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 Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012

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wideformat4x4
Tembo
mugwump
tomw13
Jed@CampervanCulture.com
tuggy
scott.l.
VikingExplorer
marjal
gemini
roamingman
Tom Mc
Jas
GirlChild
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GirlChild
Just fitted a Snorkel
Just fitted a Snorkel
GirlChild

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 11 EmptyTue Aug 06, 2013 4:49 am

roamingman wrote:
Nice to here from you again, you seem be having  a great time, apart from Viking and his bug, hope he has recovered now.

Yes - all healthy again! Thank goodness ...

roamingman wrote:
Your descriptions make me feel like I am traveling with you.

Glad to hear you are enjoying your seat in our vehicle! In a few days we'll be crossing into Tanzania ... and then we'll all have to strap in tight - it's going to be a bumpy ride!!!

roamingman wrote:

good luck until  next time.  clinking teacups 


Until then!

_________________
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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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 11 EmptyTue Aug 06, 2013 4:50 am

31st July 2013

What a surprise!

After crossing the border into Zambia, we very efficiently took care of the chores we had to do: shopping at Shoprite, over to the bank to draw some Zambian Kwacha, into Spar for very last provisions, Highway suprette for coke, fuel station to fill up (20p a litre cheaper than in Malawi) and a stop at Afrox to fill cooking gas.

All achieved (except for gas) very efficiently, and we arrived at Mama-Rula campsite to set up camp for the night. On entry, we were greeted by a large overland truck (which we had seen in Chipata) with occupants setting up their tent city. We headed over into the far back corner – as far away as we could – and settled in. Our first few surprises followed: 3 more overland trucks came in … and then a group of 3 German Land Rovers with about 12 people (drivers, cooks, clients). In total, about 70 people camping that night! Tent city as far as the eye could see.

Then, just when we thought no more people were arriving, we had our next surprise. Noel and Ping – who we manage to bump into regularly on our trip – arrived in Pegasus, their 4×4 Iveco van! It was amazing to see them again and catch up on their travels. We last saw them in Windhoek, Namibia in late May. They have been travelling in Botswana and Zimbabwe, and were traversing Zambia from Kariba Dam to Malawi. After Malawi, they’ll be heading up the eastern side of Tanzania towards Niarobi, Kenya. As we are heading towards Lake Tanganyika and the western side of Tanzania, it is unlikely we’ll cross paths again. An extra special surprise.

Next morning we were again surprised. After a heavy night of karaoke for the 50 or so super-keen overlanders, we expected them to have a slow morning easing into the day. Not so. When Viking Explorer emerged from the ten just before 0700, he was greeted by … an almost empty campsite! Only 1 truck and the German tour group remained. Astounding.
So, after a truly surprising day, we bid a fond farewell to Noel and Ping and set off in search of backroads, offroads, gravel roads in the Luangwa valley.


_________________
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
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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 11 EmptyTue Aug 06, 2013 4:53 am

One from Viking Explorer ...

4th August 2013

Exploring Luangwa Valley

by Viking Explorer
Crossing through North Luangwa National Park (NLNP) was something both African GirlChild and I were looking forward to after our time in Malawi. We realised that we really enjoy the bush and the quiet campsites that usually come with a National Park experience. We were not disappointed.

When staying at Wildlife Camp just outside South Luangwa National Park (SLNP) before entering Malawi we enquired about the possibility of traversing NLNP. Our host Conrad had received a text from Sam and Cat (whom we later met in Malawi) saying they had passed no problem. Later, in Malawi, we were given the full story from Sam and Cat, so no issues with lack of information.

NLNP is much less visited than the more popular SLNP, as it takes some determination to reach the park – at least from Mfuwe. The road to the park leaves the tar about 15km south of Mfuwe, goes through a small part of SLNP (NSEFU sector), before it crosses the Luambe National Park. From Luambe it crosses 105km of countryside, before reaching Chifunda Community Camp (It’s Wild Bushcamp) and the pontoon. All in all from Mfuwe it is 260km to It’s Wild, and it took us two whole days of driving. From the north the access is much easier, with a good gravel/dust road from the tar to the Mano Gate.

The first day took us through the NSEFU sector in SLNP. This is an easy drive from Mfuwe, and our little detour (not going straight) gave us three nice surprises. First, we passed a small marsh where a colony of Crowned Cranes feed. Second, we encountered a large flock of White-Backed Vultures waiting for the thermals to start so that they could take off. And third, there is a hot spring in this area, with the steam visible even in the early morning sun. From the NSEFU sector we headed to Luambe, to find a hunting lodge marked on the map just to the north of the park. Our enquiry at the park gate ensured us the lodge was open, but we later learned it was not. So we continued on to Luangwa Wilderness Lodge to camp there. Peter, our Zambian host, has recently found German investors, so the lodge part should be up and running soon too. We spent the night on the river bank listening to about 400 hippos.

