So we arrived at Namibia nwhich for the film buffs in the house is where they are filming Max Max. Not sure who's in this one but it might be us if the recent Mission Impossible was any indication. A passing Land Rover was put in the film because it fitted the movie. So if we drive past some film set Matilda might just be star spotted by some director. Julie tells me the stars include Charlize Theron who seems to be in a lot of these Action/SciFi movies now. If the recent Alien film is anythign to go by i mean.....and I enjoyed that.
What she learns from reading Grazia South Africa....who knew.
Some photos from our camping and Chobe Safari's...Not sure anything we do is Safari but we're in Africa as we keep being told. I've saved a bullet for Mike in my new AK47 for pointing this out yet again. Yes it was payday for the entire army base nearby and the whole town. 55 bloody minutes.......My stress levels are meant to be lower on this trip and my first proper Migrain for many years prove otherwise. The lack of alcohol my be a factor so we bought some more Vodka and Tab. For those that remember M J Fox and Back to the Future (and his "life preserver") this is Diet Caffeine Free Coke. Julie tells me they used to sell it in the UK but I only just remeber it. If i remember it was clear and this is Coke coloured. We also have RSA wine.
Photos. Note the Kingfisher....Some are Julies (Kingfisher) and some are mine.
Today I very nearly went "postal" in true Falling Down style. Having got up late and decided to do the boat trip on the river at 3pm we went to the booking office and found out you need to pay Park Fees to just go on the boat. So it was more economical to do the park and boat all on the same day. No problem there. We decided to book so went off to the cash machine to get money. I can loosely call it a cash machine as after 40 odd minutes of queuing it stopped working whilst we were stood infront of it !!!! This on top of the distinctly Botswana way of letting every one push in willy nilly. One step forward and one step back....maybe two steps back in some cases. Giving up on the money we went to KFC for lunch to calm down. Another mistake. Another queue and another push in fest and more poor service. 15 minutes queue there. Back to the cash machine and another 15 mins queue to get 1000Pula. Back to Spar to get some shopping and at least 10 minutes queuing there. Gave up on life and went back to the car and campsite. I washed and waxed Matilda. She's clean till tomorrow at least.
75 minutes queuing in total. No over estimates and in fact probably under. 55 mins in the same ATM queue alone !!!!
Later we went to another supermarket to get a cold can which i needed and we queued for about 10 minutes with one person pushing in. The cashier didn't let him and sent him packing. Finally a bit of normallity but still 10 minutes of my life for a single can of coke.
So if I lived here I may buy an AK47 and kill someone or alot of people. This place is off the list of places to retire. 2 million residents and they are all queuing all the time. They move at 3 miles per hour no matter how long you've waited. Do they care. No.
If anyone says this is Africa I will shoot them first. Theres no excuse for a bit of manners and customer service. You wait your bloody turn no matter what country you are in. Especially when I've been waiting 40 ffing minutes for cash !!!!
Not a good day......
I should also mention the slowest Interent since Ethiopia and this post has taken over an hour ro get up on the site. <10kbps anyone......we had faster modems than this in 1986.
Dash was impressed with the gift he got Matilda....Never thanked me for sticking it on the car however....
Watch this space for more things we may buy ! We have a list and all we need to do is find the shop that sells them.
You are all officially BLIND !!!
Look behind the Stork.....just like i did. (See the previous blog entry)
If it wasn't for the stork we would have never spotted them. I said "take a picture of the stork" to Julie as it was quite close and although we'd seen many of them before it was good photo. I then got out the Binoculars to take a look and spotted the backdrop. Four Cubs and their Mum sat behind the mound. One of the Cubs decided Mums tail was a plaything and then she stood up, the little one scarpered......They all then walked off. So 15 mins later and we would have missed them. If the Stork hadn't been there we would have missed them.
So you'd be useless as safari guides or in fact almost any job requiring observation skills. Also we did put a pin on the MAP when we saw them. You all failed.
Big 4...one to go.
So some more photos a little larger than usual.
I had a fire and I cooked a good meal on it. We had quite a good nosh actally. Then whilst I was tending to the fire, like men should. A meteor came from the heavens and made a crater in our Morrocan mat. Near miss for Julie. I'm sure if you look on "Heavens Above" (website) you will find the meteor shower to which I'm refering.
After dinner the animals arrive on the "hunt" for scraps. Actually this little lad stayed and sat by the fire until he thought the security guard was coming and then scarpered. Actually the torch he saw coming was another camper on the way to the loo. I tried to tell him but he was off.
