New engine, beefed up hydraulic winch and a bit of TLC, We decided to leave the dents….. we don’t want any “mutton dressed as lamb” jokes.
We are off to live in Africa and will be based in Nairobi.
Well what an adventure…despite a bit of random thievery on the boat on the way back and extensive use of our vans facility’s by the crew, the van is now safely back in England. MOT’d, Serviced, Repaired where necessary and ready to roll on the next stage of the plan.
We have decided that the next trip wont be another 12 month-er so Summer 2012 to Turkey and East is on the cards giving us time to gather our strength
11 months, 18 countries and 3 revolutions later we have finally made it to Cape Town.
We had a lovely few days with Tom and Victoria in Constantia, Toms company
Avoova makes the most wonderful Ostrich Egg accessories and furniture…think everything from tables for an Oligarch’s yacht to gorgeous picture frames.
We spent time in Stellanbosch drinking wine and eating far too much and then wound our way down the coast to Cape Point. We stayed with friends Connor and his daughter Slaney in Camps Bay and had our first “English… (oops Irish) dinner party” for 11 months
Bit of an unsettling last few days in Tanzania…4 French cyclists who we met were robbed at gun point, passports money the lot, just outside Dar. They were helped out by Lucio at Mikadi beach, the police didn’t understand that they had been robbed and couldn’t pay the 1000 shilling fee to report the crime or pay transport back to the campsite until they could get more money(!)… the next day another couple at the same campsite were robbed at knife point on the beach all rather disappointing because Tanzania had been terrific until then.
Our trip to Malawi was rather marred by 4 motoring offenses, overtaking a slow moving truck on a straight road with a dotted white centre line ( fine 20,000) doing 63kph in a 50 ( actual speed 40, fine 20,000) doing 53kph in a 50 (believable, fine 43,000 two offenses, speeding and disobeying the road sign ….) and lastly not having reflective tips on the van……( a must have accessory in this part of the world!) Anyway 14,000 miles three revolutions and only 4 “tickets” not too bad.
Apart from that, the drive through southern Tanzania was beautiful
tea plantations, pine forests, miles of Hydrangeas a wonderful night and dinner at
Kisolanza old farm house
the farm has a huge vegetable garden and farm shop so we bought fresh lettuce, sugar snap peas, radishes, free range farm eggs bread and a whole fillet. Could have been at home!
We are now on Lake Malawi
at Chitimba Camp a beautiful beach side haven on the coast of the lake which is the southern most lake in the great rift valley and huge at nearly 30,000 square kilometers ….apparently it holds more species of fish than any other body of fresh water on earth…earlier we drove up the escarpment road to the Mushroom farm, another well recommended local camp site but totally unsuitable for overland vehicles larger than a short wheel base landrover with a roof top tent…. It was without doubt the worst road we have encountered with vertical drops from the mud and rock track plunging thousands of feet to the valley below and no real chance of turning back once you had committed. The views were spectacular but not for those with vertigo.
The ongoing diplomatic spat between Britain and Malawi over comments made by the British High Commissioner who said that Bingu wa Mutharika the President, was becoming “ever more autocratic and intolerant of criticism” after spending £8m on a new presidential jet ……and then advising that we cut our aid budget ( we are Malawi’s largest aid donor). It doesn’t seem to bother the police or border officials thank goodness and we are keeping the union jack on the van for the moment. Anyway, our man was expelled and the Malawi ambassador in London expelled in retaliation… a classic tit for tat.
Once we left the outskirts of Arusha heading towards the national parks and we had left the coffee growing area behind the locals reverted to traditional Masai dress. Although fashion and tradition vary from area to area it was explained to us that the father of the house wore black and red check (think tartan) red blanket with long hair denoting warrior status, the black with an ostrich feather post circumcision but not yet a warrior. (whole feather someone who had been circumcised like a true Masai, cut feather one who had cried or otherwise behaved in an un warrior like way) The women were equally structured the mothers wearing a maroon cloak the other ranks differentiated by style and quantity of jewelry.
Ngorongoro crater was spectacular we camped overlooking it but didn’t venture into the crater itself preferring to keep the US$200 for the Serengeti at US$50 per day.
The public camp sites were fine and at this time of year fairly empty. Although Bruce who went off to fetch wood in the dark fell over a zebra. Incidentally the Masai word for Serengeti is Siringitu meaning literally the land that goes on for ever. It does.
We saw the most unbelievable range of animals, lion
and we watched them on a kill
elephant, a solitary bad tempered bull.
and lots of family groups, zebra in their thousands.
wildebeest again in their thousands, giraffe… one who was fascinated by our van and very nearly stuck its head in through the sun roof which we had removed for better game viewing, buffalo.
hippo in and out of the water,
their ears like little satellite dishes , crocodile cruising like prehistoric submarines, countless antelope of different types and birds in their millions. Not to mention the tsetse fly when we got close to zebra.
The dirt roads weren’t that challenging but we lost a rubber stop on our suspension and had a new one manufactured out of the tyre of an earth mover!
African ingenuity at its best.