Day 353 South Africa : Matatiele - Durban

Well, we're on our way.  The road is calling and we are eager to set off.  First stop Durban Customs to collect our unaccompanied luggage that we sent from home.  In Manchester we were told that Durban Customs at the International Airport was open on Sunday - the day we arrived.  Note that we even checked to ensure that they would be open.  We assume nothing in Africa!  On Sunday we discovered that even an international customs clearing depot in a major port in Africa doesn't need to work.  In fact, on questioning, we discover that they work Monday - Friday 9am-4pm only. hhuurrmpph nice job, if you can get it.

So after leaving the boxes at Customs the previous Sunday here we were back now to collect them 4 days later.  On arriving at 12:30pm we were told they were on lunch from 12pm - 1pm and even though they were there, it was against the rules to serve us.  My mood continued to get better and better.  At 1pm sharp we went to the desk to be handed 2 forms to complete and then come back to them for a customs officer to open the boxes for a visual inspection.  Although the words were ready to pop out, I managed to hold them in for long enough to walk away form the counter and to hiss at Trevor that they could have at least given us the forms earlier...... Perhaps a great big foot comes down from the sky to squash them if they do anything "against the rules"!  Now this is what I call typical government mentality.  But, of course, they hold the upper hand - they have my boxes and goods - so I smile sweetly and try to charm my way through the process.

Eventually after 3 frustrating hours of teeth grinding, teeth gnashing, a vicious vein throbbing in my temple and R450 lighter on duty and STORAGE (yes, storage can you believe it, because we didn't pick the boxes up on Sunday......), we got our stuff.  That night was spent with friends, unpacking and re-packing Sully (we still haven't finished) and stuffing her to capacity with food, new gadgets and all manner of wonderful stuff to play with.

New no.1 gadget for the trip: Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS).  More about this later when Trevor writes the article.

#1 brenda on 4.07.2010 at 7:56 PM

Back on the road again.......... you can also make a documentary like "Going Nowhere Slowly" (it is a documentary on the African Channel about a group of people traveling through Africa, very slowly)

As they say you know what assumption is ...........!!!! Hope you did not have to go to the dentist to have your teeth done.

#2 Richard Harris on 4.08.2010 at 12:59 AM

Can vouch for the 'service' in Durban (I still love KZN though) - a while ago we had some luggage stick in Jo'burg. It seemed to take four days to get to Durban - but when we were eventually 'allowed' to collect it (after dealing with opening hours and denial of all knowledge) - we realised that SAA had actually forwarded it on the next flight just an hour after we'd originally arrived!

Still, small penalty to getting back on the travels.

Our build starts this week. Good news.



Hi Richard

Will be catching up on your blog as soon as we have some stable connectivity.  At the moment in the wilds of Kafue National Park and using the manager's satellite internet comms .... Well worth a visit to Mukambi - fabulous place and great people here.