As were at home we'd thought we'd make my life hell for the entire duration so the film title works on two levels.....
Our ever growing list of things I need to do isn't getting any shorter. One list item was to complete my tax return. We got over £4000 back off the tax-man based on last years return in under a week! I didn't earn enough so as they were taxing me based on the entire years earnings and I finished in September so earnt much less than they thought. Taxing this way is normal in the UK but getting it back isn't usually easy . A few days after I submitted my tax return I have the money in the bank so I'm really happy. (its already spent)
We've also registered for zero tax on my bank account as we no longer earn anything so should be paying no tax on our interest.
My list includes Items we've already had delivered but I've not yet ordered the parts needed for Matlida. This is a quite a few. One of my parts suppliers has offered to help and given me a good price but not unfortunatly free or 50% off the cost. I should start pretending to support Unicef or something. Anyhow I've been through that already.
We got our business cards today....Thanks to an online producer. Pretty speedy and pretty cheap.
We also have a new water filter for my aged pump. It must be 20years old as my brother got it for me a LONG time ago for my birthday. The company that made it has been sold twice so I'm amazed you can still get them. We also have some new rechargeable batteries for all our stuff. Its the other things that you don;t think of, new underware and new socks for example. Now I know they sell them all over the world but its not the same as M&S pants.....
Quite out of character we seem to have eaten and drunk large quantities of food and alcohol since we got home on Holiday. Those that know us will be unfamiliar with this as we are normally so reserved...
Last night having run out of wine having drunk 6 bottles since Thursday night we resorted to some dodgy spirits my mother had in a cupboard which had been there since about 1970. Julie took to drinking Matrini Rosso and I drank some of what could only be described as "Henning's Juice". As I'm sure you will remember Henning is our Danish biker friend. The small fortune we've spent on horrid English supermarket wine only made the need to get back to a country with cheaper alcohol more apparent....so stock up South Africa....we're on our way back soon.
I should also point out that we went out driniking on Friday night with Julies sister Karen and that didn't end well. We lost Karen in some dodgy bar in town and we got a taxi home with Karens phone and housekeys having waited 20mins outside the pub in question. Personally I think she ditched us and went dancing. She does that a lot! It's a good job she has freinds who took her in at 3:26am and so she could do the walk of shame the next morning as we picked her up.
At this rate I might put all the weight i've lost back on....I checked last night and the excess of eating/drinking hasn't yet appeared on my ample belly.
The reason for this entry is some of you are getting withdrawal
So after a few days of missdirection we've arrived home for a visit. Suprising Sister, Mother, Father and Grandmother in the process as we didn't tell many people. So if you feel the need to contact us, we're back for a holiday. Now thats a strange thought, a holiday in the UK. Something we used to do but now most people holiday abroad which is what we're doing, just the other way around.
The special delivery I mentioned was actually us, not the carnet.
No we've not finished the trip quite yet but as I said were almost there with one continent.
Our Carnet de Passage ("vehicle passport") runs out in a month so this means today my Mum is waiting for a very special delivery that means we can carry on. I'll let you know later if everything goes to plan. How we get it to South Africa before the 31st is anybodies guess. Update later.....
Theres another issue. It seems the South African AA want ~850rand to swap the carnets over or 650rand to perform and extension. So I think I need to contact the RAC for some advice. Henning mentioned something about this little rip off a few weeks ago. I should have listened. The UK carnet is £195 and adding on another £50 or more pounds is a royal cheat. I don't really want to leave the SACU (South African Customs Union) just to get the old carnet stamped out and the new one stamped in. This is easy to do but its a bit of a drive from capetown to Zimbabwe or Mozambique. Moz is nearer but still a LONG way
BTW the refurbished transfer box is doing OK after a couple of hundred kilometers. Let see if it explodes later. Doom and Gloom....I always aim to please. I worry too much.
Pictures from Boulders Beach (the one with the penguins) on a very nice early summer Sunday. You can see how busy it was ! Another picture with a little reminder how far it is to get home. I could have sworn we've driven 50,000km so we've certainly taken a wrong turn or two.
Yes it was the same film. Worth a watch, not really.
So today we went shopping and also to see a film. What we watched is a remake of the Arnie fest with the popping eyes. Would it have been better in 3D, almost certainly. I can also say that Ster Kinekor, a theater operator in SA, is rubbish. Nu Metro, another operator, have better prices, better food and much better screens and sound.
Tomorrow we are back on the road again having spent enough time stationary in Cape Town. We're not sure where we are off to but it may only be to Gordons Bay. We might get a bit further. Lets see what the weather is like. Des says its going to rain! After the stunning weekend I hope not.
Note to self....We still need to go up Table Mountain.
We're still staying at Millers Point in the hardest place to stay in Africa. Just turn up here and you will see what I mean. The most convoluted, complicated and drawn out booking process in the world. You can't pay here, you need to go to the post office and pay !!! or a supermarket ??? If you turn up late then just go somewhere else. If it wern't for the locals staying here the other night we wouldn't have got in. We piggy backed on their booking as after about 4pm you can't possibly get the reams of paperwork done and paid for including travelling to the supermarket to pay. You could go to the next big town and book in but thats also probably closed. Since I don't really understand how you book into the campsite we let the sunday manager go into town a pay for us. This still took two phone calls from him to get all my details. I expected him to ask for my blood group at any second. Campsite is good but booking in is almost impossible and just try to get past the guard on the gate even after you've paid !!!
They thought we'd never leave.......
