A year’s memorable moments

While travelling through the whole Continent of Africa, you are sometimes forced to wait and wile your time. Sometimes it is because of the absurd heavy traffic or a burst water pipe in the Centre  of Khartoum blocking the early morning traffic while you tried to rise early to get out of the city en route to the Ethiopian border post. I waited numerous times in the vehicle while Arno tries to change money at the bank or sitting in a queue at a petrol station. We once at the ferry crossing to Dar es Salaam from our campsite, sat for 2 and half hours in the queue for the Kigamboni Ferry to take us across to Dar es Salaam. The best past time for me was to take photo’s of people. I am not the worlds best photographer but wants to show you some of the people and moments captured over the months on the road. The photo’s starts from the beginning of our trip.IMG_5771

Three boys from different nationalities playing ball in Letaba camp, Kruger National Park not understanding  each others language. One from Mauritius speaking French, a Namibian boy speaking German and an Afrikaans speaking boy from South Africa.

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Prawn seller at Areia Branca

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Jan & Joey with their pet boerbok Bettie on their farm in Mozambique

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We saw so many stray dogs right through Africa but this one broke my heart. He adopted me and even slept at night in front of our tent at Goody Villas at Inhassoro in Mozambique waiting for me outside the ablution block, He was badly mutilated.

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Bapi, the brave demining expert welcoming us to his dangerous mine infested area in Mozambique

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The friendly people starting the ferry  specially for us to  take us across the Shire river in Mozambique late in the afternoon when we thought no ferry is available.

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The excited children in the village of Chief Tembe  where we had to stay the night after crossing the Shire river in Mozambique . They were like a Mexican wave while we were pitching the tent….coming forward and backwards as we worked . This was the night of the mosquito plague and where Arno got his malaria.

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Chief Tembo from Tembo village in Mozambique near the Shire river who gave us permission to stay in his village.

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Antony, our helper and interpreter that helped us out at Chief Tembo’s Village to organize our overnight stay.

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Small boy in a dugout on Lake Malawi at Palm Beach

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Dutch Overlanders playing volley ball with the locals at Cape Maclear, Malawi

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Ruthie with her eldest daughter, son and very small twins. The daughter is 13 but she has to help her  mom with  the twins and the 2 other children. These babies are 10 months old but they look more like 2 months old. This was at Fat Monkeys, Cape Maclear, Malawi

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Washing done in the Lake at Cape Maclear, Malawi

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Overlanding Africa means meeting new friends from all nationalities and having an impromptu braai

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Lucy the cute little daughter of Kananji, our friend in the Chembe Village, Cape Maclear. She loved to visit the Mzungus at their funny tent home

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Baking our own bread. Cape Maclear, Malawi

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In Africa big and small must help. Makuzi Beach, Malawi

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My birthday cake surprise from Richard at Makuzi Beach, Malawi

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Vicious but beautiful stray cat at Makuzi Beach, Malawi

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2 cute 10 year olds guiding us to the waterfall at Livingstonia telling us their version of the history of the slave trade.

Mossel Bay to Alexander Bay…doing the West Coast

We were 3 weeks at home before we were back on the road again. We drove from Mossel Bay to Witsand to say hello to the children. They have a very nice undercover area available for us to camp. Troi slept with us in our tent and loved having us there to wish him the best on his first day at Grade 1. After 4 days with Leon, Hanli and Troiboy,  we drove the 250km to visit Lucas, Petro and Little Luke on their smallholding near Caledon. Luke was very nonchalant when we came driving through the gate, looking intensely at Arno and said “Oupa, I knew it was you because I know the sound of your “kamp bakkie”. We had a fantastic weekend camping at Vloedbos with them and we entertained Luke by riding with him on the super tube. We were the oldest children on the slide.   

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    Witsand and the Breede River

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Troi starting his school career

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                                                   2 Famous Hiluxes at Vloedbos                             

   We then stayed at Mountain Breeze Holiday Resort near Stellenbosch which is our favorite campsite when visiting Cape Town. We walked to the farm stall and enjoyed the fantastic environment. We visited Arno’s brother Chris and his wife Hilda who stays on a wine farm nearby. As a bonus Arno’s sister Heleen and her husband Gerard also came to enjoy the day with us. It was a real family day with wonderful food and lots of fun and joy.  Our sister-in-law Anneke, Naas’s mom, also came to have a braai with us. We had a lovely evening together. We then surprised our grand kids PJ and Yvonne by pitching up at their Nursery School in Brackenfell. They at first did not recognize their grandparents (the long hair and weight loss we think plus a year’s absence) but when PJ suddenly recognized me, he absolutely jumped into my arms with a loud ”ouma Lies”. It was a very special moment. Yvonne, shy at first, hugged me tightly around the legs and then it was Oupa’s turn. Priceless moments! We enjoyed our visit with Pieter, Agnes and the children.  They have maps of Africa and followed our journey. We also wrote them letters and send them photo’s witch they took to school to show to their teachers where “Oupa & Ouma Afrika” are travelling.                                                                                                   

While we were in Brackenfell we  had some wear and tear fixed on the Hilux and the Canopy. Ciske, the owner of Gomad 4×4, who made our canopy, has the best after service anyone could wish for. He put new rubbers in and secured the canopy again. The load bin came loose from the chassis because of the terrible roads we drove on, and has  been fixed.

