Ubuntu Makasi

Realizing our dream of traveling through Africa & collecting inspiring stories to promote Ubuntu (humanity/human connections)

3rd Blog Post: Finally leaving SA for Mozambique!

Dear family, friends & followers,

we trust you had a great long Easter weekend and enjoyed this well-deserved break with your loved ones! We admit, it has been ages since our last blog posting (ca. 4 months!) and a loooooooot has happened since then!


Being on Africa’s roads, especially with our little, always active explorer toddler girl, managing the daily logistics while traveling with our zebra motorhome, and just digesting all the new places with all our senses leaves us quite exhausted at the end of each day – so social media updates often take then less of a priority…
We are meanwhile in the beautiful heart of Africa, Malawi, and have tried to update you bit by bit over the last weeks via our various social media channels (facebook, twitter & instagram), and I will now try to cover with each new blog posting one of the already travelled countries.

The past Easter weekend gave me time for reflection of our time back in December last year, when we just prepared our long awaited departure from South Africa: A minor oil leak already discovered in Germany with plans to fix it in Cape Town turned into an engine issue after traveling Namibia’s tough gravel roads. The important and expansive repairs in Cape Town delayed us for 5 extra weeks – but filled us with trust and reassurance that we can finally hit Africa’s roads with a ready 4×4 camper.

imageWe made it nearly to Botswana where we had planned to spend Christmas in the famous wildlife-rich Okavango Delta when our beloved Ubuntu Makasi had developed a re-occuring oil leak which turned out to be another serious engine issue due to a job not properly done in Cape Town. We were highly frustrated and worried, not only about the unexpected additional costs that would diminish our precious savings even more – before we even really started our journey -, but also our visas for South Africa, Botswana and Mozambique were running out!image

Fortunately, we had found a great, passionate mechanic in Upington, known for taking up new challenges and his sense of humour, who went the extra mile with his team working through the weekend and late nights to finish our engine before the Christmas holidays.

imageFor more than 1.5 weeks, we could stay in our motorhome at the mechanic’s workshop backyard in Upington, South Africa’s hottest town with up to 45 degrees (!), while they worked at the engine – quite a challenge to keep our little girl entertained in this hot, non-child friendly place, but we managed with our toy collection, creativity and thanks to a local artist Chris Basson who would visit several times and always bringing refreshments like cooldrinks & ice cream. On the last day, he even gifted us with one of his unique art work of tata Madiba – what a humbling Ubuntu experience!
We were very excited to take our Ubuntu Makasi on the 23rd December for a final test drive and ready to hit the road to Mozambique (as our Botswana visa had expired the previous day) before also our SA visa would expire the next days. However, when Tresor and mechanic Henk came back, I could see already from their disappointed faces that the worst case scenario happened: despite the major engine repair, there was still oil leaking!
As the workshop closed for 2 weeks Christmas holidays, we took immediately the night bus to Cape Town to report next morning to Home Affairs that we had no other chance than to overstay our visa due to being stuck with our motorhome in Upington and asking for an urgent visa extension.
Well, I am not going into the frustrating details dealing with Home Affairs after they had implemented new visa regulations in 2014, which has already eg. separated lots of bi-national families by declaring the non-South African partner as a ‘undesired person’ for a min. 1 year to max. 5 years… In short, after consultation with Home Affairs, we voluntarily asked for an ‘Order to Leave’ South Africa within 2 weeks once the motorhome was fixed in January as we could neither afford the new expensive visa extensions costs nor were we interested in waiting several months to get a visa extension for just 2-3 weeks granted. And we had to swallow the very bitter pill of – after living for 8-10 years in South Africa as our home, getting married here as well as our daughter being born here – becoming declared as ‘undesirable persons’ for a year!
However, we were grateful for being able to spend another 3 weeks in our beautiful Cape Town and celebrating Christmas and New Year’s with family and friends.

We also used the extra delay time constructively by continuing to work on our first short documentary (we started in Upington) about our African journey so far and how we managed the various challenges, which we cut then down to a shorter crowdfunding video for our newly launched Gofundme campaign to try cover at least part of all the unexpected costs for engine repairs, route changes, new visas etc. to be able to continue our Africa trip and capture inspiring stories to promote Africa as an uprising continent of hidden potentials.

imageWe finally took the nightbus back to Upington on the 13th January 2016 and our mechanic finalized the new unique adaptation of our camper’s oil pipe system with a successful test drive on the 15th January. We were then left with 2 days to imagemake the more than 1000km to the Komatipoort border post to Mozambique to avoid our 3rd visa from expiring. Driving passed Johannesburg/Pretoria and through the beautiful province Mpumalanga, we reached Komatipoort around 6pm on the 17th January. After lengthy procedures due to registering our new infamous ‘undesirability status’ with our fingerprints etc. in the national system (despite border personnel feeling very sorry about our special situation), we made it finally after 8pm to the Mozambique border post. image

And wow, we immediately felt being in another country, as suddenly a group of determined men without uniforms approached us offering their ‘help’ service with the border procedures which we first tried without until realizing that the border staff seemed to speak Portuguese (& local Mozambican languages) only! And even worse, one older immigration lady tried to make us understand via one of the English-speaking ‘helpers’ that our visa had apparently already expired even though it clearly stated the date 17th January as the last day to enter and even the ‘helper’ tried his best to convince her. She remained stubborn and wanted us all to pay for new visas and us being confused and exhausted with Benisha already over-tired, we just tried to draw money at the only ATM at the border which (luckily) did not work with either of our 2 cards.

