4x4 Overland Travel
Would you like to react to this message? Create an account in a few clicks or log in to continue.



 
HomeSearchRegisterLog in
*Welcome to 4x4 Overland Travel! The Community Resource for 4x4's, Overland Travel, Touring, Green Laning & All kinds of Expedition Vehicles! Guests, "Register" for FREE and join our Community*
Bought a Product or Accessories recently? - Got something to say about it? - Leave a Review in the "Review" section.

 

 Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012

Go down 
Go to page : Previous  1 ... 6 ... 9, 10, 11 ... 15  Next
AuthorMessage
GirlChild
Just fitted a Snorkel
Just fitted a Snorkel
GirlChild

Posts : 419
Join date : 2012-03-07
Location : In the sands of UAE

Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 10 Empty
PostSubject: Re: Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012   Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 10 EmptyTue Jun 25, 2013 6:37 am

From the pen of Viking Explorer

Leopard Hills ... 17th June 2013

I’m grinning from ear to ear! Today was a super day of driving in Africa (at least the first half). We drove Leopard Hill, a gravel road connecting the Zambezi to the Great East Road in Zambia.
We spent last night camping at Kiambi Lodge. The staff there were very helpful with information about the condition of the road, and said it was passable with 4×4 and good ground clearance. Brodie having both, we set off to explore.
Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 10 IMG_4627-448x336-300x224
The road turns northwards a few kilometres from the lodge. Initially it meanders its way past some huge agricultural fields on nice firm gravel. I think the crop is wheat, an almost surreal contrast of bright green that stretches as far as the eye can see. The gravel is not wide, but there is plenty of space for Brodie. The next few kilometres are really nice driving: gently undulating along on firm gravel. Most of the time nothing more than a jeep two-spoor, beautifully framed by tall grass and trees. Occasionally we pass an area that has seen fire, changing the path to two beige tracks framed by black charred remains. The road gently climbs and slowly heads towards the escarpment.
Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 10 IMG_4633-336x448-224x300
The distance we need to cover is about 55km on this road. Not too much, but could still be a long day. Tracks4Africa shows it as a gravel road – with two big warning signs saying “serious 4×4 needed”.  It also says for the road “Not recommended”. We are very interested to see what it is all about, and if our perception of what to “recommend” is the same as on Tracks4Africa… The guy at the lodge indicated he had covered the distance to the Great East Road in about 2.5 to 3 hours.
Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 10 DSC_1985-448x298-300x199Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 10 DSC_1990-448x298-300x199
Then we arrive at the first warning sign. We are coming up a gentle, rocky incline where a rut was created in the last rainy season. When turning the corner we understand why it said serious 4×4 needed. It is steep. It is rutted. And it was shaped like an “S”. I quickly dispatch African GirlChild as official photographer up the hill. Then I have a quick scout myself to see what it looks like all the way to the top. An idea of a line to take forms in my head, and then I set off. And Brodie eats the Leopard for breakfast! He eases his way up, not missing a single step, not spinning, not slipping, not stalling. He makes it feel so easy.
This hill is just the beginning of the middle section of the road. The next 20 or so kilometres are rocky, uneven, rutted, and at times very steep. I love every minute of it. And I think African GirlChild is quite thrilled as well over in the passenger seat. Brodie behaves perfectly all the way, almost floating along over the unevenness. As we approach the second warning sign we can see there too why it is there. It is steep, it has a rut on the one side, and it has a tree hanging over the road.
Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 10 IMG_4638-448x336-300x224
Trees are easy to deal with: I take the garden saw (thanks B&Q) and trim the tree back to make Brodie fit under. Then I scout the route and decide on a line, then drive. Smooth. Same as with the previous warning sign. And the grin on my face keeps growing, especially when Brodie decides to climb the hill partially on three wheels.

As we reach the top and crest the hill the track changes again. It goes back to the smoother gravel of the first 20km and now winds its way between villages and fields of what looks to be corn and cotton.
This is the essence of subsistence farming. There are no facilities here, no electricity, no real shops. So far it has taken us about 2.5 hrs, and we still have about 60km to go to reach the tar. The rest of the road to the tar becomes more and more well travelled, and the villages we pass become bigger and bigger.

Just before we hit the tar we find a small stall where a woman sells the Zambian deep-fried breads we know from 2010. She is all smiles – I think her smile reflects mine – and the breads taste fantastic. Next stop is the Luangwa Bridge Camp.

_________________
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
Back to top Go down
http://www.kapp2cape.net
GirlChild
Just fitted a Snorkel
Just fitted a Snorkel
GirlChild

Posts : 419
Join date : 2012-03-07
Location : In the sands of UAE

Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 10 Empty
PostSubject: Re: Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012   Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 10 EmptyTue Jun 25, 2013 6:39 am

HI all!

We finally have internet after far too long!  Please scroll up to read the latest updates!

We are crossing into Malawi tomorrow - no idea how much internet we'll have then ...

rgds
Sheelah

_________________
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
Back to top Go down
http://www.kapp2cape.net
kevinf
Cleaner
Cleaner


Posts : 72
Join date : 2011-02-26
Age : 56
Location : sheffield

Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 10 Empty
PostSubject: Re: Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012   Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 10 EmptyTue Jun 25, 2013 8:19 pm

hi sheelah


great looking photos,such a amazing adventure,your crossing into malawi goes ok,
grant and his team are at monkey bay now,so if you have any issues  contact us or them! hope you have a great time,we may see you soon?


cheers kevin(monkey bay fund)
Back to top Go down
roamingman
Terrain Master
Terrain Master
roamingman

Posts : 1392
Join date : 2010-12-26
Age : 72
Location : Nearly thier

Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 10 Empty
PostSubject: Re: Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012   Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 10 EmptyTue Jun 25, 2013 8:43 pm

Hi girlchild,
another very good read, look forward to your posts, makes me feel like I am traveling with you and viking.
hope you both get better soon, clinking teacups
Back to top Go down
http://teddybearspicnic.webs.com/
SafariDude
Just got M&S Tyres
Just got M&S Tyres
SafariDude

Posts : 137
Join date : 2013-03-20
Location : London

Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 10 Empty
PostSubject: Re: Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012   Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 10 EmptyThu Jun 27, 2013 6:00 am

For those interested, this month's 4x4 mag landed on my mat today Very Happy Catch up with Girlchild and Viking whilst you're on your train commute to work (or is that just me doh )

Girlchild - I'll get a copy to you again in a few days when i have a spare minute at the scanner thumbsup

_________________
www.AlternativeAfricanAdventures.co.uk

Qualified Safari Guide
Back to top Go down
http://www.alternativeafricanadventures.co.uk/
Tom Mc
Founder
Founder
Tom Mc

Posts : 3781
Join date : 2010-12-10
Location : Sant Boi de Lluçanès, Catalunya, Spain

Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 10 Empty
PostSubject: Re: Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012   Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 10 EmptyThu Jun 27, 2013 12:53 pm

GirlChild wrote:
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 .............. 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.

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.
Now cast your minds back to your time in arabic and French-infuenced NW Africa. How does life fair now compared to then? I would wager you feel a lot more secure nowadays, am I right?

