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To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries - Aldous Huxley

12 May 2019, Oshikango, Namibia to Ondjiva, Angola, 42,3km
Pensão S.O.S. Tropical AK6,000 (R285)


Exchange rate: Rand 1 (R): Angolan Kwanza 22,45 (Kz)

No matter how often I enter a new country, and no matter that I know it takes only a few minutes for me to adapt to a new environment, I am always a little anxious about the process, about whether or not I will cope with the unknown.
Crossing from Namibia, which was immediately familiar due to its similarity to South Africa, to Angola, was no exception. I arose with anxiety, and packed with anxiety, and breakfasted with anxiety, and got on the bike with anxiety. But was soon at ease…
The border crossing was less than a kilometre from our motel, and quickly reached. There was no queue at 07:30-ish on a Sunday, and the official with whom we dealt, his squint eye corrected by his glasses, without verbally agreeing to place his exit stamp on the page I requested, in fact did so. With 21 countries through which to travel, 17 of which require visas, we are trying to persuade border officials to conserve passport pages - so far successfully.
The Angolan border authorities were immediately beyond the border fence, and we were immediately conscious of the new. We had to change from cycling on the left to cycling on the right, and all the signage was in Portuguese only, leading to some confusion. In fact, it took us five attempts before we found ourselves at the right desk. The officials we dealt with, with one exception, were friendly and tried to be helpful though they spoke no English. But there is always one, one who thrives on petty bureaucracy, this morning’s a hair twirler who could have set us right with a pointed finger only had she bothered to lift her butt out of her chair. We did not show our irritation, which serves little purpose. Our passports were stamped, our bags searched, more from curiosity we believe than any real need. The search was very cursory and did not uncover, for example, my pepper spray, carried easily-to-hand in my handlebar bag.
And then we were across and immediately into Santa Clara. We were really happy to see motorised two-and three-wheelers in use, never understanding why these useful vehicular options are underutilised in both Namibia and South Africa. Shouts of “Change” followed us through town as the money-changers touted for business. And friendly cries of “Olá” and “Amigo”. Within minutes we were on the road to Namacunde and Ondjiva, the N105A which runs all the way to Luanda on the coast. The road is in perfect condition, with the added bonus of a wide shoulder, bliss for cyclists. It runs here through lightly-populated bush, leaves hinting of autumn.
There was very little traffic, but even so, when I saw a small tortoise crossing the road, I parked my bike on the shoulder, intending to move her out of harm’s way. Just then a taxi appeared, moving fast. I gestured for the driver to avoid the tortoise, which he obligingly did, and then quickly trundled her to the safety of the opposite verge.
We had not researched where to stay in Ondjiva, hoping for a cohesive centre with options for sleeping and eating. If there is a cohesive centre, it is not on the main road through town. We pottered around for a while, then accosted a well-dressed church-goer on the pavement, who directed us to a cheap pensão (guesthouse). Finding an ATM that would actually dispense cash required visiting five different banks. And unfortunately, with almost everything closed on a Sunday, we were unable to get local SIMs and data packages for our mobile phones. But tomorrow is another day and we are happy with our first taste of Angola.

For today's route see below photos
For overview route, click on ROUTE tab above…

Oshikango to Ondjiva - Santa Clara
Oshikango to Ondjiva - Santa Clara
Oshikango to Ondjiva - Nomacunde
Oshikango to Ondjiva - Nomacunde
Oshikango to Ondjiva
Oshikango to Ondjiva
Oshikango to Ondjiva
Oshikango to Ondjiva
Oshikango to Ondjiva
Oshikango to Ondjiva
Oshikango to Ondjiva
Oshikango to Ondjiva
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