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Family reunion

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Camping at Mountain Breeze. Anneke joined us for a braai. We paid R160 per night

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Oupa Afrika with PJ & Vonna        

Now our West Coast experience really started. We drove north on the R27 and turned in at the gate of the West Coast National Park. When we stayed in Langebaan we always preferred driving through the Park rather than continue on the main road. We had a very enjoyable drive through the Park. The lagoon was as lovely as ever. Driving across the bridge over the Berg river was like a homecoming for us. We drove that route every weekend to our holiday house at Laaiplek for 4 years. We stayed with Andre, Jeanne-Marie, Marene, Luan and Stefaansie until the weekend. I baked rusks for all of us and we enjoyed being  grandparents. It was Marene’s 8th birthday, so we took her to her favourite restaurant, Panarottis in Vredenburg, treated her with a Pizza and let her choose her birthday present. The Saturday morning the men, (big and small) went on a fishing expedition for the morning while the Fairy Godmothers (mom Jeanne-Marie and grand mother Elize)  enjoyed the birthday bash with the eight year old fairy and her friends.        

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                                                                                                                                  Stefaansie playing with his Ethiopean whip that Oupa Afrika brought  all the way

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Our beautiful Fairy with the Fairy Godmothers

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Saldanha Bay Caravan Park. R58 per night. Old but clean ablutions

Next we moved to Saldanha’s Campsite to enjoy a wonderful time with Carel, Daphne and Dane. Dane spent 2 whole days with us at the campsite.

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Our huge family camp at Strandfontein

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Beautiful sunset from our camp site at Strandfontein. Private ablution facility, R107 per night during the week, R170 per night during weekends

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Beach bums

We drove north towards Elands Bay, stayed for one night at the campsite and then moved to Strandfontein. We enjoyed the camping there so much that we stayed a whole week. Reading, writing, braaiing and just relaxing. Our Velddrif kids and grand kids joined us for the weekend. It was really a most enjoyable experience. Strandfontein is called the Jewel of the West Coast and we agree wholeheartedly!

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Wild camp on the beach about halfway between Lutzville and Groenrivier

Our next stop was a beach camp en route to Groenrivier which is also the entrance of the Namaqua National Park.. It was amazing wild camping again without a single sole around.. The views were magnificant, the weather hot but bearable but nothing could compare with the feeling of being totally isolated with only the ocean, the beautiful sunset and magnificent stars at night.

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The sunset was a Valentine’s message

The next stop was at Groenrivier mouth. We pitched our tent and sat looking in awe at the monstrous waves crashing ashore. The 64.5km between Groenrivier and Hondeklipbaai is a coastal experience where there are no developments at all….only the beautiful rugged coastline on the one side with the vast wilderness on the other….. pristine and untouched as it is has been for hundreds of years. A 4×4 is required to reach the campsites. The campsites are clearly marked and has enviro loos but one has to be totally self efficient. Because it is an arid Park, there is no water available and no amenities at all. The road are partly good gravel road changing to real 4×4 deep sand for periods. The signs next to the road warns you exactly where to expect what. It was real fun challenging the deep sand. Namaqua’s special campsites are Delwersklip which is the closest to Groenrivier, with 7 campsites. Kwass is 18.7km from the Groenrivier gate with 4 campsites,  We camped at Koringkorrelbaai where we were joined later in the day by 2 other vehicles. There are 5 stands and 3 enviro loos. Just north of the camp is a long beautiful beach. The next camp is at Skuinsklip from which is also close to the historical Spoegrivier Caves. Skuinsbaai Noord has only 2 stands and can be reached from Sarrisam on one of the Parks private access roads with a high clearance vehicle or from Groenrivier with a 4×4.  After 5 days camping and exploring the Park we reached Hondeklipbaai where we camped at the very neat and tidy Skulpieskraal campsite. There is also a  cosy little restaurant called The Rooi Spinnekop.

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Camping at Groenrivier. Camp cost R116.50 per night

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Namaqualand with the rugged coastline at the back

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Campsite at KoringkorrelbaaiIMG_2932

We were able to drive along the beautiful tarred road along the coast through the De Beers diamond fields. It is called the Diamond route. We entered the area at Koingnaas. From Kleinzee the tar road becomes a good gravel road. It is about 100km to Port Nolloth where we camped the weekend at McDougals Bay Caravan Park.

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Skulpieskraal at Hondeklipbaai R160 for the campsite. Clean and tidy ablutions

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Hondeklipbaai

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Die Rooi Spinnekop Restaurant at Skulpieskraal

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McDougals Beach. Camping cost R130 per night.

Our next stop will be Alexander Bay to see the mouth of Orange river after witch we will tackle the Richtersveld, camping at Brandkaros about 27km from Alexanderbaai.