In our desperation, Tresor went off in the dark with one of the ‘helpers’, our money card and a walky-talky that I should only use for emergency as the ‘helper’ took Tresor illegally passing by the border personnel to an ATM on the other side of the border. I was just sweating and hoping that the ‘helper’ indeed just wanted to assist us as Tresor was in quite a vulnerable position alone with the money card while the rest of the ‘helpers’ were hanging around our camper trying to sell car insurances, sim cards etc. and me trying to calm Benisha and make her sleep inside. Tresor safely came back and after trying both cards again in vain, we had no other chance than spending the night visa-free in ‘no-man’s land’ between both borders. Luckily, we had a bit peace of mind, as we were in contact with our friend Tina in Maputo, who would try to assist us in the morning with the border personnel and assured us that it was safer to stay where we are than traveling the road to Maputo at night without proper road lights and quite a few bribe-hungry traffic police (also known as ‘transitos’) just waiting for foreign travelers like us.image

The next morning, the ATM miraculously worked and we had a friendly immigration person that could even speak a bit of English and who was wondering why we did not enter yesterday as today our visa had expired! Oh boy, were we angry and especially Tresor was close to explode! We explained him the situation and the lady even passed by without a sense of remorse… it turned out that luckily, he was her superior, and between acknowledging her mistake, but also trying to protect her, and our friend Tina trying to speak with them in Portugese on the phone, it still took Tresor half an hour of chatting with him and connecting with him in Swaheli for us being able to finally enter Mozambique with our original visas without having to pay new ones!
What a start of our journey through Mozambique – and even more adventures awaited us… so follow our blog to not miss the next posting!

PS: You can still support us by donating via Paypal, Gofundme or directly into our German or SA account. And, by sharing our campaign with your family, friends & networks.


Ubuntu Makasi on the Road & more Media exposure!

Dear family, friends & followers,
we are sending you festive/Christmas greetings from hot Upington in the Green Kalahari, near the Namibian/Botswana border, which is apparently the hottest town in South Africa – and after an average of 36 degrees the past days and steaming 42 degrees yesterday that cooked up everything in our motorhome, we believe it, too! Ever tried brushing with hot tooth paste, cooling down your electrical devices on freezer blocks to prevent over-heating or lying on a pre-heated mattress in a hot summer night? Well, you got the idea – and it’s definitely another important hardcore test for our Ubuntu Makasi for the other planned African countries closer to the equator…


Since our departure from our beloved Cape Town two weeks ago, we did test-driving with our zebra camper up the N7 towards Namibia after important engine repairs in Cape Town. We had stops in one of South Africa’s best campsites, in Tietiesbaai near picturesque Paternoster, then at small town Garies’s local petrol station where the young manager was so kind to give us not only a safe parking place for the night, but also keys to their very clean staff bathroom facility! Our next overnight stop was in the mining town Aggeneys, where we were warmly welcomed by Ranjeed from India and his local girlfriend at their home, both chefs in the mining resort’s restaurant, where we learned more about the mining community – and after further stops in Pofadder and Kakamas, we have been spending the last days at Upington’s beautiful campsite along the Orange River, while an experienced mechanic is currently checking out an oil leak at our camper before we cross borders!


So that’s just as a quick trip update! We are also happy about more people following our African journey on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram, and we are especially excited about the published interviews & articles about us and our trip, so if you haven’t seen them yet, please check them out on the following platforms:

1. ‘What a Mission’ website via founder & social entrepreneur Melanie Akerboom:
2. Our media partner African Perspectives via founder & consultant Jo Havemann:
3. Berry Gargan’s (radio & print journalist) highly recommendable article about our trip:
4. ‘Adventurous Chica’ website via Elle Afrique editor Nellie Umutesi:

We are also already looking forward to share soon with you our new ‘Ubuntu Makasi Helpers’ series as we have been already overwhelmed and touched by the interest, support & welcome by the people we met just alone the last days during our SA journey!

Enjoy the festive season with your beloved ones!
Peace & love,
Dayana, Tresor & Benisha


Ready to hit the road & 1st Media Interview

After preparing our Africa trip in Berlin, Germany, and after deciding for many reasons to change our travel route upside-down, we had shipped our 4×4 motorhome ‘Ubuntu Makasi’ in September 2015 to Namibia and test-drove it first time on African gravel roads to Cape Town to officially start our African adventure from here.

We had our trusted mechanic with his comitted team in Cape Town working on it over the last weeks to make sure our engine, the heart of our unique zebracamper, is prepared enough to take us on our long African journey. Meanwhile, we have been starting filmshooting selected social entrepreneurs, African dancers and poets to share their inspiring stories as part of our film documentary of our African adventure.

We also have been busy getting on more social media platforms, besides our facebook group, and are now officially on Twitter (@UbuntuMakasi) and Instagram, which makes sharing our exciting African journey with family, friends & followers much easier! So just follow us there if you not yet doing so already :)!

And, just in time before we are starting our trip this Friday (4th. Dec 2015) departing for Botswana, we feel privileged to have been interviewed by various media channels and will be hopefully even featured in an upcoming newspaper article here in Cape Town! Here is the link to our first interview, by Melanie Akerboom from What a Mission:

Finally, we are excited to have our first partners on board and also hope to win you and other supporters along our way to realize our dream and document our journey through film, as due to the unexpected shipping costs for our motorhome and having to do still some mechanical work on our engine, we would be grateful for any donations that you can easily give via this paypal link: or via our newly created Gofundme campaign:

Looking forward to have you following our African family adventure :)!

Dayana, Tresor & Benishaimage

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