Julie drove Matilda today.....OMG (in true teenage style)
She drove exactly 100 Km..... of the 50,000Km we've driven so far. In honor of the event I decided to start messing around with the camera (as she does) and also cut my nails, pick all my bites and generally fidget all day. I still didn;t manage to get the lions share of the water we have in the cab for when we get thirsty. I conclude its not sitting in the passenger seat that makes you thirsty, its just Julie has a big mouth.....
Not exactly a film/movie but its got a pilot movie.
There you have it. We've done it. We've finished. Thank goodness!!
The last animal to tick off the BIG five. Leopard has been spotted (LOL). We also manage to get a better shot of some lions. Only a little closer this time.
Rhino (white or black)
OK so it wasn't obvious but its not far off. Julie says the top has shrunk in the wash. I think she's feeding triplets....
OK so its 20,000 leagues but today we passed 50,000km. 10 Months into our journey and not even half way round or half way through.
We've started preparing for a trip home to do Administration. Dentists, Doctors, Tax Return, Visit Family, Buy Spare Parts...the list is growing.
We've yet again arrived at a Game Park. Will we never learn??? We've already had the "you're sure to see" - "leopard, Lion" at X position off two differnet groups of people. The lions "only moved 200meters in 2 days" was one comment. So we shall see,,,, or we won't. Which do you think is more likely? I know what i'm going for.
We actually came here to see Meerkats. Already seen Mongoose so another tick there. Since Meerkats are "cats" its unlikely to happen. They will run for cover when they hear us coming. Are you expecting photos ? You may wait a long time so try Google Images. Its more reliable than us.
Can you guess why the title is the famous Metropolis ??
Anyhow some pictures of Fish River and a few other places. Today we camp at Upington and the reasonable price of 60rand pppn. Two other Landies in the camp, both Pumas. Last night we stayed at Grunau at the Country House and we met a 200Tdi. A 1993 so just a year older than Matilda. The country House was a nice little camp and had an excellent (cheap) bar. Camping was 50N$ and beers were 10N$ as was wine. Just superb!!! How it should be and if they arn't on trip advisor I will add them and make a special effort. We enjoyed a night of beer and wine in the bar and made my Mothers Birthday special by sending a video of us singing Happy Birthday. We were not drunk when we shot it.....Julie was half way there however. (Message to Mother the blog doesn't need a soppy comment, you've already emailed me one). Happy Birthday again.
Message to other travellers. Cheap charcoal is cheap for a reason......if it says its green charcoal its more of a reason to avoid it. Go for carbon emissions. I suppose my Green Charcoal was rather like green wood, rubbish for cooking.
Its not quite the Grand Canyon (but its a good film) although Fish River Canyon is better to look at in my opinion. The river shows its curves more and so it gets a thumbs up. Its typical NWR prices at 80N$ per person and 10N$ for the car. Its not too bad really. We'd stayed at the Canyon Roadhouse the night before and this was over our maximum and 240N$ for us both (120N$ pppn). As it turns out we'd have been better at the NWR place in Hobas inside the Canyon Park. I wish the NWR had some type of uniformity in their charging. The Hobas camp was 100N$ pppn and since it was in the park we imagined as with the other parks that the entrance of 170N$ would need to be paid on top of the camping for both days, not the case. This park has a 24 hour policy on the entrance! Rather unlike all the other NWR parks, except Ethosha which has this policy if you are camping. Its bloody annoying as we ended up paying more.
The Canyon Roadhouse is a strange place and filled with old vehicles and all sorts of car bodies and junk, a little like you'd imagine an old garage would be. The campsite was immaculate and the ablutions were also good. They had even provided an separate block for the overland buses with many toilets and showers for the tribes that arrive on them.
We went to the hot springs at Ai-Ais and wern't impressed. Enough said.
We also found out the walk from the Canyon viewpoints to Ai-Ais inside the canyon takes 5 days! I want to walk it but we haven't got the gear with us. You walk down a VERY steep entrance to the canyon floor and then at the river until the hot springs at Ai-Ais some 80km away. Something we may come back to do one day. We did see some overweight people on their way down and at the speed they were walking they may finish in 10 days. There's only one way in and out of the walk but they have provided an emergency accent at half way. So once your in their you are in for the trek. You have to go with a guide.
