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Author Topic: Africa our way !! ( Complete...... or is it? )  (Read 44042 times)

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Online Fuzzy Muzzy

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Re: Africa our way !!
« Reply #120 on: December 21, 2010, 03:02:08 pm »
We cut back into Salima and headed up the lake to Nkhotakota where I was eager to find Livingstones Tree. It seemed disappointing that such an historical place was poorly marked but riding all that dirt and dust to get there was worth it.. greeted by 100ís of children.



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Re: Africa our way !!
« Reply #121 on: December 21, 2010, 03:05:26 pm »
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Offline Gat Slag

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Re: Africa our way !!
« Reply #122 on: December 21, 2010, 03:07:47 pm »
 :thumleft:  vkn lekker sover! Wow
 

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Re: Africa our way !!
« Reply #123 on: December 21, 2010, 03:24:44 pm »
Malawi was proving to be awesome, the riding conditions are good although along the lake you can get some really nasty patches.. we came across a chap riding solo around Africa.. we quenched our thirst while having a chat to the lad who was doing a really great job, sweet ride.

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Re: Africa our way !!
« Reply #124 on: December 21, 2010, 03:36:43 pm »
now old age may be catching up with me but I have no idea where this place is, I know it is North of Nkhotakota and south of Nkhata Bay, all I can tell you is that we stumbled across it by accident as we had been riding hard that day and the sun was getting low, all in all, it was spectacular. It was a lodge of sorts which offered beach camping.. I will let the pics speak for themselves.

This place started us having a quote of the day. We decided not to cook our own food on this day. Generally speaking we would prepare our own food during the trip, but they had a lovely bar and a resturant. So we sat down and ordered pizza, this was going to be a treat and a half. Within 2 min of placing our order the electricity went out, our waiter, in his best english, announced and summerised the event.. " ladies and Gentlemen, everything was going good, now it's shit" We could not contain our laughter and hence the quote of the day was born.

Some views of the beach, campsite and the lodge.















Our campsite was simple but it was 10m from the beach, this is one of the more special days camping we had as it really came out of the blue.



The paint on my bike was holding up, for some reason I thought it would peel off the next day, but it was rock solid. Have you ever seen a transalp like this ??

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Re: Africa our way !!
« Reply #125 on: December 21, 2010, 03:50:28 pm »
From Dwange we had heard rumors of a little place called Candy ( Kande ) Beach and we were attracted to it like bears to honey, by this time we were learning how to filter the massive amount of conflicting information we got on an average day. Riding through a country you have never been to before without maps or GPS was proving easy so far, but we had it easy, we knew we were following a lake, and everyone spoke English. We wondered how long that would last for.Ö Riding into Kande Beach was like walking into an oasis made for the gods, but, getting there was tough going, it was hot, very hot, the sand was so deep we considered turning around but that seemed even harder than pressing on, infact I distinctly remember trying to turn around at one stage proclaiming that it is just not worth it.. tough, it was forward or nothing, the bike was too heavy in the sand. Just before the gates the road was lined with stalls selling all sorts of locally produced crafts, we knew we were close.. woo hoo ! so naturally when we arrived full of sand, sweat and heartbeats racing from the exhausting effort, it was declared that 1st things 1st.. lets get a beer.

Oh boy, we got that and so much more. Maybe because the beer was cold for a change, maybe it was the tropical setting, maybe because there happened to be not one but 2 overland trucks full of honeys from around the world.. but wow, Kande Beach  I called it the land of milk and honey. If I was retired, I would open a place like this.





Even the bikes got some well deserved shade !!



Just incase you thought the honeys were made up, and in hindsight I should have taken more photos.. hmm.



Martin was having the time of his life.. it was still so hard to get used to this as being a lake. With beaches like this diving into the 28 degree water and it being fresh water was amazing.


« Last Edit: December 21, 2010, 03:51:55 pm by Fuzzy Muzzy »
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Re: Africa our way !!
« Reply #126 on: December 21, 2010, 03:57:52 pm »
Now there was a downside to this whole thing.. not only did we say no maps or GPS, but we also said that we wouldínt just buy food, we were going to be completely self sufficient along this ride up north. So we would buy groceries where we could, but generally there was very little, also space was a problem, we couldínt take a spice rack with us and there in lies the bad news. Unfortunately us bikers had the reputation of being the cockroaches of the beach camp as we scrounged prized items such as salt, sugar, coffee, spices, blitz, an onion.. anything we could get our hands on from the potential jackpot called overland tour guides.. our reputation deserved we retired to our side of the camp with our onion, piece of blitz andÖ Jaap.!!