Then again, a little apprehension, anxeity and let's face it - danger - are all part of the 'travel experience'. What say you?

_________________
Visit the free online resource - www.europe4x4mag.com
Back to top Go down
GirlChild
Just fitted a Snorkel
Just fitted a Snorkel
GirlChild

Posts : 419
Join date : 2012-03-07
Location : In the sands of UAE

Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 10 Empty
PostSubject: Re: Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012   Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 10 EmptyWed Jul 31, 2013 12:02 am

[quote="Tom Mc]
Now cast your minds back to your time in arabic and French-infuenced NW Africa. How does life fair now compared to then? I would wager you feel a lot more secure nowadays, am I right?

Then again, a little apprehension, anxeity and let's face it - danger - are all part of the 'travel experience'. What say you?[/quote]

Tom - I'd have to say yes and no. We have been travelling in southern Africa now for 3 months, and never at any time felt threatened, uncomfortable or anxious. It has been absolutely wonderful!

Maybe a little bit of danger adds to the experience - but there are other far more enjoyable ways to travel too Wink


_________________
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
Back to top Go down
http://www.kapp2cape.net
GirlChild
Just fitted a Snorkel
Just fitted a Snorkel
GirlChild

Posts : 419
Join date : 2012-03-07
Location : In the sands of UAE

Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 10 Empty
PostSubject: Re: Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012   Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 10 EmptyWed Jul 31, 2013 12:13 am

23 June 2013:
Luangwa Bridge, Petauke, Tundwe Lodge;

After the superb experience of Leopard Hill, the tar road to Luangwa Bridge was a big anti-climax. It is not busy, it is not scenic, and it is not interesting.

We arrived at Luangwa Bridge Camp in the early afternoon. The campsite is not big, but as there was only one other car there we had plenty of space. Our hosts, Lindsay and Will, welcomed us and provided us with wood for our bread baking. The other car at the campsite belonged to Albert – a Dutchman travelling on his own for six months while in-between jobs (more about Albert later).

Luangwa Bridge Camp is a peculiar place. For us it was the perfect stop-over between Lower Zambezi and South Luangwa, but I think that is all it has going for it… It is not that old, nor is it very elaborately done. But it already looks tired and worn. It doesn’t have a fantastic view, it doesn’t have much sun, it doesn’t have any green on the property. And because of its location, people drop in at 2330 at night.

Albert was also heading towards Mfuwe and South Luangwa National Park (see separate post). His plan was to take the tar road to Chipata and then head north. Our plan was to take the tar to Petauke, and then head north on the gravel, skirting the south side of the park. We asked Will about the condition of the road. He said it was doable – even for Albert with a non-functioning 4x4. The next morning we set off early to have as much time as possible; we knew it would be a long drive on the gravel. In Petauke we stopped to do some shopping and fill fuel and then headed north.

We had made the right decision!

The gravel started right outside Petauke. Initially wide, getting narrower and narrower the further north we travelled. We passed through villages on either side, waving to kids and exchanging smiles with people along the way. The road was a bit like Leopard hill, only gentler. It still had its challenges though, mainly in the form of steep and rutted entries to and exits from dry riverbed crossings. By this stage the gravel had ended, we were now on very narrow dust roads where Brodie would scrape on both sides to get through the grass and bushes. The astonishing fact was that this road (if you can call it a road) is also used by the cotton trucks. These are normal lorries that navigate the countryside to collect cotton from the farmers and bring it to the mill in Chipata. I admire the drivers!

Petauke to Mfuwe is about 170km; 120km on the dust road to the last village on the map, and then about 50km from that village to Mfuwe on what we thought would be gravel (as there are a few lodges along that stretch). At half past four in the afternoon we passed the last village. It had taken us five hours to do the 120km. And the road did not improve. Being in a Game Management Area (GMA) we had to find a place to stay before dark – not really interested in having hippo and elephant visit us during the night in the wild (also it is illegal). We pressed on and arrived at Tundwe Lodge, the first lodge we saw. On arrival it looked deserted. It was almost… until Joseph arrived and asked if he could help. After a bit of negotiation we agreed on a fee to camp, just in time to watch the sun set completely.

The next morning we woke up to an eerie feeling of being in a ghost town. Only us, and a fantastic view of the river. Tundwe is currently being refurbished, having changed from a hunting lodge to a lodge that needs another speciality to draw customers. We enjoyed our coffee and rusks as the sun rose, listening to the morning calls of a myriad of birds and the two schools of hippos.

From Tundwe it was a short drive to Wildlife Camp where we spent the next few days relaxing. Our campsite had river view, the view was better than that from the main lodge! Over two days, we only moved from the campsite to drive into Mfuwe to enquire about park entry and to buy fritas and kapenta. Kapenta is a small dried fish that is easy to get in Zambia, so we thought we would try it. With a local receipt supplied by the seller we tried the Kapenta for lunch. Not to our taste. But the fritas were divine.

_________________
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
Back to top Go down
http://www.kapp2cape.net
GirlChild
Just fitted a Snorkel
Just fitted a Snorkel
GirlChild

Posts : 419
Join date : 2012-03-07
Location : In the sands of UAE

Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 10 Empty
PostSubject: Re: Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012   Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 10 EmptyWed Jul 31, 2013 12:17 am

23 June 2013:
South Luangwa National Park,

South Luangwa National Park is situated in the south east corner of Zambia between the Great East Road to Malawi and the Great North Road to Tanzania. It has a number of lodges in the park, and a good network of roads to drive.

We arrived at the park gate just after six in the morning. The staff were friendly and issued us with our park entry with a big smile. Having had a chat to our travel companion Albert, who had been in the park the previous day, we turned right along the river and tried to find the small roads as close to the river as possible. Not long after entering the part, we came upon our first siting - a small herd of elephant drinking.

The park has a variety of vegetation – from open grasslands, to riverine forests. There are also a number of small lagoons and oxbow lakes, which attract different birds to the river banks. These lagoons are sometimes little oases in themselves, with lush green grass and more trees. The antelope seem to prefer drinking here than at the river, and animals seemed more abundant. One of the lagoons was particularly pretty, being completely covered in some sort of pond vegetation which the hippos loved! We stopped and watched while the hippos stood in the shallow water and munched on the green leaves.

We had a lovely morning, seeing elephant, genet, hippo, crocodile, giraffe, kudu, impala, puku, warthog and zebra. We also spotted a good number of birds - cranes and storks especially – to add to our list.
From experience we know spending a full day in the park in the car is tiring, so we headed back to the campsite for lunch. Just before 3pm we headed back into the part., this time turning left to explore the western side of the park. The roads were further from water, and we didn’t see much wildlife, so decided to return to the morning haunts.

The highlight of the afternoon was a little “faerie glen” that we happened upon. It couldn’t have looked more out of place! There was a trickle of water running through a riverbed, but there was obviously water not far from the surface, as the green grass stretched as far as we could see. Moreso, it looked well manicured, as the animals in the area were keeping it a well-trimmed length. In a small area, we saw zebra, impala, puku, waterhog and baboons. We watched quietly for a while, the animals undisturbed by our presence.

