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 Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012

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GirlChild
Just fitted a Snorkel
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GirlChild

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Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 9 Empty
PostSubject: Re: Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012   Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 9 EmptyFri May 31, 2013 6:02 am

19th May 2013

The magic of the unplanned



The magic of travelling – for me – lies in the unplanned experiences. And sometimes, these are the memories that last forever.

After Etosha, we headed towards Damaraland – or sort of in that direction. We were on the way to Kamanjab, following the tar road from Andersson Gate via Outjo to Kamanjab. About 20km before we reached Kamajab, we passed a sign for Otjitotongwe Cheetah Guest Farm. On we went, until we decided it was worth going back to find out more. Quick U-turn, and soon we were bumping our way on the gravel road leading up to the farm.

We were greeted by the very friendly owners, and were in the process of organising camping and a cheetah visit when it emerged that there were 2 overland trucks due that evening, so any activities would be carried out with 25 of our closest friends. Sorry, but not our idea of a pleasant time.

We politely explained we would return another time, and headed on to Kamanjab.

But, let me digress slightly. Of all the animals in the wild, the lion and cheetah are my passion. Maybe is has something to do with having domestic cats since I was a toddler, or maybe it was my passion for big cats that resulted in me being a long time domestic cat owner. But either way, they touch a serious softspot.

Anyway, next afternoon, we returned. And to our delight, we were the only campers for the night. Much better for cheetah experiences.

A little later – after a chance to have a snooze on the grass and watch the birds – Marco collected us in his bakkie (pick-up) and took us back to the farmhouse. As we waited at the gate, we were given our instructions: no sunglasses, cameras are fine, only petting on the head up to shoulders, and when they lie down, make sure to keep your face arms length way in case of wandering paws.

WHAT? Hang on a moment … We were actually going to be touching these gorgeous creatures?!?!?!! I didn’t hear much more of the instructions – my mind was spinning.

After instructions, we were allowed in the grounds, and were met at the gate by some of the inhabitants: 2 tame cheetahs came towards us. “Come on” said Marco, “they’ll follow”. So, we made our way around the house to the back garden, glancing over our shoulders as we were followed by 4 cheetahs in the same way dogs would follow. Astonishing. These cheetah have been hand reared, taken in when they wouldn’t have survived in the wild – such as a cub being rejected – so have grown up amongst the farm dogs.

It didn’t take long for us to be shown great appreciation – a quick sniff and sandpaper tongues were licking our legs to the sound of deep, rumbling purrs. “They always clean their meat before they eat it” Marco grinned. Completely surreal.

The next half hour was beyond my wildest dreams. We sat on the lawn while the cheetah moved between us, almost demanding to be scratched and petted. They sat next to us, or flopped down beside us, perfectly relaxed while we indulged their demands and snapped photos of each other, the whole time listening to deep purrs. The youngest – and eleven month old cub – played in the same way as any domestic kitten would: swatting at me with large paws, gently biting my arm or my knee. The only difference was size and strength, which the cub had no realisation of!

But, they are still wild animals, and we were ever vigilant.

Before we left, Marco fed them. Just like dogs, they followed him to fetch the food, and then waited eagerly for their share. We watched for a little while, before leaving them in peace.

Our afternoon activities were not over. Next up was the feeding of the wild cheetah.

We clambered back into the back of the bakkie and headed to the 200 hectare enclosure which is home to 8 wild cheetah. There was an element of Pavolv’s dog about it – when they heard the vehicle, some of them came to fetch food. But, their demeanour was different, and Marco was certainly more wary of them: no cuddling here. The wild cheetah do hunt themselves, and so don’t always come to receive their share. In our case, 6 made brief appearances as we drove around the enclosure.

Lastly, we made our way to the smaller 40 hectare enclosure which is home to a mother and her 3 cubs. Her litter was originally 5 – which is on the large size for cheetah – but one died, and another looked like her legs had problems, so had been taken to be hand reared. Even with 3 cubs, this mother would have had a tough time if she really was hunting to feed them. They all grabbed the food on offer before moving off into the bush to eat.

And so ended our cheetah experience. It was incredible, one that will live in my memory hopefully forever. If you are ever in the area, do make a detour to visit and support this worthwhile project. And tell them we say hi.



Notes:

Otjitotongwe is a working farm. It was bought by Marco’s grandfather in 1931 and has been in the family ever since. They currently farm cattle, sheep and goats. Their work with cheetah started about 20 years ago. They offer camping, and also have 5 2-bed chalets.



Notes:

Only about 9,000 – 12,000 cheetah are estimated to survive. They are extinct in 10 countries in their former range, and likely to slide into extinction in a further 11 countries in the future. Namibia has the largest national population of cheetah. Some are still in the wild, but cause problems for farmers by hunting their livestock. Sadly, this often results in a bullet rather than relocation to a safe haven, such as Otjitotongwe.



rgds
African GirlChild






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PostSubject: Re: Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012   Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 9 EmptyFri May 31, 2013 6:03 am

21st May 2013

Twyfelfontein

With the feel of cheetah fur on my palms, and raspy licks on my legs, we bid farewell to Otjitotongwe – off to Twyfelfontein!

On our way, we stopped past Vingerklip. This is a limestone pillar, about 35m high, that is all that remains after erosion of a plateau formed more than 15 million years ago. It is impressive when viewed from a distance. It is awe-inspiring when viewed from the base. We followed the path that wound its way from the parking up to the huge pillar, enjoying the views of both the formation as well as the surrounding scenery.

As ever, our onward journey took us through more gorgeous scenery and landscapes. The road stretched before us, while the mountains, hills, and rises waxed and waned around us. Ever changing. Constantly beautiful. Somewhat overloading to the brain.

As we drew closer to Twyfelfontein, there were many signs for accommodation, but we had already decided to stay at the local community campsite – Aba Huab Campsite. So far, it was the least impressive of all the fabulous places we have stayed – doors to some loos seemed to be an optional extra! However, we did have a warm shower, the pipes of which were wound creatively into a tree.