Family time and a wedding

To reunite with our daughters after 6 months was very special. For us it was a huge achievement to return  safely earlier than initially thought but for them it was a “thank you for returning safely…..now we can stop worrying about you”! We were still experiencing a huge emotional turmoil. This up and down of emotions after an overland trip is something only other travellers can relate with….most definitely not the young people who went on with their normal lives. So we tried our best to fit into their lives, doing the normal household chores, help planning the wedding etc. but we are still feeling the vacuum that exists in our lives. We came back different people with different values in life. Now we must make the best of who we became and where we are going forward to in life. But enough of this!

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The clean up started!

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Special messageRed heart

We stayed with Vin and Eretha in Pretoria until Vin’s parents arrived from India. We moved on to Naas and Heleen’s house in Johannesburg to help with the preparations for the wedding and to look after their house and Bella while they went to Cape Town for a week. We girls were enjoying ourselves playing wedding planners and were very busy. Methinks that the father was at times bored to death!!    Heleen organized a surprise afternoon get-away with Eretha and the twins wich were huge fun. Eretha treated us (the girls) to a Spa breakaway in the Magalies Mountains.    

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The 2 sistersRed heart

We had a very nice get-away a week before the wedding to the Waterberge, camping first at Klein Kariba and then at The Oog near Mookgopong (Naboomspruit).

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Klein Kariba where the monkeys bombarded our Hilux at 5 in the morning with you know whatDisappointed smile!!!  It took Arno a long time to get the bakkie clean againSteaming mad

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Die Oog

On our return from our camping trip in the Waterberge, when we stopped in front of the  gate where we departed from so many months previously, the truck suddenly started missing. The long and the short of the story is that our faithful bakkie brought us up to the gate of Naas and Heleen’s house and then blew a gasket. I think it thought that it brought us home and NOW it is his turn to be cared for! Unbelievable.!!! We LOVE this vehicle. Well, it was just before the wedding that took place on the 16th of December (a holiday).

It was such a joy to meet up with the West Coast children and grandkids who arrived 2 days before the wedding. 

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Stefaansie, Marene and Luan forming a band with oom Naas’s instrumentsWinking smile

The wedding was totally awesome! Between Heleen and me, Arno and Naas,  we’ve done the decorations for the reception as well as all the flower decorations.The bride looked heartbreakingly beautiful, the groom dashing. Arno in a suit was adorable and I felt like a queen in a real evening dress, high hills and for once not in a short or jean!  We danced the night away, stayed over at the venue, had another in prompto breakfast party between us, the bride and groom and the in laws from India. The leftover sparkling wine were immediately brought to the table and between the wine and the wedding cake, the breakfast became a real wedding feastBirthday cakeMartini glassParty smile 

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Ouma Lies and Marene. Oupa Arno was the videographer.

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The beautiful couple

We came back late afternoon on the 17th after helping the couple at the venue. We could only start phoning around for mechanics to work on the bakkie on Wednesday 18 December…..3 days before, it seems, ALL the mechanics in Johannesburg are closing shop. The 11th guy we called was not available but they promised he will call back. By this time we were quiet frantic, making plans to maybe fly back to George or borrowing one of the children’s cars to drive back to Mossel Bay. The bride, groom and his family from India are on their way to us in Mossel Bay while we are still trying to get the Hilux fixed!  Bert Osmers,  owner of Auto Clinic in Randburg, phoned back and said we must bring the bakkie in. He is also closing on Friday but will have a look.  He was so good to us (and the Hilux) The no 3 and 4 Gaskets has blown and the top had to be taken off. Luckily he knew an Engineering firm that could still do the top. We got the Hilux back late Saturday morning, took it for a test drive to Pretoria to feed Eretha’s cats and to say goodbye to my sister   Annette and Willie.  Early   Sunday morning we left Johannesburg and leisurely drove  to Gariep Dam where we camped at the Forever Resort.

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Early Christmas with the family

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Willie and Arno downloading music

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Our “Johies” home

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Packing to go home……

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A bit sad but looking forward to the new year with new adventures

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Gariep Dam….last camp in 2013

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Home sweet home

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We would like to say to all and everyone a Happy New Year. We were a bit busy since back in South Africa but the postscript of our Overland journey will follow soon.

Exchange Rates, Petrol Prices and Road conditions in Africa

At this stage we would like to share some statistics of the countries we visited.

Starting with Sudan. It was a pleasure to fill the vehicle with Petrol. At R4.20 per liter it reminded us of South Africa 12 years ago. Petrol stations are everywhere but power cuts and availability is a problem. The exchange rate was 7.1 Sudanese Pound for 1USD. Money must be exchanged and cannot be drawn from an ATM. We exchanged US Dollars for Sudanese Pound. Road conditions in Sudan varied from fair to very good, except for the stretch between Abu Hamed and Wadi Halfa where there were NO road, just a railway line that had to be kept in sight while negotiating the deep sand and sometimes rocky bits of the Nubian Desert.

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Ethiopia roads vary from not too bad to extremely bad and and driving conditions are very hard on vehicle, driver and navigatorCrying face. Pedestrians and animals claim the road for themselves and then animals are even fed on the road…..totally crazy. The exchange rate is 1.85 Ethiopian Birr for R1.00 and the petrol price is R10.30 per liter. ATM’s are available in the bigger towns, but US Dollar can be changed in most towns. There are petrol stations everywhere, but as in all the countries that we travelled, power cuts can cause problems. Very few petrol stations have generators, so you must drive in at every station to find one that is operational.

