There are certain itches that occur in one’s life, and when the opportunity presents itself they should be scratched.
Being a civilised nation Botswana follows the “keep left” doctrine of driving (there are some exemptions, identified with blue number plates), so there is a thriving trade in used cars from the UK, Japan and Singapore.
The result of this is that in 2011 I spent quite a lot of time browsing Autotrader looking for possible acquisitions. The combination of heavy thirst, high fuel prices in the UK and a reputation for unreliability put the Range Rover P38 4.6 V8 within my budget. One evening in a fit of boredom at work (I was working away from home at the time) I texted my wife and asked “What colour?”
A month later a shipping agent from Walvis Bay delivered an Oxford Blue 2002 model to me in Maun.
On arrival it was wearing the numberplate Y297TOA and had 84,000 miles on the clock, at the time of writing it is wearing B448ATR (pronounced “batter”) and has an extra 42,000 miles under its wheels.
A couple of over-heating episodes, one air suspension failure and a tricksy misfire/fuelling issue are the worst ills it has thrown so far, and as with most things these days the internet provides clues, if not answers to just about any problem.
The thirst (500km out of a 100 litre fuel tank) and trepidation over some catastrophic failure is outweighed by the fact that the cabin is a lovely place to be, as a friend of mine* put it, “it’s like driving a summer house.”
Most of its miles have been accumulated between Maun and Francistown, but more serious adventures have included a couple of trips up to Chingola in Zambia (tar roads), Moremi Game Reserve, Kgwebe Hills, Makgadkgadi Pans and Nxai Pan.
* It was a trip in his Range a couple of years earlier that started my itch.