While setting up camp, we could sense a change in the air – and we could smell rain! Rain? Couldn’t be. And if it was, surely only a light sprinkle. So, we were caught out on our afternoon walk when the heavens opened and the wind drove the rain sideways. Drowned rats both of us. But, it was short lived. Soon everything was dry again, and dinner was on the go.

Next morning we were off to do some more site seeing. We had originally planned to visit the nearby “Living Museum”. Here, visitors can view traditional village life. But, I am sceptical as to the authenticity, cynic that I am. We gave it a skip and headed to the rock engravings, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here, the rock art is carved into the rock surfaces using quartz rather than painted on. It is one of the most extensive rock art sites in Africa.

The visitors centre deserves a mention. It was built almost entirely from recycled materials, reducing its construction cost to a third of newly built. Also, the clever design means that it can be very easily removed without leaving any traces behind. Most noticeably, it used old oil drums: the circular ends used to create some partitions and doors, with the curve of the barrel used to make roof tiles. Very ingenious, and had us thinking about clever ways to use recycled materials in our next home.

We paid our fee and the guide – Mona Lisa – took us on a tour of the rock engravings. They date back 2,000 – 6,000 years ago when the climate was more wet and the animals more plentiful. This art formed some communication between tribes, and also marked places where holy men believed there were doorways to the spiritual world. They are remarkably well preserved and we enjoyed our visit.

Next, we stopped past the organ pipes and the burnt mountain. These were fee free sites, and we stopped briefly. The day was heating up rapidly and we wanted to reach our next campsite at Brandberg Mountain.

The impressive granite rock of Brandberg rises out of the plateau, and can be seen looming on the horizon from many miles away. Some time later, we reached the last stretch of gravel roads up to Brandberg White Lady Lodge and we were relieved to finally reach the reception. It was hot and we were both feeling tired.

But what a stunning place!

The main lodge was very inconspicuously built into the surroundings. They had grown a beautiful succulent garden: cacti, aloes and other plants adapted to low rainfall environments. There were 2 meerkats who roamed around the garden: playing, digging, watching. We sat out the heat of the day drinking ice cold drinks on the lodge verandah – who would have thought it would reach 40C in autumn!

The campsites were enormous, and spread over a large area so that in theory you had a feeling of being on your own.

In theory?

Yes.

Because, despite the fact that the 28 stand campsite was only half occupied, 2 vehicles with 8 Austrians decided they wants to set up camp as close to us as they could get! What is it with some people? We decided the safest option for everyone’s sanity was that we find another site, which we duly did.

We wanted to do some hiking, so the next morning we pulled on our hiking boots, filled our backpacks with snacks and water and headed off. Our aim was to climb one of the tiny hillocks on the edge of Brandberg, which didn’t look that far away. Perceptions can be deceiving, and after an hour walking directly towards the mountain … we still hadn’t reached it! A further 15 minutes and we reached the bottom. No climbing, just a quick rest and then back again. Despite an early start, the heat was rising.

Time to keep moving. Next destination: Spitzkoppe.


rgds
African GirlChild

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Website: www.kapp2cape.net
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Overland from Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas
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PostSubject: Re: Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012   Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 9 EmptyFri May 31, 2013 6:04 am

23rd May 2013

Spitzkoppe

On the way out of Brandberg, we passed through a little town called Uis. It really was the typical one-horse town! It was a tin mining town back in the days of high tin prices, but that is no longer the case. Now, it feels more deserted, more sleepy. Aside from a little supermarket for essentials and a fuel station, there is a tiny tourist information with a coffee shop – Vicky’s Coffee shop. We decided to stop by and support, and were greeted and served by a grinning Vicky!

Our destination for the evening was Spitzkoppe, a collection of granite inselbergs which loom more than 1,500m high. Not surprising, this is also a popular place for rock climbing.

We paid our fees, chatted to the guide about activities in the area, and headed off to find a campsite. There are only 20 campsites, dotted around the vast area of mountains, boulders, rocks and outcrops. Surprisingly, we had to visit quite a few spots before we finally found one that was unoccupied.

It was idyllic!

This was as close to wild camping as we have yet been in Namibia – with all the benefits of camping out of sight and sound of others, but with the benefit of formal camping – a loo (even if it is a long drop)! Yes, you have to bring in all your own water and supplies.

We enjoyed our lunch sheltered from the sun by the large rock next to the campsite, and surveyed the scenery. Our campsite was in a bowl, and we were surrounding on 3 sides by towering rocks. Viking Explorer was already eyeing out where we could go and sit to watch the sun set. He managed to find us a nice spot that didn’t require too much clambering, and soon we were gazing over vast plains as the sun descended.

Next morning we decided to walk to the famous rock arch – a 6 km round trip. I was in awe of the natural beauty of the area as we wandered through, and felt so small as the mountains towered over us. But the heat of the day was rising, and despite our early start, it was becoming rather toasty as we returned to the campsite.

On exiting the park, we chatted to another of the friendly guides. He told us about some of the upgrades underway: a new lodge, water supply to some campsites for building of showers. He looked very excited.

I felt a little sad – after all, the sheer wildness, isolation and lack of facilities was my favourite part.





rgds
African GirlChild

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PostSubject: Re: Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012   Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 9 EmptyFri May 31, 2013 6:06 am

24th May 2013

Along the Skeleton Coast

We finally reached the sea! The vast Atlantic Ocean. We had descended about 900m over more than 100 km from the plateau to Henties Bay, a charming seaside town. It seemed to be mainly retired people living there, and holiday homes for those living further afield, but had a very welcoming feel to it.

As we came into town, we stopped at the tourist information: a building also housing a coffee shop and arts & crafts. As we climbed out of the car, the heat of the last few days had been replaced by an icy wind blowing off the cold ocean. What a surprise! We gathered information from the helpful lady before setting off again. Destination: Cape Cross.

First though, we stopped to replenish our fruit. While I was choosing and weighing and paying, a delightful elderly couple came to chat to Viking Explorer about our adventure. Now in their early eighties, they sounded like they had been pioneers in their own time: newly married with a 6-month old, they moved to the Angola / Namibia border where they lived for 2 years while he was doing doctoral research. And they thought we were adventurous!

