It all started in the last days of the Namibia-Kaokoveld trip… when someone (I think it was bil Dewald) asked over the radio “so where are we going next?” The idea of a trip by road to Serengeti was born. That was 2009, three years ago.
Lots of discussions between various parties around braaivleis fires, and over wine, beer and JD took place over a period of about 2 years. Basically every time the family got together, the trip was a main point of discussion. Hannes from Canada at once stage contemplated flying into Dar Es Salam, picking up a vehicle there and joining us in the Serengeti, but was told in no uncertain terms they either do the whole trip with us all the way from SA, or they go alone.
Dewald put in an enormous amount of effort, investigating everything, roads, places, campsites, coming up with preliminary routes, ideas etc. His input and research was invaluable. First weekend in Nov 2011 we met at bil Jan’s place in Pretoria, and after quite a few glasses of wine and JD, a rough final route was decided upon.
We would drive up through Zim to Mana Pools, then through Zambia to Tanzania, drive up the west of Tanzania on the eastern side of Lake Tanganyika, enter Serengeti from the west (as that was where the migration would be), through Serengeti to Ngorongoro, down the eastern side of Tanzania into Malawi, drive down Lake Malawi and come back through the Tete corridor in Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
Bil Philip couldn’t go with this time, which left the following:
Bil Dewald, wife Lisa and sons Dewald (11) and Leon (9), driving a 70 Series Toyota Land Cruiser, towing his Echo Kavango caravan;
Bil Jan and Alta, driving a Toyota Hilux DC 4.0 V6, (loaded to the rafters (literally) with everything possibly necessary to fix anything that could possibly break on a 4 week trip to the Serengeti) towing a new Echo Kavango caravan;
Friend (and brother) Hannes from Canada with wife Louize, and sons Berin (he turned 16 during the trip) and Bennett (12), driving a rented 70 Series Land Cruiser, and towing an Echo Chobe (which he bought from Bil Jan);
Yours truly, with Swamb’s (Ansie) and daughter Liné (17) and son Hennard (13), driving Forest (Toyota Fortuner 4.0 V6), and towing an Imagine Comfortvan (the new Gump).
We left Barberton on 23 June 2012, and met up late that afternoon at Jan’s place in Pretoria with Hannes, who had flown in from Canada early that morning to pick up his rental vehicle, do some shopping and start packing the Chobe. Some glitch prevented him getting the Chobe, but at least that meant he could do some shopping. We were packed, stacked and ready to go.
Saturday was mostly spent with last minute shopping at Makro and the Men’s Pharmacy, and some packing for Hannes. We all went eating out that evening together. Sunday- Departure day- arrived. Hannes left early to fetch Louize and the boys from Oliver Tambo- they only arrived then as the boys had to finish exams and school on Friday. We waited on a bed of hot coals. They finally arrived, and after some real late minute packing by Hannes and Louize at Dewald and Lisa’s -which basically involved just dumping everything still left outside into the Chobe- we finally left Pretoria at about 09h30 on 25 June 2012.
Last Minute packing
The trip up north was fairly uneventful. We stopped at Sis in law Heleen and Frans in Polokwane for her famous rusks (for early morning coffee on the trip) and some ground netting and a hosepipe for the Chobe- Hannes and Dewald had left that particular bag in Dewald’s garage…
We arrived at Beitbridge and met up with Dewald’s connection- guy called Blessing- and a blessing he was. He helped us through the slippery bits and stayed with us until all were done.
It was only there that I discovered that both Forest and Gump’s registration numbers on my Carnet de Passage was wrong!! That caused me a lot of stress at all the border crossings, but my 17 year old daughter kept assuring me that all will be fine, as she prayed us through all crossings. And she was right. I’m quite sure that numbers were changed and eyes were closed thanks to her prayers, and we got through all border crossings without a hitch.
Speaking of which, I will not drive anywhere in Africa (apart from Botswana or Namibia) without a carnet. It certainly made life a lot easier, and although a bit costly initially, most certainly worth it.
After about an hour and a half at Beit, we left. It was dark then, and I had my first (of many) drives in Africa after dark. Not nice. I didn’t like, still don’t like it, and never will like it. But if you want to do what we did in the time that we did it, it’s part of the journey.
We arrived at the famous Lion and Elephant at about 20h00, and immediately went to supper, as the kitchen closes at 20h30. We met up with Alta’s bil Ampie and Wynand and their families (they together with another brother also shared a part of our trip to Namibia) who would stay with us until Mana Pools. Had our first Zambezi’s (a few), the chicken, pork and hamburgers were good, steak not.
We pitched camp with the Imagine for the first time. Easy. Got everything right- not immediately necessarily- but did. Slept right through the noise of trucks on the mains road some 100m away.
kamp by Elephan
Monday morning: 26 June 2012. Left Lion and Elephant at about 07h00.
Ry by Elephant
Hannes and Louize- although they booked into a chalet and did not camp- to give Louize a chance to sort out the Chobe- were last already…
Hanne laaste by Elephant
The road and trip to Chinoyi was long and boring- must confess that it is not the most beautiful part of Africa. We had brunch along the way somewhere.
Piekniek langs pad na Chinoyi
We decided to push as far past Chinoyi as possible, to make the next day’s trip shorter. Arrived at a camp site about 120 km past Chinoyi. Although nice initially, the grass (or scrubs) were very long, site untidy and bathrooms absolutely atrocious. Needless to say, no hot water. It appears as though it was quite good once, neglect has taken it’s toll.
Kook by Chinoyi
(I will refrain from naming the bad campsites by name in this report, but will definitely name the good ones by name.)
Some local entrepreneurs sold hot showers for the next morning at a nearby lodge to some very gullible members of our party for if I remember correctly $2US – no names mentioned… Needless to say, they all left either cold or dirty…
Tuesday 27 June 2012: Target: Mana Pools. Short drive (km wise) of some 190 clicks, first 100 od km’s nice tar road- quite, and a nice drive... Overtaking Africa way... remember we had 2-way radios, so the driver in front guided the others through- those radios, man, they made half the trip...
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We got some last minute supplies as we went into the park some 15 km’s short of the turn-off.
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Check the marking second from top left (and remember the fifth one from top left)
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In Africa, roads with steep gradients make light meals out of large, heavy trucks. This little pass some 5 km’s from the turn off brought the first of quite a number of truck carcasses we saw during the trip.