Jaap was a great oke we met at Kande Beach riding solo from somewhere in Europe ( I think it was the Neatherlands ) to CT on a KTM 640.. he was writing a blog for a magazine back home and part of a radio show.. pfff, sponsored okes have it easy we tell ourselves, anyway he just shook his head when he saw our gear, he was a good 35kg lighter than us, serious, he had nothing according to us. He was the one who told us about the rain gear.. again he would laugh and we would just shake our heads at him, he had to lie down and roll into his tent it was so small, whatís up with that !!! He was working on very different assumptions than we were.

Who needs gorgeous babes from the UK when you have Jaap !!



Jaap the next morning as he gets ready to depart, bless the size of his tent.



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Re: Africa our way !!
« Reply #127 on: December 21, 2010, 04:12:49 pm »
Lake Malawi is simply magnificent and Kande Beach was just another magnificent place to chill and relax, so much so that we found ourselves staying there a while taking in the beauty before moving on. We were already starting to have discussions about how slow we were going, at this rate we would be lucky to make Tanzania. We were just enjoying Malawi THAT much !! Breathing a bit of reality into our conversations we had more or less started to have a return date in mind and it was already the 18th of November ( yes this all happened last year  and yes it has taken me this long to write the rr ) we had to get moving and soon because if we were to head that far north still and come back down through Moz we would be hitting rainy season, it was time to get real and make up some ground, again, our overland friends had pointed us in the direction of Nkhata Bay where there was apparently loads of places to stay.

Nkhata Bay was one I was looking forward to, based on what we had seen and experienced it had to blow our minds. From here we were thinking it was our last chance to stop procrastinating and try to find a way to explore Likoma and Chizumulu Islands but the bay was not what we were looking for at all, too many people, too much hustle and bustle, too many pale skinny tourists from Europe looking like they belong there and simply too dirty compared to what we had already seen, besides there was rain around and I would rather be riding in the rain than sitting in a tent.



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Re: Africa our way !!
« Reply #128 on: December 21, 2010, 04:19:50 pm »
So we skip town, leaving behind the quest to get to the islands that has proven to be difficult as the lake sinks one ferry after another, with no money to fix the ferries and no NSRI of any kind on the lake, it is just left to decay. With Mzuzu just 50km away and dubbed the capital of the North we get to moving on, we have time in the day. We also note that the bikes have been taking a hammering, Martin needs a tyre badly and I need to replace a bolt he lovingly snapped while trying to help me reattach my front wheel ( see this rr does not mention all the hardships along the side of the road ) pfff, what problems, we are riding Hondas !!

Mzuzu is  a place you can ride through without feeling guilty, it was good to get some fresh supplies and a full tank of fuel. I started asking around for a place that could replace a snapped off bolt but there was nothing around that really fitted the description and I was ushered to the government's department of public works, apparently they would be able to sort me out.

In the mean time Martin pushed off to source a tyre..





Shame, the chaps at the public works tried hard, but with nothing except a blunt saw between the lot there was nothing they could do, they are underpaid, have no tools and get by every day with what they can find. They are humble and polite. When they see my tool kit their eyes light up and within an hour they had a bolt replaced. In hindsight i could have just done it myself but it turned out to be an experience.

Martin never found a tyre.

« Last Edit: December 21, 2010, 04:20:48 pm by Fuzzy Muzzy »
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Re: Africa our way !!
« Reply #129 on: December 21, 2010, 04:34:58 pm »
 Nothing more can be said, if you havenít seen it put it on your bucket list. The name Malawi was inspired by the word Malavi which means reflected light, flames or rays in Chichewa a language I just never got the hang of. This new name was seen as a reference to the sun rising over the lake, bringing a fresh light to the country.. no wonder they sing and smile all the time even though I have not witnessed so many with so little. The history of this country and its people is as fascinating as it is sad, the Banda era bought decades of  desperation, some 250 000 people either disappeared or were murdered under his rule of over 30 years and the new government faces massive challenges we can hardly comprehend. New laws may have been passed affording Malawians freedom of speech but they suffer heavily. Without reading about their history you would never know, I generally got the feeling that there was a great sense of national pride, something the Zambians seemed to lack.