The roads in the park are good, although some of them were a bit overgrown when we were there. It looks like the park is also in the process of upgrading the quality of the gravel on the roads, and also the sign boards at the intersections.

We only stayed close to the river. There are roads that cross the park but at 80km from the Mfuwe gate to the north exit it is not easy to go all the way up and then come back down again in a day. When we asked, the ranger at the gate told us the main road north, the ’05 road, was not passable due to too much erosion from the rivers. Although it is possible to traverse the park to climb the escarpment to reach the Great North Road the only way to do it (when we were there) would be to take another road around the park to the west, adding 70km to the distance.

All in all, the day in the park was great. We added about 25 birds to our list while there, and most of the time we felt like we were the only ones there!

Facts:
• The South Luangwa National Park is situated in the south east corner of Zambia. The main access point is at Mfuwe, 120km north of Chipata.
• The park has most of the Big5, and lots of other antelope.
• Entry fee is Kr159 (Zambian Kwatcha) pppd for all self-drive visitors. The fee for the vehicle is Kr78. The park now operates a ‘per day’ entry permit, having moved away from the 24-hour permit last year.
• There are maps at the gate. The paper map for the area close to the river is Kr10, and the printed map for the park is Kr25. 

_________________
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
Back to top Go down
http://www.kapp2cape.net
GirlChild
Just fitted a Snorkel
Just fitted a Snorkel
GirlChild

Posts : 419
Join date : 2012-03-07
Location : In the sands of UAE

Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 10 Empty
PostSubject: Re: Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012   Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 10 EmptyWed Jul 31, 2013 12:21 am

24th June 2013

Towards Malawi

Once again, we needed to keep the wheels turning, this time heading towards the border with Malawi.

First, though, we had 2 car issues to sort out. One tyre has had a barely noticeable leak since Morocco. The rough roads in Namiba put a little more strain on the weakness, and so the leak was now a fast leak – note: not a puncture – and needed repair. Conrad, manager at Wildlife Camp, was quick to the notice the lower pressure in the tyre and offered for his staff in the workshop to fix it for us for a small fee. Excellent customer service – and the tyre was sorted.

The other issue was a burnt out relay switch in the fuse box. In the grander scheme, not a major issue as it only affected the headlights, and since we don’t drive at night, not a show stopper. We decided to have this looked at once we arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi.

So, off to Chipata.

On the way down, we stopped at Tribal Textiles, an export operation creating hand painted fabric which is made into home furnishings. It is absolutely stunning, and we were shown around the outdoor manufacture area – factory would be to formal a word. We really would have loved to buy an item or two, but the prices are very definitely aimed at European tourists, so we had to make do with feasting the eyes.

The road to Chipata was not the tar we were expecting. Rather, there were stretches of tar, and many stretches of gravel. In between, the Chinese continue to lay fresh tar. In a bizarre way, we were given a very stark demonstration of Africa’s high birth rate – a large number of women walking along the road, most of whom had babies strapped to their backs. As we passed homesteads, many toddlers and young children playing.

Our arrival at Mama Rula campsite in Chipata around lunchtime was rather strange – aside from the guard on duty, there was almost not another living sole! Managers and other people with helpful information were only expected back at 4pm. Fortunately, one of the other guests – a local really – was able to answer some of our questions, and so we headed in Chipata to take care of business.

We found the Afrox distributer and filled our empty Cadac gas bottle. Then off to Shoprite to stock up on groceries before reaching Malawi. On the way, we also stopped past the local vegetable market – so much better looking produce than in the supermarket! The stalls were dotted along the roadside, with very persistent punters escorting Viking Explorer from the car to the stalls and back again. Lastly, we filled fuel to the brim! While we were reasonably sure that fuel shortages no longer plague Malawi, we wanted to arrive with a full tank just in case.

By the time we returned, there was more life at the campsite, and so we settled in for the evening. We also picked up useful information on insurance (best to get it before crossing the border), money (try to change Zambian Kwacha before leaving the country) and other titbits.

The campsite was very pretty, and we chose a spot in the back on beautiful green lawn. We could also hear the sounds of a very talkative parrot, and a little investigation revealed an African Grey parrot and a very big Macaw (I think). The menagerie was further expanded by an assortment of cats and dogs – all very homely.

Next morning, we headed back into Chipata to buy insurance. After 2 stops, we were told to buy it at the border, and were given the name and phone number of the agent. Super.

Finally, we were on the last 30km stretch towards the Mwami border post – Malawi awaits!

_________________
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
Back to top Go down
http://www.kapp2cape.net
GirlChild
Just fitted a Snorkel
Just fitted a Snorkel
GirlChild

Posts : 419
Join date : 2012-03-07
Location : In the sands of UAE

Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 10 Empty
PostSubject: Re: Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012   Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 10 EmptyWed Jul 31, 2013 12:23 am

30th June 2013

Lilongwe, Malawi

We were surprised as we arrived in Lilongwe – for a capital city, it was a rather calm, quiet affair. The roads were single lane, not the hectic speeding we had seen on the roads coming in. No real traffic jams – just a steady flow. Even more surprising for us, was the contrast between the typical African roadside stalls and markets and the more South African style open shopping centres. Shoprite, Spar, Pep and Mr Price were all well represented.

We headed directly for Mabuya, a backpackers run by Tom and Janey who drove through Africa many years ago in their big yellow unimog, and never left. They were very helpful, friendly people, with a wealthy of information. Tom also recommended his auto-electrician to sort out the burnt out relay switch. Best of all, it was all taken care of at the campsite while we could relax from the trip in. It seems he was slightly over-eager with his fixing, though, and the lights are akin to alien spaceship landing lights now!

We were pleasantly surprised to find that Tom and Jemina – the tandem cyclists we met in Zambia – were also there. Always nice to see a familiar face when you are on the road – especially those whose company you enjoy. We spent a most enjoyable few days together.

Our days were filled mainly with exploring the markets. Together with Tom and Jemina we wandered up to the big produce market to source items for meals. The variety and quality of fruit and vegetables was impressive – I suppose we had visions of poverty stricken Malawi with little to eat or drink … Far from it – we feasted like kings! We stopped at a local restaurant to enjoy a cheap and cheerful local meal and watched the numerous tailors at their pedal operated sewing machines. There were also – to my enormous surprise – old style Passap knitting machines – identical to the one my mom had when I was growing up.

Another fascinating market was the clothing flea market. Next time you donate your clothes to a charity shop in Europe, you’ll know where they end up. The Asians (not sure if this is Chinese or Indian) apparently buy them in bulk and ship out to a large depot in Malawi when the local traders buy their choice to then sell them on at their stalls in the flea market. There was all manner of clothing, mostly in good condition. Some stalls had gone to the effort of hanging up their wares; other stalls just had a pile of clothes on the floor, dumped from a bag. The flea market was a real rabbit warren – we wandered around getting deeper and deeper into the maze. It was fascinating. People were friendly, and desperate to find you something you’d like – but in a very gentle, non-hassling way. Viking Explorer emerged with a brand new pair of Gap trousers – US price labels still attached.

