Hermanus Preparations

Prep: 2016 Expedition to Lake Tanganyika

Proposed sail route

Proposed sail route

Team Tanganyika prepares to mobilize on June 24:

Mathew and I will be leaving Hermanus early morning of Friday 24 June. If work allows we will leave midday of 23, which is by far more preferable – we have to cover 3800km to collect Ian on Sunday morning (in Lilongwe). We will be driving my land cruiser (the Beast) – it has been checked over in detail and will have another service before we leave.

As 24 June is the start of RSA school holidays the Beitbridge border post will be more chaotic than usual so we will be routing through Bots (crossing at either Parr’s Halt (open 8am – 4pm) or Martin’s Drift (open 6am – 10pm)) to Francistown, Nata and crossing the Zambezi on the ferry at Kazungula and so into Zambia. Distance Hermanus to Kazungula is 2450km. This border is an expensive shambles and will take a few hours of hassling (open 6am to 6pm). We now leave the wide, open, well-maintained tarred roads behind and look ahead to not-so-good tarred roads with lots of big transporter truck traffic and loads of pedestrians and cyclists.

We head northeast to Livingstone, Lusaka and on the ‘great east road’ to the Malawian border just beyond Chipata (open 24 hours). Distance 1150km. Another tiresome border post where great patience is required and then another 180km to the Lilongwe airport where we collect Ian, Sunday morning.

We head for Robbie and Di at Hakuna Matata, a distance of 520km with the rugged Nyika plateau to climb over after the city of Mzuzu which we can expect to take us about 9 hours, so we won’t have time to dally in Lilongwe.  Hakuna Matata is a rustic camping ground on the shore of Lake Malawi owned by a weathered Afrikaans chap named Willie and run by his Malawian companion Rose. R & D will be waiting with chilled wine and sizzling steaks.

View from Hakuna Matata Beach (photo: . Clemens R, TripAdvisor)

View from Hakuna Matata Beach (photo: . Clemens R, TripAdvisor)

The next morning we have about 70 km to drive to Karonga where Flashdancer is parked under a tree in the local Carlsberg beer depot. The last I heard from Paul Kennedy (Carlsberg Beer) was that FD is OK and unmolested but needs a big cleanup – he advised to check for snakes when opening up.  I will be in contact with Paul before we leave and maybe see him somewhere along the way to give him my thanks.

Karonga doesn’t have much to recommend. It was an Arab slaving base in the late nineteenth century until the Brits stopped it. And, during WWI, the Brits and Germans columns fought each other in the region. There are competent, friendly mechanics, fitters, welders etc.. but their workshops are inevitably under a tree, in the dust, beside a ditch. The electricity line has been reinstated since FD’s mast pulled it down last year.

Apart from opening FD up and giving her a thorough clean out our first priority is to service the trailer. Some or all the tyres will be flat. We need to inspect and re-grease the bearings, adjust the brakes,  check the suspension and tow hitch etc…

After thorough check-up, we will now be towing FD, all up about five tonnes, and driving, over mountains, to Mpulungu, in Zambia, and on the southern shore of Lake Tanganyika. Distance 540km, driving time total estimate is at least 14 hours, so we need to start the day by 04:00 or have to overnight along the way and the only place that has any facilities that we call facilities is Mbala which is only 50km before Mpulungu. 

All going well, we launch FD in Mpulungu. The lake ferry, M.V.Liemba, sails the lake every week or so with Mpulungu and Kigoma being the extremes of her voyage. Therefore there are sizable docking facilities in both places, though I doubt their standards are up to much.

As soon as we know she can float and the mast is up I will take the vehicle and trailer to Kipili and Lakeshore Lodge with Robbie and Di, leaving Ian and Mathew with FD to complete the rigging and stowing, do a shake-down sail and find a suitable place to anchor.  The three of us will spend the night at Lakeshore and leave together the next morning for Mpulungu.  The vehicle and trailer will be left at Lakeshore.  By now it will be 1st, 2nd or 3rd July, depending on time saved or lost. Robbie and Di will start their drive back to Hermanus and us sailors will head north on the Lake.

The adventure begins!

Categories: Hermanus Preparations, Lake Tanganyika | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

On the Road at Last…

Somewhere between Bloemfontein and Johannesburg

It’s great to get comments from the whole team!

Pre-dawn Departure Breakfast.

Pre-dawn Departure Preps.



This is day one and we are now on the open road heading North.

Five days of intense preparation is finally behind us.  Prep work included welding on heavy-duty scaffolding jacks to the dolly as a last-minute addition in order to support the hull for the long journey.  Job done a few hours before we left.

On the Beast we noted a fine leak in the fuel tank when filled completely, thankfully it is Diesel…

Spare wheel has wire coming out of the thread and will need to be replaced. Storm jib not loaded and will have to go without it for this trip.

Quick Early  Breakfast in Hermanus

Quick Early Breakfast in Hermanus


We are now just near Bloemfontein after 12 hours of driving, we are going to sleep in Sasolburg tonight, and tomorrow push through to Krokodil Brug (Crocodile Bridge) at Mozambique and sleep in Mozambique tomorrow night. Our plans have changed from driving through Zim, we are going to be driving through Mozambique all the way up to Malawi border.

We have been advised that it will be better to avoid Beit Bridge and traffic on Zim over the weekend, also less border posts to get through.


We plan to be on the water in Malawi by 14th and off at Chilumba on 28th. Robbie and Di are to meet us at Chilumba then escort us over to Tanzania and the lodge to drop off Flash Dancer.

The approximate route from Bloemfontein to Crocodile Bridge on border of Mozambique

The approximate route from Bloemfontein to Crocodile Bridge on border of Mozambique

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Leaving Town at 0200

Quick Note from Sten

The car and boat is all packed ready for departure at 2 am tomorrow morning. Been running around a bit crazy these past few days…

Flash Dancer is ready to roll...  (image credit: Sten van Aardt)

Flash Dancer is ready to roll…
(image credit: Sten van Aardt)

Boat and Land Cruiser both look ready to cruise.   (image credit: Sten van Aardt)

Boat and Land Cruiser both look so ready to cruise.
(image credit: Sten van Aardt)

Wish them all a great trip, good winds and a clean wake! (click on “Leave a Comment.”)

Categories: Hermanus Preparations | 1 Comment

Preparations for Departure

Destination Lake Malawi

Departure is set for July 9.

Driving distance: Hermanus to Lake Malawi southern shore; 3 700 km

Sailing: Lake Malawi; 900 km

Richmond reports:

All is almost ready. Panic stations not yet but nearly. I’ve bought a sturdy old Land Cruiser and the trailer has finally been licenced.


Flash Dancer Exits the Water

Flash Dancer Exits the Water (image credit Tertius Kammeyer)


Flash Dancer Ready to Roll (image credit Tertius Kammeyer)

Tertius adds:

Subject to change is the launching point (on Lake Malawi) at the moment – as we might be able to launch from a point further south, thus winning a day by not needing to sail down from Monkey Bay to the Southernmost tip before heading North.

Monkey Bay Area

Full Cruising Itinerary here.

Map showing Monkey Bay

Map showing Monkey Bay

Monkey Bay Fisheries jetty & vessel.  (Image credit: MRP, Panoramio)

Monkey Bay Fisheries jetty & vessel. (Image credit: MRP, Panoramio)


Categories: Hermanus Preparations | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

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