On to the main road from Cape Cross to Swakopmund. Like other roads in this area, this sand road has achieved tar-like firmness from compacting as cars pass over. It was a pleasure to drive! We made our way north to the seal colony at Cape Cross, and each of us was reminded of our time spent in Western Sahara and Mauritania: sand everywhere, biting wind, miles of flatness. This was slightly better, as there was at least a little variation in the scenery with small undulations – but no escaping that wind.

Our search for a sheltered campsite was looking unlikely. Those we saw along the way were nothing more than a long drop next to a stretch of sand. And as in Western Sahara and Mauritania, we weren’t looking forward to the prospects for the evening.

Anyway, off to see the seal colony, one of 25 in Namibia and one of the largest Cape fur seal colonies in this part of the world. There were thousands! Pups had been born in the last months, and there were many still suckling. Lots were fishing in the water, while others jostled for superiority or merely the highest perch.

Cape Cross (or Cabo da Cruz) also has historical significance, being the place where the Portuguese explorers landed for the first time in 1485, and as was the tradition at that time, planted a cross.

We stopped past Cape Cross Lodge to escape the wind and enjoy a cup of coffee. While sipping, we decided to return the 55km to Henties Bay where we could camp in less windy conditions, and also avoid cooking by heading into town for a fish meal. Perfect.

The Henties Bay campsite was simple but luxurious – each stand had our own private bathroom with hot shower! To escape the wind indoors and enjoy a hot shower was welcome at the end of a long day. Also, with lots of little ablution blocks, the wind was dampened, and we could tuck away. Then, off to the recommended “Fishy Corner” for a cosy, delicious freshly cooked kabeljou (a type of fish).

We woke the next morning on the true Skeleton Coast – during the night the winds had died down, and the sea mist had rolled in. Everything was coated in a gentle sheen of moisture and visibility was down to about 30m. Such an eerie feeling.

We set off southwards towards Swakopmund on the hard packed gravel roads. To our right, the Atlantic Ocean; to our left, the vast sands. But in the mist, not much to see. This coast is dotted with shipwrecks, so we took a fisherman’s track down to the water’s edge to try and find one marked on the GPS. No such luck. Maybe the mist was too thick, maybe they are further out.

We detoured through the little village of Wlotzkasbaken – a quaint place where the large plots of land are marked out with stones and the houses are colourful: red with purple doors, yellow with orange doors, blue with white window frames. Such a cheerful sight.

Gradually we drew in on Swakopmund, our destination for provisions (Shoprite) and park permits for Namib Naukluft (Ministry of Environment and Tourism). Everything was so tidy – no litter, few beggars, just the quiet bustle of people getting on with life. The old German colonial buildings have been beautifully restored, and mainly seem to house government departments and hotels. It made me recall the neglected, run down French colonial buildings in St Louis, Senegal.

Chores completed, it was time to explore the Namib Desert Park (part of Namib Naukluft National Park), a truly unique environment.



rgds
African GirlChild

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PostSubject: Re: Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012   Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 9 EmptyFri May 31, 2013 6:09 am

28 May 2013:
Naukluft Camp, Namib-Naukluft Park,

The Namib-Naukluft Park is a park of contrasts; in the Namib part there is sand and koppies (small stone hills); in the Naukluft part there is sand and mountains (large stone hills). The main difference between the two (apart from the size of the hills) is the sandy area in between the hills. Namib is a desert landscape, it has lots of sand in wide open plains. Naukluft is a mountain landscape, and the sand is what makes it possible to travel between the mountains. They are equally beautiful landscapes.

We arrived from Henties Bay to Swakopmund on a very foggy day. After successfully navigating our way to the Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) parks office, we knocked on the door to the lady who controls the permits for the park. She was very friendly, very helpful, and very efficient, so it only took us 15min to buy our permits and our camping, grab a map and some information about the park, and head out the door.

African GirlChild quickly discovered that there was a trail outlined on the back of the sheet with the park rules. Without
telling me too much she proclaimed “we are going to follow the beacons” – which we then did, all the way to the end. The trail is the Welwitchia Trail, so called due to the native plant that grows in the area, of which a magnificent specimen is found at the end of the trail. It is estimated that this particular plant is about 1,500 years old. With only 20mm of rain per year average, it is a hardy plant, and unique in that it only has two leaves. Each beacon on the trail has a number, and there is a small paragraph of information associated with each beacon. Most informative, and it makes for more interesting driving. Brownie point to NWR!

Our time in Swakopmund had also included filling fuel and buying provisions, so we didn’t want to go too far that day. We had set our sights on the Tinkas campsite, as we had heard from multiple sources that this was the best of the campsites in the Namib part. The trail to the campsite is covered by permit, so there is very little traffic. We didn’t meet another car on the way in, and there were no other cars at the Tinkas site we laid our eyes on. This was fortunate as there was only that one site there. Very primitive, with only a longdrop toilet and no shower. Magic. We found the trail head for the next day’s hike, and settled in for the night. It was a very quiet night with a big, almost full, moon.

The Tinkas Nature Trail follows the river beds in the area. We packed water, peanut butter sandwiches, fruit, and Roy’s Bites (sticks of dried sausage), and set off. At first the going was a bit tough, but sand soon gave way to more rocky terrain, easing the effort. There were two things we noticed as we walked; one was the number of animal tracks in the river bed. There were clear spoor from zebra and gemsbok/oryx, and from other antelopes – most likely springbok and klipspringer. We could also see spoor from carnivores (hyena and probably jackal), and from birds. The other thing we noticed was the variation in rocks; there were grey rocks, and stripy rocks, and red rocks, and black rocks (as you can see my knowledge of coloured rocks is quite good…). It was fascinating. We stopped for a quick bite in the shade of a rock full of indents where a pebble had been caught in the flow of water a long time ago. We clambered down and up barricades made up of boulders, only guided by the gemsbok hoof prints that indicated the trail direction. We watched the birds swoop in and out of their hide-outs in cracks in the rocks. And we watched how the dry river bed suddenly carried water when the change in rock meant that the water could only flow over the rock and not under the sand. The trail took us 4 hours to complete, and we covered 11km. Highly recommended.

