Friday, 30 September 2011

"The Road from Hell", and off to Addis

Update, 6 Nov: Sarah Henderson (Peugeot 404) send a link to a story about bandits on the "Road from Hell", which happened just after we went through....  Full text in comments below.  Tx Sarah!]

[Bit of a scrappy post, this, as it's on the run, in Awassa, Ethiopia, and we're off at 05:00 in the morning to Addis, to struggle with Sudan visas.   And it's all about the road and the cars, nothing about people and places, which after all is what the trip's about.  But that road was such an experience, that it takes first place for now]...

Wowie, Zowie, what a road!
I left you at the Samburu Lodge in Kenya, just as we were to set off on what is widely-known as “The Road from Hell” and what a road it was.  400 kilometers of bone-jarring, car-crunching gravel, horrendous corrugations, rocks, stones, wash-aways, rock and massive pot holes you could hide a donkey in.  A “car killer” said Gordon, whose done 2 London to Sydney Rallies, one Peking to Paris, the Himalayan Rally, and innumerable other rallies.  He said this one was “right up there”. 

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

High Plains Drifters

Mother and two children, in Samburu Park, North Kenya
The real high plains drifters


Beautiful drive today through the Aberdaires of Central Kenya.  The high plains country, the mighty Mustang drifting along winding valleys at over 8,000 feet.  Fine driving.

Monday, 26 September 2011

On the go... photos... (maybe)

Just about to get into cars, it's a fine cool Nairobi morning, trying to upload some nice photos from yesterday, as I pack..
We're cheered in to the Grand Parade
[ah well, no go.  See you in Addis..]
PF and Mark 2 Jag, similar colour to my old XK 120

(Just snuck a couple in.  Off now)

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Sandi first direct post

Hi all, we had a lovely day at the Nairobi Concors d'Elegance, will catch up with all of you when we reach Addis in 5 Days time.

Note to Followers of Sandi's blog

Sandi is now posting here: either I posting her notes, or her posting direct, in which case it'll be her name at the bottom of the post.
For those who have signed up to Follow her blog, please do sign up to follow this one now.
I'm not putting the "followers" on the right side of the blog, so you'll be anonymous, but will still be notified of posts.
As mentioned below, we don't expect to be able to post for five days or so; after we get through "the road from hell"...

Wish us luck....

We head off at 05:00 tomorrow morning, for the drive up through northern Kenya.  This is the roughest part of the trip.  The road is called "the road from hell".  You can't drive more than 20-30 kph, or you'll break your car.  More of a worry for us is the Shifta bandits, nomadic tribes that occasionally prey on travellers on the road to Moyale in N. Kenya.  Recent droughts have made them more aggressive.  And of course, one is assailed by middle-class angst. What does one do?...
In Archer's post tomorrow, we decide whether to take armed escorts along: local soldiers or police.
There's also the prospect of camping, as there's no lodges or inns.  Also then there's shortage of water and food. 
The least of the worries is no internet.... won't be back on line for five days or so, till we're in Addis Abbaba, Ethiopia.
You can still follow us on the tracker: instructions above in the Tab.
The itinerary and the detailed Route Schedule are also in Tabs above.
TTFN [= "ta ta for now"]

Cars, cars and more....

The Nabibii and their Mercs: winners of two prizes including cash

SandiPost I: "20-23 September 2011"

Tuesday 20 September 2011

A tappet was found - eventually – a tappet from a Land Rover – so Modesty is now working thanks to a Land Rover – we managed to have a anxious morning although we were trying to relax, remaining ever so positive that a tappet would be found.   Dulllah arrived after 2 pm – with tappet in hand it was installed  it was working with a couple  of praise to Allah off we went to see DHL – it was just fantastic seeing everyone – loads of staff changes but a great welcome and well worth the visit.  We also managed to catch up with Simon Maitland – we had arranged to meet at the Southern Sun at 5 pm.  It was wonderful to see him and to catch up with all his exiting times in Dar.  Blaze from DHL also came to see us and wonderful to meet him and hear all about his times with DHL (so far) in Dar.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Dealing with the Tanzanian Traffic Cops ("TTCs")

