Sunday, 28 November 2010


So after what seemed like forever, only 90kms actually, we arrived at the Namibian border. This was to be our last country before entering SA so we actually both felt a bit depressed about it, even though for me this was the country I was most looking forward to. It seems the further south you go, the easier the crossings actually get, the only issue I actually had on the Namibian side was that I was asked to pay some kind of road tax, fair enough, but we had no money and they did not take any cards so we were asked to pay at the first town we arrived at. At the same time while waiting for me outside, I noticed a green mambu slithering pass behind Delilah while she sat on her bike at the gates, you know how she loves snakes!!

the welcome mat
Now at the first town, we proceeded to the office to pay the road tax, seems they actually only took cash as well. As it turned out, all of the cash machines in the town were actually offline since the morning so we headed back and asked the guy in the office to write us a letter that said we would pay at the next available office, and we were on our way again, along the Caprivi strip. We headed towards a campsite about halfway to Rundu called Bum Hill, on the way having to pass through a checkpoint were we actually had to get off our bikes and step onto a wet mat to disinfect our feet.........not too sure about this but hey, you gotta do what you gotta do.
Our little tree house

Bum Hill is a great campsite, not too expensive and you get all your conveniences for wild camping. You even put your tent up on a platform built about 3m off the ground into a tree, this to help not being trampled by straying buffalo or elephant.

As the sun set in all of its glory, we noticed that it had started to rain lightly, so quickly placed our raincover over the tent, these rain storms dont really last very long so we did not bother to secure the tent too much. Boy were we wrong on this occasion, the heavens opened and we experienced the worst thunder storm ever, and that in a tree house, it went on for hours, thunder sounding every few seconds like we were in the clouds, we had to hold on to the tent for fear of it blowing away, even the alarm on the bike was sounded due to the violent nature of the storm...........but we survived and this was definitely something we would not forget for a while.

Elephants, what elephants?
Once again, in the morning we headed off, on the way noticing loads of elephant signs, seeing fresh elephant poo (by now you would be able to tell these things) but not seeing any elephants, how sad. We eventually passed though the nature reserve and reached Rundu, opting to stay at a lodge due to the previous nights storm and lack of sleep, just as well as the storm hit again. Having had a good rest, enjoying the pool and dry beds we pushed on to Otjiwarongo in the morning, passing Grootfontein on the way. This would have been the turn off to head for Etosha Reserve but as we were on bikes, there was no way we would be allowed in, anyway the campsite we stayed at, Arcadia, was located next to a crocodile farm and had enough wildlife of its own to keep us happy, well we ended up watching a movie on the laptop and that was sufficient for us. Tomorrow would see us arriving in Winhoek to get the bikes fixed, cant wait........
Oh boy, here we go again
The remains of our stormy night after 'securing' the tent

The view from our little tree house

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Zambia, to tax or not to tax? per the previous blog, we were heading for the Zambian border, this on a Sunday when everything seems to grind to a complete halt in Africa, yes even slower than what it usually is. We were also made aware that there would be up to 5 taxes to pay before entering so made sure we had loads of Malawi currency to exchange for this purpose as there are usually no ATM's on the borders.

As it turned out, the border was rather painless, just the usual ten thousand forms to fill in before we could be on our way, when it came to paying the taxes, the only one asked about was the carbon emissions tax (yes Zambia), to which i made a joke that our bikes did not qualify for this and they believed me, we ended up paying not a cent. as we did not then have to change money on the black market at the border, we decided we would do it the next day in the bank.

Buck at Eureka lodge
We carried on and as the sky was clear and the roads not too bad we opted to pass Chipata, just stopping to draw some Zambian currency from the ATM, and headed for a little town called Petuka where we found a quaint little lodge to camp at. Luckily there was enough space and light for me to swap my front tyre around as it had once again started to wear unevenly. We also had a bit of forethought to buy some boerewors earlier in the day at Lilongwe, which Delilah had made while i was busy with the bike, this was really a treat and heelped us to a good nights rest even though there was load music being played by the neighbour.

Eureka Lodge
Early to rise the next morning, not that we had an option with the music coming back on at 6am, we pushed on the last 400km to Lusaka and headed straight for the banks to change our Malawi money. This took us 3 hours before we finally realised that there was no way we would get it changed, what a nightmare, they change to Botswana Pula but won't touch the Malawi Kwacha. With this in mind we decided just to hold onto the money and try to change it in SA, and headed for our campsite Eureka Lodge, brilliant little place just outside of Lusaka. They had a pool, a brilliant bar and animals including zebra, buffalo, buck and loads more, just roaming around. I also managed to exchange our money with some overlanders heading towards Malawi, what luck.

