We are in Jo’burg having dropped Ian off in Lusaka. He is already back in the UK, apparently.
We overnighted at Elephant Sands Tuesday night, 50km north of Nata in Bots. No problems crossing the Zambezi into Bots other than being fleeced by the Zambian agents, as usual.
Elephants and warthogs are wandering free around the Bots border post and the drive to Elephant Sands was in the dark so driving care was needed to avoid kudu and elephant night crossings. Mat was intrigued there was so much wildlife around – giraffe and buck as well as elephant. Elephant Hill is built around around a watering hole so more elephants over dinner.
Our 4:30 start Wednesday began well until a pre-dawn puncture. A bit hectic changing wheels on a narrow steep shoulder with big trucks roaring past. Then I got a speeding fine – with this slow rig!
Crossing into SA was straight-forward then to Mat’s brother Graham and Marilyn in Jo’burg. Arriving in SA is obvious with organised farms and infrastructure, however Potgietersrus, now Mokopane, is a worse shambles than the worst of the Zambian settlements.
It is 4:20 Thursday now and we are about to head south… and home!
We were in Mpulungu last night.
We got in, under motor, from Oscar’s place near Kasanga after a day of very heavy wind, a hike up to the Kalambo Falls – worth the while.
Then slack wind and loading FD onto her trailer pretty much in the dark. Big steak for a meal with beers and asleep by 8pm. Up early this morning to wait for immigration to clear into Zambia then a 800km drive up to the escarpment and south towards Lusaka.
Currently at Forest Inn, about 270km north of Lusaka.
Tomorrow plan to leave before sparrows, drop Ian off in Lusaka and make for the Bots border
Then the Beast’s gearbox and clutch broke…
July 28: Breakdown in Chitimba. Gearbox / clutch problem.
Spent last night at campsite Hakuna Matata on the lake beach with Robbie and Di.
R,D & T left early for SA. Sten and I trying to arrange a tow to Mzuzu Toyota, 135km away over a dog of a mountain.
Beast made it to Mzuzu Toyota at lockup and is first in line for servicing tomorrow. Helluva trip.
Tired, frustrated and in Mzuzu. It took the whole day to get it to the local Toyota dealer I will find out what’s what in the morning, but it doesn’t look good. Tertius is here at Mzooizoozoo as well and heads for Lilongwe in the morning.
Sten and I must just wait…
Robbie should arrive in Mikoma by Saturday night, and will meet up with the Expedition Team tomorrow evening on their return from Matema area.
The second vehicle will escort them to Kipili on Monday. Good to have a second vehicle in case of breakdowns. The roads should be tarred and in good nick all the way except for the last 80km into Kipili. The boat will be parked safely with friends at a resort on Lake Tanganyika in readiness for the next Part of the Africa Great Lakes Sailing Expedition in 2016.
The past two days were a bit bumpy. We now have two border crossings behind us with the third and final one on Saturday morning. We have managed to navigate 2800km of road, most of which was fine or okay, with the exception of yesterday afternoon after entering Zimbabwe. The roads are in such a state that it cost us a burst tyre, two broken and leaky valves on the Beast’s rear wheels and a small tear in one of those wheels.
This had to be added to our to-do list once we reached Harare this morning. All fixed now… 🙂
Like most border crossings in Africa, you leave with a story to tell.
For example, this fellow we met while entering into Mozambique earlier today, you can paint the picture.
With his big smile, sitting under a military tent, “I can help you with this stamp….if you help me. I make you smile, you make me smile.” We left with stamp in hand and he got a smiling handshake, nothing more.
All this said, we are happy. Sitting near the banks of the Zambezi river tonight, we can hear the call of hippos not too far of. Today is Sten’s birthday( Happy birthday Sten! ).
Tomorrow is our final day of this drive. We have been getting up at 1h00 for the past 3 days, I can see and feel it is taking its toll on us.
Sten will send some pics via WhatsApp. I intend to buy a sim card for Malawi.
