After some excellent last minute work by my Dad and his team to set up the back of our car, we were getting closer to the end of prepping Stanley. We had a snorkel put on and strapped the Jerry can holder to the roof, along with some sand ladders. Stanley was really starting to look the part. We moved out of our flat and moved in with my parents for a few short days, which were mostly spent in the back of the car, trying to locate the perfect position for that collapsible washing up bowl (in the pocket on the back door obviously).
Our next hurdle was we still did not have our Nigerian visas despite James spending 3 days in Fleet Street. This was a problem as this is a notoriously difficult visa to get on the road and was key to our route. There really is no other way to get to Cape Town down the West Coast without this visa. On the 22nd December, five days before departure, they refused our visas. James, with all his diplomacy skills, (I knew I was bringing him along for something) managed to persuade them to offer us an interview at least. At 9am. In central London. On the day he was meant to be flying home for Christmas at 10am. So off we went, battling Christmas shoppers left, right and santa...
Our interview occurred after 2 hours of queuing up in the cold when we got called in to speak to the High Commissioner, feeling like school kids being called into the Headmasters office. We explained our route and why we wanted a visa to Nigeria. "What does your mother think? Does she permit this?" We explained at the ages of 38 and 26, our mothers did permit this, although this was definitely a lie on my part. No, we were not married. Yes, we one day might be. No, we did not have children. Yes, we would consider them in the future. He confirmed that he would certainly not permit this if we did have children. Okay, we could have a visa! Handshakes all round! Can't stop for every impala... because we've spent so much time in the Nigerian High Commission.
So tomorrow, we set off! Tyres checked, oiled topped up, water filled up... would could possibly go wrong??
Liz Jarman & James Nunan
Our trip from Essex to Cape Town & back again
Km travelled : 50818km
Countries visited: 30