Wednesday, 21 December 2011

The “Good luck, bad luck or tough luck” tour 2011 or NEXT YEAR WE WILL defintitly GO TO Angola - Rwanda - Burundi – Zimbabwe ……

A short resumee of our journey in 2011: Since we travel Africa, Angola was one of our dream destinations. After some research in the internet we found someone in Luanda, which would have given us an (urgently needed)  invitation and the legalization stamps without having sent any money.

One week before we wanted to apply for the visas, Angola exchanged all employees in their South African embassies and they only gave seven day visas, to be extended in Luanda.

Beautiful. But the ride along the Death Acre would have been a week alone. We had already organized a guide for the trip. That guide, the only one we would have trusted to get that trip managed. Optimistical as ever, we turned the route and added Angola at the end of our trip. What was also good, with all the rain in Namibia this year. We might apply for visas in Zambia, thought we. Did we really think we could reach Zambia?

The next mishap came in the form of missing our GPS device. It had been stolen out of the car. We ordered a new one via Internet. We started just before the Easter holidays in South Africa and thus tried to escape the South Africans traveling to Mozambique. Not to mention, the GPS arrived three days too late, while we sat on a campsite in Port St. Johns? But luckily we reached Mozambique. In Gorongosa National Park, Self Drives were not permitted, too much water. So once again we had to reschedule again, the Niassa Game Reserve in Northern Mozambique was also still too wet. So we skipped that. We crossed the border from Mozambique to Tanzania at the famous Unity 1 bridge, beeing the first tourists in 3 months.

We luckily arrived in Tanzania just to drive donw to Mbeya. Driving through Kitulo National Park our automatic transmission started making problems. Again we were lucky, we found THAT one famous 4x4 workshop in Tanzania and they exchanged our transmission oil. Nothing severe…. After a three days journey along Lake Tanganyika, worth every kilometer, we reached Kigoma, especially the Jacobsen Beach Camp was a dream. Serengeti was our next goal, the Great Migration. We saw the first wildebeest and Zebra congregations at the Western corridor. Only a broken rubber boot came on the list. Nothing severe. Serengeti was amazing, we saw our first tree-climbing lions and two leopards in a tree 500 meters away of them. Enjoyed Lobo all alone. The way over into the Maasai Mara in Kenya was long, 500 km detour to make a 80 km distance, which sucks, especially when the roads as bad as in Kenya.

There is indeed a border crossing from the Serengeti to Maasai Mara, but is only to be used by the locals. Tough luck. That's Africa. The bad routes in Kenya did cost us a shock absorber, a starter battery, a solenoid and at the end also a deep cycle battery. All that was replaced in South Africa, after we were back, but in total with the broken shock absorber we lost 4 days. He jumped out two times, once in the middle of Lake Nakuru National Park, then just before the Amboseli National Park. Did I mention that both laptops crashed, and that in a weeks time? OK, then it was very nice to have a laptop-free week, when we were the second time in the Maasai Mara.

And now I have to revise the title. That week in the Masai Mara, was apart from the stays in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park, the absolute highlight of our so far 150.000 in Africa travelled kilometers. Lions. Lionesses bigger than all we ever saw. Prides of 20 or more lions. Cheetahs in family groups of up to 7 animals. Hyenas. Fat Hyenas. Leopards. More Lions. Elephants. And wildebeest. Hundreds of thousands of wildebeest. Much more Lions. Zebras. Hippos. A million wildebeest. Much, much more Lions.

Since then, I'm addicted to the Mara. Give me time and money and I go there for 6 months. Or forever. About the way back I don’t say much. In Uganda, we were only 5 days, the ticket prices of the National Parks increased drastically (by up to 300%), and somehow it was much too expensive. We skipped the gorilla tracking. We skipped Rwanda and Burundi. Indeed, after that week in the Masai Mara are hard to find something comparable. We were thinking about driving back via Zambia (wasn’t there something to do in Zambia?) and Zimbabwe, but than it was enough. So we drove back the shortest way and quite two month earlier than we had planned. Enough is enough.

In order not to fall into the deepest depression I immediately booked the Christmas holidays.
No, not at Kgalagadi, its the Kruger Park, this time.
Hope you enjoy my travel report, klick here to start .....

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Day 111 - 121 - The long way back home - Pictures

Link zum Afrika Reisebericht - Reisebericht Afrika von Beetee und Fred

Africa Juice Bar
Cape Town Webdesign
The Mobile Cocktailbar in Cape Town
Meet the Oceans - 7 Monate durch Afrika 2009 - 2011 - Die Reise geht weiter

Day 111 - 121 - The long way back home. From Ruaha National Park via Malawi to Cape Town

A South African probably would have gone the route in 5 days. In Malawi, there was no faster progress possible and also in Mozambique, we drove the highest possible speed. One must not forget that in these countries people live always and everywhere on the street. We drove 5200 km in 11 days.