First few photos are in Zim at Runde River where we slept. Yesterday on my birthday morning, day 3 of traveling hence the 3 on the door and a photo with the Zim security guard, then photos of Harare and after that starts Mozambique.
Next photos of a Moz village with baobabs and traditional buildings.
The Zambezi with massive suspension bridge. Quite impressive, we suspect it’s built by westerners.
Richmond washed his clothing in the hotel’s pool where we slept last night.
Beautiful place we are at right now. Leaving at 04h00.
Um, nothing… he’s just happy to be there. 🙂
Kindly shared via his Mom, Elaine (it was Sten’s birthday yesterday!)
At that time they were 100 km before the border of Moz and said they will aim to sleep in Tete tonight and hopefully tomorrow night at the lake.
If you read Afrikaans…
“Hello moeder, kan nie foon antwoord nie, roaming gan teveel kos, ons is nou net voor mutoko in zim, so 100 km voor mozam grens, ons mik vir tete in mozambique vannand en dan more hopelik die meer. Moet nie bel nie, jy kan my sms, ek sal laatweet as ek dalk n simkaart kry of wifi, liefde x”
Recorded 60-sec WhatsApp message from Richmond… some bits thrown in by Sten and Tertius…. a bit hard to hear and transcribe..
…essentially tyres have been blowing up because of terrible pot-holed roads. One tyre torn to shreds, valve came out another. The spare is used up too.
Drivers and old cars on the road are a huge hazard. Driving very slowly. Roads not maintained since Ian Smith was governor.
The Land Cruise gulps petrol at about 22 liters per 100km.
Last night was at Rindy River camping, left at 0200 to get on the roads with less traffic around.
Stopping in Harare to fix all the tyres. And do some shopping. Richmond needs a larger towel (for what?).
From a series of text and WhatsApp notes:
The sheared bolt was successfully drilled out of the exhaust manifold in Polokwane. Automark of Polokwane gets five stars for getting them in at 0715, fixed and out by 0915, even giving them free transport to run around and do their tasks in town while the Beast was worked on.
When they got to Beit Bridge border post, all the counters closed for 40 minutes for a shift change and estimated wait to cross the border was THREE hours. (Dropping the Moz route to save six hours probably held some regret that point… )
Communication with both Rich and Sten vanished abruptly after Sten texted that he just got shouted at and nearly arrested for taking a photo of the border post and the long line of cars…
But just notice the long line of trucks in the background behind them at the petrol station.
And a determined-looking guy in an official vest (bullet-proof?) approaching Richmond. Which probably happened shortly after Richmond took this photo…
Currently we have no clue where they are right now… Could still be at the Border Post with phones, car and boat confiscated and trying to explain to the hundredth dead-pan official why they ignored the “no photographs” sign…
Or — merrily on their way to Harare, but simply out of SA cell range. Hmmm.
So it is 4h00 of day two. We departed at 1h45 from Sasolburg. Two hours into our drive a bolt came undone or broke off from the exhaust manifold. All okay but we think there is now less pressure on the turbo, thus less power. One more task for our short stop in Polokwane to get this fixed.
We revert back to our original plan to drive up via Zimbabwe as it is shorter by 600km.
The team might be there for a while, so here’s some info on the city formerly known as Pietersburg.
Polokwane (meaning “Place of Safety”) is a city in the Polokwane Local Municipality and the capital of the Limpopo province, South Africa. It is also often referred to by its former official name, Pietersburg. Polokwane is a major urban centre, the biggest and most important north of Gauteng. Polokwane was one of the host cities of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. (wiki)
The official Government site offers some truly meaningful insights into the ironic reality of life in South Africa. Immediately below the entry Rural electrification reaches more villagers are notices about power outages with a side-bar on load-shedding schedules.
Things to do in Polokwane: Zero. Nothing. Zilch…
Seriously. Even TripAdvisor comes up with empty hands. Well, apart from going to the Game Reserve, that is….