Julies taken some more Photos today in Moremi National Park today. She got a lovely one of a Stork, Hippo and Bridge. Can you spot all the animals in the photos ????
No seriously, she didn't see them......I did. I did tell her, actully I screamed
it and made her jump. She was framing the picture as it was on her side of the car and then I spotted the other animals......Got it yet ?
Julie wants some credit for the photos. Most of them are hers. I cannot get the camera off her which is why theres complaints that theres no pictures of her. Most of the Bird shots are hers as she has a fetish for snapping any old Bird. The sunsets are also mostly all hers. Basically she takes all the photos.
Not sure if I mentioned this but when we went up Sani Pass I broke the top ring off the shock on the rear. This was screwed back on and then epoxy'd on. I broke it off again in Marakele park on the 4x4 trail so we are running on the spare shock I carry. We managd to get another second hand shock from a 4x4 place to replace the spare for now. The Bilstein that broke by the top unscrewing and stripping the last few threads was welded in the normal terrible way by a local garage and they ruined it. It was perfectly servicable but his welding wasn't so he completely knackered it. I could have done it at home in 5 mins in the garage properly but were not at home.
I also noticed a nut missing off the rear anti roll bar. How that unscrewed I will never know as the bolt is free both ends to spin so you would have thought if there was enough force to unscrew the nut the bolt would just spin. Anyhow as with these things, I have another....two. So its fixed. I wonder where it fell off. Hopefully through the front windscreen of a mini bus. (the pain in the arse that they are)
We are still in Seedy Hotel as Margaret puts it and its OK actually. A few home comforts missing like a washing machine but it gives a good nights rest.
Today we look for a CADAC gas bottle as the camping gas ran out again and we can't find anywhere to fill it again so i'm just going to have to get one. I don't want one as they are too tall for the roof so it will also mean eventually getting a rear mount for it. The CADAC bottle will take us over 2.5meters so a pain in the arse when going into shopping centers (and for tolls).
So to anyone who brings Camping Gaz make sure you also ge the Camping Gaz to CADAC adapter (off Ebay or camping shop) and then also the small to larger CADAC adapter when you get the South Africa. This will enable you to get it filled almost anywhere.
Another campsite ditched for being too expensive and to be honest just crap. We're in Botswana.....
So we arrived through customs quite smoothly with only some Green Peppers being confiscated. Turns out anything that grows above ground is banned as South Africa have Fruit Flies. Evidentially these don't fly across the border as they are too lazy so they hitch a lift on chilled to 3C vegatables. I'd like to meet these flies that survive 3C for 24 hours. Anyhow it was a small loss. We didn't bother smuggling anything as per advice from all other overlanders as we only had what we had so "nothing to declare". I suppose they missed the chillis we had as they aren't much different from peppers as they are indeed peppers.
We stayed the first night in Palapye and happened on the overland truck stop. Good value at 140Pula for two and although we didn' pay for the power hookup now we have the Solar (thanks to Kobus and Alett) they had a fully equiped kitchen which we used to cook dinner. Dare I say we used a Microwave !!! First time in ages and how I miss it for defrosting food.
Second night we were in the Bird Sanctuary at Nata and this was a welcome change at 85pula and cheap with good facilities considering the bargain price. I say bargain as a few months ago we would have laughed in their faces at this price. Theres 12 pula to the pound. Canpsite was good and although no toilet roll in mine Julie had some in hers.
Then on to the Salt pans to the "you just can't miss it" Kubu Island. Well I certainly could have missed it and what a dissapointment. 93km off road to get there and the campsite was rubbish with only drop toilets and nothing else. Not even water, let alone a sink. I hear you ask 'how much?", well it was 246.60pula for one night. OMFG!!! We decided to stay reluctantly and then the lovely receptionist decided to give our space to someone else so we had to move. Well my answer to that was "of course we will move,,,to another campsite" having seen the island in all its none glory we went 18km to another camp with toilets proper and showers and things like a bar !!! all for 140pula. Nice move and same sunset.
We are now in Maun and again happened on the overland truck stop. Again a find as its only 100pula. So we are staying a few night to rest and do washing. The car is dusty so had a blow out this morning and golly was she dusty. Still needs a wash outside as the Pans are mainly Salt (Duh!) so need to get rid of that with some water......not the best mix but how else?
We met some people here we met in Vic Falls and looks like their trip back up Africa, if there ever was such a thing, is on hold. They've decided to stay down here. We've also met some people who sailed to Africa from Australia and then got a Land Rover in South Africa which he promptly took for a swim in a BIG puddle and killed the computer (ECU and BCU). They are stuck here waiting for the parts.....six weeks. I've given them the manual for their car so at least they might know how to fix it should he decide to break it again.
