Welcome, Guest. Please Login or Register

Author Topic: Mr and Mrs Three Dawg's African Adventure  (Read 14464 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Three Dawg

Re: Mr and Mrs Three Dawg's African Adventure
« Reply #60 on: July 26, 2015, 12:19:48 pm »
Groan!  Just lost an entire page.  Oh well...

Anyway, we got on well with the owners of Kapishya, so much so that a bottle of Chivas Regal was produced with predictable results.



We staggered off to our tent far too late in the evening to sleep it off.  Until we were woken at about four in the morning by what sounded like insects in the tent.  Couldn't see anything, so tried to settle down again, but the noise was still there.  Mrs 3D lifted up her inflatable mattress to find thousands of red ants underneath!  Where the hell had they come from, and OW! they bite.  We tried, and failed, to get rid of them- you can't even squash 'em, so we had to bail out and sleep on the floor of the lapa that sheltered the kitchen area.

At daybreak we went back to the tent to try and clear it.  We had inadvertantly pitched over a nest and the ants had come up and bored staright through the groundsheet, and were nibbling away at Mrs 3D's mattress.  In Europe we don't have critters like this!  I thought that my biggest problem camping in Africa would be spiders the size of my hand and scorpions in my boots, not commie ants.  The groundsheet looked like someone had shot it with a 12 bore.



This was where the corner of the tent was.



The ground sheet was in a bad way, but fortunately Mark, the lodge owner (him with the droopy eye in the pic at the top) got someone to patch it up for us. It wasn't pretty, but it would do.

We relocated to a safer spot after a thorough inspection of the pitch.



Drama over, we made arrangements to go and see Shiwa Ng'andu.  It's an extrordinary place, especially given its remote location.  Built by Sir Stewart Gore-Brown around 1920 it is still owned by the same family (Mark's brother) who are restoring it after it fell into disrepair after Mark's parents were murdered during a botched robbery in Lusaka.  This is the Wiki entry, it's interesting stuff. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shiwa_Ngandu

We were given a guided tour by Mark's sister in law, Jo.



The chapel



Library



Dining room









Back at Kapishya a group of 4x4 types arrived in a nine vehicle convoy.  Their leader, Alex, parked near us so we got talking.  Turns out he was taking his group to the Serengeti through the Tunduma border post, which was the same one as were were going to use.  So Alex, what's the border like then?  Absolutely terrible, he replied.  Gulp!  But we have a good fixer- ask for MP, or you can tag along with us.  Sounds good, but we're staying at a place about 70km short of the border the night before we cross.  Turns out so were they, and also there was no food at the mission run camp.  But being hospitable people they invited us to join them for dinner.  Sorted, and thank you!

Alex, who was a colonel in the SA forces, cooking up a storm.  Not a bloke given to taking much nonsense from anyone, I suspect.



So the next night we joined the happy campers for chicken piri-piri a la Alex, and at 5am the next morning were off to tackle Tunduma.  Up until now I found the roads in Zambia generally in pretty good shape.  This one wasn't.







The Tunduma/Nakonde border was a riot.  It's on the main route from Dar es Salaam to Zambia, so there are loads and loads of trucks trying to get through- a huge number of which are fuel tankers.  We stuck with the group and MP did his stuff.  Getting the carnets done took ages, but in the meantime MP went off to sort our insurance.  It took about 4 hours to get through the whole thing, although part of this was because there were so many carnets to do.  After we finished with the border we said goodbye to Alex and the rest and turned north to the town of Sumbawanga.

One of these people is not dressed for queuing in the sun...





What I would like to know is, why, when I edit these pics in Photobucket then check 'replace original photo' and save the edits don't save.  It's driving me mental. >:(



« Last Edit: August 18, 2015, 07:43:00 pm by Three Dawg »
 

Offline Noneking

  • Bachelor Dog
  • *****
  • Bike: KTM 1090 Adventure R
    Location: Mpumalanga
  • Posts: 10,302
  • Thanked: 284 times
Re: Mr and Mrs Three Dawg's African Adventure
« Reply #61 on: July 26, 2015, 03:55:43 pm »
Enjoying this one, thank you!
2018 KTM 1090 R
2016 HUSQVARNA 701


RIDE REPORTS - http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=226099.0
 

Offline Three Dawg

Re: Mr and Mrs Three Dawg's African Adventure
« Reply #62 on: July 26, 2015, 11:15:31 pm »


Getting out of Tunduma was a mission, but once clear of the town the road improved dramatically, thanks to the Americans who built (or paid for) the road and put up lots of signs to remind us of their generosity. You could make great progress down this road towards Sumbawanga if it wasn't for the villages every 8kms and their attendant speed humps.  

