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  • Day185

    Leaving Africa

    March 18, 2020 in Namibia ⋅ ☁️ 5 °C

    The time has come to leave this amazing continent behind.

    Ideally, we would have liked to stay another two weeks, to explore a little bit more of Namibia and head to Botswana. However, Coronavirus has the world in its grip, and borders are starting to close. At least now we have a reason to come back to Africa in the future.

    Windhoek is starting to shut down, and it has had its first cases of Corona- two Romanian tourists. The tourist industry is already taking a massive hit- our car rental company has had all of its bookings cancelled, and the taxi drivers are just sat around doing nothing. In a country that relies heavily on tourism, this will be a disaster.

    The airport is on full pandemic mode, with staff wearing face masks, signs warning about the disease and hand sanitiser bottles everywhere. We board the plane, but have to wait for a couple of hours. It seems that some disembarking passengers were turned back at the border, because Namibia is no longer letting people into the country. They have to board the plane again to go back to Johannesburg. It means that the border was probably closed whilst they were in the air. We start to get a little nervous about our connecting flights, especially since Katie is Canadian and we're heading to the UK.

    At Johannesburg airport, we have to be screened for the virus. Our temperatures are taken, and we see an old Portuguese man being taken to the side after being tested.

    Luckily, we're able to get on our next flight, and land safely in London the next morning. At Heathrow, it seems like there is no pandemic. No-one takes our temperature, there are no face-masks, no sanitiser bottles or anything- just business as normal. We make our connecting flight and land safely in Leeds.

    Chris' mum picks us up. She's been watching the live flight information online, and it turns out we picked the only route that got us back without a hitch. If we had decided to go through Cape Town rather than Joburg (which was our first plan), we would have been stuck, since the onward flight to London was cancelled. If we had taken an earlier or later flight to Leeds from London, we would have been stranded in London, as they were cancelled, too.

    In any case, we're now back in the UK, in unusual times. Africa has been good to us, and we have many amazing memories to reflect back on. We crossed a vast continent, through rainforests and deserts, over mountains and oceans, and mostly overland (except that ONE flight in Mozambique). It's been a fantastic adventure. Sat here at home with nothing to do, we feel oddly flat. But at least we'll still have the memories (and a load of African football shirts).
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