Vic falls dry as ever
We thought we would push on again the next morning as it would give us a chance to catch up with Andre for the last time before he headed on a different course for Bloemfontein, and arrived in Livingstone at about 4pm to the really nice Fawlty Towers lodge, where again we decided to camp out by the pool, nice. Before leaving the morning, i did manage to go to BMW in Lusaka, a car dealership, and persuaded them to call BMW Windhoek to order the parts needed for our bikes to expedite the repairs when we eventually arrived, lets hope it helped.

Well we stayed in Livingstone for 2 days, had dinner with Andre on his last night at Ocean Basket, mmmmm, and also went and saw Victoria falls, not much to see at the moment as there has not been any rain falling, but take a walk to the Zimbabwe border bridge, and you can see as much as you would ever need to. Livingstone is a lovely place, and loads to do there. We may have to go back as the Zambesi has one of the best white water in the world.

Tomorrow we head for the Namibian border.........

who comes up with the colours of these corn chips
the rest of the gauge as viewed from the bungee jumping platform on the Zimbabwe side

from a different angle, it did look as if there was steam coming from the falls

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Goodbye Malawi, gonna miss you.....

So after a really enjoyable time at Kande beach, with no worries other than trying to source a new shock for my bike, we decided to push on. Heading south just seems like the right thing to do when you are on a trip southbound. The option was to either stay at Lilongwe (the capital), so we could push on as far as possible so we could push on as far into Zambia as possible, or stay on the beach for one more night of Malawi madness.

Well i guess you could imagine what we chose..........Cool Runnings is a campsite in Senga Bay. Very very nice food (i had the fish, mmmmmmmm), nice vibe about it and a great owner. The name may ring a bell as the same owner opened up a pub with the same name in Cape Town, i loved that place actually, really chilled. We met another biker there, Desmond, great guy travelling around southern Africa for 6 months to start a new chapter in his life, so many people do overlanding for the same reason i guess. Anyway, it seems that cold weather is following us, as not long after we laid our heads to rest, a storm started, something that Malawi had not seen for a long while.

Early the next morning, well early enough, we pushed off on what would turn out to be quite a long day. We passed through Lilongwe to pick up some supplies at Shoprite, a shop well know to South Africans, and headed for the border.........
The beach at Cool Runnings seemed to be much more crowded
Camping at Cool Runnings, from left to right: Desmonds bike, Delilahs bike and my bike

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Malawi - Off to the south

So we decided to move on a bit to the lower parts of Lake Malawi, heading for a site suggested by the guys we met on the border, Kande beach. We did leave it a bit late in the day to travel due to the excessive amounts of calls I had to make to try and organise a new shock. Due to this, we actually only made it to Mzuzu, about 100km short of Kande. A very modern town compared to the rest of Malawi, not that Malawi is bad at all. We quickly filled our tanks, as fuel is a bit scarce this side of the border, and headed for a few lodges for place to pitch our tent. Problem with a country where its difficult to find things is that everything suddenly becomes very expensive, but a few lodges later, and a bit of negotiation, we were soon settling in for the night.

This morning we quickly pushed on and reached Kande beach in no time, passing a casualty of one of the biggest problems in Africa, poor driving, in this case it was a truck trying to avoid colliding with a Tanzanian bus, Damn bus drivers....i can't count how many times we had to give way to oncoming vehicles on the road.

Back to the campsite, truly Delilah's dream and nightmare in one, a tropical paradise but with a 3km sandy road leading to it. Nice!!! I think we will stay for a few days and maybe even get in a few dives or a bit of snorkelling.....

Kande Beach's bar
We did eventually end up staying at Kande for a little while and met some really great people there as well including a couple from Belgium, Chris and Ineke and her 2 kids, who are travelling in southern Africa for 6 months, brilliant. Well as you can see by the pictures below, we did explore the beach a bit as well as the island pictured below. Again a very recommended place to stay. We also noticed some dark clouds over the lake which turned out to be swarms of millions of little flies that come to the land, to the locals delight, as they catch and eat them. Some people like caviar or frogs legs and others like flies i guess. Africa baby!!!
A pig on the spit, yes please.........sorely i did not get any
Our little pride and joy

We hired a canoe to explore the waters round this island, spectacular
Kande Beach itself

Monday, 15 November 2010

Birthday Bash

Early birthday rise for me....even though we had dogs fighting all night in the compound, we were very blessed to have found the help we did.