But it was better than what lay ahead...



After an interesting night in Sumbawanga- there was something a bit Hemminway-esque about the bar  at the Forest Way Country Club, at least in my fevered imagination we continued north to Kipili on Lake Tanganyika.

about 4kms out of Sumbawanga the Yank tarmac stops and the roadworks start with the usual shitty diversions.  At least it wasn't wet.   Eventually we turned west towards the lake through delightful countryside, although the road was a pain.  Not technical, just very rocky, so the bike was being shaken to pieces.  This was the second and last time I used my fuel cell.  I love a full tank...









After hours of banging down this crap track and a couple of police checkpoints, we reached Kipili on Lake Tanganyika.  It didn't look half bad...






Offline Three Dawg

Re: Mr and Mrs Three Dawg's African Adventure
« Reply #63 on: July 27, 2015, 09:17:34 pm »
Kipili is a great place to rest up for a while.  The campsite unfortunately is not right on the water, but it ain't far away.





A surprise was this ruined church- built by the White Fathers around 1880.







The lodge din't have many guests, and most of those were NGO types.  Nice work if you can get it.  The NGOs were doing good work in the DRC across the water, but weren't exactly roughing it during their time off in their luxury rooms.  We loafed around, paddled on the lake in canoes and drank beer.  The lake is lovely, and bilharzia free, a good place to unwind for a while.  I had hoped to see the MV Liemba, but it was being used to ship refugees from some trouble up in Burundi.  There was a dock for the boat just down from the church, but unfortunately no one had checked the draught of the ship and, er, it couldn't pull up close enough to tie up.  TIA eh?  There were also a couple of water ambulances there, tied up and useless because no one knew how to run them and there were no medics anyway.  Someone had nicked the motors too...  What a waste of seventy thousand US.

After three pleasant nights we headed back to Sumbawanga.  I had inflated the front tyre fully because of the rocks and potholes, but the bike handled really badly.  3psi lower and it was much better.



The hotel in Sumbawanga (whose name I forget) had a very posh and echo-y marble hall, but normal service was resumed in the rooms. ;D



Back towards the border the following day we bumped along the speed humps before fighting through the traffic in Tunduma towards Mbeya, our overnight stop before the border into Malawi at Songwe.  It was crazy, but fun.
















« Last Edit: July 27, 2015, 11:05:36 pm by Three Dawg »
 

Offline Three Dawg

Re: Mr and Mrs Three Dawg's African Adventure
« Reply #64 on: July 29, 2015, 06:26:26 pm »


W had a night in a rather odd hotel in Mbeya- the room had no windows- where we shared a drink with character who insisted his name was James Bond.  I don't think 007 would do as well with the ladies if he smelled like this bloke though...

Once clear of Mbeya the following morning we climbed up into the mountains which were very lush- this was the first time I'd ever seen a tea plantation.  The road was a real treat, in good shape and not too many animals or people on it.



We were heading for the border with Malawi at Songwe.  Pretty quiet, changed some US at a bureau de change and was given a wad of Malawian Kwatcha about an inch thick.  Their biggest denomenation seems to be a 1000 kwatcha note, which at about 460 to the dollar really isn't enough.  Insurance was obtained from an office nearby and we were off.  To the roadblock capital of Africa.

We had about 100km to go to Chitemba and hit 10 police roadblocks.  Most waved us through, but not all, and one even asked for our insurance.  Good job we didn't skip that bit.  The road that runs south along the lake is very pleasant, with mountains to one side and the lake to the other.  But the main thing that strikes you is the vast number of people on the road, about 50% of whom are aged between 7 and 12 years.  You absolutely cannot relax for a second because of the people, goats, pics, cyclists and traffic, so we trundled slowly on staying as near to the middle of the road as possible.