Back in Tanzania, we were stopped a minimum of 3 times a day and maximum 9 times, with three fines in the one day. In case loyal readers are thinking we must be mad men in motor cars, let me tell you this: that each and every one of the cars in our little fleet was stopped and fined multiple times per day while in Tanzania, even the stateliest of our drivers, the Canadians Rob and Wendy in the Kombi van. (aka "Ron and Wendy Kombi", as in, we're now "Gordon" or "Peter Mustang")

Even a local paper, the Guardian (motto: "We did not steal the name from the UK Guardian, promise"), had an op-ed the other day, bemoaning the harassment of motorists by the traffic police.

So, for posterity, here's some thoughts on how to motor through with the fewest fines.  It becomes a game after a while, wondering what they'll pick on next time, and going a day "O for four" (four stops, zero fines) is cause for satisfaction.

Six Strategies for dealing with TTCs:

Ngorongoro, "cow bells singing"

Ngorongoro from the rim, 7,800 feeet (click to enlarge)
I'm on the rim of the Ngoronogo crater, gazing down at the caldera 3,000 feet below.  This is the home of Olduvai gorge, the "cradle of mankind", where the Leakey's in the 1930s found the first traces of mankind, 1.8 million year old homo habilis, who eventually came "Out of Africa".
"Ngorongoro" is a Masai word, onomatopoeic, the sound of cow bells ringing. [*]
It's a magnificent view, impossible for we bears of little brain to capture on film, or pixels, though Gordon's done a pretty good job above.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Volvo to vhere?

First, welcome to readers of Sandi's blog, "Volvo-to-vhere", who will be posting here from now on."Volvo to vhere?", you ask. "Volvo into the bush", I answer.
Yesterday, the clutch in the valiant Volvo went, about 100km from Arusha.  Chris couldn't come to a halt, so when they were stopped by a police check point, he drove the car off the road, into some fields, round a hut, scattering chickens, goats, and startled villagers as they went.  Bumping over some sisal bushes they rounded the hut and back to the road.
The MG of Ian and Val, which was following, as its brakes are shot, thought the Volvo was simply taking a detour and followed along behind...
Next time, the Volvo strataegy on stopping by police was to stop, engine off, and get the police to help push the car for clutch start.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

The final word on Rita's house...

Final bit of the saga: note from Mutti, re the Quest to find Rita Hayworth's house in Dar es Salaam, which I posted part I here and part II here.

Thanks to Mutti for the post, and using the iPad with such facility!

Have just read what you had to say about your search.  I thought our area might have been Oyster Bay. Now that I think about it, the residential land ran around a bit of a point.  Lew Border teased Dad about sleeping in Rita's bed.  if only!!  Someone at bridge today suggested money may have come from Russia.  Don't know. From the sentences there you can see your blogs are read and discussed. Had card from Bron from Murren, so gather my research,using the I-Pad, is coming in useful.  have half an ear to the T.V. And hear that No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency will be on on Sunday.  Should be fun.  Enough rubbish.  Love.  M.
Sent from my iPad
Margaret F. (Mutti)
We're now in Arusha, gateway to the trekking business to Mt Kilimanjaro and surrounding hills. Arusha is a pretty town, the entering roads flanked by graceful trees and trimmed hedges.  One could almost see hints of Sydney, or an Australian country town; then you blink and, nah, it's still Africa....
This is exactly half way between Cape and Cairo.  There's a clock tower with a plaque attesting to this.

Questing Miss Hayworth

Well, I found it. (the house, that is: first read Part I of the saga here).
So, I'm sitting at the restaurant this morning, by the Zanzibar ferry.  I've split from the rest of the team, to make my way early back to Dar, in search of Rita Hayworth's old house, the one my parents lived in for three years in the early seventies.  Walking to the ferry by the back streets of Stone Town, through narrow winding alleys, one could almost be in an old Italian village -- if that village had no coffee, no cafes, no panetterie, no macellerie, no cheese shops and if its residents wore veils and Islamic skull caps.  Apart from that, exactly the same.....