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The last 90 km is gravel road… serious, bonecrunching, breastshaking, falseteethshattering sinkplaat gravel, especially the first 35 odd km’s after the turn-off. We took the tire pressure down to 1.5, but it didn’t help much.
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Thereafter it gets a bit better, but only a little bit. Awesome scenery. The first of very many magnificent Baobabs. I must say, that for me is the spirit and the essence of Africa, a Baobab tree. We saw thousands of Baobabs, and I think I will remember the Baobabs long after any lion, leopard, elephant, cheetah or anything else we saw and experienced.
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We finally reached Mana Camp, and after pitching camp...
Manapools camping is open, meaning the campsites are not fenced. These are some of the spoor I picked up after the first morning... there was also some elephant spoor.
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Any guesses as to this?
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On Wednesday eve we actually spotted a spotted hyena in the camp some 50m from where we were sitting around the fire… The next morning a baboon raided Dewald’s camp and took of with their rusks bin. We all shouted, and as Dewald explained later: he went from deep sleep in the Kavango to 100 yards in 2,3 seconds. Luckily they managed to save most of the rusks and their bin.
We also went out in canoes on the river- challenging for me and Hannes, especially upstream.
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On our way to the riverbed, we nearly walked into a buffalo, but he guide saw him in time. This ellie on the riverbank was annoyed at our return.
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Speaking of ellie, we saw quite a number of them in Mana, but mostly from some distance away. On our way driving there both Hannes and myself were chased by a cheeky elephant next to the road. Ampie was also chased, almost with disastrous consequences. They went driving in the reserve and at one point got out and relaxed on the riverbank under some trees while the boys did some fishing. Ampie wandered of towards some elephant in the distance to get some photo’s, when suddenly he heard people scream.
He looked only to find they were shouting at him, and when he turned, he saw why. There was an elephant coming directly for him from another angle. He started running towards the people shouting, who later turned out to be contractors building a lodge on the river bank. As he ran towards them, they came towards him, shouting, banging on their shovels and tools. Ampie says he remembers contemplating throwing his camera at the elephant which was gaining on him fast. His wife Chrisna, who sat reading under a tree, saw the whole thing from a distance and started praying for who she thought was somebody else’s child running from the elephant.
And then the elephant turned away. The workers afterwards told Ampie that it came so close to him that it actually started reaching out to him with it’s trunk… He suffered only some serious shakes and a sprained foot… Moral: stay well clear of the big fellas, especially the toothless ones.
Manapools were amazing- you have this awesome sights from the riverbank. and you're livin' between really wild animals... what more is there to wish for?
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One need to understand that there it is not like the Kruger, where you camp and live behind fences. There you literally live right between wild (and dangerous) animals. The guides who took us out on the canoes confirmed that there were lion in the camp the previous evening. (Cassie, that spoor were about the size of a side-plate) Both guides were also armed with AK47’s, which they very consciously cocked, made safe and tied to the canoes before they got in. They also confirmed the story we heard that during last year a tourist was cornered and killed by a lion in a bathroom in one of the other campsites in Mana. A hyena had raided Ampie’s rubbish bin after they went to bed. Swambo heard and saw elephant in the camp that night. You don’t walk around alone at night, and keep small children close. (Note: take a sleeping pill, then the wee won’t wake you).
We left Mana quite early, after deciding to deviate from the planned route, and rather enter Zambia over Kariba. Leaving Mana Pools Reserve, we saw this oke digging in the riverbed. I told Hannes behind me about him over the radio. When they passed 5 minutes later, he was gone.
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After the initial bonejarring gravel road, the rest of the road was good.
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It’s an awesome sight when you come over the hill and Kariba unfolds in front of you. We drove up to Kariba town.
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Spent little time buying the first of plenty of “lappe”.
The exit from Zimbabwe at Kariba was uneventful. However when we left the little building, we were summoned to the back where two guys were operating out of car. The wanted to see SA Police Clearances for all the vehicles. We duly presented it, but the other people behind us didn’t have…
We then drove over Kariba dam wall. Awesome sight.
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Then came the Zambian Border. First we presented ourselves to Immigration, a very nice and friendly lady. Then we went to Police clearance, where the policeman physically went outside, and checked all the vehicles’ VIN numbers against the Carnets (but not the registration numbers…). Then we went to customs, where we had to pay 20 000 kwachas, some $40 US. Then we went to pay Toll fees, which was another $20. This took very long, because there were two okes with one computer, typing with one finger and finally presenting you with a Toll Fee Exemption Certificate worthy of framing. When we went through the gate, we were summoned to the back of the guard’s booth, where another bloke wrote you a receipt on the wall for $10 for local toll- I nearly sent this guy somewhere, but then gave in- and I was actually asked for this specific receipt at a road block later…
And then just to put the cherry on top: another $60 for Third Party Insurance. This oke operated out of a pre-fab hut behind a gate for which he didn’t have the key- he came out to fetch your papers and money, then went back in, and returned later with a very ornate hand-written receipt. Jan nearly sent this guy to some warmer place, but was asked for his Third party Insurance receipt at another road block the following day.
More than 2 hours and $130 later, we were on our way. Not my idea of this sign...
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We had a nightmare drive into Lusaka in very heavy late afternoon traffic with trucks and busses driven by raving lunatics, and finally arrived at a very modern shopping centre, where we exchanged money, bought the kids Debonairs, did some shopping at Pick & Pay, and soldiered on. We arrived at Fringilla Farm, some 100 km’s north of Lusaka at around 21h00, too late for the restaurant. Made camp in a lovely campsite, people were very friendly, started the donkey and we had hot showers a short while later.
We left at about 8 the next morning. Fringilla, or rather Kambwese Farm, is an active farm, with a dairy etc run by George and his son Andrew. We really had an enjoyable stay, met George in the shop on the farm the next morning, stocked up on some fresh milk- still warm- and some fresh meat. Bought a homemade beef pie for breakfast- best pie I ever had. They were very friendly, went out of their way the previous evening when we arrived quite late, the bathrooms were very clean with hot water and they are definitely recommended for a stopover place or visit. They also have other overnight accommodation available if I am not mistaken.
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We again had a rather long drive of 700 plus kilometres ahead of us.
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We made a quick stop at The Fig Tree Cafe for some really good coffe- bought some beans to bring back as well.
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The road itself was mostly very good, as about 150 km’s from Fringilla we turned away from the very busy main road in Zambia, and were heading north-west.at that point I got a little ahead of the other three vehicles, and really had a very nice drive. Some bikers we met up with at a fuelling station.