From Tinkas we set off towards Soussusvlei. Our permit was still valid, so we cut across the park on some superb gravel roads. On the way south we also passed the Groot Tinkas campsite which did not look appealing at all (we made the right decision to stop at Middle Tinkas), and we saw a very nice selection of animals roaming on the wide open sandy plains (mountain zebra, gemsbok, steenbok, klipspringer, jackal, duiker). The roads going through the park were in very good condition (better than some of the national roads), so we made really good time and reached Soussus Oasis just in time for a sundowner.

After a few days in Soussusvlei (see separate post) we headed towards Naukluft. We had heard that both the Waterkloef (17km) and Olive (10km) trails are very good, so we set our eyes on the Olive Trail.

The trail starts not too far from the Naukluft park office and campsite, which is located 10km away from the gravel road. It is an easy drive. We were again met by friendly staff who quickly sorted our permit and camping out. Early the next morning we packed up and headed to the start of the trail. The first side of the triangle follows the side up the mountain to reach the plateau. For the second side of the triangle it turns the corner and heads down the mountain using the river beds in steep gorges. It is a super walk in the ravine where the river flows, again with boulders to get passed. At the end of this section there is a pool in a very narrow part of the ravine, and it can only be traversed using hanging chains on either side of the pool. A good challenge for nerves and footing: African GirlChild had the nerves; Viking Explorer the good footing. The last section follows what used to be the Naukluft 4x4 trail (sections of this trail was washed away about 3 years back so no longer in use) and makes for a nice and easy walk back to the parking lot. It took us about 4.5 hours to cover the 10km, including lots of stops for photos and snacks. In addition, we saw klipspringer, mountain zebra, kudu, dassie, and a selection of birds.

And so, after a quick stop back at the office to let them know we were safely back down we exited the park. We enjoyed both our stay and our walk.

Facts:
• The Namib-Naukluft Park is situated in the central part of Namibia, on the coast between Swakopmund and Luderitz.
• Permits must be bought at the NWR/MET offices in the surrounding towns, although the Naukluft permit can be bought on site. The permits are per calendar day, sunrise to sunset.
• We paid the SADC rate of N$30 pppd and N$10 for the vehicle for both parts of the park.
• Camping at Tinkas was N$80 for the site. Here we only had a long-drop.
• Camping at Naukluft was N$100pp. Here we had hot showers, flushing toilets, running water, and there were cold drinks and fire wood for sale during office opening hours.
• The Olive trail was well marked although there were not too many chances of getting lost. We were also given a map.
• The Tinkas trail had some areas where a bit of investigation was needed to find the next marker. An outline of the trail was provided at the trail head, but we had no map (this is where a digital camera comes in handy).


rgds
African GirlChild

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Website: www.kapp2cape.net
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Overland from Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas
The adventure begins in October 2012!
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PostSubject: Re: Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012   Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 9 EmptyFri May 31, 2013 6:12 am

Hey everyone!

Well, I have finally had some time to catch up on the blog - so scroll up to read what we have been up to!

We are certainly keeping off the beaten track - and so have only had internet about 3 times since we entered Namibia on 10th May! Lovely - but I know you have been missing our updates.

It is a glorious country! So much to see - from the very touristy to the less so.

We have about another 10 days or so, and then we'll cross into Zambia ...

kind regards
African GirlChild

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PostSubject: Re: Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012   Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 9 EmptyFri May 31, 2013 7:51 am

Hey guys - my subscription to the UK mag 4x4 turned up today, and who should have a staring role in there but you guys adore I don't know if your folks back in the UK is getting a copy for you, but if not then you might want the to buy you a copy. Brodie looks the DB's thumbsup

Loving your updates cheers1

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PostSubject: Re: Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012   Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 9 EmptyTue Jun 04, 2013 3:17 am

SafariDude wrote:
Hey guys - my subscription to the UK mag 4x4 turned up today, and who should have a staring role in there but you guys adore I don't know if your folks back in the UK is getting a copy for you, but if not then you might want the to buy you a copy. Brodie looks the DB's thumbsup

Loving your updates cheers1


OOOHHH!!!!! How very exciting!!! Didn't know it was hitting the news stands just yet!!!

Any chance you could scan the article for me Wink

rgds
African GirlChild

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PostSubject: Re: Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012   Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 9 EmptyTue Jun 04, 2013 7:16 am

I certainly can ... will take a few days as bit busy at the moment, but will do Very Happy


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PostSubject: Re: Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012   Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 9 EmptyTue Jun 04, 2013 7:40 am

SafariDude wrote:
I certainly can ... will take a few days as bit busy at the moment, but will do Very Happy


Ahhh .... thanks! No rush, whenever you have a chance. Much appreciated.

rgds
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PostSubject: Re: Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012   Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 9 EmptyTue Jun 11, 2013 2:46 am

29th May 2013

A word or two on camping styles

So, we have had a few humorous experiences camping, and we thought a little guide would be useful to help Europeans and Africans understand each other.



Camping – southern African Style

This is how a typical southern African selects their campsite.
1.Arrive at rest camp and check out which sites are occupied
2.Find the furtherest possible vacant campsite from the occupied site.
3.In the case of multiple occupied campsites, employ the use of advanced trigonometry and geometry to determine which vacant campsite will be the furtherest from all currently occupied campsites, taking into account factors such as;
a.Number of vehicles in other campsites
b.Number of people and children in other campsites
c.Nationality of other campers

4.Park vehicle
5.Wait until dark, or until the likelihood of other campers arriving has diminished to 0
6.Set up camp



Camping – European Style

Evidence from our travels in Namibia suggests this is the how travelling European select their campsite.
1.Arrive at campsite and check out which sites are occupied
2.Find the closest possible campsite to the already occupied site
3.In the case of multiple occupied campsites, select the campsite with the most immediate neighbours
4.Park vehicle and set up camp immediately to establish territory.