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In Kenya the roads are fair to bad with lots of road works going on. They are even busy working on the infamous Marsabit road and about 40 kilos are already tarred. When one crosses the border into Kenya from Ethiopia, the people and animals disappear from the surface of the road and walk beside the road in the veld. It is as if a border post separates two different worlds! The exchange rate is 8.6 Kenya Shilling for R1.00 and the petrol price is R13.25 per liter. The petrol stations situation is the same as previously mentioned and ATM’s are readily available at Banks and in Shopping Centers.

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The road to the Masai Mara

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Moyale to Marsabit

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Corrugated road  between Marsabit  and Isiolo

Uganda was really a very pleasant surprise to us.  It is a very modern country and the road conditions are good although at times you must also dive and duck for huge potholes. The exchange rate is R1.00 for 250 Ugandan Shillings and the petrol price R14.60 per liter. All over Africa the petrol attendants wanted to put diesel in our vehicle and sometimes it took a lot of explaining and lots of different words for PETROL to convince them to fill the vehicle with petrol. The very sharp woman attendant in Jinja went and found a “PETROL” sticker witch she stuck to the body of the vehicle just above the petrol cap. I must say since then my problem disappearedSmile.

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We travelled through Rwanda without drawing money nor putting in any petrol.  It is a very modern country with good roads and the traffic is not bad. We felt very uncomfortable after visiting the Genocide Museum and were in and out of Rwanda within 24 hours.

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Tanzanian roads are mostly in a good to fair condition, except where there are road works and gravel roads. The detours at the road works as well as the gravel roads are not maintained and in a terrible condition. The Chinese are busy building bad tar roads all over Africa. I just wonder how the African Governments think they are going to repay the money borrowed from the Chinese for the road constructionI don't know smile. The exchange rate is 15.5 Tanzanian Shillings for R1.00 and the petrol price is R14.50 per liter. ATM’s are available and function very efficiently.

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In Malawi the roads are much improved since we last visited the country in 1998. There are still parts that have potholes, but one can at least travel at a decent speed and avoid the potholes. The one road that took us 3 hours to drive the 56km in 1998, is now a beautiful tar road. The exchange rate is 36 Kwacha for R1.00 and the petrol price is  over R20.00 per liter! ATM’s are only available in the bigger towns.

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Mozambique’s roads vary from good to potholes held together by small pieces of tar! We experienced some of the worst potholed roads on our whole trip in Mozambique. Petrol is readily available and ATM’s where one can draw money, is in every bigger town. The exchange rate is about 3 Metical for R1.00. The petrol price is just under R17.00 per liter.

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To summarise: The one huge disappointment for me on this trip was Tracks 4 Africa. They should change their name to Tracks 4 Southern Africa. The further north you go, the less one can rely on T4T for the correct info. It lead us into back ally’s and slum areas when good direct roads were available. In Ethiopia it was a total disaster. It showed roads that did  not exist, could not calculate distances, gave wrong info on road surfaces, etc., etc. Will definitely will have a talk with them. Personally, the worst road on our trip was the route along lake Turkana from Nanyuki in Kenya to Omorate in Ethiopia. The reasons are:     The heavy rains……..Terrible road surfaces that very from rocky to fine powder dust to huge potholes……The fact that it carries on for four days without one kilometer of good road conditions……..The strong wind that blew the dust into the vehicle from behind, because of the fact that one can only travel at between 10 to 20 kilometers per hour.

(Posted by Arno)

Decisions! Decisions!!

We decided that we don’t want to rush through Zambia and Zimbabwe. We wanted to be in Pretoria round about the 15th of November, so the decision was made to rather drive through the Tete Corridor and go to Cahora Basa for a few days rather than drive via Lilongwe to South Luangwa. We will combine that part of our trip with the Namibia, Botswana, Caprivi, Zambia, Lake Tanganyika and back to Uganda trip that will be the second leg of our Go2Africa adventure. Actually the 3rd leg….., ArnizeGo2India will be the 2nd legOpen-mouthed smile.

We discovered when packing up that our bed sheet that was with our washing, was missing. Arno went to look at the washing line and saw that it was on a shelf in the laundry which was locked. So, we were packed and ready to go at 5.30 but had to wait until 7.00 when the door could be opened for us. Luckily the South African party of 5 vehicles that came in the previous afternoon, were very interested in our truck and our trip and we passed the time talking to them. Eventually we were on the road and enjoyed driving again after the week of rest at Cape Maclear. Everything went quick and smooth at the Border post. It was a very very hot day. Tete is the hottest place in Mozambique and we experienced that for sure. 44 Degrees!! We crossed the mighty Zambezi and got a camping spot in the garden of the Misteriosa Lodge overlooking the river. We had M2 and a delicious pizza for dinner and were ready to drive on to Cahora Basa the next day.