Malawi was hardly finished with us yet, and if we were taking into account that by this time we should have been close to Burundi we knew we were far behind where we thought we would be, but who in their right mids rides past these places to reach a destination.. this is what it is all about.

We found more of the same wherever we went in Malawi. North of Mzuzu we were heading for Chiweta but we must have bad information again, so we take a jump a bit further up to Chitimba.. Immediately you could see this is the place and we found an aptly named place Ď beach campí, another hive of activity from young tourists exploring the coast of the lake. I was here where we met a father / son team riding BMWís, also writing and blogging for a radio station back home in Belguim as they made their way through Africa down to CT. It is also where we packed up about 20kg of unused gear and sent it home in the back of a 4 x 4.. I fear if I talk too much about these places the rr will start looking like a book but Chitimba was special, I was looking for Livingstonia !!.

Beach Camp in Jitinga..





The 4 x 4 in the background ended up a lot heavier as we sent a load of crap back home, mainly clothing and unused gear.







The BMW's of the father and son team. There was something like 20 years age difference between them, so the father rode a new bike and the son.. a 20 year old bike, shame poor sod. That being said, the older bike was doing much better and needed fewer repairs. They were doing a mamoth route which made ours look like a ride down to the suburbs.



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Re: Africa our way !!
« Reply #130 on: December 21, 2010, 04:40:35 pm »
We head out for the day and leave Chitimba. Chitimba is the villiage where you turn off the main N / S road to reach Livingstonia and the Chitimba falls. Although our stay along the white sandy beaches with overland babes was a highlight, the historical and personal delight of reaching Livingstonia was trumps even though we clearly missed the sign that said Ď FALLSĒ.

I learnt about Livingstonia in primary school as the colonial history classes were jammed down our throat like gospel. Basically Livingstone died somewhere around 1873, I donít think the exact date is actually known as he had a tendency of getting lost and disappearing for years, but  in 1875 a mission was erected at Cape Maclear which was named Livingstonia however malaria was rife and forced them to abandon the mission and they moved it North to Bandawe, a village we passed through as well, but this too was unsuccessful, so around 1900 or so it was moved to its present position where the mission flourished and a town developed. The ride is steep, loose gravel and narrow but worth every second as you get a view you canít describe overlooking Lake Malawi. At the top of the escarpment you get to discover the mission and the town, we even found a very enterprising beekeeper and eagerly stored some honey for later.




A place wide enough to pull over for a photo



Views a photo cant display





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Re: Africa our way !!
« Reply #131 on: December 21, 2010, 04:49:28 pm »
Awesome stuff FM  :thumleft: - makes me want to pack up and leave for Malawi NOW!!!  ;D
There is nothing you can do about the past and you can't predict the future...all you have is the now...live it to the fullest.

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Re: Africa our way !!
« Reply #132 on: December 21, 2010, 04:59:54 pm »
At the top you will not be dissapointed.. ok, well, maybe just a little. Malawi has all the history, it just does not have the money to pump into tourism. Thank goodness those english fellows knew how to build, because all the buildings are there and in great shape. It was a pity to be surrounded by such poverty. As we wondered through a graveyard it was hard not to miss the chap who came stumbling past as drunk as a lord without a care in the world, he ment no harm and his conversation with himself sounded serious. it made me wonder why in 110 odd years absolutely nothing seems to have developed in this region and in many respects it was bitter sweet.







At the bottom of Livingstonia you will find the best banana pancakes in the world. How we came across the best pancakes in the world is a long story and involves 3 very cute French / Canadian teens who were living and working in the community for about 4 months before we arrived, but all jokes and stories aside, feast your eyes on these.

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Offline Katundu

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Re: Africa our way !!
« Reply #133 on: December 21, 2010, 05:00:01 pm »
:happy1:

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Re: Africa our way !!
« Reply #134 on: December 21, 2010, 05:05:15 pm »
Meeting such a proud Malawian who is doing everything he can to make his life better makes trips like this well worth it, to us it looks like a shack, and it is, but Rasta was awesome and made every effort humanly possible to make us feel like we were at home and in my book he gets a 10 out of 10.



The ladies.. very cute, very french, very ohh la la



This is Frank.. over the 2 days we were there he became my biggest fan and just wanted to sit on the bike.. His job was to take the cooldrinks out the fridge and serve them, he was also the man in control of making the slup chips which is fried over a fire next to the road.. hey, it worked for them.