We shared some excellent meals and relaxing company with Tom and Jemina. Jemina is an excellent cook, but somewhat hampered by being on a tandem. We offered her our meagre kitchen and she cooked up an excellent Indian curry. We reciprocated with a chilli con carne, and then the last night together we made a fire and together cooked a delicious chicken potjie.

The backpackers was quite a busy place, with many people starting or finishing their journeys there. We met so many interesting people, of such a variety of ages. While the backpackers did descend into quiet through the night, the surroundings were less so, and we struggled a bit with getting a sold 8 hours every night.

Next morning, we were all back on road again. Tom and Jemina heading to the shores of Lake Malawi while we were heading north along the M1. We hope to meet them again along the shores.

_________________
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
Back to top Go down
http://www.kapp2cape.net
GirlChild
Just fitted a Snorkel
Just fitted a Snorkel
GirlChild

Posts : 419
Join date : 2012-03-07
Location : In the sands of UAE

Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 10 Empty
PostSubject: Re: Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012   Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 10 EmptyWed Jul 31, 2013 12:26 am

Anyway, after leaving Lilongwe, we made our way north for 3 days. Our first night, we stopped at Luwawa Forest Lodge on the edge of Viphya Plateau. The lodge is the old rest house for the logging operation, but has been taken over and developed by the enigmatic George, and his son James. It is set in beautiful gardens overlooking a small dam. The estate has so much to offer – numerous walking trails, mountain biking, archery, fishing, canoeing on the dam – the list goes on – all set in the scenery of a forest. We took an afternoon walk around the dam – Viking Explorer reminded of the forests in Norway, me reminded of the forests in the Tzaneen area of South Africa. But at 1,700m, it was much cooler, and that night the temperature dropped to 4C – a bit of a shock to the system. But, it was peacefully quiet, and we caught up on a few lost hours of sleep.

Next day, we continued our journey northwards to Mzuzu – the growing city which serves as regional hub and gateway for travellers to reach Nkhata Bay on Lake Malawi. We stayed at Mzoozoozoo – an institution in itself! George and James were also here, and we met up with Mike and Emma, who departed the UK on their African adventure in March 2012. African GirlChild fell in love with the 2 ginger kittens – and probably would have cat-napped them, except for the logistics of travelling with kittens. The camping was cheap, the food was cheap and the company entertaining. Unfortunately, that night was a rather active night in the town, and the music continued until dawn. Another poor night’s sleep … and both of us were really feeling sleep deprived.

Onwards and northwards again – this time we headed to Livingstonia and Lukwe Perma Camp. The scenery was picturesque. We passed through rolling green hills, all part of the great rift valley of east Africa. It was so unexpected, and so beautiful. Finally, we also reached the edge of Lake Malawi – so enormous that the water extends easily to the horizon. It is beautiful, and we look forward to the exploring the lake in a few days time. Lastly, we had to climb the 15km from the edge of the lake up 500m altitude to the camp. It took us 40 minutes of winding roads, hairpin bends, narrow tracks and stunning views until we finally reached the top.

And here, so our surprise, we met Kat and Sam – another overland couple who we have heard about. They departed the UK a month before us – the exact departure date of our original plan – and have almost completed the trip we planned: they made it up to Nordkapp, and crossed through Mali in December 2012 before the French arrived. It was wonderful to hear about their adventures. They are rapidly reaching the end of their adventure, having just completed a loop in Tanzania before heading back to Cape Town to ship the vehicle to the UK. They are erring on the side of caution, and giving Egypt a skip. We spent an enjoyable evening together picking each other’s brains. And most importantly for us, we had a quiet night’s rest in lovely warm temperatures.

_________________
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
Back to top Go down
http://www.kapp2cape.net
GirlChild
Just fitted a Snorkel
Just fitted a Snorkel
GirlChild

Posts : 419
Join date : 2012-03-07
Location : In the sands of UAE

Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 10 Empty
PostSubject: Re: Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012   Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 10 EmptyWed Jul 31, 2013 12:27 am

8th July 2013

Oh what to do with him …

There are few things more difficult to deal with than a bear with a sore head – except perhaps a Viking with a cold! Not only was his Viking stubbornness shining strongly, but he also somehow acquired a dose of superman-ness, and keeping him down was nigh on impossible.

It seems that there is a Malawi bug which is being carried around by all the tourists, visitors and travellers in Malawi. When we left Lilongwe – Tom and Jemina cycing their way and we driving ours – Tom had already succumbed. I didn’t envy him being on a bicycle, coughing and sputtering as he was. Viking Explorer started showing his symptoms later that same day. As we continued our journey, he just got worse – fever, thick cough and perpetually running nose. Every so often, I managed to keep him in bed for half a day, and I managed to wrestle the steering wheel from his paws so that I could do more of the driving and give him a break. But these were only short-lived achievements as he was determined to keep going.

But after a week, my patience had worn thin and night after night of interrupted sleep was taking its toll on me too: either I was going to desert him on the roadside, or we needed to find medical attention.

Fast.

Fortunately we found the Eva Demaya clinic on the road down from Nyika Plateau towards Rumphi. Unlike European clinics, this was a cluster of thatched rondavels. A simple consultation room consisted of a desk and 2 chairs. Here, a sympathetic sister listened to his tales of woe and gave him a dose of antibiotics to save him from certain abandonment! Our gratitude was enormous, and in addition to paying for the medication, we gave a small donation to their clinic.

Hopefully this is now the last of the illnesses for the next few months …

… divorce proceedings averted …

…back in love with my Viking

_________________
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
Back to top Go down
http://www.kapp2cape.net
GirlChild
Just fitted a Snorkel
Just fitted a Snorkel
GirlChild

Posts : 419
Join date : 2012-03-07
Location : In the sands of UAE

Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 10 Empty
PostSubject: Re: Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012   Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 10 EmptyWed Jul 31, 2013 12:30 am

11 July 2013:

Nyika Plateau National Park

We were finally here! After too many hours on dirt road, bumping our way higher and higher, we arrived at Chelinda Camp. As we descended from the vehicle, we noticed the high altitude chill to the air and the fragrance of pine plantations. Certainly one of the more unusual parks we have visited.

Malawi’s largest National Park, Nyika, is a majestic park in a majestic part of the country. Situated between the town of Mzuzu to the south, Tanzania to the north, Zambia to the west, and Lake Malawi to the east, it spreads over a total of 4,000 square kilometres. The entrance gate to the park is at about 1,500m altitude, gradually climbing to about 2,400m altitude at Chelinda Camp. The highest peak is at about 3,000m.

We started our journey to the park from Livingstonia, which lies outside the park on the eastern side. The view from Lukwe campsite is truly spectacular when the high mountains of Nyika are covered in mist and clouds in the early morning. We meandered our way long the mountainside of the Nyika plateau towards the entrance to the park in the south – the views towards Lake Malawi were breathtaking.

