A long but luxurious flight on a Qatar 787 Dreamliner in business class from Oslo to Doha, then to Cape Town.
Champagne, Australian Shiraz, Martini, Baileys. Arabic mezze, seared fillet of fish with lemon and spring veg, white chocolate and ginger cheesecake. Great food, great service, great seat. Even the nuts that arrive withe champagne have been warmed and are delicious.
Quick visit to the Al Mourjad lounge at Doha airport, which is impressive, then another luxurious flight to Cape Town.
My luggage arrives intact, and Amos from Avis is waiting to drive me to the safari rental depot, where he spends the next 90 minutes taking me through the operation of all the gear on the massive Ford Ranger. Roof tents, gas stove, solar panel, water tank, compressor, table and chairs… There’s a long list and I’ve forgotten most of it already.
Massively relieved to have arrived and found the right vehicle waiting for me instead of some double booking nightmare, I then have a nightmare driving the enormous thing across Cape Town to the Hilton.
It’s huge. So big that it won’t fit into the underground parking at the hotel so I have even more nerve-wracking tight manoeuvring in busy traffic to eventually dump it on the pavement in front of the hotel entrance, where I tip the security guards to keep an eye on it.
Awkward not to be able to get into the private parking where I could spend time setting things up and learning how things work, but now it’s much more important that it gets through the night without being robbed…
A complimentary upgrade to a suite with a view of Table Mountain and Signal Hill, currently shrouded in cloud, eases my concerns, and there’s more relief when I unpack Solo to find it’s come through intact and it quickly locks onto GPS to declare “ready to fly”.
All the initial hurdles seem to have been cleared and so tomorrow, if the truck is still there when I wake up, I have to pick up supplies and prepare for hitting the road towards Namibia.
And I have to get used to driving such an enormous vehicle.