This amused us- I suppose most people have heard of Tesco- it's a huge supermarket chain here in the UK, the biggest player in the market.  Bet their lawyers haven't seen this.  And if they do, LEAVE THEM ALONE, IT'S JUST A BIT OF FUN YOU CORPORATE DORKS!



Eventualy we got to our camp at Chitemba.  It was in a lovely spot, but a bit hippyish and run down for my taste.  The guy running it was a lazy arse who just shouted for his local lady cook if anything needed doing.

However, it was right on the beach.



After a misunderstanding over breakfast- yes we'd like some- we got away two hours later than planned.  These kids outside the gate were fun.



I would have loved to ride up to Livingstonia, but apparently the road was in terrible shape and I really didn't want to crunch my ankle again.  Maybe next time.  





« Last Edit: July 29, 2015, 07:13:20 pm by Three Dawg »
 

Offline NoRush

Re: Mr and Mrs Three Dawg's African Adventure
« Reply #65 on: July 30, 2015, 09:57:37 pm »
Great RR. Thank you.. :ricky:
 

Offline MillionMiles

  • Member
  • **
  • Bike: KTM 990 Adventure
    Location: Gauteng
  • Posts: 161
Re: Mr and Mrs Three Dawg's African Adventure
« Reply #66 on: July 31, 2015, 02:59:59 pm »
Better late than never. This should be an interesting read.
Today is National Biking Day!
 

Offline Three Dawg

Re: Mr and Mrs Three Dawg's African Adventure
« Reply #67 on: August 01, 2015, 06:23:28 pm »
It's funny, I don't have many pictures of Malawi at all.  After being delayed by the pillock who ran the camp at Chitimba and knowing we had a pretty long day ahead I just wanted to keep moving and not stop for photos.  Oh well.

We stayed on the main M1 road south, which wound up into the mountains in the direction of Mzuzu.  This was a real treat with plenty of opportunities to get some wear onto the side of the tyres.  At one point we found ourself on immaculate tarmac threading through a very neatly kept rubber plantation.  There were few people on the road here apart from some youngsters trying to sell big balls of rubber.  Soon though, we were back among the pedestrian traffic,  made worse by the fact that it was Sunday and lots of people were strolling along on their way to church.  

Anyway, it was lovely run and the clouds that looked like rain didn't, and eventually we ended up back down on the coast at Ngala Beach Lodge near Nkhotakota.  The campsite there is very pleasant, situated as it is in a shady area very near the beach.







On our second night, one of those big overland trucks showed up.  They kept themselves to themselves pretty much on the first evening, but most made it to the bar on the second.  It was amusing to see the oldsters sitting at the bar (with us, the managers and a hippy dude canoing the lake) getting hammered, while the young 'uns sipped sodas and went to bed early. ::)

The morning after.  Coffee on the beach.  Luvverly.



Onwards to Lilongwe.  I think we need to come back to Malawi to do it some justice, it's a beautiful country, and I suspect that there is a lot more to it than the lake.  Needed fuel and pulled in for gas, but none available, apart from some stupendously overpriced stuff from a dude in shades.  It was still cheaper than at home and only five litres.  Don't think the trip would have been complete without buying black market fuel at some stage.



Lilongwe.  Meh, just an overnight at some backpackers.  Full of smug kids doing 'good works'.  We did meet a guy from Cape Town who was cycling home from London, and had the beard to prove it.  He was cheerful and happy doing it the hard way.  On the other hand, this thing



was parked up ready to do battle with Africa.  I cannot imagine a worse way to see Africa than from one of these- the couple who were in it literally looked down on us from their eyrie- and I would reckon generate absolutely the wrong sort of reaction wherever they go.

Mrs 3D got the Lurgi in Lilongwe, bad news as we needed to cross back into Zambia the following day to get to South Luangwa NP.  Oh dear.







« Last Edit: August 01, 2015, 08:34:00 pm by Three Dawg »
 

Offline Three Dawg

Re: Mr and Mrs Three Dawg's African Adventure
« Reply #68 on: August 04, 2015, 10:00:20 pm »
Back into Zambia and  Mrs 3D still feeling well below par, but we have to move on.  The border at Chipata was problem free, with a bonus in that we met another rider (going into Malawi) on a 1200 Adventure.  He was the first we'd seen since Swak, and was making his way north to thank some people who had got him out of a tight spot when he lunched his bike (and himself) in the back of beyond on a previous trip. 