On the Rumphi side of the park the view changes – mountain side giving way to rolling forested hills. In Rumphi, we had a light lunch as Chef’s Pride – rice, beans and greens a local staple – and tried to buy the last few provisions we needed. Not a lot on offer beside the basics. From Rumphi – where the tar road from Mzuzu ends – it is a good hour and a half on a rutted dirt road slowly making its way up towards the gate. From the entrance gate up to Chelinda Camp it is another two hours on dirt, either on the main road, or on one of the other roads that snakes its way between open plains and denser woodland.

On the way up from the main gate to Chelinda, and on our drive around Chelinda, we could see signs of the elephant frequenting the area. There are a number of antelope there; we saw roan, zebra, duiker and bushbuck. The area is also home to a large number of bird species. But it truly is the scenery that is noteworthy – rolling grasslands extending as far as the eye can see. We thoroughly enjoyed our drives exploring the plateau, and had Viking Explorer been healthy, we certainly would have explored on foot and mountain bike too!

Chelinda Camp is on the edge of the pine plantation. This plantation was planted in the 60’s and is now a mature forest, covering about 10,000ha. Even though it has been decided to log the plantation, it has grown too big, and a decision has recently been made to leave some of it alone. Chelinda consists of a forest lodge with a number of luxury chalets, a few cottages (self-catering and full board), and the campsite. The campsite has five stands with thatched cover and fire pits, and a larger grassy area. The ablutions have hot water all day around – due to the pine plantation there is no shortage of fire wood. The area is unlike any other national park we have been into – the plantation and the logging makes for a strange backdrop to a luxury lodge and campsite.

At night, we listened to the nothingness, the quiet of being so high up. The nearest civilisation miles away – although strangely, a local village not that far away. And let’s not forget – the temperature dipped almost to freezing!

A current initiative in Southern Africa is a concept called the Peace Parks. Nyika is part of this initiative, with a memorandum of understanding in place between the Malawian and Zambian governments to open the borders between Nyika on the Malawian side, and the adjacent parks on the Zambian side. It appears progress is being made, although at true African pace.

The park is remote. It is about four hours – including gate formalities – from Rumphi on not so good dirt roads. There is no permanent electricity – electricity is only provided by generator in the evening for the lodge. Mobile phone reception is intermittent, and internet is non-existent. For camping it is best to pick up all provisions on the way up (Mzuzu/Rumphi), including fuel, water, and fire wood. Water and fire wood may be available on request, but don’t count on it.

Facts:
• Situated north of Mzuzu, about four hours drive on dirt roads from Rumphi
• No provisions in the park. Take all you need for the duration of your stay.
• Fees are US$10pppn, plus US$5 per day for the vehicle. Camping at Chelinda is US$15pppn.
• There is a network of secondary roads in the park, although accessibility depends on weather.
• Chelinda offers game drives and guided walks. There is also the option of doing multi-day hikes with bush camping.

_________________
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
Back to top Go down
http://www.kapp2cape.net
GirlChild
Just fitted a Snorkel
Just fitted a Snorkel
GirlChild

Posts : 419
Join date : 2012-03-07
Location : In the sands of UAE

Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 10 Empty
PostSubject: Re: Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012   Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 10 EmptyWed Jul 31, 2013 12:34 am

9th July 2013

On reaching Lake Malawi

After chilly temperatures in Nyika, we were starting to feel like we were enduring another UK summer, rather than savouring a Malawian winter. Also, after 2 weeks in Malawi, we still hadn’t reached the shores of Lake Malawi – criminal! So, after stopping in at Eva Demaya clinic for Viking Explorer, and overnighting in Mzuzu again, we could finally make our way to Nkhata Bay – and meet up with Tom and Jemina of Op Den Tandem (www.opdentandem.net) again.

We stocked up on a few groceries in Mzuzu, and filled fuel, before we proceeded the 50km down to Nkhata Bay.

The road passes through rolling hills down to the lakeshore – lovely lush green vegetation on either side. We had yet another police stop – but they are friendly, and most times we are waved through without checking any paperwork.

Nkhata Bay is one of the more touristy places in Malawi, with a wide range of accommodations to choose from. There seem to be lots of activities on the lake – even a diving school! We bumped into a large UK truck – Grey Nomads making their way through Africa. It has been a long time since we have seen such a large truck; in this corner of the world the Toyota Hilux is King. There were also lots of curio stalls, local restaurants, and produce stalls. It is certainly adapting to the steady flow of visitors.

We met Tom and Jemina at Njaya – the last campsite on the road. It was so lovely to see them again. They have been travelling a lot slower than normal since they are also contending with the Malawi Bug. We enjoyed a lazy afternoon lounging on the sun deck, chatting. Then, we shared another dinner together. They are heading north to Tanzania, while we are heading south to Cape Maclear, so this is the last time we’ll enjoy each other’s company for a while. We are hoping to meet up again in Rwanda or Uganda.

Next morning after fond farewells, we ventured a further few kilometres down the lakeshore to the Chintheche Strip. Along the way, we passed through rubber tree plantations. Along the road sides were vendors trying to sell their bouncing balls made of rubber bands.

Chintheche is reported to be less touristy and consequently a bit quieter, so we thought we’d explore. It took a little while to conclude our search: we eventually settled on Makuzi Beach Lodge – a relaxing campsite under the trees with a gorgeous view of the lake.

As always, there were other travellers passing through. We met 2 South African couples (Anna & Andre, Pearl & Hans) who are on their way back to Cape Town after going as far north as Tanzania. There was also a bit South African self drive tour group of 8 vehicles plus guide who are on a whirlwind 16 day tour of Zambia and Malawi. There was a further South African couple (Craig and Karin) who run their own safari tour company in Natal, South Africa. Lastly, there was a Dutch couple on motorbikes who have been touring Africa on and off for almost 2 years.

Our planned one night quickly turned into three – the magic of taking things as they come! Viking Explorer was under strict instruction to get well, and so we basked in the sun on the beach, read in the shade of the trees, played scrabble in the bar, chatted to fellow travellers and generally soaked up the atmosphere of being on the lake.

_________________
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
Back to top Go down
http://www.kapp2cape.net
GirlChild
Just fitted a Snorkel
Just fitted a Snorkel
GirlChild

Posts : 419
Join date : 2012-03-07
Location : In the sands of UAE

Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 10 Empty
PostSubject: Re: Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012   Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 10 EmptyWed Jul 31, 2013 12:36 am

20th July 2013

Skirting the shore of Lake Malawi

Our southwards exploration of Lake Malawi continued the next morning. Our ultimate destination was Cape Maclear, located on a peninsular on the southern tip of Lake Malawi.

We stopped briefly in Dwangwa to stock up on provisions at Metro Cash & Carry. There wasn’t an enormous selection, but we managed to find some of what we needed, then headed into the market for fresh produce.

Our stop for the night was at Nkotakota Pottery – a working pottery company which also had a basic campsite under the blue gums overlooking the beach. We browsed the store and discovered we could paint our own items which they would them glaze and fire! Sold! We planned it for the next morning. In the meantime, a local choir were practising in the village, so we went to investigate. It was nothing like a European choir: a group of 10 children of a range of ages were practising to the music playing from a large amplifier and dancing. We watched a while, and were invited to join in. I was feeling braver than Viking Explorer (who forgot to take photos!) but had the feeling the locals were laughing politely into their hands.