We had 88km to Tunduma.....and the last 60km, we were told by Andre, was a Moyale....So I was preparing myself for a long day.

Delilah punching the air in joy on reaching tarmac
After a hard road we finally reached TAR!!!!! WOOOO HOOOO!!! I was the happiest chick biker in the world.

We then pushed to get to the Malawi boarder, which once again, there was no issues or hassles to get through. We also met another overlanding team heading north from Cape Town who just so happened to work with one of Liindsay's friends he had met in London, Deon. What a small world we live in......the chances of meeting someone in a remote place in London is smaller than meeting people you may know in Africa.

Sangilo Lodge
Finally we reached Sangilo Lodge at 7pm.....what a intense 2 days riding. We were both tired, and to add to the stress of driving, Lindsay noticed about 200km from Sangilo, that his rear shocks's seals had gone, which meant he was just riding on a spring and any bump in the road caused him to bounce quite I had to take on some of the weight from his bike to help minimise damage to the bike. I think we are going to be in Malawi till this gets sorted, hopefully in the next week or so, let me tell you that it's not the worse place in the world to be stuck......
At Sangilo Lodge on Lake Malawi

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Road of Hell.......Kigoma to Tunduma

Next 720km on gravel.....Great!!! I wasn't too keen, and Lindsay decided that we should ride it with Andre, even though I felt strongly that the trip on the boat would have been better. Anyway.......the fist 60 to 160km were ok.....until we reached the loose sand.....NIGHTMARE!!!! I fell 7 poor bike come out the worst....the panniers were so messed up.....damn road. I found it soooo much harder then the road in Kenya, Moyale to Marsibit.

This is still the good stuff, with lots to see as well.
We eventually reached Mpanda.....where Lindsay and myself decided to stay to fix my bike in the morning and check the rest of the way out. I even told Lindsay maybe its a good idea to put the bikes on a truck all the way down. We spoke to the locals and sussed out the weather and we then decided to ride the next morning early and just take it easy.

We rode through the Katavi National Park, where we were lucky to see buffalo , elephants, monkeys and buck.....which was great …......but not always possible when your eyes are on the road all the time.

Our beautiful compound campsite in the morning
We then continued on and passed Sumbawanaga....the road so far was not too bad, so we headed on....towards Tunduma. The next section was definitely worse, with loads of sand and pot holes that delayed us a started getting late and we were deciding where to stay for the night.......I suggested that we stay close to a village......however we passed a roadworks site compound (Chinese company) with trucks and decided to pull in, just in time to catch the site manager and asked if we could camp in the compound. He agreed for us to stay and even supplied us with bottled water and beers even when we didn't have any cash on us.......they were a great help.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Lake Tanganika - Kigoma, Tanzania

Now the reason for going to Kigoma was to try and arrange a ship to take us down close to Malawi, as Delilah had just had enough of the off-roads. The town itself is pretty pleasant, with a few banks and 2 really great hotels, as usual, we decided on the camping route, on the lake, it was amazing. Our attempts at finding a boat was pretty futile, we had to expand our search to private charters as the main ship leaving for that area was only departing in 8 days time, too long. The charter was no easier with some of the guys wanting over $3000 to take us down the river, ridiculous. Finally we decided we would do the road and if it got too bad for the bikes we would just get them put on the back of a truck to Tunduma, where the blacktop roads began again.
John, Lynda and their overland home

Well back to the campsite, the private beach had the clearest water I have ever seen, and luckily the spiders were small enough not to be too much of a bother. We also met a really lovely couple, Lynda and John from South Africa, travelling around Africa in a truck they had built in South Africa, we traided stories and got some great advice on places to visit.
Our private beach
A campsite with a view to die for
The view from the camp

Monday, 8 November 2010

Risumo falls - Beautiful Rwanda to Tanzania

Amazing roads in Rwanda
Passing through the boarders from Uganda to Rwanda was a breeze no problems, we were out of there in 30mins through both boarders. We did pass through about 10am which I'm sure helped a bit Wow, what a clean and beautiful country. The roads were excellent to travel on , people were smiley and happy to see us, it was great, I was a bit sad to leave so soon, but we decided to just travel through because we couldn't find any campsites. We later met up with a couple that had actually camped there though so it might have been nice.