The second day we continued from Luambe. The drive was nice and relatively easy, with stunning scenery and a few additions to our bird list. As we reached Chiweza we turned towards what we thought was the south park entrance. When we reached the gate, we learned that it is just an exit gate –entry to the park from the south side can only be made via Chifunda (turn off at the airstrip). The last few kilometres to the campsite were very bumpy. Surprisingly, amidst all the shaking, we managed to spot a Lappet-Faced Vulture… only because it was sitting above the road in a tree and flew as we came too close.

NLNP was founded as a game reserve in 1938 and became a national park in 1972. It now covers an area of 4,636 square kilometers and is home to the Big5. The scenery is varied, with Mopane woodland, grasslands, river front, and hills further to the north. Unlike SLNP, it is not a park with many options for self drive. The roads to the west in the park are closed to anyone without a booking to the one lodge operating in that area, leaving only one road to drive – straight through the park. With a booking at the lodge it is possible to access the area around the Mwaleshi river and the wildlife seeking the water there in the dry season.

After a quiet night at It’s Wild – where we also had a leopard visiting us at dinner time – we set off at 0730 for the pontoon. This is a true African pontoon made out of oil barrels and wood, and is pulled across by hand by the pontoon pilot. I always enjoy these pontoons. We then ambled our way down the river for about 20km to the hippo pools. A fantastic sight of hundreds of hippos splashing, snorting and basking in the early morning sun. From the hippo pools we backtracked to the main road again and headed on through the park. There are some waterholes on the way where we stopped for a quick lunch. We didn’t see much game on our traverse – I think they have all migrated towards the west and the Mwaleshi river this time of year. Hippo, crocodile, elephant, kudu, impala, letchwe, warthog, black wildebeest, waterbuck, bushbuck was what we saw. Yes, a nice list, but they were very few in numbers. In the middle of the park we crossed the Rhino Sanctuary, the NLNP airstrip, and then we started the climb up the escarpment to reach the campsite on the other side.

We had a lovely day in the park, with relatively good game viewing and a few special birds we could add to our list. Is it worth it? If you come to see game I would say “no”. If you like the bush, game and birds both, and some nice off-road driving thrown in I would say “yes”.

Facts:
NLNP was established as a park in 1972 and covers 4,636 square kilometers. It lies between the Great East Road and the Great North Road, to the east of SLNP.
NLNP has community campsites either end, and a few lodges inside. The community campsites are expensive, with various standard on their offerings. It’s Wild charges ZKW75 pppn, offers flushing toilets and showers (no hot water), and is clean. Natwange (near Mano gate) charges the same but with water in buckets for washing and flushing.
On the way to NLNP we camped at Luangwa Wilderness Lodge for ZKW40 pppn. It is also possible to camp at the defunct Chibembe Lodge for US$15 pppn.
Park entry for self drive is ZZKW135 pppd, and ZKW80 for the vehicle. The permit is valid 0600 to 1800.
The transit route through the park is just under 70km long, and the road is of a good standard, although a 4×4 is needed to negotiate both the dry and flowing rivers.



_________________
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
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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 11 EmptyTue Aug 06, 2013 4:55 am

Aaaahhh .... lovely, free, speedy internet!

Love it!

We are only a few days away from Tanzania now. We are crossing a lesser used border post (we prefer those) and then we are in for many many days of roads in bad condition as we head up the west side of Tanzania into Rwanda ...

It is doubtful that we'll have internet ... so be prepared for lots of updates when we are connected again!

Hope UK 'Summer' is treating you all well ... Winter in Africa is glorious!!

rgds
African GirlChild

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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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roamingman
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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 11 EmptyTue Aug 06, 2013 8:33 am

We have had some great weather up in Scotland, waiting to hear your updates. Smile 
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GirlChild
Just fitted a Snorkel
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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 11 EmptyTue Aug 06, 2013 5:09 pm

roamingman wrote:
We have had some great weather up in Scotland, waiting to hear your updates. Smile 

Scroll up roamingman ... scroll up Wink there is a little there for you to keep updated!

Lake Tanganyika calls today!

_________________
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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PostSubject: Re: Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012   Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 11 EmptySat Aug 24, 2013 11:38 pm

Its in the attitude

6th August 2013

After our off road exploration of the Luangwa valley, we made our way towards Kapishya Hot Springs – a place that almost every traveller we have met has said we should visit. On the way, we passed Shiwa Ng’unda – a large English estate from the 180s (I believe).


It really does look like an old English home from the rolling English hills. The materials and furnishings for the house were ordered from England, sailed to Dar es Salaam, and then carried overland to Shiwa. Rather eccentric. The estate also has a little bit of wildlife, and we saw black wildebees and a few antelope as we drove on a scenic route.