Back in Zambia it was very noticable how few people were walking along the road, which was generally excellent tarmac- just what was needed given Mrs 3D's fragile state.  We were heading for The Wildlife Camp just outside South Luangwa NP and apart from 6km of sandy track to get into the camp it was an easy day.

We set up camp on next to the river not far away from a pod of hippos.  To get to the main part of the camp you had to walk along the river bank, something we were told was forbidden after dusk- they come and get you in a vehicle if you need to go to the restaurant.  There is a good reason for this, the camp is crawling with animals....

First morning an ellie wandered through...



We, ahem, tracked it as it went through the camp



We were near the office using the wifi when I looked up and saw this wandering through:



Over the river these two were loafing around on the bank



Small, er , things...



And big, just below our tent.  Hippos come up into the camp at night, their footprints were clear to see. :o



On the second day a convoy of 4x4s roared in to our part of the camp, clearly hoping to bag spots on the river, but oh dear, all taken.  So they laagered right between us and the ablutions making us feel more than a little crowded out.  Funny how the guy in charge of these things can set the tone.  This one (unlike Alex who was leading the mob we went through the border with) marched up and announced that they would be using our braai (better be careful of the tent then, cautioned Mrs 3D) and then cracked open the first of many beers.  He just didn't stop drinking.  Anyway, they were a bunch of noisy inconsiderate gits who got a tongue lashing from Mrs 3D when they woke us at 5 in the morning to leave.  May a thousand thorns puncture their tyres and baboons shit in their tents. >:(

Unfortunately we were with these clowns on a game drive into the park.  They walked to the main reception to make sure they got the front seats, while we waited (as instructed) for the vehicle to come to us.  Never mind, South Luangwa is a lovely park, and we got our first ever leopard sightings.   :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin:





After South Luangwa we had to make our way back to Lusaka, with an interesting night at a place called Bridge Camp.  Man alive, the people in charge there have problems, mostly due to uncontrolled alcohol consumption.  Which is a shame, as it's in a lovely spot looking out over a river to Mozambique and the accommodation was first class, as was the breakfast.

Back in Lusaka we stayed in Eureka Camp, which was in a pretty handy spot, but a bit run down.  We did however, meet a couple of Brits travelling south.  They'd flown their Katooms into Addis Abbaba and were heading for Capetown via Namibia.  I don't think Mrs 3D would accept the saddle on one of those things, but they looked the business to me.  Anyway, we had a great evening drinking fizzy yellow beer with them.





We had looked into crossing into Mozambique and getting back to SA that way, but the information we had said that visas were no longer available at the border.  No way was I going to spend a day in Lilongwe getting one, so we decided to give Zimbabwe a try.

There are a couple of borders we could have used from Lusaka, but crossing the Kariba dam sounded cool, so that's what we did.  The Zambian border was dead as a doornail, so once a customs official could be found we were through easily enough.  On the Zim side the immigration facilities were housed  (if that's the word) in a M*A*S*H style tent that was about 45 degrees inside.  Man it was hot.  Mrs 3D tried to sneak in under the wire by presenting her NZ passport for a visa (about 20 US cheaper than the one for Brits) but as she'd been stamped out of Zambia on her Brit passport they refused.  Again, the border was very quiet, so after a long chat with a young Tourist policeman we were in, destination Lake Kariba and the very wonderful Karribea Bay hotel.

It's pink!



The holel (80 rooms) was nearly empty, which is a damn shame as it's in a fantastic position overlooking the lake, but that didn't seem to bother the staff who were cheerful and helpful from start to finish.  Withing about an hour just about all the staff had sussed out we were the two mzungus on the bike and were greeting us by name.  Highly recommended. 