Driving south made it clear for us that it is time to move onwards….south! We couldn’t stop. We were quite early at the Mozambique/Zimbabwe border. We went through so many Border posts and saw, heard and experienced crazy to utterly stupid things but it is still a mystery to me why  the Mozambique Immigration officer chased me out of the office, NOT going to stamp me out because I could not give him an ADDRESS of where we are going to stay in HARARE, ZIMBABWE.  What on earth does it matter to HIM where I am going to stay in another country. Well, we invented a name and viola, were stamped out of Mozambique. We had a little commotion on the Zimbabwe side when an European couple wanted to jump in front of the queue we were all standing in and the Zim guy with dreadlocks in front of me complained. An officer came to me asking if I was with a bus and that I must fall in at the back of the queue when a Zim lady came to my rescue biting of his head, telling that I stood in the queue all the time but THOSE people are trying to press in. It was fantastic to see how skin colour vanished and everyone stood together for what is right. They obviously bribed the officer to get them in front and it really boomeranged on all of them. I had this warm feeling of being an African, belonging here!  We stayed at “It’s a small world Backpackers Lodge in Harare which we can really recommend. It is quiet, clean and modern. They also have an art shop and we camped between the iron elephant and the iron chickens and ducksSmile. We had a HUGE shopping experience in Harare and even bought APPLES and BILTONG! We were going to camp at the Bubi River’s, Lion and Elephant Lodge on route to Beit bridge but when we got there we saw that the campsite is next to the main road and that sleep will be impossible with all the trucks passing by. So….south we went!! By now we were far before our schedule and start wondering where next? The Zimbabwean Border at Beit Bridge was quick and easy except for them sending you from one window to the next and back again after our Passports being stamped out, paying for crossing the bridge over the Limpopo etc.etc. The South African side of the border was a bitter disappointment for us. It was quiet at the border post. We were part of about 6 people going to the RSA. There is a window marked for South African citizen’s coming back and the 2 of us stood there for about 10 minutes while officers were chatting to each other, walking up and down on the other side of the window. An officer waved us away with a “we’re not stamping here, stand over there”. We had to queue behind Zimbabweans that had to fill in numerous forms etc. After about 30 minutes we were stamped in and then had to wait another 30 – 40 minutes behind the Zimbabweans who had to fill in temporary import permits for their vehicles, waiting for the lady to stamp our Carnet de Passage. The other officer were just sitting around doing nothing. The officer (doing nothing for 30 minutes) finally came to the window and we asked if she could help us with the Carnet. Her answer was “O did she not help you?  Duh…why shall we be standing here if she helped us?!! So she stamped our Carnet (took 5 seconds) and we were released in our homeland, the land of milk and honey, the good old RSA!! Eish!!!

We decide to buy a few groceries (in Afrikaans and RandSmileOpen-mouthed smile) for the cheapest prices ever (the last 7 months in any case). We went to Tshipise and camped there for 5 nights. We were sad but happy. That sounds crazy but we were sad that the adventure part were over but it was glorious to be back in South Africa. But we were restless. We had to process our experience and that is not so easy. We decided that we need the Kruger National Park, so here we are. We came in at the Pafuri Gate, camped at Punda Maria, Tzendse (where an elephant visited our tent and broke down the tap next to the tent) and is now at Letaba camp. Our emotions are now finally under control. We are reminiscing about the trip and are looking forward to the next 2 months of travelling in our homeland before we continue our African circuit. We will visit with children, family and friends, enjoy a wedding, Christmas with children and grandchildren, go home for a few days, just to begin the rest of the journey. The blog will go on. We will do a Postscript of the whole trip and will write about the pleasures of being part of the family circle again. Exciting times awaiting us.Winking smile

While I am updating the blog, Arno is servicing our brave Hilux that took us on this 26000km trip without one break or flat tyre. We are proud of this brave and  faithful vehicle which we could depend on through thick and thin!!  Hell or high water, it took us to Egypt and brough us back homeRed heart

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Bridge over the Zambezi in Tete

Landscape in Zim and Tete

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Camping in the garden of the Misteriosa Lodge $7 p.p.n

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Camping in an art exhibition in Harare $7 p.p.n

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Tshipise Camping at R90 (Part of the perks of being 60 plusWinking smile)

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Punda Maria

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Tzendse Bush camp

Lots of babiesOpen-mouthed smile

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Malawi

So here we are….back in Malawi.  En route between Iringa and Mbeya, the Hilux’s odometer turned over to 300000km!!! We had a small celebration with green tea and jam tarts in front of the truck, telling each other and the Hilux how a fantastic vehicle this is!!                                                                                                                                     

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                                                                                                                                            IMG_1902                                                                                                                                             The border crossing was quick and easy on both sides. We camped at the Taj Motel Campsite where the ants moved in with us for the night! By now we are so used to Nairobi time that we naturally wakes at 4:00 in the morning and by six we hit the road. We camped at Hakuna Matata at Chilumba at the foot of Livingstonia for 2 nights. The owner is a South African guy by the name of Willie Louw. We could have a hot shower and there are actually mirrors in the ablution!!! We thoroughly enjoyed walking on the beach, looking at the sunrise and we finally found the Southern Cross again! We could make a real wood fire, braai steak, make roosterkoek and RELAX! We updated the blog in the Coffee Shop in Mzuzu and moved on to Makuzi Beach where we stayed on our way up north. Again it was like a homecoming with Richard welcoming us. It turned out that it was a  long weekend so we were part of a whole Afrikaans speaking colony of Lilongwe citizens and again a lot of local Dutch people.   We stayed at Makuzi for 3 nights working our way down south slowly but surely. We have after all a wedding in Pretoria in  December and wants to be there well in advance.