I'll post some photos when we have more bandwidth of the canyon.
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We took Matilda into the Land Rover place in Namibia. The very same place Mike advised a few weeks ago. The owner, Johan was too busy to do the work but not too busy to take a look (and charge me for it). I got my aux belt tensioner bearing replaced as I suspected it was knackered ( It was ). I got myself some more oil for my gearbox as I've not been able to get any since Uganda. So I now have 3 litres of that. I also got my self a new seal for the trans box intermediate shaft. This one is made by JCB and according to Johan Straus (the Land Rover man) these are much better at sealing the hole. A liberal coting of RTV sealent will also be used this time. I will do that in Cape Town. (Des, I'm going to get your drive oily!) He also checked my turbo and although its working fine is not "new" by any means so I will get another in the UK. I will also replace (or refurb) all the injectors. These components all have a limited life and mine have done a lot plus 50,000. Did i mention we pass 50,000km in a day or so! He also had some very nice tyres but I need six if i'm going to swap brands. These were "Michelin 4x4 OR" as they are now called and very hard to get in the UK. They used to be called XZL. They are muchcheaper here than the BFG ones I want. Well, everything is cheaper that the BFG ones in want. I could buy new car for the same price.......
Matilda got a thumbs up from Johan as everything I asked them to check was OK for her age and nothing serious. I still have my work cut out for me as I need to drop the transfer box again !!!!!
As Johan lives in the middle of his 140 square kilometer farm there was no coverage on the internet and where we are tomorrow might not be great either.
Firstly i'd like to say its NOT a volcano rather a rim/crater made by an explosion underground and not by flowing lava,,,etc..Its described as a volcano but its not by the more learned accounts. So there....
Its cheap to get in but like pulling teeth finding out how much it was before visiting. Many numbers were tried....and may excuses heard. The entrance gate was empty and a loyalty box to pay based on scrap of paper saying "please leave your money, I'll be back tomorrow". We witnessed at least one car full not paying. Its 30pp for day visitors and 50pp for over nighters. We were going to stay overnight but after the walk to the rim we wanted a shower and the camp has no water let alone showers. So we came back to Keetmanshoopdoggydog.
The campsites were OK actually and had we stayed we would have saved quite a bit...It was almost as cheap as a wild camp. My advice is visit now as no doubt the money grabbers will put the price up a lot very soon. To go there without the walk to the top is pointless. You might as well look at it from 50kms away. We walked to the top and its not too difficult but sometimes a bit loose under foot.
I've upped the resolution on the photos a bit as the previous setting was a bit grainy. Also some revisions of the sand/trees for Mum. Any bigger and the tree get cropped. They are at full res.
We've been to a few places since my last post. Most significant is Sossusvlei (pronounced Sossifley). This is a place where they have filmed quite a few films, surprisingly. One of them being a film with Jenifer Lopez and we couldn’t remember the name. So there you have it, The Cell. The recent Mad Max is also filmed here and in Namibia as I’ve mentioned. Anyhow you can see from the photos what it’s like. At least you can see the main attraction with its dead trees and lake.
Those with a bit more time and energy can climb Big Daddy and you can see the intrepid French on their way down (about 2 hours up and down). We took some photos that we will Email to them. We didn’t have time and due to the fact they charge 170N$ to go in and then a fortune to camp (150N$ pppn) along with another days entry on top (so 470N$ or ~£36) we decided to go in one day and wild camp that evening. The campsite outside the gates being 415N$ was also too expensive. Thanks to the “safari on foot” man who we met at the petrol station we were told (I asked) about a picnic spot 30km down the road which is fine to camp. He’d also told an overland bus the same info the very same day in Solitaire so no sooner had I set up my fire than an Overland Bus turned up. They asked permission to squeeze in with us and of course I said yes. How could I turn down another vehicle named Matilda! The Aussie driver was filling in for a driver who’d done a runner and although the bus says otherwise they were part of African Trails. The same company we met in Luxor all those months ago and Mark the driver. The driver Suzie gave us loads of info on South America as she’d been there the four years previous. African Trails really are the nicest bunch of overland people and both buses we’ve met have been filled with nice guests and nice staff. We’ve only met a few other bus companies whose drivers would even give us the time of day and the guests are ignorant, usually. (Apologies to the other two nice drivers we’ve met who were great but had ignorant guests, one in Dar and one in Malawi).