Some panoramas

I wanted to show a sample of the country we've been driving through.  From Cape to about Zambia, we've been in high veld: 3,500 to 6,000 feet above sea level all the way, and all the land a highland, dry Savanna, grassy in the south, scattered sometimes scrubby trees for the more northern Southern Africa.  Typical of it all, I've already posted towards bottom of the post here, thousands and thousands of miles of the same, though the practiced eye will spot the nuances.
Further north, from Zambia and into Tanzania, the country's rather more of the same, just interspersed with villages of rude huts, mud and grass.
The roads Cape to south Zambia mostly good, and straight, straight, straight.  Unpeopled till Zambia, and thence start deteriorating and en-peopled.  Then you've got to be on your wits driving, concentrating all the time, for the "3 P's": people, potholes and police.
Here's some samplers; multiply them in the mind, and you've got its nature, from Cape to here (Dar es Salaam, sitting in lobby of the Southern Sun hotel)
Zillions of huts like these...

Revisiting the pile

From Day 10, Kapishaya Lodge in Northern Zambia, via Ng'andu Lodge (aka "Africa House").  
The story of the Goore-Browns is told in "Africa House" by Christina Lamb, and the Shiba Ng'andu Estate's website is here.
The younger brother inherits this (Kapishaya Lodge)....

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Catch up photos

Kapishaya Hot springs, in Zambia, Day 11

Early morning swim in the springs

Michael and Paula, Triumph TR4A, Gordon and car-fanciers, Morogoro, Zambia

Gordon in typical mode...

Skyping Jenny, from double bed in Zambian game lodge.  It's tough touring Africa...

A day on the dhow

Yesterday arvo, ten of us take out the totally local, absolutely non-touristy dhow, a lateen rig (means "Latin"; does that help?), used in these parts for centuries.  I must get Stevo here with some North sails, as these scraps of cloth have a touch of the "mother hubbards" about them.... big tear in the mainsail (the one and only), I guess trying out the parasail concept....

Gordon does bow on the dhow

Deb and Val at Mid-mast

The Masters of the Mustang, Peter and Gordon get to grips with the performance of a dhow.
Note the colour of Peter's Crocs.  Carmen suggests they're not "cool". Whaaat??!

Hard working crew on the dhow...

And to bed  beer  

Zizzing in Zanzibar

Dhow on the Dar
Well, yes, catching up on some sleep, for sure, after ten days or more of up to 750km per day....
But also out and about in Zanzibar.... a much more multi-ethnic place after Southern Africa, and much more Muslim as well, about 90%.  A mix of African, Indian, Portuguese, Arab, mixin' and fixin' in Swahili, much more than the ubiquitous English of the South.
So, here's some photos of Dar and Zanzibar, an Island about 40nm north of Dar.  Beautiful beaches, pure hard white sand, protected by a reef to the East. And, not to forget — birthplace of Freddie Mercury. Which you note all around town…
Zizzing on the Zanzibar ferry

Waiting to praise Allah

Guy climbs coconut tree with just a bit of rope on his ankles
No health and safety nonsense
Lateen-rigged dhow
From restaurant at Zanzibar Ferry. Had a
“Freddy Mercury” menu

Monday, 19 September 2011

"Please watch my bumpers!"

"Movie star Rita Hayworth sacrifices her bumpers for Uncle Sam"
Who knew Rita Hayworth was interested in cars??  Reason enough, on this, a car-trip blog, to check out the luscious siren of Hollywood's golden era, famous for her "bumpers".  Check her, and more luscious pictures of the beautiful lady, here.

Tomorrow morning, I'm splitting briefly from the team, and heading off back to Dar es Salaam (we're in Zanzibar now, a 2-hour ferry ride north of Dar) on the ferry, before the rest go back by light plane, to look for Rita Hayworth's house.  Why?  Because my parents lived in Dar in the early seventies, when my father was High Commissioner to Tanzania.  And they lived in the Australian government's official residence, which was..... Rita Hayworth's old house!  She had lived in during her marriage to the then Aga Khan, Prince Aly Khan, 1949-53.