At this stage the plan is to go from Malawi to South Luangwa, Zambia and from there to Lake Kariba driving to South Africa and Pretoria through Zimbabwe. We are still enjoying the lake of stars though and the decision of which route we are taking home will be finalised at a later stage.  

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Taj Motel where we and the ants stayed for 1500MK

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Camping on sand again at Hakuna Matata

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Taxis waiting for customers

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Africa style bridgeSurprised smile

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Washing our camping equipment after 3 months of rain and desert storms!

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Lovely Makuzi beach

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Relaxing after a hard day’s workWinking smile

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Sunrise over Makuzi Beach

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Camping at Emmanuels

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Camping under our favourite Mango tree at Fat Monkeys

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Beautiful Chembe Village

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Jambo Tanzania

We left Kigali at 6 in the morning on the 1st of October. We were chasing the sun so decided to drive as far and as quick south as possible. Our goal was The Old Farmhouse 50kl outside Iringa towards Mbeya. We again had an easy border crossing between Rwanda and Tanzania. We were heading to Kahama where we wanted to overnight. When arriving at Kahama we stopped in front of the Kahama Motel and guess what happened……? The heavens opened and the rain came down in torrents. Within seconds, NOT MINUTES, the street were flooded. The downpour became less after 20 minutes (we were sitting in the truck)  We  jumped out in front of the Motels porch getting soaked to the skin in 5 seconds!! There we stood looking at the truck, not able to get to our things. After half an hour of torrential rain it suddenly stopped and we could get our bags out of the truck. We ordered chicken and chips from the restaurant. The chicken were one of those that were built for speed……. ! Arno enjoyed the chips though.The manager insisted that the price of the room includes breakfast although we told him we want to get away very early the next morning, but he insisted we wait for breakfast at 7. At seven the next morning we were ready to go and I asked a young man hanging around where we can get our breakfast. He took us to 2 chairs and a small table outside and told us to sit down. He brought a tray with 2 cups, a tin of coffee and a bowl of sugar. He then brought us each ONE minuscule samoosa….and that was breakfastI don't know smile. I must admit, it was a delicious samoosa. We thought it was hilarious. It was a long drive to Dodoma but because it is a newly tarred road, easy driving for the truck and driver. We stayed at the Ulanga Lodge opposite Toyota in Dodoma. We took our chairs, sat next to our truck and I cooked for us. It was our first dry evening in we can’t remember how long. We left Dodoma at daybreak the next morning with the wonderful memory of how nice it was to stay at The Old Farmhouse on the farm. when driving north. Dry, sunny, bushveld, typical Tanzania bush, francolin calling, birdcalls early in the morning, southern hemisphere stars like the southern cross……We could’nt wait to arrive there. After drawing money and downloading emails in Iringa we arrived at our campsite. It was as good as remembered except that it was heavily overcast and COLD!  Well, it seems that summer has not yet fully arrived here. Nights are cold, mornings are very cold till the sun burnt away the clouds when it is very nice. We bought fresh veggies here, stocked up with fantastic T-bones, chops and in general have a wonderful stay here.  We bumped into Rui and Jean that contacted us via the blog shortly after we started our trip. They wanted to get some info from us because they planned a similar route. It was real fun meeting up with them. We also met Richard and Sophie Morgan who is heading north and camped in Malawi with our friends Chris and Julie, Bonita and her husband with the Cruiser named Hotel California who we met at Lake Victoria, who is heading to Malawi. This means that there was a huge exchange of info from north to south and from east to west! Rui and Jean just said goodbye, heading towards Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar, Richard and Sophie said goodbye an hour ago heading towards Bagamoyo and Panganie and we are getting ready to braaiOpen-mouthed smile Later on we will fill up our water tank with fresh borehole water, start packing away most of our things and get ready to have an early start tomorrow trying to cross the Tanzania/ Malawi border fro the second time.

Rwanda

We had an easy border crossing between Uganda and Rwanda. We drove the short distance from the border to Kigali.The city is spanning several ridges and valleys with flowering trees, winding boulevards and bustling streets. There are huge expensive houses build on the ridges overlooking the city and hillsides. As everyone knows the terrible history of Rwanda’s occasional and systematic genocide with the most terrible one in 1994, we decided to go immediately to the Genocide Museum. It was to soften the experience, a sobering and sad experience to see and read and hear on audio video the testaments of those that survived the slaughter and see the bones of those that did not!The whole slaughter took place over 100 days of madness. Dead and decaying bodies littered the streets of Kigali. Dogs were shot en masse because they had developed a taste for human flesh. it is above one’s comprehension how one human can do this to another. An estimated 800 000 Rwandans were killed mostly by the Interahamwe militias, gangs of youths armed with machetes, guns and other weapons supplied by officials.The radio kept updates of where and when a person were fleeing and the Hutu militants would chase to kill. One girl that lost her whole family told how they were chased and how they died and said at the end of the commentary that it was the government that killed them. This is very true….the government were the instigators. We were very upset after leaving the museum where there is a mass grave for 200 000 of the slaughtered people. We did not feel very comfortable in Rwanda. We looked at the people, seeing lots of men and woman between 35 and 50 and could not help wondering how many of them helped to kill people 19 years ago. We camped at One Love Campsite and left Rwanda the next morning for Tanzania.

