Thanks to our beloved car and travel companion, Herbie, who made it through all those challenges, we reached the Cape of Good Hope, after driving the Love Bug more than 105,000 miles (or almost 170,000 km) around the world!
From here and now on, at the most south-western point of the African continent, we’re heading back home to Europe along Africa’s east coast. The first half of Herbie touring Africa has been a success and we hope the best for the second part of it.
We made it all the way to the country at the southern tip of Africa. Our destination: Cape Town and the Cape of Good Hope. From the Namibian border we still had to drive 678 kilometers (or 421 miles) to the city between the Indian and Atlantic Ocean.
As we were sitting in a café called “Tornado” in downtown Windhoek, the capital of Namibia, we got to know its owners, Jens and his wife. They invited us to their home just a couple hundred meters away from their business. Thank you so much!
What a coincidence: It turned out that Jens, who moved from Germany to Namibia almost a decade ago, is a Volkswagen Bug enthusiast. His one is from 1972.
Jens recommended us a place (“Conti Trade”) where we could finally find spare parts we were looking for since Togo – a master brake cylinder and rear axle gaskets.
We hit Windhoek with a flat tire! So we went to “Fast Wheel & Tyre” and they actually sprang for the repair. Many thanks to Mr. Leon Smit, the Sales Manager, and his team! The reason for Herbie’s flat tire was a sharp sting from a tree.
Herbie’s speedometer wasn’t working anymore, after it made weird noises. Domi had to disassemble the whole part. Unfortunately he had to break the original seal from 1963 in order to lubricate the speedometer. But now it’s working again!
In Windhoek we could also get new triangular safety reflectors for our camper, “QEK”, after they got broken due to those bad road conditions in the Congo.
And we finally got the suitable axle fluid for Herbie, as we had to flush the transmission after the muddy water entry in Congo – a fully synthetic 75W-140.
Namibia – we entered this country in the Southwest of Africa coming from Angola. A lot of things have changed by then. The Republic of Namibia, which gained its independence from South Africa not until 1990, offers vast but harsh landscapes.
From now on Herbie has to be driven on the other side of the road, even though we still have the steering wheel on the left hand side. But Zainab did a great job cruising across those wide open spaces and underneath that big Namibian sky.
In “N’Gola” we had to go through hard times, because of a chaotic and nonprofessional work of the only shipping agency in Cabinda, “Zamba, Lda.”, as well as divers ocean carriers. But we also experienced great moments, amongst others because of people like Pedro Jorge F. Marçal, who offered his warm hospitality by sharing his flat with us. Therefore we left the Republic of Angola with an auspicious and a dropping eye!
Meanwhile we are staying in Windhoek, the capital of Namibia, having some cups of rooibos tea at a cafeteria called “Tornado” and connecting to the world wide web.
“Viewpoint of the Moon” (or “Miradouro da Lua”) is the name of the sight we visited in Angola, after we safely arrived at the International Airport of Luanda – together with Herbie and his trailer. We spent our first night in the camper right besides the landing runway and the airplanes coming from all over the world.
This beautiful country is nearly twice the size of Texas or five times the area of the Great Britain. We really enjoyed its tropical nature and mountain scenery. In Angola, the means of subsistence are very expensive (except fuel). After a long and bloody civil war, which ended at the beginning of the millennium, the country has been undergoing an enormous economic growth. Unfortunately the gainer of this are just a few, while the majority of people are suffering from poverty.
Herbie is flying! After spending an entire day on the base of the Angolan Air Force (“Força Aérea Nacional”, FAN) in Cabinda, finally a huge “Iljushin IL-76TD” landed at about seven p.m. It took more than three hours until Herbie and the camper were able to “check in”, because of unloading the aircraft first. We got very excited when it was Herbie’s turn to drive into this gigantic airship. The ramp was pretty steep, but Herbie made it!
We felt honored to get to know the pilots from Russia and the Ukraine. They invited us to sit as co-pilots in the cockpit. Not only was it an exceptional and wonderful experience to fly together with our Love Bug set-up, we also enjoyed this gorgeous view over Luanda’s skyline. At this point we want to thank the Angolan Air Force as well as the aircraft controller Pedro Marques (down right) and his colleague Adriano Valácio, who made our dream come true and helped us getting on one of their aircrafts.
While we were waiting for an aircraft that should take us away from the exclave of Angola, we got the chance to meet another great fellow. Her name was “Mimosa”. From the first moment on, she had only eyes for one person – Zainab.
It was so cute to see how much she was seeking Zainab’s closeness. She played as well as cuddled with Zainab and even slept between her feet when she got tired. Entertaining “Mimosa” made the long hours of waiting for an aircraft by the Angolan Air Force, flying us out of the exclave, a lot shorter.
This is no joke! In the next days, Herbie, the camper and we will go aboard an airplane by the Angolan Military (“Força Aérea Nacional”, FAN). The aircraft will be an “Ilyushin IL-76” or similar. Hopefully everything will work out and we’ll all have a safe flight!
Actually we came to Cabinda, the exclave of Angola, in order to bypass the Congo River and the DRC (Democratic Republic of the Congo) by taking a ship to Luanda. And as we just have single entry visas for Angola, the exclave was a kind of dead end for us. So, the only possibility for us to travel on, was to find a way to get to the mainland of Angola. But due to a huge hassle caused by the local shipping agency (Zamba, Lda.) and various ocean carriers, that played along for almost two weeks, we eventually decided to ask the Angolan Military Air Force for help.
We are still in Cabinda, Angola. The climate is terrible – it is hot and humid. We don’t have A/C or anything like that in Herbie or the camper and our water consumption is as high as never before on our trip across Africa. Unfortunately, water is a rare and very expensive good in this country. Drinking water costs exactly the same as gas, although gas is very cheap in Angola, because of its huge resources. The price for both per liter is 50 Euro Cents or about 2,40 US-Dollar per gallon.