And there hangs another tale, as I was interviewed by the Prince's son, Aga Khan IV and his wife, the famous model Sarah "Sally" Frances Croker-Poole (who became, through the marriage, the "Begum Aga Khan"), for a job as driver to the Begum and their three young children.  This was 1974.  I was first interviewed by the Begum, then a tall blonde beauty, in her London Knightsbridge apartment.

"Can your drive a four-door Maserati?", she asked.  "Can I what!" sez I (or sum'fink similar).  The job was to drive her and her kids round Europe in the Maz, and in winter to their various Alpine chalets.  "Don't worry", she said, "there will be plenty of free time for you to ski as well".  Heaven, I was thinking, you do exist.... [it may be only be a four-door Maserati, not the coupe, but what the hell, you can't have everything..]

She gave me the all clear; as far as she was concerned I was to be her new driver.  "You will look well in a uniform", she said as I left....

She organised a first-class ticket for me to fly to Paris to be interviewed by her husband, the current Aga Khan IV.  He was staying in his Paris residence, a massive castle-like structure on the  Île de la Cité.   

The odd thing is that before getting down to the interview proper, he talked to me at length of how difficult it was, how great a responsibility, to be the head of the Ismaili sect of Islam.  This to a know-nothing lad of 24.  I listened politely (my future boss, after all...), and then he got down to tin tacks. Why did I want a driver's job, he asked, when I was a graduate in Economics and my father in the diplomatic corps. Of course, he'd done his research -- or had his people do it -- and I was caught off guard.  I could hardly say that the thought of squiring round his pulchritudinous wife -- a blonde version of the luscious Rita -- and in a Maserati, was the stuff of a young man's priapic fantasies.  Drop the ankle-biters off at ski school and "where to now, Ma'am?".

So, long story short, I didn't get that job, but the connections, Rita, cars, Dar, Aga Khan....  "spooky, darlings", as Dame Edna would say.

And that's not the end of the connections.  I phoned my mother just now to find out where the residence was/is.  She said it's on the right hand side of the harbour as we come in on the ferry and right next to the Chinese embassy.  Spooky, or what?!

Stay tuned for the update on if I find it.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

In the "House of Peace"

Disaster!  Ireland beats Oz in the Rugby World Cup, and our Irish contingent (the TR4, half of, the MGB GT, all of) won't let us forget, so I've declared a time limit on gloating.....

We're now in Dar Es Salaam, capital of Tanzania, and my rudimentary Arabic suggests it means "House of Peace".  My mum and dad were here in the Australian High Commission in the seventies, (see Mutti's comments here), but sadly I won't have time to visit Rita Hayworth's old house.

Rewind to a few days back: the 734 km trip brought us to Kapishaya Lodge in N. Zambia, where we thought we'd have to camp, but found us a couple of rooms.  The main feature: hot springs, which well up from 6km down, the water arriving at the surface a perfect 41 degrees celcius.

Next morning we visited the Edwardian pile, Shiba Ngandu ("Royal Crocodile') built in the early 20th C by the Gore-Browns, minor English nobility, who trekked 350 miles to find the most remote place to build it: something of the best of British Victorian-Edwardian spirit there, the colonial and his trusted servants, to this day working with the family's descendants, in the shape of Bright, who showed us round the place that his grandfather also worked at.  Showing also some of the best of the British notion of fair play, as Gore Brown the granddad fought for Zambian independence, and was honoured at his death with a full State Funeral and a weeks' mourning, and buried in a cemetery for African Chiefs.

The story of the Gore Browns is told vividly in "The Africa House; the true story of an English Gentleman and his African dream", by Christina Lamb.  See also here for more on the estate of Shiba Ng'andu.

Next day brought us to Utengulu Lodge via a border crossing into Tanzania, and thank goodness that Roger in front SMS'd us to say that the "border is chaos", otherwise we wouldn't have noticed...