Almost a week of madness and generosity staying at Des and Hennie's. We've got a refurbished transfer box with a new sleeved Intermediate shaft. I know the Land Rover fans reading this will be jealous! Its a really nice job. The box is re-shimmed and set up although I'm not really happy with the way they did the centre diff as its too tight in my mind. They used double planet gear shims as the Sun gear shims are not made thick enough. The thickest isn't nearly thick enough so double shimming the planets was the only way. Its settling in but we shall see. The sleeve is perfect and a new "CAT" yellow o-ring fitted made from some marvellous rubber or something.
Des and Hennie looked after us very well and Des's 110 (and the VW) now knows its way to Roverland garage having taken us there many many times. Thanks Des !!!! Hennie's cooked, washed and kept me in food and beverage for the stay and garage hours. Thanks Hennie!!!! They looked after us so well we are thinking of adoption. We took over the spare room and the garage and they almost stopped everything to look after us both. We're both so greatful. We stayed a lot longer than we should have! THANK YOU.
I changed the timing belt and rebuilt the rear hub again with a new bearing as something must be making it come loose.
I spent way too much.....The box cost 4300 rand (13r to the pound). We're broke.
We're thinking of flying home soon so watch this space for info. We've got a few more things to do down here but should be home soon. Not sure when. Hennings been in contact as we are sharing a container to South America....
I forgot to say the sleeping bags have been washed and they are great. Almost perfect washing and much cleaner than the last time we had them washed. Dirt from 26 years of use has gone. When I say 26 years of use some of the dirt on them is probably that old. Thanks to First Ascent and the 222rand each they charge it was an OK price.
Photos of the box...Spot the sleeve on the Intermediate Shaft.....Jealous???
ps the ref to "Room with a View" in the previous post is in the photo from Des and Hennie's porch.
BTW The Dog is Donna and the Land Rover is Des's and they've only done 35,000km in 3 years ! He and she (x2) really need to get out more !!!
So here we are in Cape Town having spent a night with the Langebaan Sunset team who drove to their new home a year or so ago all the way from the UK. Nick and Vicki looked after us very well in their marvellous home and we, as usual drank way too much ! Luckily they both sort of work from home so all was well in the morning although Nick did have to do some real work from his office. Vicki is starting a new job soon so was tasked with looking after us. We swapped stories of their travels and also inspected each others Landies. Nick is getting our old tyres when we replace them this week. (I'll let you know where they are Nick so you can pick them up). His BFG's are VERY bald having come all the way from the UK so ours will keep them going for many months. Ours need replacing before we go to South America so they can benefit from the left over tread.
Leaving the lovely Langebaan we went again through fields of flowers in the National Park and a short drive to Des and Hennie's place. We met Des and Hennie in Zambia months ago and we'd planned the visit via Email and Phone. The visit is mostly for car maintenance and removal of the Transfer Box. Des and Hennie have a new house with a purpose built Land Rover height garage for me to drop out the transfer box. Its not quite the workshop that Kobus and Alett have but a perfectly flat surface under cover is great. Kobus, can you send me your lovely engine jack please....It would be so much easier. My transfer box needs the centre differential stripping so its a pretty big job. I hope its OK and only needs the new thrust washers mentioned in an earlier post. I've spent the last few days replacing the bearing in the rear hub, the one that keeps coming loose and also changed the timing belt. The timing belt didn't need doing really but at 70,000 km in dusty conditions I thought it wise. So thats all done. Whilst I was doing it I checked the valve clearances and noticed a valve stem cap missing. Luckily I bought some of those in Jordan all those months ago when Michiel & Jeldau had their troubles. I did pay $8 each for them !!!! They are pennies each in the UK. I have 8 of them so do the maths !
We've noted that Henning has updated his blog. We were getting worried. When I say updated his blog I mean he's just abused us verbally for a few paragraphs. Hurry up you slow, bacon loving, coffee drinking mainlander. If you want to read all about his journey and Nick and Vicki then follow these links.
Nick and Vicki's Site
We're also waiting at Des and Hennie's for our sleeping bags to be washed at the First Ascent factory. We dropeed them off the other day and It can take five days so we may be here till Friday. First Ascent charge 195rand for the washing. Contact them if you want one cleaning and follow the link to their website if you want to see the gea they sell.
Now i'm a bit partial to a rubber dress or catsuit but this has to be one of the worst movies ever. Not only is the actress in question,,,,, (literally),,,STOP....
Theres no point in saying any more. She was better in Bond. Pfeiffer on the other hand was good albeit not enough to make me happy. I saw the "genuine" catsuit in Hard Rock (i think or maybe Planet Holywood) but its not the genuine thing in these places. If it were, how come they all have one ?
Our campsite was invaded by cats. They were actually quite scary. If you remember the Dr. Who series where the monsters only came at you when you blinked, these were the same. Trun you back on the little blighters and they came closer. They wern't nice little pussy cats. Evil.....
Off to see the famouse Nick aka Langebaan Sunset tomorrow.
More waterfalls and more tenuous links to dodgy films....
Yes we could smell the flowers. Quite nice actually. They also follow the sun so if you get on the right side of them they are quite bright as you can see. No lilies and none of the bulbs are out yet unfortunately.
Julie noted that the sign was a bit lose to the water. We couldn't quite get Matilda into the space where we wern't allowed to camp so no risk of us breaking the rule.....
Last few days we were at Augrabies Falls another SAN park but to see the Falls strangely and not the animals (we've seen them). Now were are at Springbok and leaving to see the flowers. We’ve had another near miss this time with Charley Boorman who’s in Namibia. We passed a load of Bikes so I wonder if it was him. So I sent him a twitter blaming him for the trip and asking why he’s not come to see us. Some photos later once we’ve camped for the night. Had too much to do last night with the bank and stuff to get blogging.
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.
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.
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