We eventually reached the hot springs, with a pretty campsite nearby. The main attraction – after the springs – is the lodge and spa. Again, very nicely done, but the prices weren’t shy. We had a lazy afternoon relaxing in the hot spring, and set up camp near the river.

Next day, we continued our journey north, stopping in Kasama. We did a little shopping at Shoprite, and filled fuel. Our accommodation for the evening was at Thorn Tree Guest House, where Hazel and Yurt have a few en suite rooms. They kindly allow campers – either in a ground tent in their garden, or in a rood tent on their parking area. I am normally reluctant to use parking areas, as they can be quiet noisy, but this was the exception. We made use of their wifi and enjoyed a delicious dessert. They also gave us some good suggestions of places to stay in Mbala and Mpulungu – our next stop north.
Our last morning in Mbala, we visited the bank to change kwacha to US dollars. Once outside the Zambian borders, the kwacha is worthless, so best not to end up with too many extra! We continued our journey north, stopping in Mbala to check out Lake Chila Lodge (very nice, with camping), check the immigration procedure with the immigration office and then headed to Mpulungu on Lake Tanganyika.

It was suddenly hot! After many months of comfortable high 20’s, we were suddenly thrust back into 37C!

Off we went to check the customs procedure for leaving Zambia down at the docks. This is where the ferry from Tanzania arrives – running a service up and down the lake. Information in hand (we had to return the next morning), we headed off to Nkupi Lodge which has camping.

Charity was very welcoming, We found a coolish spot under the trees, and relaxed while Charity saw to it that we had hot water for showers later in the afternoon. She also offered to cook us dinner – nkupi fish fresh from the lake!

A wander up to the oldest missionary church ruins in Zambia, and watching the sun set over the lake completed the day.

But what really stuck in my mind, was the attitude of managers at these 3 places we stayed. How the way you are greeted and treated can leave you either rushing to escape or wishing to stay longer.

At Kapishya Hot Springs we were greeted by a very surly woman who seemed to be completely inconvenienced by our arrival, and we really felt like we were in her way. No smile and a grumpy attitude. She merely pointed in the direction of the campsite and left us to get on with it. If we’d had an option of somewhere else to stay that night, we would have taken it. We just didn’t feel welcome. Our planned 2 night stay quickly turned into 1. No endorsement from me on this service.
In such sharp contrast the next 2 places. Thorn Tree Lodge welcomed us with open arms. They showed us around, and accommodated us with our rooftop tent, and heating up of leftovers out of the back of the vehicle. It was all smiles and welcomes. They even passed on information received by email from other travellers we knew (Paul & Suzaan) who had passed that way a few months previously.

Similarly the hospitability we were shown at Nkupi Lodge. Compared to other places we have stayed, it didn’t have as much to offer by way of camping, but we felt so welcome. Nothing was a problem, and extra care was made to ensure the bathrooms were clean and we had hot water for showers.

The dinner that Charity cooked was superb! Clearly love and care had been included in the ingredients. And even when the lights went our (courtesy of Zesco, learning something from Eskom) she ensured we had a lamp to finish our meal. She has worked there for 14 years and is so proud.
While facilities at a campsite are important to us, the attitude of the managers and staff trumps it almost every time. We have stayed longer at places with friendly welcoming staff, and cut short our stays where we felt we were a hassle.


And so we continue northwards – Tanzania calling our name!

_________________
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
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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 11 EmptySat Aug 24, 2013 11:40 pm

Changing money - Zambian style

7th August 2013

Banking seems such a mundane task, that I rarely even take notice of the surroundings. Our last admin before leaving Zambia was to change the last of our kwacha into US dollars or Tanzanian shillings. Despite being so close to the border, this was quite an undertaking!

First stop: Finance Bank in Mpulungu. The time travel begins! I stepped back in time a good 40 years, to the days of wooden panels and wooden counters. The room was enormous, with a small area for customers in the front, and full visibility of activities behind the counter. There was no glass separating cust0mers and tellers – you could actually talk to each other!! They did have computers, thought, and receipts for transactions were printed. They didn’t have any US dollars, so on I went.

Second stop: Barclays Bank in Mbala. Time travel forward to the present. Although it was a tiny branch with only 2 tellers, it could have been anywhere in the world. The characteristic teal-blue and white decor; the modern counters; the big posters advertising financial products; the separate room for branch manager. Sadly, they didn’t have any us dollars, but did have euros and British pounds if we couldn’t find anywhere else.

Third stop: Hardings fuel station (Puma) in Mbala. We had heard we could get Tanzania shillings from a guy here. Viking Explorer went into the service station and a wad of notes appears on the counter – as though he had asked for a pack of cigarettes! A calculator appears and calculations were done. Yip, that is the truth, but he had only a small amount of shillings, so our search continued.