So there you have it another few days on the road. Henning is winging his way down to meet us. oOer the next few days we will likely end up in the “Land Rover Hospital” for a check up.
We also met a nice German in Windhoek with a 110 Puma and a pop roof. He’s been on the road a long time and has a long time in front of him. He seems to do a lot of partying as he was usually out till 6am each night. Either that or he’s a vampire.
We also bought Dash a new bed. Being in his chair all day was making his back sore.
I nearly forgot to say we went to Luderitz. Thats all there is to say about that dump. (Typical seaside off season and not good). Apologies to Mr. S French as the kite surfing world record is in October.....no photos.
Last night we stayed at Solitaire and yesterday we had one apple pie and this morning another apple pie. So those who guessed American Pie can have a treat. Those that guessed I would have two apple pies, can also have two treats for guessing American Pie 2. (those who want to argue its German Pie can keep it to themselves)
Julies pointed out we are 300 days into our trip today. Now my clock on the home page says its only 298 days. This is becuase we didn't set off till after midday so at about 1pm we will be 299 on the clock. The clock also doesn't count the first day as day 1. Only initially after 24 hours will it show a 1.
So we are IN our 300th day this afternoon but tomorrow at 1pm we will have complteted 300 days. Gedit ?
This travelling thing involves a lot of maths....fuel, money, days, distances, times etc....
So today we pass 300 days....or nights.
I did forget one. Margaret. I also forgot to say they do remember you in Maun and after a few seconds she dashed off having another ballet class to teach. You know who I mean.
So today out of boredom we walked to The ("legendary") Joe's Beer House to have, you've guessed it, a Beer. So that would be one thing you'd all likely tell us to do. There, we did it. Julie as it turns out wanted to stay and eat and due to a mix up, we didn't. I wasn't clear in my intentions and she didn't say anything. Shes not a happy bunny. The Mini on the roof left by some ill prepared travellers seems to be a highlight but all it does for me is prove some people do no preparation before setting off. I can think on one other trip thats going the same way right now. They didn't achieve their goal of getting to Angola as they couldn't get a visa at the border. Well blow me,,,,duh!
Tomorrow we will leave for the place with the apple pie. You all told us to go so we will. If its not the best damn pie in the whole world I will be getting my money back. In true Yorkshire style I will stand back in the queue to get a refund. You have been warned "Mr. Baker/Chef". I also understand its been sold out so who knows if the same legend is running it?
So there you have it, some legends in their own mind (and advertisments). I bet you can't guess the next blogs film title ? Its too easy......
We've sent a few nights in Windhoek and not gone anywhere so if some other traveller wants to tell me I should have gone "here" or "there", don't bother please. Its just another town/city and we've walked around a bit and not gone to any of the places we should have gone alegedy. Who makes these descisions anyhow. Its Friday night and we didn;t even go to the Beer place. I cannot remember the name.
We're on the hunt for Tyres and there are damn expensive in Africa. In fact thay are much much more expensive than they should be. I can get them in the UK and ship them here for less. How does that work ??? I've emailed my tyre manufacturer of choice for an explanation. Will they respond ? I doubt it.