Day 111 – 25.7.2011 Kisolanza Old Farmhouse - Chitembe Beach Lodge - Malawi - km 528, 10 h, 29 °, 1400 MKW

The border crossing into Malawi goes smoothly, the Third Party Insurance, however, is expensive, about R 400. Then there is a roadblock every 10 km, but we are waved through everywhere. At Chitembe Beach Lodge is still no hot shower. We made the mistake to order food for 7 o’clock, we got it an hour later than expected, there is indeed one hour difference between Tanzania and Malawi. So we wait 2 hours and the food is not very good and also too little.

Day 112 – 26.7.2011 Chitembe Beach Lodge - Nkhwazi Lodge - 222 km, 5 hrs, 12 ° - 29 °, fresh, 1300 MKW

A whole new experience in Malawi, we are almost the only car on the road, there is no fuel in the country. When we were two years ago at the Nkhwazi Lodge, the owner Jim wanted to sell the lodge, he's still there. The driveway is a little bit overgrown, the last visitors were there two months ago. It's a wonder that the staff is still working. The ablutions are clean and the shower is hot! 

Day 113 – 27.7.2011 Nkhwazi Lodge - Lilongwe Golf Club - 360 km, 7 hrs, 34 °, hot, 10 U.S. $

Clean, quiet, were the only campser, if only the night watch would not be annoying. Every half hour we went to the bushes behind our tent to get supplies for the fire. Tiring.

Day 114 – 28.7.2011 Lilongwe - Blantyre - Comfort Inn Hotel - 330 km, 6 hours, 24 ° 12 ° at night, rain, 10,000 MKW

Since we had to get visas for Mozambique at Blantyre (transit visas are not available at the border) we stay in Blantyre. Expansive, cold, bad matresses.

Day 115 – 29.7.2011 Blantyre - Caia - Mozambique - Cua Cua Lodge - km 443, 10 h, 24 ° Partly cloudy, 600 Metricais

At 8, the Mozambican embassy opens on time. In less than an hour, we have the visas. The drive through the tea plantations is great. On the border to Mozambique, we need only 15 minutes. Until the turn to Murrumbala, we can only drive slow on the bad gravel road. After we turn right, the road is smaller, but much better. A scenic delight. We take the side track, thus saving 50 km. Well on the way up that we had spied out the CuaCua Lodge, it is pitch dark when we arrive there.

Day 116 – 30.7.2011 Caia - Vilanculo - Baobab Beach Camp - 726 km cloudy, 11 h, 26 °, muggy, 400 Meticais 

We already know Baobab Beach Camp very well. Nice as ever.

Day 117 – 31.7.2011 Vilanculo - XaiXai - Camp Paradise Magoo - 650 km, 8 hrs, 28 °, cloudy, 650 Meticais

You have to let the air out of the tires to come over the last dune. We are all alone in the camp and we are thinking about staying another night. The restaurant food is quite good.

Day 118 – 1.8.2011 XaiXai - Nelspruit RSA - Lake View Camp Site 463 km, 9 hrs, 25 °, rain, night, 5 °, 190 Rand

Nelspruit is completely booked out, its freezing cold and we stay at the camp site. 5°. We skip the shower.

Day 119 – 2.8.2011 Nelspruit - Johannesburg - Benoni - Airport en route - 323 km, 16 °, -5 ° at night (minus!), 350 Rand for a charming wooden cabin.

Marion and David are welcoming us as always. Normally we camp here. At night it is freezing cold, -5 °? We use the electrical blankets. The car is white in the morning. First time since we ar in Africa that we have minus degrees. Scary!

Day 120 – 3.8.2011 Benoni - Gariep Dam - Boschrand Guest Farm - km 634, 360 Rand for a double room

A beautiful Guest Farm, but not much heat. Well we have our heater. Breakfast is good.

Day 121 – 4.8.2011 - Gariep Dam - Cape Town - km 837, 11 h, 17 ° It is cold! At Worcester is still snow on the summits of the mountains.

Welcome back!

Link zum Afrika Reisebericht - Reisebericht Afrika von Beetee und Fred

Africa Juice Bar
Cape Town Webdesign
The Mobile Cocktailbar in Cape Town
Meet the Oceans - 7 Monate durch Afrika 2009 - 2011 - Die Reise geht weiter

Day 110 – 24.7.2011 Pictures

Link zum Afrika Reisebericht - Reisebericht Afrika von Beetee und Fred

Africa Juice Bar
Cape Town Webdesign
The Mobile Cocktailbar in Cape Town
Meet the Oceans - 7 Monate durch Afrika 2009 - 2011 - Die Reise geht weiter