Thursday, December 27, 2012

From Gaborone to Durban and Back Again!

Merry (belated) Christmas from Botswana!

Almost there!
Scott and I just got back to Gaborone from a road trip to Durban, South Africa. The trip took about 12 hours each way, and although we broke it up with an overnight stop on the way there and on the way back, it was a lot of driving! Road trips in Africa are not like road trips in the U.S. where you are driving down a smoothly tarmacked highway at a consistent 80 MPH with considerate drivers who follow traffic rules (except for the occasional jerk in a red sports car, of course). No, parts of the drive to Durban were quite harrowing.

For one thing, driving speeds are wildly inconsistent; there's no minimum speed for the highway, so one moment you find yourself slamming on the brakes to avoid rear-ending someone casually cruising at 40 MPH in a junky little car, and the next moment you are frantically changing lanes to get out of the way of the BMW barreling down on you at 110 MPH.

This made the drive worth it!
Also, some parts of the drive down to Durban were downright sketchy, taking us through shanty towns where threatening-looking people looked a little too long and hard at our car as we drove past! At one point while passing through a narrow overpass, we spotted a sign that said "WARNING! This is a hijack hotspot!" I wanted to take a picture of it, but decided against slowing down to roll down my window!

Anyway, the long and at some parts hairy drive aside, we had a wonderful time in Durban. The highlights of the trip were the lovely beaches and the delicious and diverse food: thanks to some recommendations by friends who were posted in the region, we took full advantage of the unique combination of big city and beautiful coastline that Durban offers! The city is really a cool place and we enjoyed having several days there to explore. Since we did so much while in Durban, I'll dedicate my next few blog posts to reviewing the restaurants and beaches we visited inside and outside the city. Stay tuned!

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