Our conclusion to this difference in behaviour is that southern Africans like to enjoy the open space, and feeling of being alone and far from others. Our deduction is that Europeans travelling in Africa must miss the ‘shoe-box’ living of big European cities, and try to replicate it in African campsites.

So, if you happen to park in the campsite right next to us, please don’t be offended if we employ the above mentioned African techniques and find another spot.


rgds
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PostSubject: Re: Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012   Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 9 EmptyTue Jun 11, 2013 2:47 am

7th June 2013

A techie update from Viking Explorer

Thought I’d give a quick update on some vehicle techie issues.

One of the suggestions we received when we had our initial discussions about vehicle preparation was to install a fuse box in the vehicle. This fuse box would run off the second battery and be the source of power for all subsequent power needing installations. Sounded good to me at the time, and has proven to be very useful. When we installed the fridge it was wired directly into a 12V socket wired directly into the fuse box. The socket is nicely hidden behind the fridge, so out of the way from the rest of the cab.

When we travelled through northern Africa we often commented on how nice it would be to have light in the back of the vehicle. In Spain we bought a battery operated little desk lamp to use as cooking light, but it is now packed away. Instead, I bought a 12V 12 bulb LED strip that I have placed on the inside of the window on my tailgate (LC tailgate is split horizontally). It has its own 12V socket, wired directly into the fuse box. Neat and tidy. I have also wired in another 12V socket for the back, that can be used to charge batteries or to use for an external light, and an additional 12V 12 bulb LED for the inside of the cab. Gives really good light with minimum use of power.

I have also now mounted the inverter behind the passenger seat, easily reachable from the front. It is usually powered from the main battery via a 12V socket. This particular socket gets its power from the Toyota original ancillary power output that is mounted under the hood. The socket was one I installed (Neil installed, I helped) for our two-week trip to the Alps in 2011 for running the fridge.

The last electrical upgrade I have done is to mount a UK 220V 4-plug strip with a South Africa 3-pin plug on our load guard. This strip is permanently plugged in to a 20m extension cord, which now has a South Africa 3-pin plug on the end (as we are in Namibia). Once we get into Zambia I can swap the SA 3-pin for a UK 3-pin. The female end of the 20m extension cord is double-sided. On the other side to the strip I have plugged the fridge 220V cord in. When we arrive at a campsite with power, all I have to do is unwind the 20m, plug it in, and I have 220V for my fridge and for any battery charging that doesn’t have a 12V charger. The fridge is smart, so if there is 22V available it will use that, if not it will use the 12V supply from the second battery.

Some of you have seen that I had a fuel leak, and that I managed to have it fixed at the Soussusvlei Lodge. A bit more detail: I had an 80-liter fuel tank installed between the chassis and the spare wheel. It is directly connected to the original tank via a flow-through system. On top of the extra tank there is a small tap that the air/fuel feed-back hose can be attached to using a jubilee clamp. This tap is right up under the chassis, and there is very little – if any – spare space. After a total of 25,000km, the last 2,000 or so on very corrugated dirt roads in Namibia, the jubilee clamp had decided to snap, and so fuel was coming out via this feedback loop. As it is right on top of the tank it only happened after I had filled about 85L, and I lost a max of 0.3L. Not a big deal, but now I had a fuel leak (that I didn’t know the source of at the time). Our friends Noel and Ping had had some trouble with their vehicle, and had been to the Soussusvlei Lodge to sort it out. We went straight there, and were allowed to use the ramp when the guys came back from lunch. We loosened the four bolts holding the extra tank on one side to create some more space to wiggle the hose back on with a new jubilee clamp attached. It was a bit fiddly as there is not much space under there, but we managed to fix it in about half an hour. Not sure if all lodges have ramps, but given the standard of roads and distances to the nearest garage I am sure a ramp of sorts is available at quite a few lodges and farms.

Lastly, I had an oil change done, including a new oil filter, at Toyota in Windhoek. The service there was really good and was done while we waited. I even received a follow-up call asking if all was OK with the vehicle.

Apart from the work we did in Zagora in Morocco, and the clutch change in Johannesburg, these are the only electrical and mechanical changes we have made. We are very happy with the way the vehicle is running and the way we initially designed the vehicle.



rgds
African GirlChild on behalf of Viking Explorer

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PostSubject: Re: Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012   Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 9 EmptyTue Jun 11, 2013 2:48 am

8th June 2013

A day in the life ...

We thought we’d share with you a day spent in a campsite – one of the those we aren’t on the move.



Time to wake up! Our canvas rooftop tent is very dark, and so we are very rarely woken up by the sunlight streaming in. More likely, if we oversleep we are woken by the temperature rising inside the tent as the sun bakes the outside! We seldom us an alarm – we tend to wake naturally at 6am. While the days do get quite hot, the nights are distinctly chilly, and we find that we need both a silk liner and a thin wool blanket inside the summer sleeping bags to keep warm. It is winter in Namibia after all!



First things first – coffee and breakfast! In our kitchen in the back of the vehicle, there is a place for everything, and everything has its place, so making coffee and breakfast is quite routine. We still have a few homebaked rusks which we enjoy with our coffee (or tea). Then, breakfast time. We have a small variety we usually choose from. This morning, Viking Explorer made us Kreemy Meel porridge – porridge from maize. Our other breakfast options usually are oat porridge, eggs or cereal. The local birds like to keep an eye on us too – we almost always have company at breakfast!



Having cleaned up from breakfast, there are some chores that need doing – more easily done while not on the move. Viking Explorer keeps the car under control. Today, a mudguard is loose and needs securing. Two screws and a bolt do the trick. We also like to keep an eye on the batteries – don’t want any nasty surprises there! Both are healthy. This is also a good time to catch up on the blog! We love sharing our stories, but sometimes the experiences come faster than the time we have to document them! Today I have made some time to catch up on the last days. This is certainly one of the better desks I have had to work at!

Today is also laundry day. Our blue watertight tub has been very useful. If we are driving, then the tub spends the day on the roof of the car, sloshing backwards and forwards. Otherwise, it stands in the sun and we agitate it a bit. This campsite has a drying line for us, otherwise we rig up our own.