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The other three however had a nightmare drive just a few km’s behind us- I heard on the radio about their literally constant battle the whole way jostling with trucks, busses and mini-busses. What for them was a nightmare drive was actually quite enjoyable for us.
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We finally reached the turnoff to the hot springs some 500 km’s and 7 hours later. It was very deflating to realise then that there were another 35 km’s of fairly bad gravel road ahead of us.
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We pushed on, through what was actually quite beautiful scenery.
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We arrived late at Kapishi Hot Springs. The owners were again very gracious and accommodating. Offered to prepare us supper while we put up camp, which idea went down very well. We put up camp in a nice site, with clean bathrooms and toilets.
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They again started the donkey for us, and by the time we got back from supper, there was some nice hot showers… Supper was just quite expensive, something like R800 for the 4 of us…
Next morning we spent some time in the hot springs…
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The 4 men in the group drove back to Shiwangandu farm, where the great grandfather of the 2 brothers currently running the farm and Kapishi started the farm ages ago. (I think he must have arrived there only shortly after Livingstone…) We walked around in the original mansion built by him, which is today occupied by one of the brothers. I just love old buildings and the history of places like this.
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We left late morning- another of the many magical places where we would have loved to have been able to stay longer… but, the Serengeti was calling.
On our way out on the gravel road, we came upon these blokes.
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It was four Aussies doing Africa on foot and by thumb. They were on their way to Kapishi Hot Springs- the way they looked, I suspect they might still be there…
It was again a quite longish drive. Dewald had sourced a campsite on Lake Tanganyika, but where we were to cross into Tanzania the next day, there are no customs or immigration, so you have to clear these before tackling the very bad 50 km drive to the border. Immigration and customs are in different towns, so we first had to drive to Mbala to pass through Immigration on the Zambian side. Customs is at the harbor at Mpulungu, but you cannot clear customs without clearing immigration first, and our campsite was near Mpulungu. When we got to Mbala, the whole place was just one huge party- some kind of local celebration. This local provided some good entertainment while we went through the rituals of immigration.
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Got our passports stamped, and passed these okes on our way out of town- they were washing their tarpaulin right across the main road, directing us to drive around on the shoulder. As we duly obliged, locals proceeded to just merely drive over their tarp…
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We drove on to our campsite, and turned of the main road into a village short of Mpulungu. Drove past a dusty soccer field,
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and then through the village.
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As we left the village, our GPS’s showed the campsite as 5 km away. The road got progressively worse, and as we climbed a little rise, we were forced to engage low range. It was very slow going with the light finally fading into darkness as we topped the rise. Down the other side was equally slow in darkness: low range in 1st. Some locals urged us to turn into a road going of right, but we were wary, and pushed on another 600m to where the GPS said we must turn right. The road was really, really rough in the dark, more a donga than anything else. We finally approached the camp, but as the GPS showed us nearing zero meters, there was nothing. We could make out some buildings, but there was not much else but dark emptiness… It seemed the campsite was abandoned…
It was nearly 20h00, in darkness somewhere in Zambia. The road was very bad back, and there was in any case nowhere to turn around… Everybody’s spirits just sank…
Yip, that exact same feeling...
Then in the darkness: a light ahead. Out came a man with a faint torch, and introduced himself as Augustine, and with him was his wife, Celestine. They were the managers of the camp, and lived on the site with their children. Yes, they were open for business, and we were welcome to camp wherever we wished. The bathrooms and toilets worked and were clean.
Now if Augustine and Celestine sound like the names of saints, it is for a reason, for that is exactly what they were to us that night. Saints. Angels in human form. Again, we were received with true African warmth. Some of us showered cold, but it was still good. The toilets flushed and were clean. It was only the next morning that I saw that every drop of water that was used and spilled by us in the bathrooms and toilets, was fetched from the lake by Augustine in buckets… Humbling, to say the least…
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Setting up camp took a while, as we did so on the boulders right on the edge of Lake Tanganyika, and manoeuvring the vans on the boulders was a bit tricky. But once we were set up, it was a truly magical evening.
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We had a braai with the lights of capenta fishing boats shimmering in the distance…
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We woke up the next morning to an awesome place. It was much better in the light.
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Again, we were sorry to leave so soon. The drive back over the hill was, although still tough, much better in sunshine, revealing another beautiful lake as we topped the raise.
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We drove the short distance to Mpulungu, and cleared customs in the harbor. While we waited for the Customs officer to arrive, we had a quick Codesa around Hannes' map
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Again, those carnets proved the point. I sneaked a pic of this boat in the harbor, check the lettering…
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We drove back to Mbala, and tackled the 51 km to the border. Bad, dusty, gravel road, full of deep holes, slow going. We eventually reached Kaseya Borderpost around midday.
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The gate was locked, and the guy in the little office did not have the key. While we waited, our vehicles were swamped…Must say though, this was one of the few times it really happened.
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The right guy eventually arrived, and shortly let us through, after checking that our passports were stamped. (Dewald told us about a trip report he read where the guy drove to the border only to be told that he had to clear customs in Mpulungu. He then had to drive the bad 50 km to Mpulungu and back again to the border…)
We then had to wait at the Tanzanian gate for it to be unlocked...
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Entry into Tanzania was long and enduring, and fairly uneventful until the customs officials decided to inspect each vehicle. In the light of my little registration number problem on my carnet, this caused some serious nerves… Between Dewald’s talking and the Lord closing some eyes, they were very impressed with our vehicles, and did not see much more. I don’t think they see vehicles and vans like we had that often…
We, or rather I, left with relief. The condition of the road up to the border did not improve beyond it into Tanzania, in fact, if anything it got worse when we encountered.
We then had to drive next to miles and miles of a huge new Chinese road, unfortunately for us though, still under construction. The road next to it where we had to ride was really bad.
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At the border Dewald asked one of the officials how was the road, the answer was not too bad.
Wrong. For us South Africans, it was VERY bad.
When asked how long drive to Katavi National Park where we were headed, the answer was 3, maybe 3 and half hours.
Wrong again. It took us 7 hours.
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The sights were awesome. The colors and the people was an experience.
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Everything can be transported on bicycles, and especially in the western part of Tanzania and in Malawi ... "There are 9 million bicycles in (Africa)"...