Fourth stop: Cavemont Bank in Mbala. This time travel trip went even further back in time. The room seemed oversized for the number of staff and customers. There was an enormous safe in the back which was opened with a long key – not time delay locks here! The floor was covered with aging linoleum, and the long counter extending the width of the room was the same dark brown wood panelling with wooden counter. I wasn’t really sure there were tellers, it seemed that everyone talked to customer service and then was redirected elsewhere. I was sent behind the counter where I was told there were no dollars. Then the branch manager stepped in and I was taken to her ‘office’ – a raised platform up 2 steps which seemed to be help together with duck tape! But here I was told there was US$100 – which was all I needed. The transaction then took place – and despite there being a computer on the desk, everything was done on hand written receipts! But, it was also old school service and I was treated with respect and courtesy even though I was passing through and only changed US$100.

Time travelling complete – and an hour of actual time in the present having passed in Mbala – we could continue.
What a giggle!!

_________________
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
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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 11 EmptySat Aug 24, 2013 11:41 pm

Into Tanzania

7th August 2013

It amazes me frequently how crossing an imaginary line in the sand – commonly called a border – really can demarcate such a change. Tanzania, even in this south western corner, starts hinting at the grasslands, plains and wildlife that are depicted in numerous documentaries of the region. We also noticed Jacaranda trees in full bloom! I love the purple flowers, which reminds me of Pretoria in particular. The people are also noticeably more friendly than in Zambia. Enthusiastic waves are accompanied by wide grins of pearly whites! Few hands out asking for money or “sweeties”.

It was already lunch time when we finished border processes, and we also encountered a time change we hadn’t anticipated – clocks forwards an hour. Our original plan had been to head straight to Sumbawanga, the first major town on the main road north. However, we had been told about a lodge on the lakeshore at Kasanga. We had nothing marked on our maps, but were feeling adventurous, so we adjusted our course for a night at the lake.


The roads on this less touristy, western side of Tanzania are almost solely gravel, in varying degrees of repair. At this stage in the dry season, they are OK to drive, but I am sure that even a few months earlier and with a little extra moisture, they would be more challenging. The Chinese, however, are laying tar at a very rapid rate. We had large stretches where we were travelling alongside wide road constructions, and by next year, this region will be much smoother to travel.

On our way to Kasanga, we passed a LandCruiser packed with 6 Germans and a driver! We stopped for a chat, and they helpfully told us there was indeed camping in Kasanga, at Liembe Beach Lodge. They also told us that it was possible to visit Kalambo Falls on the border with Zambia – an attraction we hadn’t managed to visit from the Zambian side. We headed off just ahead of them (they were finishing securing a dropped spare wheel to the roof) in the direction of the falls.

We stopped in the last village about 1 km before the falls. Here we needed to make a contribution to the community – receipted – in order to reach the falls. We were instantly surrounded by almost all the village children! Beady eyes peering in the windows.


The falls were impressive. The river is narrow as it approaches the falls, and locals were almost crossing backards and forwards, although under the guise of bathing in the river.


It was getting late and we were tired from a long day on the road and a border crossing. We headed to the lodge and campsite. As we headed down the last hill towards the lake, we watched the sun set – it was a gorgeous end to the day.

_________________
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
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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 11 EmptySat Aug 24, 2013 11:42 pm

Sumbawanga here we come

8th AUgust 2013

Oh boy did we sleep well!


Our camping spot was right on the edge of the lake, right beside the lake shore path the locals use to walk in to the small port town of Kasanga. Occasionally during the night we heard the quiet flip-flop sounds of people along the path, but were undisturbed. At some point during the night, the gentle lap-lap of the small waves on the shore disappeared, and we woke to a very still lake.


We returned to the main road the same way we came. We appreciated the scenery with new eyes – clearly we were tired the day before! We passed through sections of grasslands and hills – ever so pretty.


This road is also due to be upgraded and the presence of the Chinese is everywhere. The road is being funded by Americans who are keen to ensure a tarred road from the port in Kasanga to Sumbawanga and ultimately link up to existing tar to Dar es Salaam. Travel certainly will be easier in the coming years!

After 4 hours of bumping along the dirt roads, we reached the tiny town of Sumbawanga. It is one of the main regional towns, offering a wide range of services. Unfortunately for us, it was a public holiday – one of the most popular – and so many places were closed. We particularly needed to sort out a SIM card and mobile internet, but we were defeated. We managed, however, to withdraw money, and filled fuel before reaching our accommodation for the night at the Moravian Church Conference Centre.

It is a popular stop for travellers, and while it offers little in the way of charm, it is clean, functional, and has a restaurant downstairs. As we have discovered already, you need to keep asking and confirming to ensure you get what you want at a price you are happy with. We were offered a double room with en suite bathroom, but ended up with a twin room and shared bathroom (we were the only people on the floor!) for half the price!

