Okay, we really did think about it…a lot. We painted the worst-case scenario: we broke down, couldn’t fix it ourselves, and we would have to call Safari Drive to bail us out. Given the remoteness of this route, we could be stuck for a day or two or three, really disrupting several days self-drive in the park. But, we are self-contained: we have food, water, shelter and beer.
We drove through Petauke – it’s far more developed than any of the guide books led us to believe. There were many lodge/camping options: many of them looked new, probably opening after the last guidebooks were published. Frankly, some looked like better options than last night’s campsite in the dirt.
There were plenty of people, goats and cattle on the road for the first 100 kilometers, and evidence that many villages had new boreholes and pumps. The road was well constructed and graded, and we passed several crews building diverter bars in the drainages to prevent roadside erosion.
After awhile, the road began to narrow and get more rutted. While the way was clear as we started to head down the escarpment, the road started to look more like a cobbled river drainage than an actual road. We came up behind a large open bed trailer-truck, loaded with sacks of maize, and about 8 or 9 people perched on top of the load. We figured that there must be a bigger settlement beyond the escarpment, and if that big truck could make the route so could we. It didn’t dawn on me until later that if that truck broke down in front of us, depending on the location, we might not be able to get around it.
Fortunately, nothing like this happened, and we were able to leave the truck behind somewhere past the escarpment.