We reached Sumbawanga around 17h00, and stopped at a roadside pub for some refreshments. The locals were very friendly and happy. We were more subdued because we realised we still had more that 200 km to go…
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We eventually reached Katavi around 20h30, and our campsite at The Pools of 1000 Hippo’s at around 23h00. Dewald scouted ahead into the campsite according to the GPS, as we waited beside the road behind. Dewald doesn’t swear often, so for the second time in 2 days our spirits sank into our shoes as his words came over the radio: “ Hier is f…..l” (“There is f…..l here”)
And for the second time in 2 days… there was a light in the darkness. I saw the light on our right, and immediately got out while Swamb’s told the others over the radio. I shook hands with Mr Jooma, the guy in charge of the campsite. Yes, there was still a camp, and yes, although it was very late, we were very welcome. We could camp where we wanted, but should be aware that there were hippo’s around. There were bathrooms, and toilets, but unfortunately no hot water. That, at that stage, was really the least of our concerns…
We maneuvered the vans and vehicles, and that’s when Dewald realised something was wrong on his Kavango, as the one wheel was not quite straight... Three of the leaf springs on one side were broken. The road had taken it’s toll.
After a quick Codesa, it was decided that us and Hannes’ would carry on the next day, while Jan would stay with Dewald and get the Kavango repaired.
Mr Jooma turned out to be another angel in human form- he was actually a mechanic, and told us that we would be able to get what was needed to repair the Kavango at Mpanda, a town some 30 km away.
His help and assistance was invaluable. They managed to get some Land Cruiser leaf springs in Mpanda, which were heated and modified to fit. That's Mr Jooma left, Jan in the middle, and Dewald right.
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It's called the Pools of 1000 hippo's, and there were many of them, as we discovered the next morning. Although Mr Jooma assured me that the campsite is fenced and safe, and the hippo can't get in, there were some openings... especially right next to the bathrooms. On their way to the bathrooms, the kids saw a hippo in camp, and when we checked, it was so. When I told confronted Mr Jooma about this the next morning, he said no, it's all right, it's just one old lady hippo who comes into camp, but that she was harmless...
Again, we were in an awesome place, camping litterally 50 m away from a pool with at least 50-70 hippo in... as we discovered the next morning.
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We had to leave to soon, and after some shopping in Mpanda, we carried on with the road of the previous day. Some 300 kilometres were ahead of us. It soon became clear that the road was not improving, and at some points it was rather worse.
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The road even breaks these things...
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But the scenery was very nice. I remember telling Hannes that we basically had the whole Namibia-Kaokoveld trip in one day: bad corrugated parts, loose river sand, nice even red gravel, sections of freshly dozed road, serious parts of poepstof (very fine dust) beautiful river crossings, open plains, bosveld, the wholelot. So although the road was not good, and the going tough and slow at some points, I actually enjoyed the first 200 odd km, especially as the GPS promised that the last 130 odd km from Uvinza to Kigoma would be tar…
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Alas. We turned of late afternoon onto what soon turned out to be another Chinese road in various stages of construction. The road was being built from Kigoma towards the direction from where we were coming.
As we progressed slowly on the very bad road to the side of the new one, we at twice attempted to sneak onto the new one where it seemed drivable. Both time we were forced of it a little distance later, the second time me nearly getting into serious trouble, but Forest just growled in LR 1st gear, and pulled us and Gump over a huge wall of sand.
About 60km from Kigoma, a brand spanking new tar road beckoned on our right. I was very wary, but after another near miss with an oncoming bus, I saw a light coming from the front on the new road. We jumped on, and after initially taking it easy and stopping just to check if everything was good, we were soon doing 80km/h for the first time in what felt like ages on a beautiful brand new tar surface. Man!
We got to Kigoma late (as always- although this was our own doing, as we had only left Mpanda at about 11h00) and duly arrived at a wonderful place called Jacobsen’s Beach.
Ahhh. Jakobsen Beach.
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The drive to Jakobsen’s is through the outskirts of Kigoma, and like the drive to Tanganyika Lodge, a gravel road through a village initially. You then drive out of town, and following clear markers, reach Jacobsen’s. The last bit of road is quite hairy, especially the last 80 metres to the campsite, which is quite steep down.
The initial itinerary was for us to spend 2 nights here, but with Dewald’s Kavango’s leaf spring problem, they arrived a day later than us. Experience from Kaokoveld and Dewald’s insistence however made us build in two spare days into the itinerary. So when Dewald and Jan and theirs arrived and pleaded for one of the extra days to be spent at Jakobsen’s, we had no problem.
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With Serengeti ahead of us, it was a very welcome respite and stay after some serious and long driving. We did some very necessary washing and housekeeping (or maybe winekeeping),
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and had an excellent oxtail potjie (if I may say so myself) one night. We drove into Kigoma, saw our first serious capenta catches,
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did some shopping in the market,
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stocked up on some very important locally brewed liquid refreshments,
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and just for good measure went out for supper to the Hotel the next evening. This is Kigoma at night.
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Yes, off course Hannes bought some "fresh" capenta.
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He promptly had some (I think for the only time), and offered me some, which I took (definitely the only time!- it tastes like exactly what it is: rotten dried fish). He insisted on taking that capenta with for the next 15 days (the last 14 of which on the roofrack in the spare wheel bay) whereafter it got "lost". He then promptly bought some more at the next market he found... which if my memory serves me right, he stuck under Jan's windscreen wiper the last morning...
Some more sights from Kigoma's market.
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Some of the locals do not like their pic's taken, to which Hannes too serious offence...
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Some more info and sights on Jakobsen's. There are 2 sites, Beach 1 and Beach 2. Beach 1 is for camping, with 2 showers (cold) and 2 toilets. We fitted 4 caravans plus vehicles with relative ease on the top terrace. On the bottom terrace there were place for a tent or 4 should it have been necessary.
The beach, facing west, is for the exclusive use of the campsite. About 120 metres of clean sand, clear water, with rocks on both northern and southern sides. Paradise. It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to in my life. My daughter said it was the best place of the whole trip- a slice of heaven.
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Beach 2 can only be reached on foot, and there are no amenities on Beach 2. It is available for day visitors and picnics, and has an enclosed beach of about 70 metres. See how clear the water is.
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The children had a ball. After 7 of the previous 9 days spent in the confines of a vehicle, they swam, played and ran themselves to sleep.
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A truly beautiful, awesome (and this word is unfortunately going to be used more and more) place!!!!
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We left Jakobsen Beach at about 07h00 on Thursday. The past 2 days were a magical refresher for our souls. These are some sights in Tanzania.
There is a huge difference between the poor rural people, and those centred around bigger towns like Kigoma, Mwanza and especially to the east, like Dar es Salam and other. Some people live in brick homes, but most like this.