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Kigali is a modern city

 

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Mass grave for 200 000 people

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UN Refugee Shelters near the Rwanda border

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Maribu’s

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Huge tea plantations

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Ethiopia? No…!!

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Camping at One Love, Kigali. 10USD per person

Uganda–The Pearl of Africa

Going through the border between Kenya and Uganda was quick and easy although we had a nasty surprise…..the visa for Uganda cost $50 per person. We stayed at Adrift, Jinja where they allowed us to pitch our tent under one of the kitchen canopy’s because of the possibility of rain. Adrift is better equipped for rooftop tent camping because the kitchen area for the campers and overland trucks are on the top terrace but the area where we were supposed to pitch our tent is on the lower terrace…..so we asked if we can rather pitch our tent on the upper terrace and under roof. It is beautiful there and we appreciated the fact that we were again camping next to the Nile…this time the White Nile. We saw at Bahir Dar, Ethiopia where the Blue Nile flows out of Laka Tana, we followed the Blue Nile for thousands of kilometers, saw the confluence of the Blue and White Nile in Khartoum, Sudan and now we were camping where the White Nile starts it 6000km journey!! It was also Arno”s birthday on the 24th and we wanted to have a nice braai to celebrate the day. My birthday was in Malawi and since then we were wondering where his birthday will be. Luckily the day was very nice but that afternoon the rain came down again!! We were eventually forced by the torrential afternoon rains to move on. It was a good idea to camp under cover but even that could not keep us dry and clean. Everything was red with mud!! Rain comes quickly and comes down like a waterfall. Uganda’s yearly rainfall is between 1.5 and 2.5 METERS.  We wanted to stay longer but it was just to muddy. Jinja is also a favourite place for adrenalin junkies because the white water rafting starts from there as well as bungee jump. Suddenly we were surrounded again by Overland Trucks. We moved on to Kampala. We camped at Zoo Camp in Entebbe next to Lake Victoria. Very basic camp but with clean facilities. We saw the most magnificent birds, listened to fish eagles, heard our neighbours roar and laught (lions and hyenas) and thought it was real fun to camp in a zoo! Again we had torrential rain and had to hide in the tent while rivers of water were running past. Whatever were not yet red with clinging mud, were then red and muddy!! We had biltong and beer for supperSmile Impossible to cook under those circumstances. Yes, one can buy biltong (and beer) all over Africa if you really want! We bought biltong at Shoprite in Kampala for R200 kg.

We decided to drive straight to Lake Bunyonyi after trying to camp at Mbarara at the Lake View Regency Hotel and Camping which T4A navigated us to. It is a real smart 5* Lodge but the camping is actually an open space without any facilities, no electricity, no nothing for $50Surprised smile We camped at Lake Bunyonyi Overland Resort. This is a very special destination and a must for anyone en route to Bwindi National Park. It is situated high on a hill near Kabale overlooking the lake and has the most fantastic facilities, including clean ablutions, hot water (if the electricity is up and running) and free wi-fi. We camped on grass next to the lake but were flooded when the normal late afternoon downpour like a cloudburst started! The Overlanders with their truck that used the banda as a hide, went to Rwanda the one morning and we asked permission to pitch our tent on the deck and under roof because we wanted to go to Bwindi early the next morning and would REALLY prefer to pack away dry equipment. When moving the tent from the grass to the banda, we washed (tried to) all the accumulated thick red mud of the underside of the tent before taking it to the banda. Arno also dumped the red muddy shade nets in the lake turning the lake to red but we had green shades again! It started raining (pouring) again while we were sitting high and dry on our cosy veranda, clean and dry. It was then that we decided it was time to turn the Hilux’s nose south to get away from torrential rain. Early the next morning we were of to Kigali in Rwanda. We will most definitely come back to Uganda for a longer period when it is dry season to do what we intended to do here! It is a fantastic country with very friendly and helpful people. It is also a beautiful country. Very much a destiny with beautiful scenery. Looks similar to the Ethiopian highlands with green terraces of farmed land as far as one can see. Uganda is more western than what we thought and it is sad that the country is mostly known by us as the country of Idi Amin.

We have now crossed the Equator 4 times at three different places and countries!

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Sunrise over Lake Victoria

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Our camp

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How must I clean and order this mess againSurprised smile

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We baked rusks again

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Kisumu Beach Resort staying at 1000KSH per night (R120 per night)

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Beautiful sausage trees

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The lonely and only Hilux!

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In the tropics!

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Driving across the White Nile

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Camping in a kitchen at Adrift ,Jinja for R120 per night

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The White Nile flowing out of Lake Victoria on it’s long journey

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Our neighbour giving her child a scolding

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The birthday boyBirthday cake

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Strange and wonderful birds at Entebbe

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Not so strange and following and waking us all over Africa!