We finally tried some Baobab seeds. Like sour sweets so quite nice. If you've ever had a lemon sour ball its like that with no lemon.
Today we are heading for Botswana. Not sure how much Internet we will have so we may be out of touch for a while. Please go to sat phone messages after a few days if you've not heard from us. As always the Map will update.
Photos from Marakele SAN Park and from the campsite last night. Seems like the birds at the viewpoint were used to being fed by tourists and OverLandBirds had some peanuts to give them after they came into Matilda to show their need.
You may also note the other Giraffe painted UniMog. This was a couple of Germans we met in the park. You can see their web site in German
Nice to meet you two.....keep in touch.
Firstly i'd like to say we've missed this years Comic-Con USA....it will likely be cancelled the year we get chance to go. Such is the way of things.
According to the reception (Toilet Block) Ablution Block C is closed. Now either the SAS have discovered Brute Tear Gas and forcefully opened the building or someone is using it for its intended purpose and also as a testing ground for biological weapons. There's a strong smell of something like Brute coming from the mens side......
I've just been in for a sit down and could hardly breathe but this is not due to my bodily fuctions but to some (evil) potion application by a pensioner. Now I say pensioner as nobody under 65 must use Brute any more? Surely ! Correct me if i'm wrong here. Is there anyone using Brute under 65 reading?
Anyhow it stinks and should be closed as per reception's orders......at least you can't smell what I did but im not sure whats worse.
Tonight we stay at "Warm Baths" otherwise known as Bela Bela. We are staying in a campsite with a waterpark attached and its got heated pools so depending on how drunk we get we might be in one of them later on.....report in a later blog on that. The last time we were in a pool after midnight was on honeymoon and much alcohol had been drunk and much antics performed. I remember back flips and stuff......not at my age now.
The camp has been reviewed on Trip Advisor so in a few days you can read it. Its not one of my best reviews from a literal sense as theres not a lot to say about this place. Its a campsite with a water park.
We've banned Wimpy. This is a family thing so six month ban for the first offence. The Club Sandwich had too much mayo it fell to pieces as the bread was soggy, the fries were hardly cooked at all. Staff didn't seem too bothered so a ban is in place. So to all family and friends you should go elsewhere for the six months. Vote with your feet is one of my many beliefs. There's enough choice to go elsewhere.
Today we went to see the Cradle of Humankind. My opinion...it was OK. The ride, if you can call it that at the start is basically a pointless water ride through a tunnel meant to symbolise the travel back in time to millions of years ago. This is before you go into the interactive museum. The water ride is pointless and not very good to be honest. The 125 Rand paid for the museum would be half if they hadn't bothered building it eye suspect. The museum was good especially for kids of a certain age willing to learn a bit about things. So about 40 years old is the best age to come. I did learn a few things but these will be forgotten after the next few glasses of wine. If you have the money visit and if you think its expensive give it a miss and do something else.
We also sat in the Joburg traffic for a bit of today having gone to Sandton Mall. "Why did we bother" eye hear you ask. Well it was a handbag hunt for Julie. Even though she's forbidden from buying one on the trip unless we are on our way home! We went to look to see it they have "it", and they don't. So the budget is saved for this month.....actually year. The bags are expensive. I could get a new transfer box with the same money.....not recon!
(*you may have noticed the odd eye instead if i....this is for my mothers benefit as she doesn't like i and only I. So "i" will use my eye now instead to check there arn't any more i's and only I's)
Thanks to Alett and Kobus for their lodgings for nearly a week we are fed, watered and repaired. Matilda wasn't really broken but now has a brand new 80Watt Solar Panel fitted under the roofrack that can slide out at a moments notice (hopefully always intentionally). Delivering over 4amps of power for sunny days in campsites with no power. I also spilt some oil into the gearbox and on their driveway. Anyhow....
Both of our hosts looked after us very well and after the first night and a drinking session to rival that of our teenage years we setted down to a bottle a night....each. Maybe a bit more than that, thinking about it. Kobus' wine cellar was depleated and although we replaced the odd bottle I'm sure we cost a small fortune in wine let alone food. We had some excellent food to go with all that wine and both daughter (Collett) and Son-In-Law (Jan-Hendrik) we drafted in to help support out massive wine and food consumption. When i say ours, I really mean me. Mother is correct with the comment on the post below. I do eat quite a bit given the opportunity. Thanks too all. Really !