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Everything is basically transported on bicycle to the enarest town or village, and from there by truck to the nearest big town and further. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, kasava, tomatoes, red onions, fruit like pineapple, papaya, mango, sugarcane etc are sold fresh on the road.
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Even the very young do their bit. Young boys transported wood on push-bicycles made entirely from wood, everything on that bicycle works, and everyting is from wood...
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These maraboes strode nonchalantly between the people in a village.
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And we passed this sign...
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And then there was the road...
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Yes, the road.
We had also spent some of the time at Jakobsen checking each and every bolt and nut on the caravans, and all other bolts and nuts we could see on the vehicles. Each of the 184 wheel nuts on the vehicles and vans were checked and tightened.
We had initially planned on driving to Tabora, and from Tabora to Mwanza on Friday, and from there to Serengeti on Saturday. Dewald however managed to arrange for us to stop at Geita, at a mine his company, Moolmans Mines operates not far from Mwanza. It was to be little over 500 km to Geita, according to the GPS some 8 hours plus driving. It would however give us an extra day spare.
We ran into Mr Jooma, our angel from the 1000 Hippo’s campsite in Katavi, whilst we were refuelling in Kigoma. He said the road was very good.
Now I will tell you this: If that road was “very good”, I certainly do not plan to ever drive on any road any Tanzanian labels as “bad”, never mind “very bad”! Apart form some 48 km in the middle, the rest was bad. Very bad. Bil Jan swears even less than Dewald, and I am not going to publish his comments on the road here. It again shook seven kinds of white stuff out of us, and it took us eventually some 11 hours driving.
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It was not only the road: it was the one day where we had to deal with the road and Tanzania's kamikaze truck- and bus drivers. Words cannot describe some of the encounters- pardon the quality of the pics, they were mostly taken in the drive...
The busses is something special- I can understand why the Tanzanian at the Border told us the road to Katavi, that took us 7 hours, was a 3 and half hour drive, as that is probably how long it takes one of these busses...
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They really and trully belive that the faster they go, the less the impact of the bad road...
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The saying "the narrower the road, the wider the truck got new meaning...
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Being on a bicycle, well, what is that about a picture and 1000 words?
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I'm quite sure very few trucks end up like this very nice old one.
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Somewhere during that day Dewald and I got quite a bit a bit ahead, so we stopped and waited for Jan and Hannes. Dewald first checked his van’s new leaf springs, then stuck his head under Gump to check out the setup there. He popped up to tell me that a very important nut was missing. I first thought he was joking, but then saw that the nut holding the bolt on which the leaf springs rested, was gone! It is an oversize bolt and nut, and we didn’t have one that large between the three of us. Dewald then saw that the levered bolt with which Gump’s spare wheel was fastened, was the same size. After sawing off the lever, Jan and I tightened it on. It’s still there- hasn’t moved a nano.
Later Jan called Hannes, both behind me and Dewald, on the radio, telling him that he saw something shiny, looking like a bolt, on a little bridge, and that Hannes must please stop and get it. Few minutes later Hannes called: Jan checked: it was obviously a freshly broken off, high tensile steel bolt, I relayed the message to Dewald, stopped and crawled under Gump. All seemed in order.
We carried on. About two and half hours of brutal gravel road later we reached Geita. As we waited to be cleared by security, I saw Gump hung low. Then I saw why: one of the two bolts with which the tow hitch was attached to the A-frame, was gone. That was the bolt Hannes picked up. Gump was literally hanging onto Forest with one single bolt. That Gump was still there, considering the road, was only, only a miracle.
We made camp in Moolman’s Mines personnel village to a very warm welcome. Hot showers in a guest house, electricity. Hospitality. To put the cherry on top, next morning just after 7 some of their engineers arrived with replacement high tensile steel bolts and nuts. Thank you Moolmans and Dewald!!
While we waited, I tried to get the most of the dust off- fruitless waste of energy I may add...
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We left Moolmans on July 6 with the prospect that Serengeti Stopover camp was the destination. We were nearly there. It was to the day exactly 3 years prior, 6 July 2009, that we went down Van Zyl’s Pass…
We drove to Mwanza, where we caught the ferry across. Another special experience.
I was low on fuel close to Mwanza- but decided to test my fuel warning light. We stopped at the ferry boom on 65 km since it came on. As the boom lifted, Murphy pitched up, and Forest died as we rolled forward into the ferry area and stopped behind Hannes. Swamb's and I did Mclaren proud- 3 minutes later I was back behind the wheel- having dumped 20l of fuel from a locked jerry into the tank!!!
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Jan and Dewald got on to the ferry, but then they closed the boom and loaded trucks and busses, and thereafter the passengers walk on...
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They left us behind
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but we got on the next ferry about 20 min later.
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Hannes and I promptly celebrated the ferry trip in suitable fashion...
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We did some last moment shopping in Mwanza, and after some more interesting driving in Tanzania
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finally arrived at Serengeti Stopover camp, only 1 km away from our destination, fairly early- we actually got to set camp in daylight…
We had planned to sleep at Serengeti Stopover, and drive into Serengeti to Seronera the next day. A very kind guide in Stopover however gave us other advice. As the migration was in the western part, where we were to enter, if we did what we planned, it would mean driving through the migration to our camp some 140 km on gravel, and then having to drive back on the same road the next day to spend more time in the migration. He advised to go into Serengeti next day, but to came back and camp another day outside Serengeti at Stopover camp. Good advice. I'm not good with strangers, but it's really clever and sharp to interact with the locals on a trip into Africa. We had a very good, relaxed enjoyable evening at Stopover.
Then: The next morning. Finally. Three years of dreaming, two years of talking, eighteen months of waiting, twelve months of serious planning, six months of preparation, four months of excited anticipation, two months of nervous organising, one month of frantic last minute arrangements, some 4 500 odd km later........ a dream came true.
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he next posts will be photo's taken in Serengeti. Certainly not all of the best, it is mostly mine, as I do not have Jan or Dewald's Serengeti photo's, nor all of Hannes's.
I will explain some of the photo's, but mostly the posts will be photo's only, as I simply have no words that can add anything to it...
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The king of beasts...
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Hannes and Louize stumbled onto this on day 1, seems as though there was a crossing not more that 24 hours prior, as some 40 plus Wildebeest carcasses had spilt up against this low-water bridge. The vultures and maraboes had not really started their work...
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They were however already so stuffed that Jan herded them across the bridge like sheep...