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Camping in a Zoo at Entebbe Zoo Entrance Camp 15USD per person

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Butcher in Kampala. They look the same all over AfricaIMG_1515

Between North and South

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Lake Benyonyi Overland Resort R140 per night

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Uganda’s Highlands looks similar to Ethiopia’s. Farming on terraces.

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Doing washingSmile

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Washing the muddy shadesI don't know smile

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Moved to the upper town from (wet and muddy) down town

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Addis Ababa to Nairobi via Moyale/Marsabit

We started very early in the morning on Saturday 14th September, trying to dodge the Addis traffic. Although we went to bed around 10 we still had a noisy night with the party and did not slept too well. We think that there are more Dutchies in Addis Ababa than in Amsterdam! They are the real “flower people”. Growing and exporting flowers are a huge thing in Ethiopia and Kenya. It was very amusing to see these people enjoying themselves but still keeping there own identity in Africa. The party went on till 4.30 in the morning and that was when we stood up for the start of our journey heading south.

We were looking forward to get the infamous “worst and dangerous road in Africa” behind us. As usual the day had it’s surprises…after Awasa for the next 160km, the road became one of the worst potholed roads on our whole trip!! We thought we could reach Yabelo but only reached Ager Maryam where we stayed hopefully, for the last time in a hotel. We stayed at the Bule Hora Hotel for 300Birr. I cooked us another mince dish with canned veggies in the room. This became our staple food right through Ethiopia when we stayed in hotels. We enjoyed the nice clean room and bathroom knowing that from now on we are back to the terrible ablution facilities campsites offer campers! At six the next morning we were on the road again to reach Moyale and the border before lunch. When we stopped in Moyale at the Ethiopian Immigration office it was a minute or 2 after 12:00 just to be told that the officer are leaving for lunch and will only be back at 15:00!!!! I sort of lost it there….it was as if Ethiopia would not let us loose. We bought fruit with our last 400Birr and sat outside in the heat swatting flies. (It seems that is what we’ve done on most border posts in the northern hemisphere)Confused smile. The Immigration officer arrived at 20 minutes before 3, very friendly stamped our passports and send us across the street to Customs….which was closed. The guard told us that we must come back tomorrow. We said we can’t stay because we are already stamped out of Ethiopia. It was an up and down conversation getting nowhere. We went across the road to Immigration again where the guard there (the officer went home) told us that the guard at customs must phone the custom officer. Back to customs the guard asked how much we will pay overtime for the customs guy before he phones! Well to make a long story short, the customs official arrived a hour later, with Arno’s help stamped the Carnet out and we left. The guard though wanted money for his “help” so we gave him the 50Birr note that we wanted to keep. We were VERY glad to cross the border into Kenya where it took exactly 10 minutes to be stamped in both us and the Carnet. We camped at the Kenya Wild Life camp for 15USD per person and could not use the very bad facilities but were so glad to be back in Kenya that nothing mattered AND we could pitch our tent again! The lady in charge came to tell us that there is a tribal war going on since the previous week and we must first clear it with the Police if we can drive through to Marsabit. Apparently they started shooting it’s other in Moyale and as she told us “people are dying”! When driving out of Moyale the next morning we were stopped just outside town by the Police who told us that there is Police on the road and that we will be safe. It is a tribal war and no-one will bother us. We saw lots of armed Police and armed men on the road. It took us 8 hours to do the 250km to Marsabit. It is a rocky corrugated road that makes the whole truck shudder. It was bad but not the worst we had driven on on our trip. We camped in Marsabit at Camp Henry with very nice ablution facilities costing 300KS per person. The road from Marsabit to Isiolo took us 5 hours. The road condition alternate between very bad corrugated rock and very soft red “fes-fes” powdery dust. All in all, the road that we were most afraid of was at the end not so overpoweringly bad as predicted. Because it was still early we drove on to Nanyuki, bought ourselves “Boerewors” at Nakumat in Nanyuki, camped at Naro Moro River Camp (15USD p.p.) pitching our tent in the kitchen because it started raining again, braaied our wors and enjoyed being where we were. The next morning we could actually see a little bit of Mt Kenya which made us happy. When we went north we couldn’t even see that there is a mountain. From Nanyuki it was a short drive to Nairobi and Wildebeest Lodge where we camped previously. We stayed for 2 days, washing the truck, doing laundry, shopping and relaxing. We thought to stay until Saturday but wanted to get out of cities into the bush again, so very early Friday morning we were off on our next adventure…Lake Victoria and Uganda!! Now we are very glad that we decided to leave Nairobi Friday because on Saturday the shootings happened at the West Gate Mall and “people died” as the lady said in Moyale…….! Africa is not for sissies! We are at Kisumu Bay Beach Camp ( 500KS p.p.) and will be leaving for Jinja in Uganda tomorrow. We baked rusks, done washing and are enjoying being in the tropics, listening to the fish eagles, saw beautiful parrots, trying to dodge mosquitos but are on track again planning and looking forward to the southbound trip!

Some of the awesome things that we saw on this trip:

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Our Hotel

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Our camp at Moyale

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The Turkana lifestyle

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Henry’s Camp

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Cell phones all over Africa!!

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Naro Moro River Camp

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Mt Kenya

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Keeping your fish fresh!!