And yesterday, the 650km drive down into the Baobab forest, along a spectacular road, winding down the Rift Valley bringing us from 6,200 ft above sea level to around 2,000 and the town of Mgorongoro, via the eponymous Game Park -- vultures, zebra, elephant, buffalo, impala....  Gordon at the wheel, giving the mighty Mustang a bit of stick, we drifted round the corners, like a nice ski run down a groomed slope.

Highlight of the driving: we were stopped 9 times by police checkpoints, and fined three times: that's just Gordon and me in the Mustang.  Every other one of the classic cars was stopped and fined for something, including one for not having a fire extinguisher.  I didn't realise driving here hewed to Category One offshore rules.  Basically it's a squeeze on anyone who looks like tourists, and it's either a direct cash payment to the cops, or a higher payment with receipts... in the range 15-20 US $ per.  Our fines were: Gordon 56 in 50 zone, crossing white line and me 89 in 90 zone (don't ask....).

Car damage report: the Triumph TR4, clutch problem stuck in 3-4 gear, having to drive into town without stopping, making left turns instead of coming to rest; Dave's Merc alternator blew; our Mustang, another flat tyre.  All fixed.

And so the drive this morning to here to Dar es Salaam, the Southern Sun Hotel, where I'm sitting in the lobby blogging this, waiting for the others to arrive, and for the bus to then take us to the ferry for Zanzibar, where we're going to spend two nights with cars remaining here at the hotel.

Photos later (it takes aaaages to upload on these African connections).

Thursday, 15 September 2011

To Mpika.... and Mutti's birthday

Tomorrow, we do the longest drive of the rally: 734km to Mpika in Northern Zambia, where we try out our own tent for the first time.  Going to be fun (not) trying to get Gordon and me to fit in...
It's also my Mum's ("Mutti") 90th birthday: Happy Birthday Mutti!
Piccie of Peter and Mutti, 3 Nov 09, at the Melbourne Cup do at the Marina Club Hong Kong...
Peter and Mutti, Melbourne Cup in Hong Kong, '09

Cape to Cairenes II

Update 19th September (see bottom of post)
Val and Ian Gallagher, Nata Lodge, Botswana, 10 Sep
Val and Ian are Namibians from Windhoek.  Originally from Ireland, they've been in Namibia for 20 years, in the construction and real estate business.  They have only recently become involved in classic cars.  Their 1968 MGB GT, in traditional British Racing Green, is lovely, but's given some problems along the way: first a burst gasket, fixed in Springbok, SA, then blown clutch near Windhoek, Namibia.  The clutch fix needed the engine taken out overnight, with great help from Walter, travelling with one of the Mercedes.  After herculean effort, they got it done and managed to catch up with us in Hwange, two days ago.  Great job guys!
Ian at the Kariba Dam Ferry, 13 Sept

Ian gets down and dirty in Windhoek: in the engine bay of the B...
Update 19th September: Val has asked me to post a couple of pictures of Frankie at a garage in Mbeya, who gave them a very good lesson in geography, on Africa, England and Italy, written in the sand. 
Ian, Frankie and welders, fix the muffler
"The car may not make it to Cairo, but the muffler will" says Ian

Catch-up photos

Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe
From 2 days ago at Hwange Game Park, Zimbawe's largest, at 1,000 sq km.
06:00 am on the trail of game:
Jacki, David and Debbie in front, Gordon, Sandi and Chris
Lazarus, top game spotter
The obligatory elephant shot: there were over 100 right at the Lodge

Zebra with fork-tailed finches

Days 7-9; Hwange to Lusaka

Prescript: We're not getting regular or strong internet connections on this trip, so I can't post all the photos I'd like to.  So I'm getting rather more wordy than "pictury"...

