Arrived in Mombasa we move for two nights in a nice hotel on the beach until we can drop off our vehicle. The drop-off date is on Manfred's birthday, of all days, but unfortunately there was no other way. The way from the hotel to United Warehouse near the harbor is not exactly suitable to build up confidence in what is coming, that is to say we drive through a bad area with roads that have more potholes than tar and thousands of people all trying to secure their livelihood for the current day. Arriving at our destination, Anthony and Abraham from United Warehouse welcome us and then everything goes very fast. Customs takes a quick look at the car and then we have to leave MOMO to its fate with a heavy heart. We are promised to take good care of it and two security people guard our good piece around the clock until it is driven onto the ship. In the early afternoon we are already back at the hotel and in the evening we celebrate Manfred's birthday in a noble fish restaurant.
For the entry to Tanzania we wanted to do everything right and have applied for an e-visa in the assumption that this should be approved at lightning speed, since everything is an automated process. Yes, that was probably nothing, because after 5 days we still have not heard anything and the status on the homepage shows that it is still in progress. Unfortunately, we also read the fine print too late, because it says that the processing process can take 10 days or longer. After 6 days we don't feel like waiting anymore and drive to the border. On the way there we get the message that the visa has been approved. We are happy, but unfortunately too early. The friendly lady at the counter tells us that we will get an email with the details and without that we can't do anything. We decide to wait one hour. Our helper takes care of the insurance, road fees, SIM card and whatever else is needed. After an hour of waiting, of course, there is still no mail. The helper says that this can take weeks. Great. So we buy a visa on arrival for $50 per person, which we should have done better. A short time later everything is done and we are inside. By the way, the visa e-mail arrives after exactly 10 days. With it we can enter as much as we want within one year. Let's see if we really want that....
In Kasane we cross the border into Zambia. Thanks to a detailed travel sheet from our travel friends Susa & Pit we know what to expect and in which order we have to go to which counter. After about two hours everything is done and we are about $200 poorer, which has to be paid in various fees for road use, insurance, bridge tolls and other small things. Everything is very civilized and extremely friendly and courteous. We had not expected that. A funny anecdote at the conclusion of the obligatory insurance is still worth mentioning. After the boss has filled out a completely incomprehensible note for a good 10 minutes without a word, he wants $50. Wait a minute, let's say, two days ago our friends went through here with a similar car and only paid $40, how so? He smiles and says, then just $40. Welcome to Zambia, where, by the way, at all official payment points you are told in big letters, say no to corruption.
Our first stop is Livingstone. Here we want to have another look at the Victoria Falls, where the Zambezi River plunges more than 100 meters into the depths in its 2.5 kilometer width, from the other side. And it was really worth it. In September 2022, we were able to see it from Zimbabwe, including a helicopter flight. The view from the Zambian side is completely different. In addition, there is much more water and we are wet to the skin after the two-hour tour. That was really fun.
We are looking forward to Etosha National Park, which is highly praised for its wildlife. We take the entrance through the north gate and drive a good three hours over dusty tracks with many springbok, wildebeest, zebra, elephant and giraffe. The big cats are still hiding, at least for us. In the afternoon we drive to our campground in Namatoni. At the entrance we experience an extraordinary surprise. Jörg and Dirk from Stuttgart come to meet us. We spent a few beautiful days with them on Easter Island in 2014. We are completely speechless in view of this incredible coincidence. We spend the evening together in the restaurant and have a lot to tell each other.
After almost 4 months of home leave, during which we were also able to welcome two new grandchildren, we are finally going on tour again in mid-April. Qatar Airways brings us relaxed to Windhoek where MOMO waits patiently for us. After some service work and a few days in the Urban Camp we leave Windhoek for Swakopmund. We spend our first night at Uitkyk Lodge surrounded by giraffes, springboks and ostriches. Unfortunately, we did not see the two rhinos that also hang around on the farm.