Sunday, 25 September 2011

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.

We were also expecting to get our passport after receiving a sms  message from MDS Couriers advising us that the passports would be waiting for us in the Hotel – Adam Fuller and Judith went on the search – after a phone call to MDS we were informed that the Passports are now in LONDON – and the UK Customs are holding for a verification from the South African Embassy that the passports are not fraudulent and that this process may take 3 – 4 days – we leave Dar tomorrow morning – Oh my goodness what more could this bloody company put us through – at this stage our trip looks like it will be going from Cape Town to Nairobi???
A lovely evening was spent at the Southern Sun Hotel in Dar – Adam Fuller and his team of staff are indeed a brilliant example of how service and customer care should be done – well done Adam – brilliant??

Wednesday 21 September 2011

A very early start so we could attempt to miss the horrific traffic in Dar – we got up at 04h30 – Scott the Head Chef of the Southern Sun had arranged with his Kitchen to have everything ready for us by 05h15 in the morning plus we would received “take away boxes “ and to help ourselves – amazing service yet again – Thank you Scott.  We were off to Arusha a 629km Drive – The MG and us – Chris was dying to have a drive in the Mustang and it was arranged that we would meet at Mombo where Gordon (owner of Mustang) and Chris would take the drive up to Soni and then, due to the speed of the Mustang, meet us in Arusha.  Sadly today was not the Day – The Volvo has no clutch.  Chris had to drive.  With no Clutch you can only change gear if the vehicle is actually moving – so we both knew we were going to be in for an interesting 400km odd drive.
As explained previously the Traffic Cops in Tanzania clearly do not have a life – as they continually stop us and as long as we were in the law i.e. not speeding we are then asked the same standard questions – Where are you from?  Where are you going? What a lovely car can I buy it?? As if they benefit from the information they receive – so we were stopped and all the questions answered – we then informed this intelligent policemen to push us so that we could get the vehicle into gear.  One would imagine that at this stage they should have given us a fine for a vehicle that clearly does not have a clutch and should really probably not be on the road.  Well nothing to them they pushed us and off we went.
The next incident was a speed hump – the Tanzania roads have serious speed humps you have to almost come to a stop to clear them – really bad for low old vehicles.   We came across a speed hump that the vehicle in front of us had come to a halt – we attempted to change down with no joy so off we went into the bushes – passing low Acacia Bushes, ducking trees, passing a farmers home and eventually into gear and back on the road.  The MG thought that we were on the wrong road so bless them immediately turned around only to find us join them back on the road facing the right way – they had managed to find themselves parked right across the road after the dreaded speed hump – a large Track had to come to a halt whilst the MG slowly sorted themselves  out to rejoin us.
We eventually arrive at the Impala Hotel at about 3pm – thank good ness for Gordon (Mustang) between Chris and Gordon they managed to get the Clutch sorted and we are back in business. 
We continuously meet interesting people on the route as most men are interested in old cars – we had a suggestion from Justyn Lane of Massey Ferguson (who lived in Malawi and knows our lodge) to go to a Lebanese Restaurant based a mere 50 metres from the Hotel – a wonderful surprise to find Geoff Denton at the lodge – so off we all set to the restaurant – they had never had a group of this size – although the food was great – when it eventually arrived some 3 hours later – we all had lost our sense of humor and abusive demands were made to eventually get the service – a long long day

Thursday 22 September 2011

A mere 193 Kms today to the Ngorongoro Crater – something both Chris and I had been so looking forward to doing – a late start 08h00 – a disgusting breakfast served from the Impala Hotel – we had a cup of coffee and off we went.
It was Chris’s day to join Gordon in the Mustang he was like a naughty little schoolboy – he was so looking forward to this day – off they went. For us to meet them at the gates of the Conservancy.  Peter (from Hong Kong) and I drove in Modesty.
 The initial plan was to leave our vehicles parked at the entrance of the Ngorongoro Conversancy – this was not to be as safety and security could not be assured – so we all drove the approx. 30 kms up to the Sopa Lodge on gravel road – straight up the hill to the crater ridge – the TR4A overheated due to a faulty fan – so a quick fix half way up and off we went.  Modesty went well with no overheating.
Chris was so chuffed with his drive in the Mustang and raved about it all the way up to the crater ridge – I am afraid we will now definitely be buying a Mustang.
The viewpoint of the crater a mere 6 kms up the hill – breathtaking and just emotionally moving – its just incredible – not sure what words can be used to describe the incredible beauty and magnitude of the crater – you just must come and see it for yourselves.
A little further on and we reached to Sopa Hotel – lovely rooms and wonderful service from Justin and his staff.  A delicious lunch and then we all went down the crater with Leopard Tours Safari Vehicles.  We saw so many animals from Cheetah, Lions, Hyena, Jackal and all the other standard animals – loads and loads of animals – very dry and dusty but fantastic.
A la Carte dinner and a game of bridge and off to bed.

Friday 23 September 2011

A early start – and Justin and his team came to the party and opened the lodge by 05h15 so that we could have a lovely cup of coffee and pick up our breakfast packs – the best packs so far – well done Justin.
Chris and I were the first to leave at 05h30 – in the dark we managed to drive in the wrong direction and landed up in the Safari Vehicle car park and were unable to go any further.  The Fuel pump was completely buggered – we were going nowhere. Michael (TR4A) advised us that Ron & Wendy (Volkswagen Kombi) had just recently changed a fuel pump and that we should catch them before they left.  I ran up the hill to advise whoever was left behind of our situation whilst Chris arranged for the lodge vehicle to tow us back up the hill to the lodge.  The lodge vehicle failed to do this so one of the Safari Drivers who pulled us up with a 4 x 4.
Gordon to the rescue – thank goodness the Mustang, Pajero & Volkswagen were all still at the lodge.  Gordon is incredibly fast and efficient at changing these things – with a lot of people looking into Modesty Bonnet – and comments from loads of Safari Drivers, Guests from the lodge – Gordon the wonder man got it all sorted and off we went at 07h00.  An uneventful trip to Nairobi, the border posts were easy, the road from Arusha to Nairobi has just newly being constructed – fanatastic.  The Kenyan Border was the first Customs Official on this trip to query our Temproary Travel Passport purely because we had now run out of pages and he barely had space to put the entry stamp – after assuring him that we would be receiving our passports in Nairobi and that we merely we attending the Kenyan Concors d’Elegance in Nairobi on Sunday 25th September. He kindly did not want to see any documents regarding the hijacking of our passports and allowed us to enter.
We arrived at the hotel after a 2-hour traffic jam at 16h20. We had enough time to check in, have a shower and get to the Opening Cocktail party at the Nairobi a Club for the Concors.  A lovely evening but exhaustion set in and we went to bed early.