The other day we gathered at Menlyn’s drive-in again, watching a movie, having dinner at one of those picnic tables, where others even had a so-called “braai” (barbecue). We also enjoyed that incredible view over the city and Herbie felt pretty awesome, meeting all the air-cooled friends from Pretoria’s Jacaranda Beetle Club.
As the Ethiopian embassy in Pretoria was not willing to issue visas to Austrians, we had to send our passports all the way to Geneva, Switzerland, where we finally got our visas from the Ethiopian embassy there. It just took six days all in all!
Last week we could get the visas for Malawi at its consulate in Johannesburg and for Sudan in Pretoria. Now, as we got also the Ethiopian one done, we are eventually ready to continue Herbie’s World Tour heading further north.
At this point we want to thank the Ethiopian embassy and its team in Geneva, Switzerland, to assist us by issuing our visas without any red tape! And we want to thank the Hartzenberg family for their kind South African hospitality!
On Monday we’ll take off again! Our next destination is the Kruger National Park, before we’ll cross the border to Mozambique in order to travel north, driving across the African continent on its eastern side – about 10,000 kilometers all the way to Egypt.
Thanks to our Pretorian friend Wernher Hartzenberg, Domi got the chance to get to know real motorsport legends as well as very rare Porsches and engines.
From left to right: Our host Wernher Hartzenberg, collector Clive Winterstein, engine genius Andrew Thompson as well as former Formula One team chief mechanic Alastair and his father and South African motorsports mechanic legend Al Gibson.
A pretty valuable Porsche 356 A Carrera from 1963 powered by an air-cooled four-cam engine, owned by Clive Winterstein, a famous collector from Johannesburg.
Many moons ago, Sir Al Gibson used to work on these cars, while he was in motorsports. Therefore, Clive Winterstein was so kind to take the 92 years old man for a ride.
Further down you can see a Porsche Elva from 1965, on which Mr. Al Gibson worked back in the days, when he was working for the South African motorsports.
Al’s son, Alastair Gibson, was team chief mechanic of the Austrian Formula One driver, Gerhard Berger. Domi really enjoyed to listen to Alastair’s stories about that.
Nowadays, Alastair Gibson is an internationally distinguished artist and forerunner in carbon fiber sculpture “made of” Formula One. Find out more at “Carbon Art 45”!
Andrew Thompson and his idol, Al Gibson, are true experts regarding motorsport cars. Both have been working on these cars, like the Porsche Elva, ever since.
We just received an English written article by Heilie Combrinck from Uitenhage, where we visited the South African Volkswagen factory and its museum, the “AutoPavilion”.
The Austrian newspaper “Heute” published a story on Herbie touring Africa in today’s issue. You can also find the article online by following this link!
Today we went to a car show called “Cars On The Plot” in Montana, Pretoria.
This perfectly arranged event was organized by the Datsun Club of Pretoria. Domi went there together with our friend and host Wernher Hartzenberg (left), his father Ludwig (right) as well as the “air-cooled legend”, Werner Alker.
Domi also met Michele and Hennie Coetzee, who are very devoted followers of Herbie’s World Tour. They even gave us these amazing presents including a lovely personal letter. Many thanks, Michele and Hennie, for all of that!
Yesterday, our South African host Wernher Hartzenberg and his girlfriend Chantelle invited us to the drive-in theater on the top of this huge Menlyn Park Mall in Pretoria.
Overlooking the city there we were: Wernher’s friend, Tyrone Morris and his wife with their two kids in a Volkswagen Kombi from 1969, Wernher and Chantelle in a VW Cabriolet and of course Herbie, the Love Bug, who came all the way from Austria.
We definitely spent a fantastic evening, sitting in our beloved Herbie, watching one of those romantic movies and listening to that through our vintage Blaupunkt radio.
Last year we visited Venezuela, the country of its so-called president and “el comandante” Hugo Chávez, who passed away yesterday, after a long fight against cancer.
We have real good memories traveling through Venezuela, where we (for example) never had to worry about gas prices while filling up Herbie at the pump, because they wouldn’t charge us the three cents per gallon.
Unfortunately we weren’t able to meet Hugo Chávez, although we met Evo Morales, the president of Bolivia and probably one of his closest allied friends within South America. We had the chance personally “meeting Mr. President” of Bolivia.
As posted here before, we got to know Werner Alker, the air-cooled Volkswagen genius of South Africa, we’d like to call him. Anyway he invited Domi to his legendary place.
In 1964, Werner came to South Africa, working for the Volkswagen company back then. He has a true passion about the uniqueness of air-cooled VWs, even though he’s always been trying to improve things, Volkswagen obviously made wrong.
Werner Alker is a very, very special character, although he calls himself “simply Werner”. We also met Werner’s wife, Louise. Both are sharing their love for these cars.
We were already almost running out of gas, when we entered South Africa. Therefore we tried to get our bottle refilled, when we stayed with “Arnize” in Mossel Bay, Western Cape. But as our stove including its bottle is related to the European system, it has a completely different fitting than the Southern African ones.
Nobody could help us back then, though the shops had all different kinds of fittings. But Arno and Elize were so kind to borrow us their little gas bottle stove.
Domi visited the “VW genius”, Werner Alker, the other day. A friend of him named Bernd was there too and he came up with the perfect tool – a suitable conversion fitting.
And it worked out! Domi and our host Wernher Hartzenberg went to “the Gas Boys” (a local gas refilling station) together, where they finally got our European bottle refilled.