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They simply couldn't fly, sat on the ground...
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The migration is all that is said about it and more. There are simply no words or pictures able to describe it.... To stand and turn 360 degrees, and as far as the eye can see, this massive entity consisting of hundreds of thousand of animals, constantly running, moving and milling around...
(Hannes's pics were much better, but it got lost in translation from raw...)
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My daughter and I went for a drive, and landed up caught in the middle of a herd of about 60 elephant, some sleeping on their feet, mothers and babies crossing right in front of Forest, while 2 youngsters were wrestling 5m behind our back bumper, quiet, calm, no threat, just being elephants
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These ellies were just enjoying the mud- just like any kid...
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We saw a lot of game-view vehicles at a tree, but could see nothing. Later Hannes arrived and called us on the radio, told us there were cheetah under the tree. We went back and dutifully fell in the back of the line of game drive vehicles. It was not 15 minutes later, that a family of 5 cheetah, I suspect Mom and 4 bigger cubs, made their way towards us and landed up in the shade of another tree not more that 15 meters away from us...
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And then: Next moment a young Thompson's Gazelle ran right into the family of cheetah... You could see the surprise on their faces; "What?! Mom ordered Macdonalds! Home delivery!!!" They immediately set after the gazelle, with me, (and Hannes) frantically trying to take pics...
I was on the wrong side of the car, had the wrong lens on, wrong settings... managed to get 2 photo's just one step above "Rating: Rubbish"
(My daughter was sitting next to me. I have a couple of excellent close-ups of the back of her head should anyone be interested...)
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After getting the gazelle down FIVE times, Mom finally came to help the youngsters to get it properly down the sixth time- we only realised afterwards that she must have been the Mom- she sat still during the initial chase (We didn't realise she was the mom, very good looking- considering the age of the kids...)
And promptly Mr Hyena pitched up and collected the kill...
A few hundred metres away, was another tree, which we also passed earlier without seeing anything, until my daughter saw...
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The leopard woke up, and after stretching, moved up higher into the tree, where we could see it feeding on a gazelle. During the feed, the back half of the gazelle carcass broke of and fell to the ground. After eating it's fill, the leopard retired to the same branch, where it licked itself clean.
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Then 2 warthog's approached the tree. (I wanted to get out and warn my other family...
The leopard was interested, and got down lower in the tree, but it also had it's fill. It merely rested in the tree, watching the warthog rather bored as the warthog feasted on the leftovers of the leopard's gazelle, completely oblivious to death 3 meters above them...
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We then had to leave for camp. Hannes got on the other side of a herd of elephants crossing with small calves, and this lady took some serious exception to their close proximity...
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We drove back to camp, when suddenly my daughter shouted: Stop, stop! I duly did, thinking there was another twist for a picture.
There was. It was this. She took the perfect picture of the perfect end to a perfect day in Serengeti.
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It was the same day that the others went on the hot air balloon safari. These are Hannes' pics.
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Some more of Hannes's pics:
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It was some 5 hours later, and these 2 teenagers were still going at it...
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Until Big Brother stepped in (probably for the umpteenth time) to break it up...
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And Mamma took us across safely
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All of us returned to camp at Nguchiru Camp that night somewhat subdued. Hannes, whom is somewhat of a motor-mouth, and has proved it over the previous 2 weeks, was exceptionally quiet. When we sat around the fire, he mentioned that he now understands a syndrome that is mentioned in medical circles. An information/emotion overload.
It's like when your computer tries to download to big a chunk of info, and then just hangs... overload. That is exactly what we experienced. (I am still suffering from it- I think shortly after Serengeti my mind and body overloaded, took everything in, but stopped processing, and is now trying to clear the back-log. My computer was still running and processing, but there are certain things I see pic's off now which I do not remember...)
It's just too much. The experience. Being there. The sights. The pictures. The people. The scenes. The smells. The sounds. The fine, powder sand in Tanzania. Bad roads. Busses and trucks. The water of the lakes. The animals. Life. Death. The fight for survival. Dust. Sunsets. The grunts of a thousand wildebeest. Gravel. Awesome, awesome, awesome places. Good food. Friendly people. Love. Chatter. Support. Kindness....
And suddenly- we had to leave. We went to bed, got up, and had to leave. It is simply not fair that you look forward to something for so long, and then have to leave so shortly...
In the major Tanzanian Parks, you pay for entry per 24 hours. If you go in at 09h30, you have to leave the next day before 09h30, or pay an exorbitant amount of $ US for another day. We had to leave Serengeti before 09h30, and had planned to drive to Ngorongoro, unhook the vans without setting up camp, and get down into the crater the same day, to leave early again the next morning.
Again 2 guides at Seronera gave us other advice. We were to leave Serengeti on time, but waste some time between Serengeti and Ngorongoro, before going into Ngorongoro with enough time to reach the campsite, but leaving us enough time to only descend into the crater the next day and spend as much time down as possible. Sounded good.
We left camp at Seronera early enough.
When we reached the gate out of Serengeti into Ngorongoro, we did some shopping, took some pic's and had brunch.
All went smooth until Dewald and Jan were suddenly confronted by a warden. She allegedly received a sms that they had driven off-road in Serengeti, refused to stop when asked to do so by a warden, and then refused to produce their receipts to be in Serengeti. Jan just kept calm. but Dewald understandably got quite upset, because it was just simply horse-manure. Eventually they realised that they were not going to get a bribe, and just let us be. Hopefully they learnt not to mess with people with GP or MP registration numbers.
The patience also did not last. We very soon decided to rather pay for an extra day than to waste further time...
Breaking camp at Nguchiro, Seronera, Serengeti...
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The road is, well as the road is. As a policeman who stopped us at a roadblock in Serengeti explained, the road is what it is so that we have to drive slower so that we can see all the animals...
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We stopped to take THE PHOTO of the trip...
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Brunch at Ngorongoro gate.
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The office and entry to Ngorongoro is atopp a rocky hill litterally slap bang in the middle of this massive plain...
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The previous pics and these are with the exception of one or two, all Hannes'. Speaking of which, the greatest frustration in compiling this tr was that I was not able to put in more of the literally hundreds of awesome pics we took, and the difficulty in choosing which to use and which to loose...
Just after we entered into Ngorongoro, Dewald called and said there was a road turning off right, which, according to the gps, will also take us to the crater, but at least we will be off the main road, which was not only busy, but also rather bad. We immediately agreed.
The viewing was immediately awesome.