Kigali football supporters
We headed to the capital, Kigali, it is amazing how developed it is.....we had lunch at the Bourbon cafe (like Charlie Boorman and Ewan Mcgregor in Long way down....boys..boys..boys). We then headed to the boarder of Tanzania.....we were running late but pushed on and managed to get there in time. Well thats to the Rwanda side.....there were trucks blocking the way to we struggled for 10 -15 mins to get through. which we managed with no issues....we then headed to Tanzania and did the immigrations check but as we needed our Carnet stamps and the customs officers had gone home already, we could not pass, we missed them just by 10 mins.....we tried to get them to let us through or call the customs, but no luck, we just had to camp at the boarder....phew!!!!!.
Risumo falls on the border of Rwanda and Tanzania

Breakfast, a good start to a bad road
This did mean we could get into Tanzania quite early though, so a 7am start at the Boarder to get our carnets stamped to head onto the road towards Kusulu...... I was definitely not looking forward to this route. We heard that the road can be impossible to ride if there is a lot of rain.

We made it all the way to Kasulu after a hard day of riding on gravel. The boys were looking for banks to change money, but it become really hard as some of the banks did not change euros to the local currency. All countries seem to want American dollars and not euros. With no local currency, we could not head any further so decided to head to Kigoma (along Lake Tanganika), we heard from some locals that it was a better town to change money.

As usual, the rain stops as you get to your destination.
Just as the boys got out of the bank it started to rain....really heavy.....we headed to a Lodge which seemed ok. We arrived at the re was one of the worst rains we have experienced …..but we booked a room and stayed for the night.

We then decided to head off to Kigoma in the morning, the road to Kigoma was gravel until the last 25km tar.....what a pleasure , bring on the tar baby!!!

How I dislike the off road bits, you just never know what you're going to get............but hey...its all part of the trip.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Heading to Rwanda....

An early start from our hotel this morning to meet up with Andre in Kabale after a great day with our kids in Kasese. The roads to Kabale from Kasese were not too bad, there were lots of road renewals along the way with gravel, sand and mad drivers hampering our journey. All in all, an ok road though.

on route to the camping
about as big as they come
We decided to stay at this great campsite (Bunyonyi Overland Resort) on Lake was quiet a trek to get there but was definitely worth the trip. We stayed for the night ready to head off to Rwanda in the morning.

Overlooking the lake, nice!!
What a view, if only the sites in Europe were like this

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Compassion - Its all about the kids

At the Compassion offices in Kompala
11123km's, 26 tanks of fuel each, consisting of 850 litres for both bikes, 66 days of travel, 5 border crossings, 3 ferries and countless bribes and we finally get to see our sponsor kids in Uganda. We have arranged to visit both kids on the 5th November as both live in surely will be something to remember.

Where to start, well the roads to Kasese from Kampala could have been a bit better, but then this is Africa. All the roadworks and bad roads did manage to slow us down a bit, this combined with not being able to actually find the Compassion office for an hour while in Kampala meant we would have to overnight on route, at the Town view Lodge, a brilliant place in (the name of the town escapes me at the moment). As the name mentions, you get a view of the town which means driving up muddy roads, it was raining, to the top of the hill, really exciting. This meant an early start the next morning.

school kids at the project
the project workers and sponsor kids
Well as things go, being tired and all you can imagine that we left a bit later than expected, meaning that we were at least 1 hour late to meet the kids, luckily they were late too and meant we were able to check in and settle before heading off to the projects themselves.

Once again the drive to there projects was almost completely offroad, on a really muddy surface, something to experience for yourself. This did make the trip to see the kids feel a lot more real though, and what a good day it was.

Brian, his grandmother and grandfather
We started off by visiting my kid, Brian, first at the project and then at his home and was presented with food on both occasions, and what a banquet it was.......remember, by now our stomachs have shrunk so much because of the trip........ Brians family really great and very thankful for what they received through the projects and our donations.

Delilah, Harrison (in green) and his whole family including father.
Next we headed further into the mountains to Harrison's place, Delilah's sponsor kid. Boy did it start to to pour, making the already difficult road surface much so that the vehicle with the kids and project workers were not able to make it up the hill and had to walk the rest of the way. As getting to the project would have been impossible by foot, we decided to skip and just head for Harrison's house where we were eagerley greeted by his whole family of 9 brothers and sisters and all the friends.....and also to a huge meal. We were really overwhelmed by the hospitality shown to us. Then finally Harrison's father said something that has humbled and will never leave us, 'I am so honoured, I never in my life dreamt that I would get such a calibre of people visit in my home'. Wow.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

White Nile - White water action

What can I say, the day was amazing, if you ever get the chance to do it, then do it, They have a 2 day trip which which will now be shortened to a 1 day trip because of the dam being built. I will let the pictures do the talking