Now just north of Lusaka, capital of Zambia, after a 22-hour overnight trip on the ferry from Nwanke in Zimbawe.
Rob, the ferry owner, is fourth generation Zimbawean, with business interests in transport and fuel distribution.  The eighties and nineties were very good for business, with lots of toursim.  Then came the “dark ages” when Mugabe started the “indigenization” program, driving white farmers off their land.  Of 4,000 white-owned farms, all but 200-odd have now changed hands, and of those 3,800, only about 800 are still producing.  That made Zimbabwe turn from food exporter to net importer.  The government's response was to print money, with the result we’ve all read about: wheelbarrows of cash, just to buy a loaf of bread, inflation of thousands of percent per day.  They ended with a 100 Trillion ZimDollar note. 
During this time, Rob closed down the family transport business, for eight years.  The result of the inflation was so much black market US dollar circulating that they were able to switch to use of the US$ in 2008.  That fixed that problem virtually overnight.  The US government  did not approve of the move, but couldn’t do much about it (to have approved would have increased the US money supply, and hence US inflation).
There are many problems still: inflation, unemployment, corruption, the on-going political games of Mugabe, who – having failed at the land transfer program – now wants to do the same for Finance and Mining companies: demanding transfer of 51% of foreign-owned assets to black Zimbabweans.  Mugabe says it's a "win-win" and says that "foreign investment in protected".  Yeah, right.  Like that of the landowners was.
Still, things are turning,  says Rob.  The average person just forgets about politics and gets on with life.  Meantime, in the political arena, the moderates are taking the upper hand.
It’s a case of having gone “through the valley of death”, as it were, having hit rock bottom, and not wanting to go there again. 
And meantime, in South Africa, the worry is that they’re heading down the same baleful route, with the ANC Youth Wing leader, Mulema, worshipping Mugabe and his methods, and calling yesterday on the youth to storm the Johannesburg stock exchange.  It seems that not having gone through their own Zimbabwean lows, they may be headed in the same direction. People hope not, but fear the worst.

By the way: Kariba Lake -- huge, a result of damning the river  in 1961 -- is only used for power generation.  I asked Rob why it wasn't used for irrigation of the thousands of square miles surrounding it, and he said that there'd been a plan to pipe water to the lowland veldt,  but that nothing had happened.  "Why?", I asked.  Rob answers: "Why would the politicians spend money on the country, when they could use it to buy another villa in Europe?"...
Enough of that, onto some piccies. 
The mighty Mustang squeaks on the Kariba Ferry
The ferry ride across Kariba dam – 330 km long and about 50km wide – was a pleasant affair, beginning at 10:00 yesterday and finishing here at Kariba at 08:00 this morning.  We squeezed 13 cars on board, with inches to spare, and about 30 people.  Rob, Clement and Lazarus (another Lazarus; see above "Catch-up photos"…) looked after us very well, with lunch, afternoon tea, snacks of local fresh-water whitebait, dinner then sleeping on mattresses on the deck.
The ferry stopped about 5pm, for a change over of generators and for us to have a swim.
Swimming in the middle of the Kariba Dam

This morning a simple 240km trip up to Lusaka, which took us all day nonetheless, as we had an hour or so at the Zimbabwean border then another two hours on the Zambian border.  I’m  getting used to African time….
Carmen being patient, at Zambian border -- 2 hours....

Female Kudu, in the grounds of the Lusaka Protea Lodge
where I'm sitting blogging... She makes nice biltong
Postscript: as I sit here blogging, all around me the guests -- Southern Africans, black and white -- are talking in English, the language, clearly, of the educated and better-off classes.  There's an African twang to the English; it's interesting to kibbitz on the conversations...  a son has just returned from the UK; the situation in South Africa is "getting bad", Mulema is "dangerous"...