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I managed to get both the gazelles, Thompsons and Grants on one pic.
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The road was beautifull at first, and we motored. However, true to Tan form, it gradually worsened, until we were back to 20 km/h. I peeked at the Ngoro map I bought, and saw that the road was actually classified as 4x4 only, and not to be used in the wet season. It was serious, serious dust, poepstof. The others (especially Hannes) complained, but it was actually enjoyable for me and Swamb's. Look, I personally prefer that kind of road over corrugated gravel anytime...
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We finally left the bushveld type area, and after driving over a large dusty plain
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the scenery turned green and lush.
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We met the first Masai people...
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We reached the campsite at the crater at about 16h00, and after gratefully washing the most of the dust of, set up camp. Its was still daylight, but it was already very, very cold...
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We're back... Again, I have no words that can add anything to these following pic's. The first lot is Hannes' pics.
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These are some of mine.
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We saw this a huge number of Game drive vehicles in the distance. To say it was congested is an understatement...
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I wonder if she realises there is easy meals just 2 metres up..
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After inching our way forward, we saw the reason for the congestion. He had his work cut out to keep about 5 jackal and the same number if hyena at bay.
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You will not believe it, but with 2 lion not more than 20 meter away, our guide then got OUT of Jan's vehicle, and walking around in the congestion, started directing the traffic and ordering the guides driving the vehicles around!!!
When we got back about an hour later, they were in orderly fashion. (NB: count the Landies...)
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The last of the Ngorongoro pics.
We found an elephant and some hippo in a pool. Suddenly, a huge number of hippo popped out of another pool to our right, like flying ants after rain. They just kept coming and coming over to the other pool...
I got them in formation, but no matter how much I shouted, they refused to get (fly) in step...
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The exit road is closed for 6 months for maintenance, so we had to use the long way (nearly 2 hours) out of the crater. The landscape was beautiful.
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About 200 m from camp's entrance, Hannes found these okes. We heard that they are allowed by the armed guards to come into camp at night to drink from a dam, who follow them around, and when they've drank their fill, the cocking of a guard's AK47 is enough to make them leave...
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A last view of camp at Ngorongoro. Another magical place...
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Sorry for the delay- some other people also wanted this report... and thank you...
It was a short drive of some 60 km to Lake Manyare. We had planned to camp at the Wild Fig camp site in a town nearby, but the camping sites in those areas do not cater for caravans, only tents. It was a very nice place, green grass, lots of shade, but all they had for us was the parking area. So we turned around to Lake Manyare Nationa Park- and were just in time to book in. Beautiful campsite in the forest, some grass, clean ablutions…
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There are some of these trees at the entrance- with hundreds of some kind of marabou(?) in it- the white is poo and pee… and it smells appropriately…
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Next morning some of us had a quick drive through the nearest part of the Park, but apart from Hannes who pic’d some of the usual suspects,
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And one not so usual one
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there were not too much else to see.
We left for Arusha, and parked the vehicles at the Shoprite centre. We promptly parked ourselves in a very nice coffee shop, and had some of the local Tanzanian brew- and bought some too. We were told about shopping at the market, but only Hannes and his family found the Masai market, which is the place to be. We ended up strolling through the public market with some very interesting sites. We duly gave the local economy a boost, as quite a few t-shirts and shuka’s (the brightly colored Masai garments) were bought.
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(Speaking of which, don’t just buy the local things just anywhere. We bought a shuka at Serengeti Gate for US$10, in the market the starting price was US$40! It was a very nice one, and I eventually ended up paying US$12 for it. Literally just across the road in the Shoprite centre a garment shop was selling them for US$8…)
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We left Arusha to Moshi, our target for the day. Just outside Arusha we had the privilege of this…
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Mount Kilimanjaro. It was absolutely awesome. As we drove past, it was visible for only about a half hour, before the clouds closed it again. We believe it opened just for us, and specially for bil Jan, who had climbed it about 4 years ago. It was really very special for him.
We arrived in Moshi, and went to the Honey Badger. They also mainly cater for bacpackers and Mount Kilimanjaro climbers, so again we were offered camping in the parking area. It was late, and as they opened their kitchen for us and gave us three course meal- we stayed for the night…
This promised to be a very long day, some 650 km from Moshi via Mwanga, Same, Korogwe and Charlindze.
Moshi and around is serious sisal and charcoal country.
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In Charlindze I had my first flat tyre in 90 000 km when I picked up a piece of blade in the garage where we took on fuel.
We were supposed to camp at Riverside Camp just short of the Mikume National Park, but that campsite was nonexistent when we reached it. We pushed on through Mikume, with another 250 km to go to Iringa, the next major town.
Hannes then discovered the Tanswiss Camp site just past Mikume. Very nice, situated at exactly the right place for us. It was a bit busy with amongst others a touring truck with some 28 tourists on board operated by a couple from Bellville.
The next day is definitely one of the days that we will never forget, especially Hannes and us. We left earlier than Dewald and Jan, as we both had flat spare wheels to repair in Iringa, and Hannes wanted to visit Neema Crafts Centre. A short distance from Tanswiss, as we drove over a little up a long narrow valley opened up. It took me little while to realise what it was I was seeing. The whitish plants on the mountain on both sides of the road was Baobabs. Literally thousands and thousands of Baobabs, just there, for kilometres and kilometres of this valley. It was absolutely amazing, heaven in my mind is a close match to this.
Again, there is no words or pic’s that can do justice to the enormity of the presence of such a number of these majestic pieces of art. Ja, ja, I know, I’m getting carried away here, but was stunningly awesome. I just drove and drove. These are all Hannes and Jan’s pic’s.
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We had our spare wheels fixed in Iringa, had a walkabout in the crafts market and lunch at Neema while we waited. We wanted to push as close as possible to the Malawi border, and Dewald managed to find a campsite between Iringa and Mbeya. He did not stop at Iringa, and drove on ahead. The campsite was also non-existent and we decided to push for Mbeya, where there was a mission. Hannes and I left Iringa a only a minute or two after Jan, but we got caught in a stop-and-go just outside of town, and got left behind.
Exactly halfway between the two towns, Hannes called me on the radio- there was a funny noise at his left rear wheel. There was absolutely no place to stop, very steep shoulders both sides. I found a spot about a kilo further, turned around and went back. It was getting dark, and I couldn’t really see anything, but did not like the sound it was making. I remembered a layby about a kilo back, and we crawled there slowly.