We realised how tired we were – this was our 8th day of travel in a row without a rest day: last rest day we had was at South Luangwa park in Zambia! That afternoon, we enjoyed the luxury of having a real bed and read and snoozed until dinner time. Quick dinner – burger and chips!! – and an early night as the following day we were off to see Chris and Louise at Lake Shore Lodge at Kipili on the lake …
… and a long desired rest day!

_________________
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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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 11 EmptySat Aug 24, 2013 11:44 pm

Back to the shore

14th August 2013

“Wow, that was close” I think as we sit idling in the ditch, a big plume of dust slowly settling between the trees. I have just wrenched the car out of the two-spoor that is the national road up the west side of Tanzania, in order to avoid the bus that was hurtling towards me at 80 or 90 km/h. It is a known fact that these bus drivers are nuts, and that they won’t stop for anything.


We leave Sumbawanga after a good night’s sleep and a quick breakfast in the car park. The VodaShop is still closed, so no SIM today either. We’ll have to try again in Mpanda. It is going to be another rough day on the road. Dust, dust and dust. The road we use is the oxen track on the side of the old road – just slightly improved to ensure the trucks and busses can use it to. Remember, this is the national road and is the main artery on this side of the country… The track is bumpy, it is corrugated, and it is in places covered in a fine talcum-like powder. Very tiring. After about two hours of this we get to the turn-off towards Kipili, and we can almost smell the lake.



The first 28km towards Kipili is the same as we just left – only without the busses and trucks. Then we reach the roundabout! where we continue straight towards Kipili – and onto the best road we have driven so far in Tanzania. Hard gravel, almost as good as Namibia. There are places with corrugation on this road too, but all in all a very pleasant 90min down to the lake. And a taste of paradise.

We are met at Kipili by Chris and Louise. The carport is covered in pink and white flowers. The lodge and chalets are white with perfect thatched roofs. The boats are lined up on the lake, and the lake is very inviting. Dinner sounds tempting, but we decide to cook ourselves.


Well settled in on the campsite we finish laundry, wipe down the car a bit, and chill for a while before heading down to the beach. The water is lovely, it ends up being our first “swim” for a long time. Later, Niall and Simon arrive on one of the other stands. The next morning we exchange information about where to go and where to stay.


Day two at Kipili is almost a day of chill. Aside from another load of laundry and a full clean of the inside of the car, we read a lot and have another swim in the afternoon.

When we leave Kipili we can again enjoy the relatively good gravel going up to the roundabout!. Only this time it seems much more corrugated that when we arrived… it is funny what a day of chill and swimming does to you! The bus that had fishtailed on the corrugation and planted itself in the ditch was a timely reminder that gravel can be tricky. The stretch from the roundabout towards the main road is not too bad, but the main road is still in bad condition. The last 15km before we reach Katavi National Park is horrible, so corrugated in places that I can either do 10km/h or 100km/h. As 100km/h is impossible on these roads in Brodie, it is down to 10km/h… it almost physically hurts.

After an afternoon and morning in Katavi National Park (see separate post) we started the final 35km towards Mpanda. It ended up taking us more than an hour due to the condition of the road. In Mpanda we spent the night in Baraka Guest House, which had been recommended to us. Clean, and relatively quiet. We went out in search of a SIM. Found one, but the registration system was down so no luck again. Then we searched for a restaurant, but didn’t find one apart from the one at Baraka, which turned out to be quite ok.

Tomorrow is our biggest day on these roads – 300km to Kigoma on the lake shore again. We hope the roads improve, but realistically we are in for another long, hot, dusty day …

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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 11 EmptySat Aug 24, 2013 11:45 pm

Hi all

Internet connection has been further and further apart ...

I have uploaded some blog updates above, and will load more tomorrow ...

Scroll up and enjoy!

rgds
Sheelah

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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 11 EmptySun Aug 25, 2013 3:25 am

Another great read, May be some day we get to drive down through Africa, might be all tarmac roads.

regards kevin
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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 11 EmptyMon Aug 26, 2013 6:41 pm

roamingman wrote:
Another great read, May be some day we get to drive down through Africa, might be all tarmac roads.

regards kevin
I don't think it is that long before you can explore this part of Africa in a campervan! 4x4 will no longer be needed Wink


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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 11 EmptyMon Aug 26, 2013 6:43 pm

Katavi National Park

14th August 2013

It was a late decision to go into Katavi National Park. We had spent some time in the parks in Zambia and were uncertain what Katavi could offer. The US$100 entry fee for 24hours was also a factor in our late decision. But ultimately, as we were driving from Kipili towards Mpanda, we decided that it would be good to go in. We also knew there were two campsites at the gate, and were prepared to deal with whatever they had to offer.


The national road from Sumbawanga to Mpanda is horrible. It is full of roadworks, is only dust, and is badly corrugated. As it is the main route on the west side of Tanzania it also sees a large number of big trucks and busses. The road goes through the park, and if you are fortunate there is game to be seen on the way through. Apparently, though, the rangers are not so happy if you stop to watch without having bought a permit.