Monday, 12 September 2011

Hwange Safari Lodge, Zimbabwe, via Victoria Falls

Pano of Vic Falls
Posting this from Gordon's laptop, as Apples are a bit too quirky for this pub: the very lovely Hwange Safari Lodge in the Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe's largest at 1,400 sq. km.  In total Zimbabwe has about 10,000 sq km of parks and the ones we've seen, passed through or stayed at, are well run and maintained, huge wildlife refuges and providing employment at the dozens of camps and lodges throughout here, Botswana, Namibia and  South Africa.
Yesterday we came from Katima in North-east Namibia, into Botswana briefly, then back out to North-west Zimbabwe, passing by the Foot and Mouth control point, where we had to stand on disinfectent pad, and drive the car through a pool, supervised by the lovely, and generously proporitioned Sently, which means "perfection", who also moonlights (or daylights) as souvernier stall holder, where I bought a little hippo. Bit my tounge just in time not to say "I should name it after you, Sently", when she said to me "you should name it after me!" laughing that open, loud lovely african laugh. (piccie of her and me to come, can't do with this machine...).
Sently ("Perfect"), shows the correct technique to control Foot & Mouth
Then on to the Victoria Falls.  Fabulous.  Or, "Awesome", as our Kiwi crews-mates, would say.  I thought you'd just wander up to a fence and gaze at some falls, but it's a whole park, with acres of paths and rain forest where the spray makes it moist and humid giving succour to forest-lets like the Peak in Hong Kong.
Then a lovely final 140ks to here, along a road fringed by yellow-leaved African Teak trees, for all the world like autumn oaks, and Acacias,  with the odd fire along the verges, which we thought deliberately lit to clear them.
Dinner, a Braai (bbq), with warthog on the menu: not bad, like beef, just chewy a touch, and apres by the fire.  It gets cold these parts still, as we're quite high: all along Nabibia to here has been above 5,000 ft, and it's still 3,000 ft.
This morning up at the crack of dawn for a open-topped tour of the park: buffaly, zebra, giraffe, elephant, and so it goes, but none of the sexy predators yet.   They're there, we saw the tracks, maybe this arvo.
Reminder: pop over to Sandi's blog and the Team Namibia blog: links at right of this blog.
Dave, Peter and Steffen, Vic Falls Park

Carmen "Mercedes",  at the Vic Falls

Sunday, 11 September 2011


I'm not sure how often I can get wi-fi along the way, so remember you can always track where we are by clicking on the tab above and follow the simple instructions. When onto the track site, click on the little car in the left column.
Cheers from Kitana, about to head off to the Victoria Falls, after the confluence of the Zambesi and Okavango Rivers.
PS: if you're ever in Kitana, stay at this pub: the Protea, right on the river.  It's fabulous. They're saying this will be the last we have on the rest of the way.

Sunset cruise on the Zambesi

Daniel, top animal spotter, and benefitting from tourism
Cruising the Zambesi, in style

I'm a sucker for sunset shots.  Hippos are too...

Saturday, 10 September 2011

"How far have you come already"

Gordon Skypes Jenny, on the banks of the "Great
Green Greasy Zambesi River"
We're now in Katima on the banks of the Zambesi river, overlooking Zambia.  A most gorgeous guest house, calling itself the Protea Hotel: rooms up to Thailand resort standard.
On the way Namibians young and old, male and female, black and white, have been most interested in our rally and loooove our magic Mustang: "It must fly like a plane", they say.  "How fast does it go?" "Where's it from", and so on.  They ask where we're going and when we say Cairo, it's "waaahh, so far!"  A couple of people, a couple note, have asked "and how far have you come already?"  Ummm...  "We'll we've come to here, right at this spot, actually".
Last night we stayed at the Ngandu Safari Lodge, at Rundu, not on original route, as it had to be changed from going East to Botswana.  The Okavango River flooded the Okavangu Swamp (the size of half of Europe), and washed out a bridge we were to go over. Had we set off without knowing, we'd have had an 800km detour.... Instead, we're in North East Nabibia and headed to the Victoria falls tomorrow.
Nabibia strikes me as richer and more developed that I'd imagined.  There's plenty of poverty to be sure; but the main towns, are fine and pretty.  Like its people, and many cuties....
Luscious Linda, keeps bar and runs the Pools Comp at the Ngandu Lodge

Carmen at the sunset lookout, Ngandu  Safari Lodge

Sunset over the Okavango river, from Ngandu Lodge, Rundu

Gordon does running repairs on bushes, while Peter offers expert advice from the side.
We were stopped by the police at a checkpoint this morning, allegedly for speeding, but clearly they just wanted to look at the car.  One of them, Samu, got in and started driving along the street.  No fine levied.

Constable Samu takes the Magic Mustang for a spin...

"Waah, she must fly like a plane!", says the camouflaged cop...