We were leaving Malawi the next day, eish what an experience, reflecting on what we have just done leaves us excited for what is coming up. Malawi was sucking me in to the point where I started looking for property as for all its hardship the people of Malawi are something special, Iím loving this ! , Malawi is always a place I will go back to but Tanzania was in our sights and that was very exciting. The last time I was in Tanzania it was with my mate Thomas, when we came back from Kili the year before we loved it so much that I helped him start a company taking tours up Kilimanjaro, he is doing 2 back to back summits as we speak with the 1st summit being on New Years 2010 ! go Thomas you biscuit.

We were on our way to the land of the Maasai and Swahili, we had no idea that what we were about to see would blow us away. Tanzania or bust !!


« Last Edit: December 21, 2010, 05:10:49 pm by Fuzzy Muzzy »
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Re: Africa our way !!
« Reply #135 on: December 21, 2010, 05:59:37 pm »
Classic.

I am learning so much from your RR, from what is needed( the bare essentials), routes, what to expect and writing skills. Thanks.  :thumleft:

Did you end up paddling in the sand or could you  find other lines off the road perhaps?? My biggest concern is thick sand with a full bike + pillion....... :-\

Cant wait for the rest.
Good friends and fresh mud......

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Re: Africa our way !!
« Reply #136 on: December 22, 2010, 10:33:37 am »
um.. well to be fair I was quite inexperienced when we took on this trip, I only got my licence a few days before we left and had been riding the bike for just over a year, my off in Nam was 100% lack of experience. So in the beginning the sand was really tough going expecially in Botswana and later in Northern Moz. Fork paddling, for the most part I was off the bike pushing when there was hectic sand.. In hindsight I would have liked to be a bit fitter as well.

After our Nam tour recently I got a ton of sand time. Myself Wayne and Martin have increased our skills 10 fold since the Africa trip and looking back on the Africa trip I think I would be a lot more successful at the sand, gravel and potholes. Pillions are a different thing alltogether as the weight is not only high up but it moves.. that would take some skill and training. Thankfully during the whole trip I only fell a handfull of times and that was mainly due to going too slow in sand or not having confidence.

For the most part you can get from Ct to Nairobi on Tar. Sometimes bad tar, but tar never the less. We did not choose the easiest route on this trip but we certainly did'nt choose the hardest mainly because we had to be safe. That being said you have to be prepared for anything and sometimes that means going off road and taking your chances.

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Re: Africa our way !!
« Reply #137 on: December 22, 2010, 10:52:16 am »
Heading towards Tanzania I was giddy with anticipation, I was fascinated with the tribes of East Africa and I had spent a bit of time reading up on most of them although by the time I had reached the border I think I had forgotten most of it, there are so many and they are so diverse, there are the Akamba, Baganda, Haya, El-Molo, Kalenjin, Luo ( I remember because it is the tribe of US President Obamaís father) Kikuyu, Maasai ( who comprise of less than 5% of the total population in Kenya and Tanzania combined ) Makonde, Pare, Sukuma & Nyamwezi, I am sure there are some I have left out, each tribe has their geographical location, cultures and beliefs, I was hoping that during our ride we would get to experience as many of these cultures as possible.

As we headed up the last leg of Malawi passing through Karonga and Tunduma crossing the border which entails the usual procedure of having carnets stamped, however we had a slightly bigger problem to discuss. We had not only suffered a 5 week setback in Namibia, but we had really taken our time exploring as much of Malawi as we could, possibly staying in some places too long and possibly not covering as much distance per day as we would have initially expected, so, in a nutshell, we had to decide on a general direction. I wanted to head NW to traverse Lake Tanganyika destination Burundi, Martin wanted to explore the Southern Highlands, and head for Dodoma which is the legislative capital of Tanzania from there we would head north to Mwanza on the southern Tip of lake Victoria.. at least if we feel we are running out of time we would be in a better position. This is where not having maps and a gps hurt our ability to make a good decision, not knowing if there were parks ahead of us that we would not be able to pass through is one example.








In the end we had to face reality, the crash had set us back too much, we had no idea what to expect in Northern Mozambique with the rains approaching and we were not on an unlimited time schedule or budget. It was not an easy decision but there was a lot of road ahead so we set off in the general direction of Dodoma, from there we could peel off in any direction. At the end of the day we favored the opportunity to take our time.