There are certain people who travel with sponsorship and get all sorts of free gear and theres people that profess to do the trips for charity whilst collection less money for charity than they will actully spend on their GPS and Camera for the trip (example). How do these people manage to get sponsorship or manage to convince themselves they are doing it for charity. In my mind if you do it for charity you should collect more money that you spend or surely you might as well give the money you are spending to the chartiy you are so selfless in supporting. We got no sponsorship and nothing for free and have helped 15 stranded motorists on our trip. Yes, FIFTEEN who were going nowhere and some of which would have likely waited hours (maybe days) to get help. We've collected a hitch hiker and delivered him to the nearest campsite. We've let down and hitchiker whos now contacted us having safely arrived at home. If thats not chartiy what is? Do we deserve any sponsorship. Probably not but a little bit of help would be nice now and again to reciprocate for all the help we've dished out. I've not forgotten the free accomodations afforded us in varios countries, Egypt, Tanzania, South Africa (more than once). We answer questions for other travellers as soon as we get them and we are nearly finished with the financial report to go with Nick West Coast one. Ours of course covering the East Coast. Julie has spent a great deal of time recording the information. We are also donating the route map and waypoints to T4A. I'll not talk about them as they seem to be selling the info given for free for a lot of money.
Now can I get some free tyres please? You can have a logo on the side of Matilda. She won't mind and in fact she will have no choice. Karma ?
Lets see if the tyre manufacturer in South Africa lives up to the now legendary (with us) South African generosity. Julies going for an emphatic "NO" as we're not delivering footballs to schools or collecting bottle caps or some other crap for charity.
Thanks to: LR4x4, Mike, Chris Parsons, Intercontinental Hotel Staff Cairo & Aqaba, The Staff at Marriot Sharm, The guide with the wire like wiskers at Karak, Mustafa & Family, The Police Mess Musoma, Dragonaires & Guy & Family, Kobus & Alett, Des & Brenda, Bruce & Family, The Kruger Pensioners, Oppi Koppi & Vital, Ivan & Family, Walvis Bay Yacht Club. There will be at least more in a few weeks....Des and Hennie.
Hope we've not missed anything or anybody.
So the camp at Mile 4 was cancelled. They lied outright on the phone. It was more expensive and there was a charge for the car. Out of principal we told them to stick it. So we camped on the street outside Ocean Basket and spent the money on a meal and some drinks. So another campsite owner seeing the green in the form of $$$$ bills. Its not exacly the best camp in the world either and is rather open to the very strong Atlantic wind (imagine a concentration camp with barbed wire fence and nothing else). Ocean Basket was on Julies list of "must eat there again soon". Blame Des and Hennie.
We travelled to Walvis and stayed at the Yacht Club...for free! Again we spent the money in their Bar and Restaurant. We were going to see the Seals with the nearby boat trips but the weather was terrible so we wills see seals elsewhere. I hate boats anyhow and when its wavy and raining even more so.
We met a family in Spitzkoppe when staying at the camp there (110N$ for two) (and again with $10 for the car!!!) and the son mentioned a new wreck on the Skeleton coast. What by all accounts is a cable ship had a fire and all abandoned ship. Its run aground just north of Henties Bay and we must have seen it happen. We thought there was a lot of smoke coming from it and there was !! We thought it might be an engine problem,,,and it was. There was no engine. So add that one to your maps.
The little girl of the family mentioned above made us a lighthouse in our camp so we could see and so we don'r become ship wrecked I presume. We left it where it was so it should still be there......(first photo below)
When you get home (family) please send us a message.
So after a few days of driving, arguments and lacking campsite choice we have arrived in one tourist mecca in Namibia, Swakopmund. We are currently sat in The Tug which Ian (TrundlingJack) will remeber and no doubt tell you its the best "something" in the world. Well we've only stopped for a Beer ! The Coffee machine is off duty for some reason. It must be his day off.
We went to the Petrified Forest and the Rock Carving places and although the 40pp and 50pp was reasonable I mind paying for parking. This also seems to be a trend in the camsites as its so much per person and then something for Matilda. Now I know shes a proper teenager but charging for cars or any age should come in the "under 5" catagory irrespective of her age. You've guessed it we don't stay in those places. We've had two wild camps finally now in Namibia. One being in the middle of nowhere and the other outsde of a Bar. I don't know which I prefer.
The Skeleton coast was a dissapointment and although the drive is better than some long distance days it wasn't all I expectedit to be but I can't really tell you what I expected it to be !?