Heading south the next day towards Harare you can see what a brilliant job of running the country is being done by the geriatric bonehead in charge.  Farms lie abandoned with their buildings rotting, and nothing much seems to be growing in the fields apart from the odd patch of maize, although in fairness it was, of course, after the harvest.  The state of the country is brought into sharp focus when you compare the vibrant and prosperous capital of Zambia with the bust up gentility of Harare.  Zimbabwe's capital was clearly once a lovely place, but now the rot has set in good and proper.  Naturally there was no power when we rolled in to town, and the whole place looked bust up with shattered pavements, wonky, rusty lamp posts and all the rest, but the tree lined streets spoke of a more gracious past, at least for the wealthier (read white) residents.  Anyway, after a bit of faffing around we managed to find our lodging somewhere out near the race course without getting flattened at any of the junctions with non working traffic lights.  Fortunately they had a whopping great generator to ensure the beer was kept cool.

We were joined for dinner by a Russian oligarch from Siberia and his cameraman who came from Pretoria.  The oligarch was over for a 'safari' (one where they must have been expecting trouble, as he had brought all his guns ::)) and the cameraman was there to film the thing for posterity.  This was a regular job for the cameraman he made no bones about toasting his client during the meal.  Nasdrovia!









Offline Optimusprime

Re: Mr and Mrs Three Dawg's African Adventure
« Reply #69 on: August 05, 2015, 05:45:59 pm »
Top RR Geeza  :lol8: :snorting: :sip:
Cape to Cairo 2017
 

Offline Three Dawg

Re: Mr and Mrs Three Dawg's African Adventure
« Reply #70 on: August 05, 2015, 08:04:47 pm »
Ta.  Hey, guess what turned up at my place today?  A clue:  It's big, black and covered in African dust.  Am I gonna wash it?  Not a chance! ;D
« Last Edit: August 05, 2015, 08:23:42 pm by Three Dawg »
 

Offline Skim

Re: Mr and Mrs Three Dawg's African Adventure
« Reply #71 on: August 05, 2015, 08:34:21 pm »
Really Nice - thanks for sharing !
Skim

BMW R 1200 GS Adventure.
 

Offline Warren Ellwood

Re: Mr and Mrs Three Dawg's African Adventure
« Reply #72 on: August 06, 2015, 02:15:32 pm »
Friggin awesome RR.
"Before you speak, ask yourself, is it kind, is it necessary, is it true, and does it improve on the silence?"
 

Offline Optimusprime

Re: Mr and Mrs Three Dawg's African Adventure
« Reply #73 on: August 06, 2015, 09:26:27 pm »
Ta.  Hey, guess what turned up at my place today?  A clue:  It's big, black and covered in African dust.  Am I gonna wash it?  Not a chance! ;D

What!? How did you manage to smuggle a house-and groundkeeper in from Zim, hanging unto the wheel of the plane?
Cape to Cairo 2017
 

Offline Noneking

  • Bachelor Dog
  • *****
  • Bike: KTM 1090 Adventure R
    Location: Mpumalanga
  • Posts: 10,302
  • Thanked: 284 times
Re: Mr and Mrs Three Dawg's African Adventure
« Reply #74 on: August 06, 2015, 10:05:46 pm »
Awesome RR :thumleft:
2018 KTM 1090 R
2016 HUSQVARNA 701


RIDE REPORTS - http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=226099.0
 

Offline Three Dawg

Re: Mr and Mrs Three Dawg's African Adventure
« Reply #75 on: August 06, 2015, 11:35:14 pm »
Quote
What!? How did you manage to smuggle a house-and groundkeeper in from Zim, hanging unto the wheel of the plane?

I wouldn't subject any African to the weather we've had this last month.  How does 195% of the normal rain fall in July grab ya? :(

Offline Casting from Turd

  • I am the reason my children will never have kids
  • Forum Whore
  • ****
  • Bike: BMW R1200GS Adventure
    Location: Eastern Cape
  • Posts: 8,898
  • Thanked: 141 times
    • addobackpackers.com
Re: Mr and Mrs Three Dawg's African Adventure
« Reply #76 on: August 07, 2015, 06:54:20 am »
Ta.  Hey, guess what turned up at my place today?  A clue:  It's big, black and covered in African dust.  Am I gonna wash it?  Not a chance! ;D

What!? How did you manage to smuggle a house-and groundkeeper in from Zim, hanging unto the wheel of the plane?