Viking Explorer has been wanting to do a photo project, so he set out with the camera. This campsite has so many hidden gems – creative little pieces of artwork dotted around the camp. He is in his element wandering around. I also joined him for a bit, and we chatted about our photography, looked at what we wanted to capture and how we would each go about it.

Then, back to the laundry. Having had a good soak and a few agitations, it is ready for hanging. We find that our clothes don’t tend to get very dirty, but rather become excellent dust traps! The day is hot (already 27C and climbing) and there is a gentle breeze, so it won’t take very long until the clothes are dry and ready for folding.



By noon, the hunger pangs have started! Definitely time for lunch. Again, back to the kitchen at the back of the vehicle. Today, we have homebaked bread – leftover cheese & onion from a few days ago, and fresh honey & oat baked the night before. There is also leftover chicken from the braai the night before, cheese, cold meat, tinned fish. A piece of fresh fruit rounds it out.



Then, it time to relax during the hottest time of the day. By 1pm it had reached 33C. The shade is calling! This is a great chance to catch-up on some reading. We have been avid readers while travelling – something we never seemed to have enough time to do before. Then, it was time for me to have a little afternoon snooze while Viking Explorer continued on his blog.



As the sun descended, and the heat started dropping, we each enjoyed a lovely hot shower. Our preference is for late afternoon showers – it removes the dust of the day, and it still warm enough that you don’t mind de-robing! Most campsites either use a donkey for hot water (fire heating the water) or solar power. We have been very spoilt on our journey through southern Africa so far – hot showers when we’ve needed it. In the more remote places we’ve stayed, we have to resort to a little “birdbath” instead.



We always enjoy our dinners at the end of the day. We have enjoyed being able to light a fire at the end of the day and cook over it. It makes a pleasant change from always cooking on gas! It also gives us a chance to slow down and relax. And we have been eating well! Tonight, we enjoyed eland steak, rice and a fresh salad. Viking Explorer cooked the steaks to perfection. Not bad for living on the road.

This campsite lights a small fire at night, and we enjoy rounding off our night by sitting around the fire with other guests. The perfect end to a lovely day!



rgds
African GirlChild

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PostSubject: Re: Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012   Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 9 EmptyTue Jun 11, 2013 9:09 am

Another great read from the two of you., clinking teacups
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PostSubject: Re: Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012   Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 9 EmptyTue Jun 11, 2013 6:00 pm

Thanks roamingman!

We are heading in Zambia then Malawi, so not sure what the internet access will be like ...

rgds
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PostSubject: Re: Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012   Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 9 EmptyTue Jun 11, 2013 7:22 pm

After a few days of sun over here, it's back to the usual grey skies and drizzle. Thank goodness for your reports, at least we can drift off into your world for a while. Keep 'em coming. thumbsup

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PostSubject: Re: Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012   Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 9 EmptyTue Jun 11, 2013 7:35 pm

Glad we are sending some sunshine your way Tom!

I must admit, we chose a really excellent time to be travelling and not enjoying the great British weather ... wall to wall sunshine for 7 months does wonders for the soul ...

rgds
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PostSubject: Re: Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012   Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 9 EmptyWed Jun 12, 2013 6:43 am

hope you have internet access today ... you have a mail with article pics clapping

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PostSubject: Re: Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012   Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 9 EmptyWed Jun 12, 2013 7:07 am

Hooray hooray hooray!

cheers1 cheers

Thanks so much Safaridude!!!

Yay!

The article looks great - hopefully the first of many more Wink

OK, off to bed.
nite nite
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PostSubject: Re: Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012   Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 9 EmptyWed Jun 12, 2013 12:36 pm

Saw the article yesterday, thanks for the the kind words S & O ... and the plug for the ADVENTURE OVERLAND SHOW. Every little helps! thumbsup

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PostSubject: Re: Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012   Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 9 EmptyTue Jun 25, 2013 6:29 am

Tom Mc wrote:
Saw the article yesterday, thanks for the the kind words S & O ... and the plug for the ADVENTURE OVERLAND SHOW. Every little helps! thumbsup
No problem!  The timing is excellent in the run up to the next one Wink

PS August issue should have the follow on article ... rush out and buy it!!!

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PostSubject: Re: Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012   Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 9 EmptyTue Jun 25, 2013 6:31 am

Last stop in Namibia ... 12th June 2013

It had to come to an end.  Our time in Namibia has been incredible, and we have only really scratched the surface of what there is to explore, see and experience.  But there is much of Africa waiting for us – so onwards we must continue.
Our last stop in Namibia was in Katima Mulilo, the town closest to Welena border post into Zambia.  There is a wide offering of accommodation, but we wanted somewhere not too far from the border post, near to town for our last chores, and suitably relaxing.  Our pick was Caprivi Houseboat Safari Lodge (and camping!).  The owners – Koert and Zirka – were welcoming, and before long the vehicle was parked in the shade of a tree and we were parked on the deck over looking the mighty Zambezi, beverage in hand.
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It was such a relaxed atmosphere: honesty system at the bar; bonfire in the evenings; wifi to keep the blog going.  There are also chalets, and they offer a variety of trips along the river.  The ablutions are quaint and charming, and everywhere is swept, clean and tidy.
There is also a delightful pack of dogs at the lodge – and as a definite non-dog person, that is quite a statement.  Viking Explorer – aka Dr Doolittle – was in his element!  In no time he was having fun with the 3 black Labradors, 1 elderly Great Dane and a black Great Dane puppy, and another tan mix.
We had a few chores to take care of while in Katima Mulilo.  First, African GirlChild was in desperate need of new underwear!  Pep stores had enough of a range for replacements to be found.  We also wanted to change money from Namibian dollars to Zambian Kwacha, but you can’t actually get kwacha outside Zambia so that was a fail.  Lastly, we wanted to stock up on provisions before going into Zambia.  Of course, there are supermarkets and markets to be found in Zambia, but it is likely to be more expensive.  Mission accomplished.
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At this stage I noticed that Viking Explorer was slightly green around the gills, and not his normal bubbly self.  We decided that an extra day of rest before tacking a border crossing and the pot-holed road to Livingstone was wise.  Our delay resulted in us meeting up with Pieter & Elize (travelling in a Toyota Hilux) and Brian & Annette (travelling in a Toyota Land Cruiser).  These 2 South African couples have been “stalking” us since Roy’s Rest Camp, where we had all been camping.  They also stayed at Mobola Lodge when we were there, and now again.  Finally, we had a chance to have proper sundowners and relax and chat: first on the deck, then around the campfire.  Of course, the compulsory tours of the vehicles took place.  We compared travel notes – their route taking them through Botswana and back into South Africa.  All in all, we had a really lovely evening.
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A most welcome surprise was that Elize is a hairdresser – and never leaves home without her tools of the trade.  And so, African GirlChild had a fabulous haircut under the stars – much to the giggles and delight of a small band of onlookers.
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Zambia awaits …

rgds
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PostSubject: Re: Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012   Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 9 EmptyTue Jun 25, 2013 6:33 am

Livin' it up in Livingstone ... 13th June 2013

After our very expensive border crossing – and feeling skint after parting with US$200 for the experience – we decided it was time to be budget conscious for a little while.  Also, we were meeting an online friend in Livingstone, so we decided to find camping in Livingstone itself, rather in one of the numerous places along the Zambezi.
Livingstone is a quaint town.  It existed more as a regional hub, before enticing the tourists from Zimbabwe during Zimbabwe’s political troubles.  As such, it is an interesting mix of services for the residents and tourist offerings.  There is a modern shopping area at Maosi-au-Tong square  – complete with Shoprite, banks, a bookstore and pharmacy and tarred parking – while over the road is a gravel parking area with stores with rough concrete facades metal gates over the doors and chipped paint.  Up the main road, outside one of the banks, there is a small tent offering free eye tests.  The queue is growing.  Further up the main road – a tarred double lane in each direction road – is a large African craft market.  As you move away from the main street, the houses vary from plastered, painted brick buildings, and rough unfinished buildings.  The tar roads also dwindle into gravel.  All in all, a town with many different facets.
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After getting our bearings, we set off to withdraw money.  Who would have thought it would be quite so difficult, especially with international banks like Barclays, Standard Chartered and Stanbic all present.  Eventually, Finance Bank was the winner.  After a relaxing cup of coffee in celebration of this achievement, we went in search of Jollyboys Campsite.
The campsite is similar to a backpackers – with all the kitchen and social facilities – but mainly provides inexpensive camping.  In the bar area there was a TV – I was quite interested to catch up on the news in the world, but found it all very depressing.  The new bulletin was squawking about child soldiers in Mali; Mandela’s failing health in a day by day account; an Austrian company who may be benefitting from Johannesburg’s toll roads; strikes in Greece in protest to the public broadcaster being closed down and strikes in France almost shutting down the rail network.   Enough thanks – I really prefer not hearing all the negative news coverage, and would rather continue to enjoy our thoroughly positive travelling experiences.
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Jollyboys has a lovely green lawn for ground tents, but vehicles with rooftop tents are less fortunate, parking on the edge of the carpark.  This proved to be very noisy during the night, with other vehicles coming and going.  It was a very weary African GirlChild who climbed down the ladder next morning.
But, we were off to visit Victoria Falls.  It seems strange, but we really had to decide whether to go, since Viking Explorer has seen it once before, and African GirlChild twice.  Common sense prevailed – if nothing else – and off we went.
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We were not disappointed – it was quite stunning, and so very different from the last time we visited in December 2010.  For one thing, there was actually water!  Last time, we walked from the eastern cataract across the rocks in the riverbed for a few hundred meters to where the river was flowing very gently over the cliffs.  This time, we could but look from the banks – the water far too high and swift flowing for any ideas of walking across.
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We ventured around for a front view of the falls. 

Instead of bare cliff face in front of us, the water was tumbling down, and mist rising from the river below.
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The further we ventured, the more soaked we got, until it looked like we had walked through a heavy shower – which we had.  It was an incredible view – and such a sharp contrast to our previous visit.

On returning to the campsite, we discovered our little camping spot had been surrounded by an overland truck setting up for the night!  Our 40 newest and closest friends would be living on top of us.  No offense – but really not our cup of tea.  Jollyboys kindly moved our booking up to Jollyboys Backpackers for a hopefully quieter evening. Again, it isn’t really designed for vehicles with rooftop tents, so we decided to pitch our ground tent in the hopes of a better night’s sleep.  This Jollyboys was really geared to backpackers: lots of activities on offer, with pick up and drop off included.  I just wasn’t brave enough to try bungee jumping or bridge swing!  A helicopter over the falls would have been magic!

That evening, though, we spent with Linda.  I had met Linda online through the South African 4×4 forum, and she had been very helpful in answering my many questions about Zambia.  We had been in contact via email, and so it was great fun to actually meet in person.  Off we went to a charming little Italian run pizzeria, complete with wood-burning oven.  Linda has been an overland truck driver in Africa for the last 10 years, driving the route between Nairobi (Kenya) and Cape Town (South Africa).  Now, she is based in Livingstone.  She shared some hilarious stories from the road – as one can only have.  We laughed and giggled, and the staff kindly kept us fed and watered.  It was a most enjoyable evening, and hopefully we’ll meet up again one day.
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So, onwards and eastwards – time to head towards Lake Kariba.

