Maputo to Johannesburg
9th – 10th February 2007
I woke up at 06:00 (late) and packed up everything, made breakfast and decided I would take a train to Joburg, then another to Cape Town. I swapped my tent for some choice Teva hiking boots and then got my pack into one big hulk of a package, probably 50kg. I took a taxi to the train station and stopped at Maria to pick up my Maasai knife which I’d left in Silva’s truck.
She wouldn’t let me leave her 13th floor apartment and told me the train to Joburg didn’t exist. She said she could no longer accompany Silva to Joburg and that I could go with him. I reluctantly agreed and then fell asleep on her sofa. I woke up for lunch after which they dropped me off at Base backpackers to wait for the weekend to pass (they went away to a nearby island for two nights). I fell asleep in front of CNN at the backpackers and woke up three hours later! I got on the internet to book a bus from Johannesburg to Cape Town and discovered that it would cost me over R500!
The receptionist told me that Intercape was around the corner and had a bus to Johannesburg leaving half an hour later.
I packed my stuff and hurried there, managing to secure a seat, the last one on the bus!
Entering South Africa from Mozambique was hassle free, until the South African police literally pounced on me for smoking in public. When I protested, they reminded me that this had been the law for the past five years and that they were told to display zero tolerance at the border to teach the tourists a lesson. I told them I wasn’t a tourist and continued to smoke my cigarette anyway. There was a mandatory footbath to curb the spread of foot-and-mouth disease, but as I was walking around barefoot at the time, I wasn’t sure if it applied to me. The policemen supervising the dipping sent me away, also telling me to put out my cigarette. I was awoken in the early hours of the morning and everyone was off the bus. I was a bit confused, as it was still way too early and it sure didn’t look like Johannesburg. To my surprise, our luxury bus had broken down and we had already been waiting half an hour for a replacement.
I arrived in Johannesburg early, in time to get the bus to Cape Town via Upington. The driver of our bus had told me it was my only option if I didn’t want to spend any time in the city (I hated Joburg and tried to stay far away from it).
It turned out to be too expensive and took way too long, so I explored the other options, finally deciding to book and pay for the Greyhound bus which left four hours later.
I opted not to walk around the city, even though my bags were in safe storage. I was exhausted after 75 days of travel, and only had one more 20 hour bus journey to endure. I called my ex-wife Sarah and left a message on her phone, and too my surprise she came to visit me an hour later. It was great to speak to someone who knew me and I shared some of my journey with her, the highlights and lowlights, while fending of her evil disapproving glares at my ridiculous hairstyle and scruffy tri-colored beard!