelled the smoke of Africa and Walked the Kalahari Sands.Jack and I felt a little depressed to end our adventure like this waving goodbye as Richard,Greg and Jacu drove away. We hoped they would make it to Port Elizabeth ok, with some luck and a lighter load in the Landy they may be ok.
Jack and I headed inside to our room and showered before making our way to the hotel restaurant for some dinner and a few drinks in the bar, then we turned in for the night.
We had an easy start to the day and took our time driving into Johannesburg, and returned our rental car to the Avis counter at O.R.Tambo airport mid afternoon. We then checked in a little early for our flight and did some last minute duty free shopping for gifts and small keepsakes. We then settled into one of the airline lounges and were fortunate enough to be able to watch the first half of the Rugby World Cup Final before we were called to board our flight. Once settled in and in the air we spent a fair bit of time talking over our trip and planning a return in the not too distant future. What will I hunt on my next trip, well Buffalo is high on the list but will have to wait a while, I have yet to get a Kudu so will probably try for a trio of spiral horns, Kudu, Nyala and Bushbuck.
I later found out that from Richard that they made it safely into Port Elizabeth a little after 6am having traveled all night, and the problem with the Landy turned out to be a blocked radiator that needed replacing. Well everything worked out in the end and I have since booked a return trip in 2016 so stay tuned, for more adventure.