Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Never ending Story.

I have just realized that the story has not ended. So here I am 2 1/2 years on putting the finishing touches to the most memorial trip that I have ever done, and I'd like to personally thank my wife Colleen to have made this commitment to go on this trip, an adventure that I never thought I would be so privileged to have done.

We left Zim after staying at the “Ant an Elephant” the night before crossing the border at Beit Bridge into South Africa. There were no hazels at the border (easy when you push to the front and wave your SA passport)

Ant and Elephant

Inside the Ant and Elephant

Hex River Valley

Table Mountain



Thursday, October 22, 2009

17th October – Zimbabwe & MALARIA

We crossed the border a Mutare, the only problem is that the officials were adamant that they needed the exact address of where were going to stay. This with the help of some local self employed “Agents” and a few dollars was sorted out within about 15 minutes. They even forgot to charge us for carbon tax, even though we asked a couple of times if that was all we had to do, they were more interested in making sure that each department we went to had stamped our gate pass. Just saved $25. Then we went and met Mike and Elsie Jahme who had put us up in Kariba for a few nights when the trailer shock mountings were being replaced. They are absolutely fantastic people who reminded us of the early Rhodesians’. They met us in town where we dropped our Prado and trailer off at Elsie’s moms house and they took us for a braai at their friends place. Was awesome meeting so many wholesome souls. It made us really miss our family. We followed them for about 20K’s to their Tea/Avocado plantations where they showed us around before we wnet inside to our bedroom.
It was then that I got ill. Had to keep running to the loo and got very, very cold. I said I probably felt bad because the fish sandwich that I had for lunch was off. Anyway I went to soak in a very hot bath for about a hour then went to bed. I had a bad night with a sweating fever and vomiting my heart out. The next morning they told me what I didn’t want to know, - that I had Malaria. The made me take Coartem – which we had in our Medical kit, and made me stay in bed for a few days as I slowly recovered. They could not have done more for me. That, on top of the constant threat that they would be evicted from their farm any day and were constantly fighting their case in courts. They were classified as criminals as they were illegally occupying their own farm. Sounds insane. But the truth is that privately owned white farmers were still being evicted on a daily bases. They were now the only white farmers left in their area. This was terrifying for even us, whilst we were there and could feel the tension surrounding them. These are “salt of the earth people” and should not have to live like this. We plan to leave on Friday morning towards Beit Bridge. We still do not know how to thank Mike and Elsie as I can imagine what could have happened to me if we had been in a campsite whilst I contacted Malaria, with no doctor or hospital for more than a 100 k’s.

In the pics you'll see the one view looking from my bedroom window over one of their dam's. Also see the pic of Mikes new BMW 1200 Bike - yes he's also a "Biker"

16th October – Chicamba Dam

We stayed in a Camps site here on the dam which was reasonable for a overnight stop but the smell of smoke put us off and left the next morning. They however had very nice Rondavels and a restaurant which we didn’t go to as there was a power failure in the evening and we had frozen pooitjie in the freezer to use up. Note the smog in the background, the farm manager said that on some days you cant see the other side of the dam.


Since we left South Africa, we had seen Firewood and Charcoal for sale on the side of the roads and also being carried on peoples’ heads, on bicycles and trucks, along the way through all the countries we had visited for thousands of kilometres. But I have never seen so much smoke and the burning of fields and vegetation as in Mozambique. The whole way from Malawi to Zimbabwe was just in flames with a solid haze of smoke everywhere. Everytime we got to the top of a rise we were greeted to more smoke and more flames everywhere as far as your eyes could see. Total devastation and an absolute disregard for the consequences of what they are doing to their own country, never mind what they are doing to the atmosphere. I was deeply saddened and terribly disappointed as it seemed no one was doing anything or even caring about it. Like a whole breed of pyromaniacs were let loose on a mission to destroy as much as they could in a short a time as possible, and here right on South Africa’s door step.

Evan the roads are stuffed in places. Mozambique has gone to the dogs

14th October – Zomba Plateau

We were told that there was a good stop over at the Lilongwe Nat Park south of Malawi so we thought it was on our way to Mozambique anyway so we would try it. Well the camp site was not up to much and spent a while driving around in 38 deg heat and decided then to go up to the Zomba Plateau which is a much higher altitude and is a state forest mountain. The camp side was pretty run down but was great being only 15 deg. On the was up we were amaized to see wood cutters with bicycles so overloaded with fire wood with no space for the rider other than to walk down next to the bike with one hand holding the load upright and the other on the handle bar holding the brakes on. They must have had about 400 pieces of wood, I would say close to half a bakkie load on each bicycle. However we stayed the night and left early next morning to cross the border into Mozambique at Mwanza. The crossing was easy and we headed down the Tete corridor to the Zimbabwe border at Mutare 2 days away. We stayed on the other side of the bridge that crosses the Zambezi river, at Zambezi Lodge in a gr8 air conditioned bedroom as it was very hot here. That night Colleen and I had the biggest prawns LM style peri peri we have ever had.

12th October – Senga Bay Cool Runnings

We left Mike that morning with sore hearts as we already had a bond with him – what an interesting man, as he was going off to South Lluanda Zambia and we were going to Cool Runnings, where Jane stone spent a month there as well as the couple from Oudshoorn - Jan and Lisa (who we met at Chitimba). So we were looking forward to something really special and I must say we were disappointed. Although the place was fully grassed (the only plus) it was very small so you had to camp ontop of each other. The Owners Sam’s house and the restaurant was above the beachfront but blocking the view and the off shore breeze from the campers. We came here to see Lake Malawi but unless you went to the pub or walked along the beach you were hidden from the view – which is why we came here in the first place. All the other sites that we had stayed at including Kenya and Tanzania had a view site of some sort, be it a river, sea or lake. As Colleen said it felt like we were camping in someone’s back yard, and that we could do at home.
We met up with Amy and Paul – the New Zealand couple the we met the morning we arrived at Chitimba. We were excited to see each other and had a good few days with them and even did a dive with them on lizard Island. My first fresh water “Altitude dive”, another point towards my advanced dive certificate. We also took some items of stuff for them to go to Cape Town to make there back packs a little lighter which they will collect when they come stay with us in November. They were on their was to South Lluangwa and then Bots and Namibia. They had back packed from Europe through Sudan and Ethiopia all on local busses, Amazing.
Also to arrive were a german couple in there groot Trok, they had been travelling Africa for 3 ½ years down the west coast and were now on their way up the east coast.

11th October – Chinteche2

At Chinteche us with a guy by the name of Mike Marsh driving a TDI with RTT (Roof Top Tent) and Wolf Stainless steel towing a trailer. At first I thought he was traveling with others. I found him very friendly and joined him for supper with Dave and Eva. It turns out that Mike (as retired Gen.. Manager Old Mutual - Kenya and lives at Jakkelsfontein - westcoast) Was on a trip with his wife Jakkie years and went diving off a little island south of Malawi and on the way up to the surface his wife had a heart attack and by the time they reached the shore she had died. And here we are sitting with this most amazing guy in his mid 60's and only a month ago lost his lifelong partner, and he has just returned from Burying his wife back home all alone to continue on their trip. Our Hearst really went out to Mike (who has 2 sons) and stayed an extra day just to be with him.