Next morning we enjoyed a quiet hour in the pottery studio and entrusted our precious creations to the resident potter to glaze, fire and send to their other pottery studio in Dedza.

We headed for Senga Bay, Cool Runnings being the recommendation for the evening, owned and run by Sam. The last few kilometres had 2 beautiful, big curio markets. We were feeling hot and tired, so decided to postpone a browse until later. In the meantime, we followed the tracks through Senga Bay village into the beautiful green lawns of Cool Runnings. We were sharing the campsite with a group of UK school children who were volunteering on some of the Cool Projects that Sam runs in the village.

After lunch and an ice cold drink we walked the 1.5km back to the closest curio market. We have really struggled to find uniquely Malawian souvenirs to remind us of our time spent in Malawi. While the carvings are very well crafted, one can buy carved animals, salad spoons and masks in most southern African countries. We finally found a chap with reed weavings – and found a gorgeous 4x4. OK, it is a Land Rover not a Land Cruiser, but it was very unique and after a short negotiation, Viking Explorer was the proud new owner. We strolled back through the village, stopping at the local restaurant for a cold drink and to enquire about a dinner menu. Success on both accounts.

We took a short cut through the village – and again were only treated with warmth and smiles, waves and thumbs up were the greetings shared with the locals. The children love the novelty of the wazingu (white people) and at one stage we each had about 2 or 3 children hanging onto each hand. They escorted us through the village before waving us on our way. That night we returned to the local restaurant for a cheap and cheerful dinner (less than £3 for main course and cokes) while watching a DVD of one of Leon Schuster’s movies! Classic.

On our way to Monkey Bay we stopped in Salima for meat and chicken. There is an excellent butchery called Nyama World that had an enormous selection: beef, lamb, chicken, duck … certainly the most impressive we have seen since leaving Lilongwe and we stocked our little freezer to overflowing! There is also an ice cream den, but we settled on pawpaw and fritas from the vendors outside.

Onwards …

_________________
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
Back to top Go down
http://www.kapp2cape.net
GirlChild
Just fitted a Snorkel
Just fitted a Snorkel
GirlChild

Posts : 419
Join date : 2012-03-07
Location : In the sands of UAE

Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 10 Empty
PostSubject: Re: Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012   Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 10 EmptyWed Jul 31, 2013 12:38 am

18th July 2013

Monkeyin’ around in Monkey Bay

On the Eastern side of the Lake Malawi National Park peninsular is Monkey Bay. Our destination here was nSumbi Beach Project, and Grant, Abi and Tom.

This is an impressive duo – Grant and Abi. They are 20-something Brits who have set up an NGO in Malawi with numerous ideas for local projects, particularly related to nursery age children. Many projects have already broken ground, and the duo are in constant contact with other locals in search of more ways to help in the local community. Their good friend Tom, helping them out, completes the trio.
We wanted to give them a hand in any way we could, and realised that there was a lot to accomplish on site prior to the arrival of their first group of volunteers – in 4 days time! It was all hands on deck to ensure they were ready to accommodate the 40+ school children and adults arriving over 3 days.

They have a great team of Malawians on site – and very soon we felt like part of workforce! Yes, shovels and digging were part of the game for us too! Everyone had a great sense of humour, and the loyalty and pride everyone had to the project was tangible. What an ideal work environment.

The surrounding villages have adopted the trio into their hearts. This was evident as we walked the few hundred meters to the beach. The children all recognised Abi from afar, and calls of ‘Abi’ and ‘Happy’ (some of them thought this was Abi’s name) could be heard the whole way. Many kids came running to say hi, and before long, all of us had 2 or 3 children hanging off our hands. They were fascinated by Abi’s long dark hair, stroking it lovingly.

It wasn’t all hard work! There was also time to learn how to play bawo – the local Malawian board and bean game. We saw it weeks ago when we first entered Malawi, but haven’t found anyone to teach us. Finally! We love the game so much that we have ordered our own Kapp2Cape board Wink.

We also had a chance to explore the little town – mainly in need of odds and ends for the tasks we were carrying out on site, but also to stock up on delicious bread at the bakery, fresh produce in the market and other provisions at the little grocery stores. There was enough selection to keep going, but wider variety available at Mangochi, about an hour away.

Our initial 1 month visas were also running dangerously close to expiry, as were the nSumbi Beach trio’s, so we had a group trip to the immigration office at the port to take care of visa extensions – quick and easy, for a nominal fee.

The days flew by, and soon it was time for us to say goodbye and flee the arriving hoards! We wished them good luck before hopping in the car and disappearing … 

_________________
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
Back to top Go down
http://www.kapp2cape.net
GirlChild
Just fitted a Snorkel
Just fitted a Snorkel
GirlChild

Posts : 419
Join date : 2012-03-07
Location : In the sands of UAE

Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 10 Empty
PostSubject: Re: Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012   Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 10 EmptyWed Jul 31, 2013 12:40 am

20th July 2013

The Sceptical Volunteer

We have volunteered while living in the UK, and there has always been a desire on our part to do some volunteering along the way, to share our skills with others. At the same time, we didn’t want to get caught up in the volun-tourism industry where you are required to pay a large fee to volunteer/work for a week. Lastly, we wanted to avoid contributing to a culture of dependency – a big problem in Africa – where locals become accustomed to the mizungus (white people) giving them everything they need.

Surprisingly, this was quite difficult to achieve.

Our first attempt was – sadly – disappointing. We were given our task for the day, just near the camp, while the rest of the group headed out for the rest of the day with the only vehicle to another site for their work. At the start, from our own knowledge, we believed that the design was doomed to fail, so our first dilemma was whether to do the work or not. Of course, we didn’t want our efforts to go to waste. With no-one to discuss this with, benefit of the doubt was given, and we rolled up our sleeves.

Maybe we were too efficient at our job, maybe the project leader didn’t fully understand the task we were given. But in any case, we had used up all the resources at hand by 0930, and were faced with a day of waiting around until everyone else returned. For various reasons, we understood that it was unlikely more resources would be available for a few days – so more days of sitting around loomed.

All in all, disappointing.

Another opportunity, was at a new NGO. Their various projects involve nursery children in nearby villages, but playing with children held no appeal for us. They also told us they were preparing for the arrival of their first UK group of volunteers. They still had quite a lot to do getting the site ready to receive 40 students and we felt we could use our knowledge and skills in this endeavour. They had a long list of tasks, and we made some further suggestions based on living in campsites for the last 10 months. Over 4 days, we extended the electricity supply into the 5th of 6 chalets and helped to ensure 3 chalets were ready for guests; worked on the shower block to ensure all doors had working locks and enough hooks; organised the shed; transferred knowledge for campsite layout and facilities; gave input to vehicle mechanics … and as with any tasks, dealt with lots of inevitable little hiccups along the way!

