Mar. 15—Some days a fire is lit under your ass.
The parts for my bike were due to arrive the morning of Friday, Mar. 17. They were being couriered a few thousand kms and through two countries to the very tip of Namibia, where we waited for them in Katima Mulilo.
By chance one day Dave noticed our visa entries for Namibia expired also on Mar. 17. They had only given us two weeks in their country, which was a surprise but in any case we needed to hustle.
Only we couldn’t do anything until the parts arrived. We were pushing it if anything went wrong.
On the afternoon of Thursday, Mar. 16, Dave and I rode two-up to the Namibian/Zambia border post, which was a mere six km (3.5 mi) from our hotel in Katima. We waited in line for about 10 minutes before we got to a window for an immigration officer where we asked if we could extend our visas for 24-48 hours (just to be on the safe side). She told us we needed to go to the police station in Katima (which didn’t really make sense). We asked if it would be a big problem if we were a day late in exiting the country.
“You’ll be arrested,” she said bluntly. Ok, so yes, a big problem.
We rode over to the police station. An officer there looked at us blankly when we asked about extending our visas. He said we needed to go to the immigration office in town. Ok, so now where is that office? He gave us directions and amazingly we found it, even though it was down a block with a dirt track and looked to be someone’s house. There were about a dozen locals waiting outside under a shaded seating area but they didn’t seem to be in any kind of line, so Dave and I opened the doors and walked inside.
One lady sat at a computer under a sign that read Birth Certificates. She looked at us then back at her computer. We walked over to the immigration window where there was no one. From there I could see the birth certificate woman was looking at Facebook. Dave walked over to her and politely asked if anyone could help us. She didn’t look up from the screen and mumbled something to Dave. He asked her to repeat, which she did but even more quietly. She seemed bored and irritated with us. This is the kind of thing that sparks a little rage inside me. Dave left the window frustrated and I marched up asking pointedly who could help us. She said they were on lunch. I asked when they got back. She said “It started at 2:00 p.m.” It was 1:50 p.m. I asked if she meant they returned at 2:00 p.m. or if they didn’t start lunch until then and if so, how long could lunch potentially go. Her answers to everything was a no-eye-contact, “I don’t know.”
I went back to my seat and we sat for a few minutes. The doors opened and the dozen people from outside filled in. They looked at us. We quickly removed all our motorcycle gear strewn over various seats so they could sit down. We wondered if we’d jumped the line but in fact they were all there for birth certificates and other ID stuff while we simply wanted an immigration officer.
We noticed a sign on a wall, handwritten and barely legible. It said Immigration. An arrow pointed down the hall. We walked down this hall and knocked on the officer’s door. He waved us in and nicely told us we needed to go down the hall to another office. Once there, the lady behind a desk piled huge with paperwork told us we were too late to extend our visas and besides which it would cost $40 each.
I assumed that because we’d done our best to try and extend the visas but couldn’t, that everything would work out with getting the parts on time.
The next day, the courier called us at 8:00 a.m. and we had our parts by 8:30 a.m. Dave had the new drive chain on my bike in less than two hours including chatting with a local as he worked. We were packed and ready to go before noon.
From there we entered into Chobe National Park. It was the first time we were allowed to enter a park on bikes (game parks call us ‘prey’), which meant it was the first time we would see elephants basically right by our elbows. It was a very cool experience.
Soon after entering Botswana we arrived in Kasane. We try not to plan large mileage days when there are borders involved. We booked into a campground at Chobe Park Lodge, which was a gorgeous building with a pool, spa, gift shop, bar, huge lounging area and dining room. It was also situated right on the Chobe River, which runs into the Zambezi and eventually over Victoria Falls. Even though we were camped, we were still allowed to use all the amenities.
If we felt sorry for ourselves eating noodles and salsa in a hotel room with barely functioning plumbing the last several nights, we were making up for it now.
Next post: Victoria Falls
We love comments. The comment field is below but you need to click into the first ‘comment’ field, then TAB (don’t click) to the other fields. If you have a prob, use our contact form. We always reply. Check back under your comment post for our reply, it may take a week or so.
Subscribe to Riding Full Circle: head to our home page, look to the left menu…SUBSCRIBE! Be sure to follow through with the confirmation e-mail that will be sent your way, which you’ll likely find in your spam folder.
Wanna join us for a leg? Contact us for any part of the trip you’d like to ride along with us or to suggest a place we should ride.