Tanzania has its own feel, and it is something you pick up immediately much like passing from Zambia into Malawi, I thought Malawians were polite but Tanzanians place a premium on politeness, and courtesy. Greetings are essential and it is common to enquire about the well being of the person you are speaking to as well as his family before asking for directions, a place to stay or where petrol may be found. Although Tanzania has a fairly equal split of Muslim and Christian worshipers I found the Muslim influence more profound not only in the way people dressed but in the way they decorated and built their houses.

We stopped off briefly at Mbeya as it had been another long day with a crossing, so time was not our friend today.. I say briefly as the campsight we found was not great. You know when you would rather camp out in the bush than be subjected to a place that is so far out your comfort zone that you just can't get used to it, plus it was raining so we were miserable. Zanzania was turning out to be such an interesting ride going through villages and forests.









The next day we wasted no time in heading for Iringa. What an amazing ride, everything was green and gorgeous, Iringa is perched on the side of a mountain overlooking a valley, getting there by car or bus would have been a nightmare but on the bikes it was a lot more fun although I missed the lake already, this was something very different.  We had heard about a place to camp for the night which was called The Riverside Campsite about 13km out of town so we didínt stick around much to explore the town.

« Last Edit: December 22, 2010, 11:11:35 am by Fuzzy Muzzy »
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Re: Africa our way !!
« Reply #138 on: December 22, 2010, 11:23:02 am »
The Riverside Campsite was a gem, with shady riverside camping and twin tented bandas going for a steal. I still remember the glint in my eye the following morning as we dove head first into a breakfast fit for a king. It also gave us some time to unpack and sort out the smelly mess that had become our gear, grab a shower and get some rest. The campsight was clean, neat, lush and comfortable.. 10 out of 10. So with all our food, accommodation and bike issues sorted the debate about how to get into or around National Parks in Tanzania had us guessing on a route.











Our experiences so far had been fairly consistent, parks do not like bikes but just ahead of us was the Mikumi National Park which has a road running right through it and Morogoro was a destination just like any other. I was not very happy, I wanted to go North, not East.

 Martin was starting to get a little stick from the girlfriend back home who was apparently not very impressed about something almost every day, constantly needing attention and calls for some reason. It really started to piss me off as it swung his moods sometimes not speaking for hours after a call to her, it was frustrating for him trying to solve emotionally challenging issues back home with expensive and uncertain cell phone reception. I on the other hand left my cell at home !!
With Martin having to deal with the miss and traveling under such strained conditions of always having to find food, find a place to stay, are you safe, do you have fuel.. etc moods started to swing and before long we were not happy campers with each other.

Surviving more than a few blow ups on a trip like this just happens and you have to deal with it. There is no space for egoís. Not working together can spell disaster, and quick, so no matter what you forgive, forget and do the best you can. When traveling you have to take the human dynamics into account and after so many days of traveling so close, making decisions on everything together it is bound to happen, you canít plan for it, you just have to roll with it. During this rr I have not really touched on many of the problems and trying times you face, there is the ever lurking crime, poor communication, bad weather, terrible food at times, suspect accommodation, corrupt officials, you name it, you will have to face. How you face it will determine ultimately how you perceive the whole experience of traveling by bike through a country far away from home.

With Martins 12 year relationship back home on a knives edge we head off into the Mikumi National Park and like a magnet we were drawn towards Dar and the acceptance that that lake Victoria would have to be conquered another day.. It was disappointing but part of what the trip was throwing at us.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2010, 11:24:34 am by Fuzzy Muzzy »
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Re: Africa our way !!
« Reply #139 on: December 22, 2010, 11:29:14 am »
With tensions easing the road was ahead and all was good.. for a while.





The picture above is easily the most pissed off I have ever been in my life, for the 51st time I got another puncture. So I tried tyre weld.. for fuck sakes it did not work. Which means now I have a puncture and 500ml of shit squiched in my tyre. It was easily 35 degrees, with gear on we were loosing 1l of water a min. So I pushed the bike off the road to this spot, only to pick up about 4 massive thorns.. I think I completly lost it at this point.. Martin is taking the pic, what you dont see is him laughing at me while I rant and rave about how kuk things are.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2010, 11:37:27 am by Fuzzy Muzzy »
Africa trip, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania & Moz rr http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=61231.0