 :spitcoffee:
I dont want to ride fast, But I want to ride FAR
Past Bikes...Honda XR250 Tornado
Honda XR650L
Honda XL1000V Varadero
http://www.addobackpackers.com
 

Offline 2Swerve

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Bike: Triumph 955 Tiger
    Location: Gauteng
  • Posts: 30
Re: Mr and Mrs Three Dawg's African Adventure
« Reply #77 on: August 07, 2015, 03:27:37 pm »
Awesome report! Im following it with great interest....and envy. Thks for the effort and sharing with us what we all dream about!
 

Offline Optimusprime

Re: Mr and Mrs Three Dawg's African Adventure
« Reply #78 on: August 07, 2015, 06:45:48 pm »
Quote
What!? How did you manage to smuggle a house-and groundkeeper in from Zim, hanging unto the wheel of the plane?

I wouldn't subject any African to the weather we've had this last month.  How does 195% of the normal rain fall in July grab ya? :(

I still think back to the Africa2up RR when you came outside and saw the bike has been washed 😁. Pass some of the rain on to us, we're in need of some downpour, since we had very little rain this year and rather top temperatures for 'winter'
Cape to Cairo 2017
 

Offline Three Dawg

Re: Mr and Mrs Three Dawg's African Adventure
« Reply #79 on: August 08, 2015, 02:58:18 pm »
Ah, yes, the over helpful gardener.

Next morning I mosey out to the bike which, much to my surprise, sits gleaming on the driveway in a puddle of water.  :o Yep, the gardener had taken into his head to wash off something like 10000km of accumulated (and very cool looking) dust and grime.  Now I look like I just arrived, not what I wanted at all.  Oh well, he was only trying to help, I suppose.

Anyway, next stop Great Zimbabwe.  Some of the traffic lights were actually working in the centre of Harare, and Tracks4Africa took me straight out and put me on the right road without a hitch.

Not far from where we were due to stop near Great Zimbabwe (GZ) we got stopped at a roadblock.  Normally not a problem, but the young copper in charge wanted to see some cross border permit, which I didn't have.  I could tell he sensed an opportunity for a fine and made us park up by the side of the road, although after a rowdy and cheerful exchange between us and a minibus full of local guys he looked as though he knew he was losing the situation.  Anyway, I think he was after some bit of paper which maybe travellers who don't need carnets get, so I produced my carnet and showed him the stamp from Kariba.  That seemed to satisfy him with no loss of face, so off we went.

For about 300m, when we got busted for 'speeding'

Before I'd even killed the motor Mrs 3D had jumped off and begun arguing with the guy with the radar gun.  Not possible to be doing 77km/h (in a 60) so soon after setting off she said.  Are you saying that this large motorcycle is not capable of that?  replied the plod with a smile, fingering his fine book.  (me: thinks, yep perfectly capable, but I don't think I'll join in just now)  Then suddenly something changed and the cop asked where we were from.  Scotland! replied Mrs 3D.  Ah, said the cop, I thought so, I could tell by your accent!  (as I said before, Mrs 3D is from New Zealand and I am English)  Well, we weren't going to correct his take on things and he decided at that point to let us off.  Hooray!  Or should that be Hoots!

Anyway, that encounter was typical and any animosity that Uncle Bob feels towards the UK doesn't seem to have filtered down to the people on the ground- everyone we dealt with was friendly and polite, and I wouldn't hesitate to go back there.

We stayed at a good campsite about 5km from GZ called Norma Jeane's.  The main house is a lovely colonial style homestead which was built by a man of Scottish descent called Murray MacDougal who was involved in the building of the dam nearby.  This place is a little oasis with beautiful gardens and great food.  Oh, and marble tiled ablutions, probably among the best I've ever seen.



The Lake- not Scotland...



We rode up to GZ and were able to dump our stuff at reception, you do not want to walk around that place in bike boots clutching a lid.  Everything looked tidy and well kept- I suppose they make sure of that given its UNESCO status.  We hired a guide to show us round, a young chap who was on placement from university where he was studying anthropology.  He was very knowledgable and I hope it works out for him.

Our guide using a cave to reflect his voice over the valley.















Yep, well worth seeing.  Great Zimbabwe means Great Big Stone House.



  

« Last Edit: August 08, 2015, 03:09:27 pm by Three Dawg »