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The journey home. Friday 15 January, day 282, week 36. Bloemfontein.

 

“A wise traveler never despises his own country”.

 

• Into South Africa.

• Bloemfontein City Lodge hotel.

• Distance covered 843km, taking 11hr.

We were heading for the Tlokweng/ Skilpadshek border post near Gaborone. The roads were excellent and we made good time, the border being reached after 3hr 25min and 288km. Most people avoid this border post about 40km due east of the capitol Gaborone expecting it to be very busy. To the contrary we have always found it to be quiet and well organized. It is however very important to be aware of the bypass around busy Gaborone. On the road leading south into Gaborone, just after the 20km sign, there is a turnoff to the left (east), signposted Oodi B135. Take this tarred minor road which links up with the Gabs – Border post road. At S24 37,707 E26 07,672 turn right and then at S24 40,231 E26 07,672 turn left (east) at the T – junction to reach the road to the border. It is 6,9km from here to the post.

PROCEDURE AT THE TLOKWENG/SKILPADSHEK BORDER POST.

As I have said before this is our favourite border post when leaving Botswana. In my opinion this applies to all travelers heading for or coming from south of the Vaal and Gariep (Orange) Rivers in South Africa. The alternative a little further south at Lobatse seems to be far busier and generally more chaotic. Also using Lobatse one has to drive through the very capitol Gaborone and then on the busy road south to Lobatse. Most of the international traffic seems to use the border posts further north such as Martin’s Drift, making for the Witwatersrand. It is just as well when having a final destination further south, to avoid the busy Rand area. When using Tlokweng/Skilpadshek be sure to use the Gaborone bypass as detailed above. On both sides of the border there are modern admin offices with a one-office service and sufficient staff. We have never found queues here but of course it is possible.

This border crossing at mid-morning took a very speedy 20min for both sides.

Botswana side.

Park at S24 42,248 E26 05,540. Enter red facebrick building on right.

Customs. Report to 3rd window signposted Customs, Departure and goods clearance. Fill in vehicle register book. Get gate pass.

Immigration. Go down passage to appropriate window, labelled SADC, Foreign residents etc. Complete Arrival/departure form and have passport stamped out. South African citizens require no visa. Get immigration to stamp gate pass, this is handed in at the gate as you drive to the nearby South African offices.

South African side.

Park at S24 42,414 E26 05,680. Enter the yellow facebrick building on your right.

Immigration. Proceed to the appropriately labelled window and have passport stamped.

Customs. Just down the passage find the appropriate window, just state nothing to declare and proceed, no gate pass needed. Drive through light vehicle inspection area, you may be searched and your passports are checked.

It was still relatively early and we drove through to Bloemfontein via the same northern Free State route that I detailed when we first drove north. Some of the potholed sections had been worked on but parts of this backroad route require a complete upgrade. Shocking to see were the effect of the very severe drought. Some of the maize areas looked like a dessert with just sand to be seen.

We slept for the night at the City Lodge Hotel, they have good security for the loaded vehicle.

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