I was born to be a duchess: In search of the ‘hippocrocoduck’

pic: Pixabay

ALTHOUGH we both accepted that detailed scripts were out of the question, we felt that we should choose a theme to work to.

‘In Search of the Sitatunga’ was a film we wanted to make one day, but we stood very little chance of seeing one on this trip. We thought about going ‘In Search of’ something else, but everything else seemed commonplace and boring.

So we pinched a phrase from Mike and Wendy, and went ‘In Search of the Hippocrocoduck’, a figment of Mike’s imagination, which had the head of a hippo, the body of a crocodile and the tail of a duck.

Prior to departure, I had ordered 2kg of biltong and 2kg of Jägerwurst, because both of these keep almost indefinitely without refrigeration and our deep freeze was already filled to capacity with fresh meat and beer.

Halfway to Mopipi, I found that we had left the biltong at home, but we didn’t bother to go back for it. A little bit of Jägerwurst goes a long way.

Leaving at 3pm, we had no hope of getting to Tsoi by nightfall, but we hoped to be able to put the worst part of the road behind us and camp just beyond Toromoja.

We bumped, bounced and battled our way across the first 30 of the 35 ghastly kilometres from Mopipi to Toromoja and ground to a noisy halt. The back wheels just did not want to turn.

We didn’t know whether we had sheared something in the rear diff or broken a half-shaft, but either way it looked like the end of our holiday.

Dejectedly we turned for Orapa, in four-wheel-drive, so that the front wheels could tow the back ones.

The following morning the battery was flat and Samantha had to be towed ignominiously to the service station. Then, I’m happy to say, our luck changed for the better.

The damage turned out to be relatively minor.

The spare parts were in stock in Francistown and could be put on the Orapa bus that same afternoon. And the mechanic at the garage wasn’t very busy. Within 48 hours of breaking down, we were on the road again.


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Susan Cooke
Features Editor

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