We arrived at the permit office just before 3pm. After a bit of banter we had our permit, with a complimentary map of the park. Not a terribly detailed map, but enough to give an indication of where to go. Coupled with Tracks4Africa it served us well. Our afternoon route took us parallel to the national road on the west side, down towards Lake Katavi. It was a good call, as we had some lovely sightings of waterbuck, giraffe, and a lone buffalo on the way towards the lake. At the lake we also saw hippo, zebra and impala, and a herd of 25 elephant eating grass in the middle of the marsh. We also saw a number of special birds, including both pelicans and the palm-nut vulture. True to form, we drove until we had to turn around, just exiting the park as the clock turned seven and darkness descended. Not sure how strict they are, but better to be out before it turns dark.

The next morning we had an early start, setting off from our campsite at 7am. 17km and 45min later we finally entered the park on the east side of the gate. This side is where the lodges and camps are inside the park, and the roads are very good. We again saw the usual suspects, but unfortunately the cats were having a lie-in somewhere in the shade. The highlight of the day was a spot on the river bank with 50-60 Black-Crowned Night-Herons, an Osprey, two water thicknees, a smattering of other herons, and a pair of storks. All this in front of a gallery of crocodiles sunning themselves on the river bank. Magic.

We spent as much time as we could before heading out and towards Mpanda for the night, and to us it was worth the entry fee (even though we didn’t see any cats). We had some very nice sightings of game, and added about 50 birds to our Tanzania list.

Facts:
Katavi National Park is on the west side of Tanzania, about 35km south of Mpanda.
Katavi is the third largest park in Tanzania after Ruaha and Serengeti, spanning an area of 4471 square kilometres.
Park entry fee for us (international) was US$30pppd, plus US$40pd for the vehicle.
There are lodges and camping inside the park, ranging hugely in price. Some are available through the park, while others are private.
There are two campsites outside the park, Hippo Camp and Riverside Camp. We stayed at Riverside Camp as it had the best reviews. Camping for us was TZS16,000pppn.
The roads inside the park are very good, and the signage is up to date.

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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 11 EmptyMon Aug 26, 2013 6:46 pm

Dr Livingstone I presume

15th August 2013

Our last rest day at Kipili wasn’t really as much of a rest as I had hoped – between chatting to people and cleaning, the day flew by far too fast. I was determined to get this one at Kigoma right!

We eased into the morning – on the lake shore once again, this time at Jakobsen Beach Camp. The birdsong woke us as soon as it started getting light. No other sounds of human activity were around. We eased into the day. This area is full of history: the village of Ujiji, about 8km away, is the place where Henry Morton Stanley – a journalist from New York Herald – finally tracked down Dr David Livingstone – an explorer / missionary who discovered and documented so much of southern and eastern Africa. In 1871, this was the location Stanley uttered the immortal words “Dr. Livingstone I presume.” It was a place that had to be visited!

I think our first shock was the pricing of the museum: foreigners being charged 20 times the price that East Africans are charged. But, like many things in Africa, negotiation is the name of the game. Only, we didn’t realise we were in negotiation! While standing outside the museum, we were suddenly offered half price entrance … and half price again! Finally at a level we thought reasonable, we paid and took part in the guided tour. It was very interesting to learn about Livingstone’s 3 explorations into Africa and his anti-slavery efforts. We’ll certainly read up more on this great man.

Suddenly, it was lunchtime and we returned to Kigoma to have lunch at Sun City! Tables were full, but we joined a really interesting chap – Alex – at his table. He is involved in primate research in the area we travelled through to reach Kigoma, and we enjoyed a lively discussion while tucking into pilau rice.
We finally found an internet café – hilariously called “Baby Come ‘n’ Call”! It was hot and stuffy inside, and sweat beads trickled as I settled in, but they had new desktop PCs with speedy internet at a sensible price.

Then we headed over to the produce market for a few essentials. We picked up fruit and vegetables – avocados and pineapples were our special finds – and managed to select a piece of Tanzanian fabric from one of the many many shops selling many many swathes of fabric.

By now, we were hot, sweaty and starting to become a little grumpy – a swim in the lake was our solution! We returned to the campsite and flung ourselves into the cool water.


That night, we shared a dinner with Sebastian and Amelie – German students who are travelling through Tanzania on public transport. They thought it would be the easiest African country as their first sojourn into Africa, and were genuinely surprised when we said that Tanzania was the most difficult for us so far. They had little by way of cooking equipment, and so we joined forces to cook delicious fresh fish from the lake over an open fire.

So, we failed miserably at having a restful rest day – but what a fantastic day we did have!

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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 11 EmptyMon Aug 26, 2013 6:47 pm

Travel fatigue

16th August 2013

We’re both tired.
We have been on the road for more than 10 months now. 10 months of living out of the car. 10 months of the almost daily surprise of where to stay that night 10 months of sensory overload as we experience so many new sites, sights, sounds, emotions.