We must say thanks to Oppi Koppi for being free for Overlanders. Other campsites should take note. The camp was really good and we liked:-
2) Porcupines in the yard
3) Being Free
One night Oppi Koppi had 57 guests and it still felt OK although the hot showers wern't very hot by the time I got there. We never sample the food but it looked a smelt really good. We were VERY tempted but we were trying to save money and succeded in only spending the camping fee equivalent on Beers. I'm sure you will agree this was the better choice. Why waste good money on food when Beer is available ? Julie says she would rather eat, after the fact I must say. When we were sat in the Bar I think she had another idea. Can you guess ?
Tonight we stay at Mile 4 Campsite and its 55pppn. The one in town is 75pppn and 70 for Matilda.
Some photos below including some featuring another tip from Mike. Changing a prop UJ using a G-Clamp. Thanks Mike. I sent you a text, did you get it? He might be at Billing, Land Rover Show. I wish we were.
The boat is from 2008, the other wrecks along the coast were naff. The thing thats looks like its fallen over is an Oil Drilling platform, (IDECO). The Other photos are self explanatory. If you have questions or comments, as usual, keep them to yourself.....LOL....seriously ask away.
This is a tenuous link to a film. Our freind Henning has been in Kenya for a few months having found love. He's back on he road. So since Tom Hanks' famous quote from the film shouting "Wilson!" when he lost hs beloved ball we are now shouting "Henning!" as he's on his way.
This will actully be the second Tom Hanks link involving Henning as the first was in Tim and Kims in Ethiopia when he arrived to our amazement and I was stood there waving like Mr. Hanks did on the dockside in Forrest Gump. I did blog this so you obviously arn't following. So to continue the trend.
Today I changed the rear UJ on the rear prop and whilst I was there I checked the rear output seal. Its not leaking. Good news. The rear UJ was a GKN/Hardy and it didn't last long so it must have been the way it was fitted so the blame swings to the mechanic...I have greased it a lot so its not maintenance. The one i've replace it with is also a GKN/Hardy. Fingers crossed my bush replacement using a G-clamp is good.
We leave the free camping tomorrow having turned campsite 5 into a garage for a few days. My substitute overalls in the form of a pair of sweatpants are soaking in the wash. Very dirrrty...
Another vehicle maintenance day today with what could be described as a full service.
First to the problem areas. The rear nearside wheel bearing was loose, AGAIN. So it needed a full strip. This reveals a worn stub axle and a worn bearing but nothing too bad. I had spares as always but opt to not fit them. The bearing is running freely and the stub axle is, although on its way, not bad enough to need replacing. The wear is only on the rear face where the bearing runs resulting in the worn rear face of the back bearing. They are OK for a while and since I check them all the time I doubt it will get ahead of me.
The drivers side upper A-frame bush was loose. Looks at first like a knackered bush but on closer inspection and a tighten up to the correct torque it was just loose. Thank goodness !!
Rear prop rear UJ is gone again. This is only a few 1000 miles since it was done at British 4X4 in Pretoria. Nice job guys....I'll do it with a proper quality part shall I ????? Not the mechanics fault but the crappy parts. I might do this tomorrow. (looks like it was poorly fitted or a bad GKN UJ)
Gear Box leaking from the fill hole. Tighten that up. Lets see.
And now for my nemesis. The damn Transfer box....leaking like a good un from the Intermediate shaft. Can't be bothered to do it now. The rear output seal is also leaking into the handbrake and again I cannot be bothered. This is going to get removed sometime soon and possiby in the place Mike mentioned. I have all the parts needed but i just can't be bothered. I really nedd a new one. A nice second hand one from a Puma with 1000 miles on the clock would be good.
Oil changed, Oil filter changed, Fuel filter changed, Air filter blown out, Fluids all checked, Door hinges oiled, Breather cleaned, Intercooler checked, Lights all checked, Engine Pipes checked, Rad fan re-secured.
Jobs a good-un. Shower in cold water as the tribes that have arrived have never thought of staggering their showers. Muppets.
This made us both laugh.....wine is cheap in South Africa so I suppose you need to do something to stand out. The french wouldn't approve as no doubt this is a protected brand.
I can honestly say they do.....and usually right infront of us when doing 90kmh. Especially Ethiopian Goats. They had more sense than the locals however, the Goats got out the way,,,, usually. The humans however, did not.
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