I did not like what I saw- there was one wheel stud missing, and another of the wheel nuts I unscrew with my hand, and the remaining three were stuck - when Hannes had his flat tyre in Serengeti, the wheel nuts weren’t locked… All the tools etc was with Jan, about 60 km ahead of us and out of radio range, and with Dewald, who was already in Mbeya, some 100 km from us… I called him on his cell and we discussed the problem.
We boiled water, and poured it on the remaining three wheel nuts. I tightened them as best I could, and after a prayer, set off for Mbeya at 30 km/h. It held for about 4 km, when Hannes called again. I stopped, checked- two more studs were now missing. No ways we could continue on. There was a twee-spoor just there. I walked in, and found a little clearing about 30m from the road. I parked Forest and Gump, and took Hannes’ Cruiser and van in voetjie vir voetjie. We made camp just there.
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No fire, had sarmies for supper, and a beautiful night sky. It was actually quite nice. Next morning shortly after 07h00 Jan & Dewald were back- raided the right back wheel for two studs, stuck the in on the left, and we left at about 11h00.
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Work just fascinates Hannes and I, we can sit and watch it fot hours...
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Meantime Alta and Liza found a set of new studs and nuts in Mbeya, on a Sunday. We joined them at the mission, where they had to camp in the parking area of the mission (think our campsite next to the road was better). We replaced all the studs, and left for Malawi at about 15h00.
The scenery out of Mbeya to the Malawi boder was unexpectedly beautiful.
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The soil must be extremely fertile, the people grows all kind of produce just everywhere where there is a piece of land, right up to their houses.
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Bananas, tea, all kinds of vegetables, just about anything.
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The exit out of Tanzania and the entry into Malawi was the quickest and most painless of the entire trip. (Think it helps if you cross just 45 min before the border posts close on a Sunday) Less than a half hour for both! Wasted another half hour waiting for third party in Malawi.
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Then Malawi hit us- suddenly hundreds of bicycle both sides of the road, and even more people all going somewhere…in the dark - less than nice.
We arrived at Chitimba Campsite, nice place, but they were very full with tour groups, fancy-dress party at one group. Owner, a Dutchman, was very friendly, offered to make us space. Dewald said he was going to check out next door at Hakuna Mutata. I asked the owner, think his name was Gert, if we could have a beer in his pub while we waited to hear from Dewald. “No, not if you’re going to the neighbour” was his response. Dewald called us over shortly afterwards.
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What a really nice place. It was nearly empty- run by Afrikaans guy named Willie, and his Malawian right-hand named Maggie. They have camping on grass, but we chose to set up camp right on the beach. Let out some air from the tyres, and pulled in- after Jan got stuck first…
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We spent two nights here, the boys played their hearts out in Lake Malawi’s luke warm water and playing soccer with some of the local kids.
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We amply supported the local woodcarvers and were again sorry to leave. Willie and Maggie made our stay special, he knows a lot about Malawi, and just getting info in Afrikaans was very cool.
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We said good bye to Willie and Maggie, and drove through Mzuzu and a rubber plantation all along Lake Malawi to Livingstonia Beach resort further south. (Lake Malawi is also known amongst locals as the Calender Lake- it has 1 river through which water flows out, 12 rivers feeding it, it is on average 52 miles wide and is 365 miles long). Again, a beautiful campsite situated right next to a resort.
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We had our only bad weather of the entire trip, as the wind blew really hard for the entire time we spent there- swimming was banned due to dangerous conditions (water is much colder here than up north). Campsite was grass (although you can also camp on the beach), clean and hot showers, and really beautiful scenery made up for it. Another memory that will stay with me for a very long time was the near constant calling of fish eagles here. We (especially Hannes and Louize) again gave the local economy (wood carvers) a rather good boost.
We left rather late for a shortish drive on a good tar road to Zomba. Outside Zomba we drove up a very steep road with beautiful views to the escarpment, where we camped in the forest at the trout farm.
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Also a really beautiful site, and it was bitterly cold that evening and night, even colder than Ngorongoro. Not that it deterred us from having our (by now) customary starters and poeding.
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And then: The kuier around the fire, no matter how cold...
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(The ablutions weren’t good- new bathrooms are being built, but are unfinished and were already used. We chose to rather walk to the toilets at the office, than to use the existing long-drop).
But the site and the scene: awesome.
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From there it was unfortunately rather boring, hard driving through Mocambique, (where we slept at Chicamba Dam, via the Zimbabwe Ruins (where Hannes and us stopped) to the Lion and Elephant. We said our farewells to Louize and Hannes and the boys at 04h00 the next morning, as they left early with Dewald because he had to return his rental vehicle the same day. Jan and we left a while later, and we split at Polokwane after coffee with Sis-in-law Heleen.
The drive home was very long. We immediately missed the chatter over the radio, which has been part of our lives (drives) for the past four weeks.
(Brian Doerksen’s song “Creation calls” milled in my mind over and over again)
We arrived home at about 18h00 on Sunday, July 22, 2012. It was over...
As all of us (with difficulty) fell back into the normal routine of school and work over the next days and week(s), I think we all experienced exactly what Hannes expressed his concern about during the last week or so of the trip- when you get home, people will ask you “So how was it?” and what, what do you say? How do you share this? Because there truly, simply are no words…
(Except maybe one, whispered very quietly, as in merely exhaling: “wow”)
I also experienced a (now nearly familiar) feeling, of a kind of emptiness, as if there is a hole in my heart where somehow some of me have leaked out.
And then I realised: I have lost another part of my soul. Only this time, I won’t ever find it again, as I don’t have any idea where to even start to search for it, along the 9 500 km of African roads, awesome sunsets, amazing animals and fantastic nature scenes, wonderful people, angels in human form with or without saint’s names, local people and children just carrying on with their daily struggle to survive, roadside scenes of so many things that flash through your memory like one of those old 35mm films, some of the most beautiful campsites imaginable, dust, more dust and "The Ancient Dust of Africa", clear and crisp lakes that look and feel exactly like the sea, a non-stop wonderful kuier for four weeks with close family and close friends over radios in the vehicles, around camp fires, under clear African skies…
I think it’s fitting to close with 2 of Dewald’s pic’s, as his commitment, hard work, dedication, and time made this trip possible.
So kom ons tuis
(NB: I merely wrote up the story, put the words in sequence. I did not make the trip happen, we were so blessed to be part of it. The pic’s are a mix of everybody’s.)
Finally: I leave you with a last thought (or a line from a song):
“Our God is an awesome God…”