This part of Tanzania – the western side – is the less touristy side. There is less English spoken. Camping is few and far between. Accommodation varies widely. Finding restaurants to eat at seems more difficult. Sorting out day to day admin feels more challenging.

And as we spend the evening in yet another sterile, functional, walled room, I miss my own bed (as the rooftop tent has become). I am surrounded by the same emotions that I had when we were in Dakar, Senegal, all those months ago: loss of control, cooped up, waiting for the next step in the process (so to speak). Dust is everywhere – our clothes are riddled, our skins tinged with red, and I have almost given up trying to keep myself clean. While in Dakar we were sorting out shipping for the vehicle, here we are going through the ‘process’ of crossing western Tanzania to reach Uganda.


The roads are tough going. The threat of Chinese tarmac, which was so evident on the southern part of this road, has now disappeared. Every car or bus or truck that passes spews up huge clouds of the red talcum powder, which permeates every corner, crack and nook. Distances are covered so slowly – a long day for us is only 250 – 300km … but at 35-40km/h that is up to 9 gruelling hours on bumping around. While it is ‘only’ another 3 days of driving until we reach the border, it seems eternal.
We both long for the ease of travel in southern Africa. It was so much more predictable, so much less tiring. The excitement was in where to go to next, not having to worry about whether we could get supplies or find somewhere to stay.

But then again, this still beats a desk job. Tomorrow when I wake up, I know the sun will be shining. I know that it will at least be warm – if not hot. The traffic we have to endure is a herd of cattle on the road, or the children walking to school. We still occasionally meet other travellers – backpackers people on short or long vehicle based trips, sometimes an overland truck – and a few expats too. Almost without exception, everyone is friendly, everyone has an interesting personal tale to tell, and everyone is generous with their time and knowledge. There is a certain colourfulness to life now, a certain 3 dimensional feel I can’t quite explain, that has been lacking for many years.

We don’t have too much longer left on the road, only about 2.5 months until the travel pot dries up. We still have at least 2 more new countries to visit, and a fair few to revisit. In a week’s time, I am sure I’ll look back and wonder what this was all about. And in 3 months I am sure I’ll be wishing I was still on the road.

But in the meantime, a big hug from Tom & Jemina will make all the difference. We’ll see them tomorrow. Old friends and a bit of familiarity go a long way …

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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 11 EmptyMon Aug 26, 2013 6:48 pm

Meeting of old friends

17th August 2013

It was just so truly wonderful to see good friends again! Hugs all round, a drink to celebrate being together with Tom and Jemina again!

It is wonderful how quickly friendships form on the road. We have spent time with Tom and Jemina in Zambia, twice in Malawi and now in Tanzania … if it wasn’t for the fact that they are on a tandem bicycle and we are in a vehicle, I am sure that we’d have travelled together a lot.

With us feeling generally slightly down, and Tom and Jemina both recovering from malaria, I think that it was relief for all of us to finally see a friendly face, have a big hug, and enjoy someone else’s company for a while.

We had a relatively short drive to the meeting point at Nyakanazi, and the road had improved to quite hard packed gravel – it was a pleasant drive after nearly 1,500km of dust. We reached Nyakanazi first, so it was up to us to find accommodation. There was nowhere obvious, and so the police check point provided a useful function: they directed us to the guest house used by the “mzingus” (white people). We settled in at Sayari Motel and waited for our friends to arrive.


That night, we cooked dinner together, compared stories from the road and just generally caught up. It was such a breath of fresh air!

We are heading in different directions from here – they are heading towards Rwanda then Uganda, while we are visiting Uganda and then Rwanda.

We look forward to seeing our friends again in Uganda and spend some more quality time together.

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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 11 EmptyMon Aug 26, 2013 6:50 pm

Shores of Lake Victoria

18th August 2013

Yes, there are many lakes in Africa – and we have found our way to yet another beautiful stretch of inland water.

We left Tom & Jemina in Nyakanzi and headed towards Bukoba, the last major town in Tanzania before crossing the border into Uganda. On Tracks4Africa, this road up the west of the lake indicates that an armed escort is required – but we spoke to a policeman in Nyakanazi, who informed us that this is no longer required. He told us that the police have bush camps in the region and many road checks to patrol the area. We felt confident.

We set off up the most beautiful stretch of tar!

Dusty days rapidly fled our memories as we found ourselves driving through new scenery: green landscapes as far as the eye could see! Banana trees were everywhere, and we also passed through pine forests. Viking Explorer felt as though he was back in Norway with the scents of the pine wafting into the window.


The town of Bukoba is very different from other towns we passed through up the western side of Tanzania: it had more structure and more on offer. It just felt more developed. There was only 1 campsite – which was located in the middle of a public beach with a low fence around it! It was a real goldfish bowl effect … and although we were left well alone, we felt like we were on centre stage.