All in all, it was rewarding, it was fun, great people, and we felt that we had used our skills to help.

So, what did we learn from our experiences?

We’ve come to realise that we are not the usual volunteer, in an NGO / aid organisation sense. Having completely gutted and ‘modernised’ our flat and prepped our vehicle for this adventure, we have a lot of practical skills and knowledge that we can draw on.

We found that the challenge for project leaders is to have an overall vision of what needs doing, and not to ‘invent’ tasks for volunteers to do. We specifically – and we think volunteers generally – don’t like to sit about idly. A list of projects to complete or tasks to undertake should be complemented by having a reasonable amount of resources available.

So, for now, our volunteering bug has been sent to hibernation. We have immense respect for people whose passion lies in the NGO, charity and aid sector. Our interest is more commercial, and we’ll be keeping an eye out for an enticing “Management Couple Wanted” role.

_________________
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
Back to top Go down
http://www.kapp2cape.net
GirlChild
Just fitted a Snorkel
Just fitted a Snorkel
GirlChild

Posts : 419
Join date : 2012-03-07
Location : In the sands of UAE

Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 10 Empty
PostSubject: Re: Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012   Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 10 EmptyWed Jul 31, 2013 12:42 am

22nd July 2013

Cape Maclear

After a most enjoyable time spent in Monkey Bay – the less touristy side of the peninsular – we headed over to Cape Maclear.

Our initial interaction was with the guide touts we met outside the entrance to the Lake Malawi National Park. We asked about hiking in the national park – they offered their services for US$15 per hiker in addition to the park fees (another US$23 for the 2 of us an a vehicle).

A laugh, and sharp intake of breathe … “Too much.” Viking Explorer shakes his head in a very African manner. “No problem” say the guides. “We know where you can park your car and go for a hike without paying the park fees”.

And so began our Cape Maclear experience.

We drove through the village on the way to Fat Monkey. Rather than produce markets and small grocery stores, the village has an abundance of curio stalls. There were also a large number of accommodation options, as well as a few small local restaurants. We drove onwards, wondering where the locals buy their food.

We reached Fat Monkeys with a gorgeous view westwards over Lake Malawi – finally we could watch the sun set over the lake! However, we soon realised that this was a rather popular spot for travellers, but in a rather small, confined, space. Soon after our arrival, another 4x4 with rooftop tent pulled in (3 ex-pat teachers from Niarobi) and then the dreaded large overland truck with 8 Germans. Nice enough people, perhaps, but lacking in basic camping etiquette – I mean, how close should you park to the blue tent that was already pitched a few days before your arrival? And in any case, we have realised that groups of travellers larger than 4 are – in general – rather noisy and inconsiderate at the best of times.

That night a poor example of camp management was displayed. After official gate close time (2100) the night guard let in a group of Mozambiquan “tobacco boys” who had relocated their drinking spree from another establishment in Cape Maclear which had closed. The bar – officially closed at 2230 – was reopened by the barman to accommodate said “tobacco boys” and their loud thumping music. The camp manager only made an effort to rectify the situation at midnight, but it took another hour until everyone had left. Very sorry to say, but said UK managers were not even slightly apologetic in the morning, and said that the night guard and barman had been reprimanded. We were assured it would not happen the next night.

We were determined to salvage the situation. Afterall, they had wifi access, and we needed to update the blog for all our dear readers! After a morning online, we took a stroll into the village, (sadly, forgetting the camera at the campsite). We were reminded what friendly, warm hearted people these Malawians are, and our irritation at other travellers was soon forgotten. We stopped at Gaiatar Coffee & Craft shop. Here, we browsed locally made sewing crafts, and enjoyed a most delicious slice of chocolate cake and cup of plunger coffee while overlooking the lake. We chatted about all the knowledge we have been acquiring while we are travelling and what we are going to do with it all when the adventure is paused.

Onwards through the village, stopping and looking at all the curio stalls. Everyone was actively trying to interest us in their crafts but took no offense when we bought nothing. At one of the bars we stopped at, Viking Explorer was invited to a game of bawo – the local Malawian board and bean game. We had recently learned, and so Viking Explorer accepted. The Malawian played very kindly with Viking Explorer, before eventually deciding it was time to finish up, and very soon after that he won the game. Of course, he then had to take us to his uncle’s shop to show us the crafts on offer, particularly the “happy pants” (baggy trousers in funky Malawian fabric).

On the way back to the campsite, we continued to be greeted by the local children, waving and saying hello. No asking for money. No asking for sweets. Such a relief. A little girl took a fancy to me, grabbed hold of my hand, and proceeded to join us on our walk.

It was such a fabulous reminder that we are indeed in the warm heart of Africa. The Malawians have such a wonderful sense of humour, they are so welcoming, warm and friendly. I need to focus on that ...

... and then move on to another campsite.

_________________
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
Back to top Go down
http://www.kapp2cape.net
GirlChild
Just fitted a Snorkel
Just fitted a Snorkel
GirlChild

Posts : 419
Join date : 2012-03-07
Location : In the sands of UAE

Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 10 Empty
PostSubject: Re: Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012   Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 10 EmptyWed Jul 31, 2013 12:43 am

25 July 2013

Wandering in circles

OK, I definitely don’t want to sound ungrateful – and even a boring day of travelling beats a day in the office – but we have been circling a bit while waiting for our bawo board to be delivered.

After our less than successful stay at Cape Maclear, we headed down to Mangochi – partly to buy some food, partly to take a drive and partly to have a look. It was an interesting little town. After stopping at every supermarket and suprette, we managed to stock up on some basics – breakfast cereal, porridge oats, tinned pilchards. Then, a kind lady pointed us in the direction of the central market – a place we knew existed but couldn’t find. It was very impressive. This is the first formal fruit and vegetable market we have come across since Lilongwe: it is all housed under one big roof, with concrete benches available for vendors to sell their produce. The selection was excellent, the quality high and we managed to even buy some ‘luxuries’ such as lettuce and aubergine! (Tomatos, onions and potatoes are abundant on the roadside everywhere in Malawi).

After a quick stop for lunch at a local restaurant – interestingly called ”Possibilities Restaurant and Take Aways” - we were back on the road in search of a campsite for the night. We settled on Nkhudzi, about 20km before Monkey Bay. It was a strange little set up, and in its heyday I am sure was charming. It overlooks a sheltered stretch of Lake Malawi, with a lovely restaurant, bar and deck all with gorgeous views of the lake. But, the rook on part of the reception building collapsed when a branch fell on it in December last year … and still hasn’t been repaired. In addition, with the owners based in South Africa, a local family has been slowly moving into said reception building – and especially enjoying the TV which seems to run continuously through the day. We camped on the grass, and used the bathroom facilities of 1 of the 2 chalets on site. Not sure I would have enjoyed the site of a 4x4 with rooftop ten outside my chalet if I was staying in a chalet!

Anyway.