I'm actually supprised Alett didn't hide their noisy Parrot somewhere in the car to get rid of it......Alett and the Parrot don't get on. It seems its best friend is Kobus and Alexander their Grandson.
We've left Joburg for a trip up north to Botswana and Namibia and then will return to SA later on when its a bit warmer in the west for the trip to Cape Town. We've spoken today to another set of freinds from Cape Town area and we are planning on visiting with them when we are back. There are so many great South African people around. An example of this is i met a lady in the Land Rover parts shop for all of 30 seconds and she invited me for supper at ther place. Now it might help that I'm gorgeous and unique in every way and also we both drove Land Rover Defenders but i really think its nothing to do with me at all. Maybe its the trip and maybe its the Land Rover but mainly its the welcoming South Africans.
Some photos of the construction for your delight...I'm sure someone might want to ask a question or two about how we did it. Well ask away.
Also we've noticed that lots of South Africans are looking at the web site. We have about 10% more traffic now. They are being very quiet though on the comments. Its not only for my mother and father you know ! If you want to know more about a certain aspect of the trip i will try to answer you directly, in the blog or indeed by updating the specific sections on the site.
Still in Joburg and "lodging" with the people we met in Durban. No need to worry we will be moving agian tomorrow (we think). If we stay any longer we will get Danish nationality by default.
(for those that don't understand this it refers to Henning and his ability to travel round the world whilst stationary)
We're back in Joburg and staying with the nice people we met in Durban at the campsite there. We got rather drunk last night so tonight we are taking it easy. How easy has yet to be decided.
We've been looking at Solar Panels today for the car. We also had to go to the DIY shop to look for ways of mounting the thing to the roof of the car and to allow us to slide it out from under the roofrack. We've come up with a novel way of doing this but not a elegant as the one we saw on another overlanders car, Mia and Chris from Sweden. The panels here are so much cheaper than the UK and infact they are exactly £1 per watt so a 130 watt panel is 130
2.Some of the views are fantastic
3.From both directions
4.Collect enough fallen wood to keep you warm, its winter!
5.Feed the wildlife (some of them) as its winter for them too
6.Theres snow on them there hills
7.Another camsite and another view
8.and another, they keep on coming
Today we succummed to the dinner that is a familiy recipe and a trade secret. For those that are bothered its not hard to work out. Sorry to my mother for not waiting till we got home but considering i could eat this every day, another helping when we get home will be fine. Thanks.
A compromise on two fronts and i'll let you work out which has been saved for 8 months in anticipation. We now have Bisto as replacement but its not the same. The other two ingredients are not the correct ones but fine substitutes all the same. For those that have been told of this dish, you missed it and we hope to see you soon....(email on its way).
Not too bad for camping.......
Firstly i'd like to pass comment on the fact that Tom Cruise is making Top Gun 2....really !!!!???? Talk among yourselves.
The rest of the post is not child freindly and some may think i'm being politically incorrect. Don't bother posting.
We travelled up to Golden Gate today. Its a SAN parking meaning we can use the Wild Card my mother has in the UK. Good job they accept the letter of confirmation. Its typical SAN parks and the facilities are good and theirs even a petrol station like the others and this is a small park. The toilets are good and the location is great. Well worth the 4 times price hike they let foreigners pay. Equallity (my arse) and the South African constitution is a crock. "Never discriminate" is effectively their number one but its all OK if your not from SA they can descriminate away. Rant over.....put them (him) back in prison and give us all the charity money back and go back to descrimination against all rather than just tourists you bloody hypocrites. Constitution my ARSE.
Back to normal....
We hope to see a Bearded Vulture tomorrow and take a photo so my father can see that we've see two.....(ref to an earlier post)
Henning may be back on the road in Late July and meeting us in South Africa. Theres talk of shipping to South America together ! Hopefully his bike will make it as he has a leaking front shock....Actully been leaking since Ethiopia.
Mike the America on a BWW we met in Kenya Jungle Junction has had a really bad crash in Europe and is in a bad way. He's recovering after being in ICU for a while. He's travelled most of the way round the world and they someone whacks him in Europe. Golly.
Matilda is needing a wheel bearing check and theres a few other things to do as part of the service. I hate doing maintenance in the cold as your hands hurt with the slightest knock. We have a nice fire tonight. We are doing our bit for Global Warming so at least our camp site is warm.
I should also mention Tom Cruise is making more films like Mission Impossible V. Like he's not got enough money. Top Gun 2.....LMAO. I wonder if Kelly McGillis is in it or is she "giving him the bird......"
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