There was a little restaurant and bar nearby, and we decided to have fresh fish for dinner – cooked by someone else Wink We agreed a time with the cook / waitress / hostess for later in the evening, and 15 minutes before dinner was ready, she came to call us from the campsite! How about that for service! She set up a small table on the beach for us, and we watched the water as we enjoyed our meal.


As we were heading to bed, we saw a text from Tom & Jemina. They had had more wheel problems and were struggling with their Rwanda visas, so had hitched with their tandem to Bukoba in the hopes of being able to find a new wheel. We didn’t manage to get hold of them – frustratingly – and had no idea where they were staying. We decided to try again in the morning.

After a quiet night’s sleep listening to the waves lapping on the shore only a few meters from our car, we surfaced. Our goal was to cross the border, but we wanted to check Tom & Jemina were OK before leaving. All packed and driving out of the gate they finally answered their phone … they were staying a mere 500m down the beach in a tiny guest house!

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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 11 EmptyMon Aug 26, 2013 6:51 pm

On being a cyclist

20th August 2013

We ended up staying the rest of the day, and the following day in Bukoka with Tom & Jemina. We joined them at the Spice Beach Hotel where the staff were exceptionally friendly and helpful. We were served casual breakfast on the terrace – eating off our laps in a camping fashion! They made space in their tiny front yard for our vehicle so that the guard could keep an eye on it overnight.

Then, we experienced the world through the eyes of cyclists, with the different attention that they receive. We went to find bicycle parts, track down spares, wander through markets. They have the additional challenge of being on a tandem, and so needing good strength in the backwheel. It was eye-opening, and we have so much respect for the efforts they need to go to.


We also managed to see some of the sights of Bukoba: there is a beautiful cathedral, complete with stained glass windows. We wandered through the produce markets, picking up fresh fruit and vegetables.

We checked out the little river, where there seemed to be rather an unusual number of marabou storks! We had drinks on the beach together, and Jemina cooked us delicious beef fajitas! Did I mention before what a great cook she is?!


We also took the chance to catch-up on some laundry – our clothes still soaked with dust. The brown colour of the water attesting to the effective of the filtering capability of fabric Wink
Eventually, everyone was happy that a solution for the wheel was at hand. Next morning, we packed up and headed for the border, making sure they knew where we were staying in Kampala … just in case.

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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 11 EmptyMon Aug 26, 2013 6:55 pm

Astride the middle of the earth

22nd August 2013

When we made the decision to ship our vehicle from Senegal to South Africa, my one regret was that we wouldn’t have a chance to drive across the equator.  So, when we started our planning for our stage II journey from South Africa, I added Uganda to the list – mainly as a place to cross the equator!

So, our excitement mounted as we headed from the borderpost at Mutukulu where we crossed into Uganda from Tanzania (see separate section for border crossings).

We stopped for the night at Masaka – about 80km from the border – at the Masaka Backpackers.  Here we were treated to the Ugandan friendliness and hospitality that we had been told about.  Joseph gave us lots of information about which Mobile Internet provider to use (Orange) and which mobile phone provider to use (Airtel).  Our trip into Masaka was almost a breathe of fresh air – it just felt tidier and more organised than in Tanzania – but still with a very African flavour.  But, without too much hassle we managed to connect ourselves!  Hooray!

Next morning, we headed towards Kampala – and on the way we had to cross in the Big Line!

It was quite fun, actually.  There are lots of restaurants and curio shops at the equator, and a lovely set up for taking photographs.  They also have a place to demonstrate that water drains in different directions in the north and southern hemisphere!  We had a drink, took lots of photos, met some lovely Japanese tourists.

Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 11 IMG_5666-448x336

Kapp 2 Cape: Nordkapp to Cape Agulhas starting Oct 2012 - Page 11 IMG_5653-448x336

.. and celebrated that we had made it this far.

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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 11 EmptyMon Aug 26, 2013 6:58 pm

There we go!

I think that I have managed to bring this thread up to date.

We are still in Kampala. Today we should be picking up Viking Explorer's Rwanda visa which we have been waiting for since Thursday (Monday today).

Then, we head out to start exploring Uganda! Lots to see and do, so we'll divide our budget accordingly and see what we manage!

Scroll up and have a read!

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 11 EmptyWed Aug 28, 2013 7:50 am

Yep, make the best of it while there are still tracks ... the tarmac's a coming! Sad 

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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 11 EmptyWed Aug 28, 2013 7:54 pm

Always enjoy reading the updates. You reminded me of my own crossing of Western Tanzania years ago. Enjoy Uganda and Rwanda as well. Haven't been to either since the war in 1994, so interested to hear about your experiences.

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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 11 EmptySun Sep 15, 2013 5:27 pm

Great adventure, great info, huge courage!clapping 

I'd like to have the same guts to do such trip. Maybe some day...


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