Slowly we made our way back up to Monkey Bay. There was a weekly fabric market we were interested in visiting, primarily to buy some fabric but also to look at what clothing was available. It was an interesting excursion! The market had lots of displays around the outside – vendors who took the time to erect displays for their clothes and fabrics. In the middle? Pile after pile after pile of second hand clothing. Most of it in excellent condition, even with tags on. These are sent from Canada, USA, UK, Australia … and even from Norway! There was a pile of clothes which had a bag bearing the Norwegian flag, and a few brand names Viking Explorer recognised. Despite a good hour or so browsing, we came away empty handed.

Our campsite for the night was Mufasa Rustic Backpackers. Rustic it was – by backpacker standards. But by our standards, it was a relaxing place to stay for the night. It overlooked a tiny bay, which was angled so that the prevailing wind (which buffeted the rest of the coast) was absent. It was simple. It was peaceful. It was ideal.

Next day we returned to Sumbi Beach Lodge to collect our bawo board. It is stunning – everything we had hoped it would be, and personalised for us. Well worth the wait! We met up with Carol and Kevin and their kids Connor and Shannon. They were the ones who put us in contact with Sumbi Beach, and it was great to meet them in person. They are visiting from the UK for a month, and are very actively involved in another project related to a nursery nearby.

Board in hand – we were off! Time to head to Dedza.

_________________
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
Back to top Go down
http://www.kapp2cape.net
GirlChild
Just fitted a Snorkel
Just fitted a Snorkel
GirlChild

Posts : 419
Join date : 2012-03-07
Location : In the sands of UAE

Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 10 Empty
PostSubject: Re: Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012   Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 10 EmptyWed Jul 31, 2013 12:44 am

26th July 2013

Souvenirs, and memories from Dedza

Until picking up our bawo board in Monkey Bay, we had struggled to find special souvenirs from Malawi. Within a short time, that was all about to change!

On the way to Dedza we passed a curio stall that had some of the most unique carvings we have seen while in Malawi. Most curio stalls have versions of the same offering: various carved animals, Noah’s Ark with at least 10 pairs of animals, key chains customised with your name (while you wait), salad bowls, serving spoons – pretty much standard offering in southern Africa. This one was different – with almost lifesize carvings of people and beautiful, large masks carved from ebony (which weighed a ton!). Despite falling in love with a pair of masks, realistically there was no way to transport them and little sensible way of ever hanging them on a wall. We settled on a village scene wall carving instead.

In Dedza, we were due to pick up our mugs which we painted in Nkhotakota 2 weeks previously. Sadly, they hadn’t yet arrived, but we were assured they would arrive the following evening. This gave us the perfect excuse to go for a hike and get some exercise! Next morning, bright and early, we received a hand drawn sketch of where we could walk. It was very pretty! The mountainside had lots of paths and tracks used by local villagers – no way we could really get that lost. What we did see, though, was lots of people carrying firewood from the forests down to the villages. We aren’t talking one or two people, but 20 or 30. It is no wonder that Malawi has the fifth highest rate of deforestation in the world. What was impressive, was the weight that these ladies (usually) carry on their heads. We tried to pick one up that was lying on the ground – easily 30kg. Mind boggling to think they carry this, barefoot, down the paths from the forest to the village.

Nearing lunchtime, we decided to take a detour into the town of Dedza before heading back to our campsite at Dedza Pottery. Only, it was rather longer than we thought … and eventually African GirlChild’s legs said enough was enough. We stopped on the side of the road and indulged in local chips and salad with a coke – for the princely sum of less than £2! Feeling well fed, and lazy, we opted for a bicycle taxi back … what fun! These guys are seriously fit and strong – and took off at speed, with me clutching on for dear life on the back! UK Health & Safety would have had a fit – no helmets, no seatbelts – just hang on!

Next morning, our mugs had been unpacked from the delivery, and were ready for us. They look great – another fabulous souvenir to remind us of a great time spent in Malawi.

_________________
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
Back to top Go down
http://www.kapp2cape.net
GirlChild
Just fitted a Snorkel
Just fitted a Snorkel
GirlChild

Posts : 419
Join date : 2012-03-07
Location : In the sands of UAE

Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 10 Empty
PostSubject: Re: Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012   Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 10 EmptyWed Jul 31, 2013 12:49 am

Hi all!

To say internet is scarce in the this little corner of the world is an understatement!

But now, as an early anniversary present!! - Viking Explorer bought me an internet dongle so that we have internet access - slow that it is - through our next 2 weeks back in Zambia. Hopefully the updates won't be so long coming ...

I have added quite a lot today for you all to enjoy - the rest of our time in Zambia and our 5 week tour of Malawi. We are now back in Zambia heading northwards towards Lake Tanganyika and Tanzania.

We hope that you enjoy the next instalments - so grab a cup of tea, sit back, scroll up and start reading ...

Until next time!
African GirlChild

_________________
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
Back to top Go down
http://www.kapp2cape.net
GirlChild
Just fitted a Snorkel
Just fitted a Snorkel
GirlChild

Posts : 419
Join date : 2012-03-07
Location : In the sands of UAE

Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 10 Empty
PostSubject: Re: Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012   Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 10 EmptyWed Jul 31, 2013 12:53 am

SafariDude wrote:
For those interested, this month's 4x4 mag landed on my mat today Very Happy Catch up with Girlchild and Viking whilst you're on your train commute to work (or is that just me doh)

Girlchild - I'll get a copy to you again in a few days when i have a spare minute at the scanner thumbsup

SafariDude - sorry for the delayed reply! Internet has been rather scarce.

Hope you enjoyed the article - a scanned copy would be fabulous Wink

kind regards
African GirlChild

_________________
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
Back to top Go down
http://www.kapp2cape.net
roamingman
Terrain Master
Terrain Master
roamingman

Posts : 1392
Join date : 2010-12-26
Age : 72
Location : Nearly thier

Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 10 Empty
PostSubject: Re: Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012   Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 10 EmptyWed Jul 31, 2013 3:52 am

Nice to here from you again, you seem be having a great time, apart from Viking and his bug, hope he has recovered now.
Your descriptions make me feel like I am traveling with you.

good luck until next time. clinking teacups 

Back to top Go down
http://teddybearspicnic.webs.com/
SafariDude
Just got M&S Tyres
Just got M&S Tyres
SafariDude

Posts : 137
Join date : 2013-03-20
Location : London

Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 10 Empty
PostSubject: Re: Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012   Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 10 EmptyWed Jul 31, 2013 6:04 am

GirlChild wrote:

SafariDude - sorry for the delayed reply!  Internet has been rather scarce.

Hope you enjoyed the article - a scanned copy would be fabulous Wink

kind regards
African GirlChild

Promise I'll do it this week Embarassed  Been a bit lax ... sorry Sad 

_________________
www.AlternativeAfricanAdventures.co.uk

Qualified Safari Guide
Back to top Go down
http://www.alternativeafricanadventures.co.uk/
Sponsored content




Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 10 Empty
PostSubject: Re: Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012   Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 10 Empty

Back to top Go down
 
Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012
Back to top 
Page 10 of 15Go to page : Previous  1 ... 6 ... 9, 10, 11 ... 15  Next

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
4x4 Overland Travel :: CURRENT - Overland Trips & Expeditions-
Jump to: