Location: Livingstone, Zambia
Hello again everyone,
Hope you are all well and enjoying life in the real world. Well a lot has hppened in the last twenty days. I have covere 4800 kms and been into four different countries.
I have been on an overland trip from capetown, south africa to victoria falls, zimbabwe. It started with eighteen stangers boarding what is basically a horse truck with seats in it. I found myself on the back seat with a crazy Italian guy with dreads called Marco and a beautiful French girl called Amalie. These there the people I would spend the many long hours of travel with. It was quite amusing as they both spoke english fairly well but a lot of things are lost in translation. We amused ourselves and everyone else with our stupidity.
Day one saw us drive to the cederberg mountains on the west coast of south africa. There we got a walking tour form a crazy cape coloured guy called skawkie. I think he has been bitten by skapians too many times. We were looking for all the small animal ans insect life that lives under the rocks. Pretty funny tour.
Day two and off to the orange river and the namabian border. One of the dutch guys aon the trip had his pasport stolen from underneath him. He was using his backpack as a pillow and someone undid his tent and stole it from him. Many dramas to follow. He had to go back to capetown and get a new passport.
Day three had a slow start waiting for police statement and such. Then it was off to the border. I had a little trouble as I had overstayed my visa and was slapped with a small fine. Then they didnt have the correct paperwork for the truck. Four hours latter we were accross the border, it was getting dark, starting to rain and we still had a long way to travel. We arrived at Fish river canyon (the second largest canyon in the world) very late. They have a ten inch anual rainfall there and it was the dry season. While we were there they had over two inches. Camping in the rain is awsome.
Day four saw us head to Naukluf national park. A day of driving.
Day five was an early start as we climbed dune 45 to watch the sun rise. Amazing. Then a tour of Sossusvlei with another crazy guy talking about life in the desert, this was also amusing and very interesting. I did manage to hurt my knee on this walk and it swole up to twice normal size.
Day six and seven were spent in Swakopmund. Everyone went to ride quad bikes on the dunes, unabale to do this with my knee i decided to jump out of a plane. A little scary when you get intothe plane and see all the windows are held in with duct tape. An awsome experience though and they let me stear the parachute on the way down.
Day eight was a bush came at spitzkoppe. Beautiful. I have some great photos from there I will try and put up soon.
Day nine it was off to see the Hinba tribe. I got a bug that was going around and spent the day vomiting. Awsome while driving all day.
Day ten and eleven were in etosha national park. Saw loads of animal, including two prides of lions. At one stage everyone got off the bus to use the toilet and I got on the roof to take some pictures. Some people started to walk to the lake to take some pictures. Then the guide yelled out lions. The group were walking directly into the path of a pride of lions. That got a few hearts racing.
Day twelve was off to windhoek the capital of namabia and a little shopping.
Day thirteen and we crossed into botswana. This is my favourite country of the trip so far. We stayed a Ghanzi and enjoyed some traditional dancing from the bushmen.
Day fourteen it was off to maun whick is the gateway to the okavango delta. We took a low level flight over the delta. Very cool.
Day fifteen and it was time to head into the delta. We jumoed on another truck and drove for two hours into the bush. Then it was into the mokoros whick are the traditional dug out canoes that are used by the river people. Two hours relaxing on them and we reached our camp. It was then off an a walking safari. The guides have no guns and there are no fences to hide behind. We found the usual impala and girraffes. Then an elephant whick we followed to the water. We were standing about fifty meters away taking picture when another elephant came out of the bushes about fifteen meters to the left of us. Time to move on. We started to head back to camp as the sun was setting and found that we were surrounded by elephants. In a 200m radius there would have been fifty elephants. The guides started to get a little worried as we couldnt get past them. They told us that they have three differnet charges and not to run if they charge you. We walked a little further and past a few bushes, suddenly we were faced with a elephant and baby very close. The elephant charged us the the guides yelled out for us all to run. We had to run for about 100m till we found a termite mound to hide behind. Out of sight out of mind.
More walks the next day. We came very close to a buffalo which are very dangerous as they give you no warning and if they charge they wont stop till they get you. In to the mokoros again for a sunset cruise. An to visit the hippo ponds. A little unnerving sitting in a little canoe no more than 15 m away from ten hippos. Very cool though.
The next day it was back to Maun via the mokoros and the truck. The mokoro that had all of our tents on it flipped. We lost a couple of tents and a lot of time trying to recover them. Back into the truck and another late arival to our next camp. We had to sleep under the starts as our tents were soaked.
The next day it was off to Kasane and chobe national park. We went for a sunset cruise alond the the chobe river. Very cool. There were loads of elephants, hippos and water buffalo. We had elephants swimming past our boat.
Another early start the next morning for a game drive though chobe. We didnt see all that much really. Then into the truck and off to Zimbabwe. A fairly smooth border crossing after our guides who were from Zim bribed the border officials to get us through quicker. This is definantly the most depressing place I have been. There is no money and the supermarkets are empty. I got off the truck and there was a boy no older than five haggeling with me to sell me cigarettes. The exchane rate over there is 25 billion to one. Inflation is so bad that the notes have expirey dates on them and resturants print price lists daily, and not everything that is on the menu is available. It was then onto the mighty Zambezi river for another sunset cruise. This time it was a booze cruise. I introduced a couple drinking games and got everyone rolling.
The next day was white water rafting and a visit to victoria falls. An amazing place, but I think that Iguazu falls in argentian where better. The tour was officially over. I crossed into zambia and am having a few days of chilling out to get over the trip. I am now going to head through zambia and into Malawie.
Till next time.
Location: Capetown, South Africa
Just after the last message I got a call from my old boss to go the New Bethesda and work the bar at the backpacking south africa annual general meeting. The offer was to good to refuse, free travel, food, accomadation and grog. It was onto another bus for the twelve hour trip to port elisabeth ( the third time Ive done this trip now). The pick up some people and head out to the middle of nowhere and turn left. Soooo bloody cold out there. Everyone who was sleeping in a tent woke up with a layer of ice ontheir tent where the condensation from their breath had frozen. Three funny night followed. Met loads of people in the industry and had several job offers. Getting paid to get drunk, I love it.
It was back to Jefferys bay for a couple of days. Still no swell and the billabong pro is on in a month. I hung around for a couple of days waiting for a lift back to capetown. Unable to find a lift it was another long bus trip, fun.
I am leaving on my overland trip tomorrow to vic falls via namabia and botswana, so I should have some more exciting news soon.
hope all is well.
Location: Capetown, South Africa
I hope all is well. I have finally left the fairies to continue my travels. It was time to leave before I became a full blown alcoholic and never left. Andre and I finished off the rooms (I ll put some before and after pics up soon). If anyone comes to south africa you have o make the trip to Hogsback. Its an awsome place, and Dan and Gem will take good care of you.
Andre and I wemt down to Cintsa for a couple of days to catch up with some friends before I departed the eastern cape. Another cool place right on the river mouth. You sit on the deck eating breakfast staring out over thr beautiful coastline. From there it was back to east london again to organise a bus ticket to Jeffereys Bay. One more night there then the late bus to JBay. The bus trip this time was very comfortable, and they had very recent movies (for a bus trip in africa). They did however give us boiling hot coffee in cups with soft drink non spill lids, like the ones at maccas. This was very handy when you were stiring the coffee but no good when trying to drink it. Everyone was looking at each other wondering how to attack it as we were on the top level of the bus and the road was very rough. Finally a few people including myself took the lids off to be greated by a massive pothole and a burnt hand. The next cup everyone sat it down for five minutes to let it cool off.
I finally arrived in Jbay at midnight and went straight to the bar to have a beer with Fabian the barman who I had met at the fairies. Heres a Tip to anyone planning a visit there, Do not cause truble there. I was mucking around with him after a few drinks and he handed me a motorcycle helmet and told me to put it on so he could headbut me. He had nothing on his head and he nearlyknocked me out.Crazy kid. He was kicked out of the swiss arm for something and isnt allowed back in the country. Funny guy and he can drink like no one I have ever met. The famous super tubes was so flat the you couldnt even catch a wave on a longboard. With no sign of swell on the way it was time to move on.
I met another aussie guy in Jbay and hitched a ride down to Bettys Bay. It was about an 8 hour drive there.The same drive I had done a month earlier on the bio bang bus. We arrived at the hostel who was owned by on of Dans friends. Since leaving the Fairies I have not paid for acommodation, thanks Dan and Gem. It was a cool little place overlooking the beach. We went from there to Ganns Bay the next day to do shark cage diving. That was a really cool experience. The sharks came no more than a foot from my face and I touched the tail of on as it flicked the cage. Amazing. We saw five different sharks and the biggest on was three metres. I would hate to be in the water with a big one. It was back to bettys for another night.
Yesterday we followed the coast around from Bettys to capetown, via capepoint and the cape of good hope. An amazingly beautiful coastline even though the weather here is not great at the moment. Im now going to stay in capetown for a while waiting for my overland trip from here to vic falls via namabia and botswana. I hope the weather clears up so I can explore the place a little.
Hope everyone is having fun at work.
Location: HOGSBACK, South Africa
Hey everyone, Im still in hogsback having a ball. Last week Andre and I flew down to capetown to pick up the new mini bus for the hostel. We had finished four of the six rooms we are doing up. It was late on the sunday afternoon and I was doing the finishing touches to the rooms, putting in mirrors and souch to make the rooms complete. All was going well till the last room when I drilled straight into a water pipe. It was almost enough to make a grown man cry. I stood there with my finger in the hole calling it everything under the sun. I then had to run 100m to turn the water main off, chisel out the concrete, put a joiner in and re-plaster the wall. At 8pm the job was done and I was exhausted.
We caught the shuttle to east london to catch our flight to capetown. After a very hectic month in the bar we were ready for a couple of day detox. Over here if you work in a backpacker then you stay in others for free and get staff price drinks. Andres sister picked us up and drove us to stellenbosch where we were going to get the bus. We walked into the stumble inn backpacker from whom we where buying the bus off, having R40000 cash in my backpack, and we were imediately greeted with Jager bombs. So much for detox.
We had a couple of days in stellenbosch, moving from coffee shop to coffee shop and touring the local vineyards. It is abeautiful area, and Andre knows everyone in stellenbosch. He used to own a resterant there. Good times.
Finally the bus was ready to go. Its a litttle diesel mini bus (19 seats). It looks a lot like a two slice toaster. It has been converted to run on old deep fryer oil from fast food shops. Funnily enough the conversion was done by an antique dealer and not a mechanic. TIA (this is africa). What could possibly go wrong. I think we were half an hour into the trip when things started to go wrong. There was heaps of air in the fuel lines and we couldnt get it out. It was raining and a public holiday so nothing was open and we had no tools. We bought a screw driver from acaravan park for R110, and fiddled a bit. Eventually got going and made it about two hours down the road and ran out of fuel. Awsome. Ten at night in a small town called swellendam. We were in a dark backstreet and andre had to run a get some fuel while I watched the bus. Being in the dark all by yourself is not highly recommended. It was a long 15 minutes waiting for andre to get back. We were still having fuel problems as we pulled into the backpacker. We had to wait till 4pm the next day for the guy who did the conversion to come and fix the bus. All good and off again. We made it to buffalo bay that night. The next day a eight hour drive back to hogsback witha a stoip in jbay for lunch. The bio bang bus was finally at its new home.
I have a couple more weeks here while I finish the rooms and manager the hostel while the owner go on holidays then the travells begin.
Hopoe all is well.
Location: Hogsback, South Africa
I hope you are all well. Im still in Hogsback, working in the backpackers. I had planned to move on but I got drunk with Andre ( the handyman) who is the south african version of Rastus, (it is scary how much they are alike) and Dan (the owner) who is a pom that was backpacking through eleven years ago and never left. I helped dan with his car and andre with a few things, got really hammered and got a job as a handyman. They had bought the property next door and converted it into six ensuite twins. The work was done by an african builder and is terrible. I have had to rip up all the slabs and re plum the showers. Re plaster and tile all the bathrooms, re run all the electrics with the help of a sparky who owes dan some money. Then paint and finish all the rooms. I have finished three and very nearly the fourth. I will put some before and after picture up soon. The scary thing is that I have never done most of this stuff before and dan said that he has had two builder in and my work is better that both of them. He has shown me all the stuff he wants me to do around the place for him. I think I should finish it by the time im fifty. Dont think Ill be around to do much more than the rooms. Too much to see and do.
It is heaps of fun to work here. Andre and I work on the house all day and run the bar at night. Long day with lots of drinking. Meeting heaps of fun people. Its a lot like the surf camp in portugal.
I hired two sweedish guys the other day to do some painting for me. They hired a beetle in capetown and decided that white is a very boring colour for a car. So they went to the paint shop and bought a tin of little girl pink house paint and two rollers, then proceeded to paint the car. They now get eveyone who wants to, to paint a pictre on their car. Its now covered in fairies and animals. They used the left over pink paint to paint our wheelburrows. Ihate painting and they love it so they seemed perfect for the job. Very funny guys, especially when high on paint fumes after a long day painting in poorly ventilated rooms.
Having a ball Dorns