_________________
African GirlChild

Website: www.kapp2cape.net
Blog: www.kapp2cape-blog.net
Overland from Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas
The adventure begins in October 2012!
Departure: Adventure Overland Show, 7th October 2012
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PostSubject: Re: Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012   Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 9 EmptyTue Jun 25, 2013 6:34 am

Visiting the inland sea ... 16th June 2013

After 2 long days of driving, we finally sat on the white beach with drink in hand and gazed at the calm waters extending to the horizon.  It was hard to believe that this was no ocean we were staring at, but the large man-made lake of Kariba.
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Our departure from Livingstone included a stop at the pharmacy.  Viking Explorer was still hassled by a persistent niggly stomach which had been aggravated by the deliciously cheesy calzone pizza of the night before.  African GirlChild was fighting off a returning throat infection.  The pharmacist – surely accustomed to these minor ailments from travellers – dispensed his advice and prescribed the necessary antibiotics before sending us on our way.  We also needed to buy some rusks from Shoprite – Viking Explorer’s posh alternative to “dry bread and water” while his stomach settles.
There was nothing terribly interesting about our journey on the tar road that day, and we arrived at The Moorings campsite outside Monze in the early afternoon and set up camp.  This is a lovely peaceful campsite set under large trees near to the main farm.
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After cuddling with the friendly campsite cats, we headed for a stroll.  We strolled through the nearby village, many inhabitants of which work on the farm.  It was so liberating to see the children … playing outside!  No PlayStation, X-Box or TV in sight; only the creativity that comes with childhood ingenuity: running, climbing trees, playing with a ball.  There seemed to be no age or gender discrimination – assorted groups of children played together.  While I appreciate there are other downsides to their lifestyles, this outdoor activity isn’t one of them.
We also met an interesting assortment of people.  There was a group of 4 Irish medical students who were spending a month volunteering in the local hospital in Monze.  They admitted their first few days had been a complete culture shock, and I can only imagine what they saw in the local hospital.  We also met Joybell, a VSO volunteer from the UK who was finishing up her time in Africa helping at the village school.  She too admitted her two and half years in Zambia had changed her outlook on life.  That is what Africa does to you!
That night was the coldest we have spent in southern Africa.  The minute the sun set, the temperature tumbled, and extra layers were quickly donned – including beanies!  More than that, the campsite had extra blankets in their storeroom, and all campers – including the 4 medical students huddled in their tent – gratefully borrowed a thick one to take to bed.
Next morning we headed to Eagles Rest, the campsite in Siavonga overlooking Lake Kariba.  The last stretch of our journey was on the road that links Lusaka to the borderpost of Chirundu (to Zimbabwe).  It was a rather busy road, with many large articulated trucks travelling in both directions.  The road was suffering from the heavy roads, but the trusty Chinese contractors were on the scene laying new tarmac.
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This part of Zambia was very different from what we expected:  after the sand and dry habitats of Namibia, we somehow expected more of the same.  Instead, as we wound our way closer to the lake, the trees increased in number and we passed through beautiful rolling hills.  It felt out of place, but was so very welcome.
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Our first glimpse of Lake Kariba held the same excitement for me as reaching the sea for the first time each childhood holiday.  We were here!
Lake Kariba is one of the world’s largest man-made lakes, creating a stretch of border between Zambia and Zimbabwe.  At the time of its construction in the 1950’s, it was apparently known as one of the engineering wonders of the world.  It was created by damming the Zambezi River at the Kariba Gorge, and flooding the valley.  The dam wall also has 2 hydroelectric power stations.  It was officially opened by the Queen Mother in 1960. As for its size?  A mere 280 km long and 32km wide at its widest point.  No wonder it looks like a small ocean!
 
Our visit to the dam wall was a part way border crossing, requiring us to leave our passports behind at the Zambian border post – nothing like ensuring you’ll return!  We parked along the roadside and wandered onto the wall.
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It was incredible to have the water on the lake side of the wall high up, and then peer more than 100m down to the river on the other side!
We retrieved our passports (glad to be reunited) and made our way into Siavonga and to the campsite.  After another long day, our quiet campsite on the banks of the lake was most welcome!  Drink in hand, beach sand between the toes, sunset over the lake finished the day perfectly.
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_________________
African GirlChild

Website: www.kapp2cape.net
Blog: www.kapp2cape-blog.net
Overland from Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas
The adventure begins in October 2012!
Departure: Adventure Overland Show, 7th October 2012
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GirlChild
Just fitted a Snorkel
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Posts : 419
Join date : 2012-03-07
Location : In the sands of UAE

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PostSubject: Re: Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012   Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 9 EmptyTue Jun 25, 2013 6:35 am

Along the lower Zambezi ... 16th June 2013

With a short day ahead of us, we left the shores of Lake Kariba to head further downstream along the Zambezi River.  But first, we joined the border traffic heading for the Chirundu Border Post.  No, we weren’t crossing into Zimbabwe just yet – the gravel road we needed was only a few kilometres before the border.
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This stretch of tarred road was even more potholed, and warped from the sun and weight of the trucks.  All along the road were truck stops – with many truckers taking a break before or after the border crossing.
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The last few kilometres to the campsite required … another pontoon crossing.  This time, we were crossing the Luangwa River.  Viking Explorer loves these, and so was both excited about the prospect and also saddened by the early signs of construction of a replacement bridge.  For me, the novelty of pontoon crossings wears thinner as the prices rise higher.  I really do think US$30 is slightly cheeky for fifty meters across the river.
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Shortly after the river crossing, we reached Kiambi Lodge.  It was pristine!  The proximity to the river has allowed their beautiful lawns to flourish.  The staff were smiling and welcoming – something we are becoming very used to in this corner of Africa.  We were lead to the campsite, and chose out the best campsite – of course – with unencumbered view of the waters.  No matter how many nights we spend camping on the banks of the Zambezi River, it never loses its charm.
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We explored the facilities: we settled at the central bar with deck overlooking the river (restaurant guests were served their dinner here).  I made use of a tiny gym with failing equipment but the best view of any gym I’ve been to!  In the evening, after a game of scrabble and warm drink at the bar, we were guided back to the campsite along paths lit with converted storm lanterns:  the paraffin and wicks of old replaced by gentle yellow electric bulbs.  Very thoughtfully done.
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We also sought information about an alternate route to Luangwa valley, rather than continuing on tar via Lusaka.  We were eager for any details about Leopard Hills road – a more rugged alternative.

As you can imagine, Viking Explorer’s eyes lit up.

_________________
African GirlChild

Website: www.kapp2cape.net
Blog: www.kapp2cape-blog.net
Overland from Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas
The adventure begins in October 2012!
Departure: Adventure Overland Show, 7th October 2012
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