The Plan

The first leg of 45 day Cape to Nairobi.
Day 1 Highlight : West Coast and The Baths at Citrusdal We begin our journey at the Nomad Adventure Centre (204 Long Street, Cape Town) where we load the vehicle and depart. Our first stop is Bloubergstrand for a spectacular view of Table Mountain. After a few photographs we continue along the scenic West Coast. After lunch we head to Citrusdal where the afternoon is spent relaxing, swimming and familiarising ourselves with the details and routine of the tour. We spend the evening relaxing in the Hot Springs. L.D

Day 2/3 Highlight : Gariep (Orange) River and Richtersveld Nature Reserve Leaving the Cedarberg area we take a long and interesting drive up the West Coast to the mighty Gariep (Orange) River where we set up camp on it's banks. For the energetic, the next day can be spent canoeing down this mighty river. Others might prefer to have a day in the sun, swimming and relaxing. B.L.D

Day 4 Highlight : Fish River Canyon We head off to the Fish River Canyon and to what can be one of the hottest areas in Africa. After setting up camp we take a drive to the Canyon's edge where there is the opportunity (temperature permitting) to hike down to the bottom, before enjoying the sunset and a sundowner back at the rim. B.L.D

Day 5 Highlight : Sesriem From the canyon we continue on into the remote Namibian hinterland. We arrive at Sossusvlei and have time to go for a walk down in to the much smaller Sesriem Canyon. We camp for the night under the stars, beside the fire, surrounded by dunes. B.L.D

Day 6 Highlight : Soussusvlei A very early start is needed so we can enjoy the sunrise over the magnificent dunes. After that we can go for a hike in to the vlei, to really experience the dunes. The afternoon is spent relaxing by the swimming pool in the Sesriem camp. B.L.D

Day 7 Highlight : Swakopmund We leave Sossusvlei for a dramatic drive through the Namib Desert towards Swakopmund. If we are lucky the fantastic flamingo flock will be in residence at Walvis Bay en route to Swakopmund. B.L

Day 8 Highlight : Swakopmund Today we have the opportunity to partake in the various activities in and around Swakopmund. We can explore the beaches, go quadbiking and sandboarding, or visit the desolate Moon landscape and Welwitschia Plains. The evening is normally spent at a local restaurant. This is the last evening for those on the Cape Town to Swakopmund tour. B.L.D

Day 9 Highlight : Spitzkoppe Day one for those on the Swakopmund to Victoria Falls tour. We leave Swakopmund early and set off for Cape Cross, which hosts the biggest seal colony on the African coast. We carry on to the magical Spitzkoppe where we camp in the wild for the night. B.L.D

Day 10/11 Highlight : Etosha National Park An early rise for a colourful drive north to Etosha and some of most unique game viewing in Africa. We spend our days visiting the abundant water holes for some excellent game photography, and evenings next to the campfire. After supper we can relax alongside some of the finest floodlit waterholes in the world. B.L.D

Day 12 Highlight : Hot Springs We make our way south, from Etosha, towards Windhoek for an evening at Gross Barman. We spend a relaxing afternoon at the Hot Springs and swimming pool. B.L.D

Day 13 Highlight : Ghanzi After departing Gross Barman we travel east towards Buitepos where we cross the border in to Botswana. Travelling through the northern Kalahari we experience some of this famous desert before camping at Ghanzi. B.L.D

Day 14/15/16 Highlight : Okavango Delta We depart Ghanzi early for the drive up to the Delta, late in the afternoon we arrive at our base camp for the next three days. We can then spend the next few days traversing the winding channels of the delta, going on game walks, and riding in a traditional dugout mokoro. B.L.D

Day 17 Highlight : Nata We spend time on the scenic drive to Nata where we spend the night. B.L.D

Day 18 Highlight : Chobe Today we drive to our camp on the banks of the Chobe River. In the afternoon there is the opportunity to go on a game drive or boat cruise into the renowned Chobe National Park, an excellent opportunity for viewing some of the best of the African wildlife. The evening is spent under the stars listening to the sounds of the night. B.L.D

Day 19 Highlight : Victoria Falls After an early morning game drive for boat cruise (optional) we depart Kasane and head for Zimbabwe and the vibrant town of Victoria Falls. We arrive at our final destination around noon and after lunch we have time to visit the Falls, go on a sunset cruise or book your activities for the next few days. B.L

Day 20 Highlight : Victoria Falls This is the final day of the tour. Most people will spend the day White Water Rafting. This is an experience of a lifetime and not to be missed. For the less adventurous there a numerous other activities available (Bungee Jumping, Elephant Back Safari, Flights over the Falls.) The last evening is spent at a local restaurant and recalling the days adventures. B

Day 21 Start second half of trip to Nairobi.

The journey starts in VICTORIA FALLS TOWN which takes its name from the magnificent Falls which span the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia. Locally known as Musi Oa Tunya ('the Smoke that Thunders') the Falls are 1,500 metres wide and the River Zambezi drops over 100 metres, sending spray high into the air. A statue of David Livingstone stands close by and on discovering the Falls he wrote 'on sights as beautiful as this Angels in their flight must have gazed'. The best way to appreciate the full magnificence of the Falls is to take a flight right over them - aptly called the Flight of the Angels. There are also numerous other activities which can be undertaken, including white water rafting on the River Zambezi, bungee jumping, horse-riding in the Zambezi National Park and an evening Sundowner Cruise to view the game on the banks of the River Zambezi. Alternatively you can visit the crocodile farm or simply enjoy a few beers in the elegant colonial surroundings of the Victoria Falls Hotel. On the first day of our journey we cross the famous rail/road bridge into ZAMBIA and it is only a short drive to the town of Livingstone where we spend our first night. In the evening there is an option to join a spectacular sunset cruise on the River Zambezi to watch the hippos and crocodiles, as well as game animals at the water's edge - free drinks are included! In Zambia tourism is still relatively undeveloped but its people are friendly and helpful and the country offers a taste of the 'real' African way of life. We continue north through the hill country south of KAFUE and reach the capital of LUSAKA where we stop to shop in its colourful market. At Chipata we cross the border into MALAWI, a beautiful land of lakes, rivers and mountains which is dominated by the huge Rift Valley and lake of the same name. We visit the capital, LILONGWE before heading for Nanchengwas, an idyllic spot on the southern shores of the lake close to CAPE MACLEAR and MONKEY BAY. Here you can enjoy a wide variety of water sports, including snorkelling and scuba diving and see the splendid array of multicoloured tropical fish in the protected waters of Lake Malawi National Park. You can also explore the countryside on horseback, go fishing with the local people or browse the small markets where craftsmen sell high quality ebony and mahogany carvings, including the distinctive two-piece chief's chair. The road north is dotted with attractive towns and secluded lakeside beaches and at KANDE BEACH there is a tranquil tree-lined campsite where we can settle down to enjoy some sun and relaxation. This is another excellent place for water sports and the clear blue waters surrounding the offshore island are home to hundreds of species of brightly coloured tropical fish which can easily be seen with snorkelling equipment. Alternatively, you can take a guided walk to visit one of the nearby villages, or hire mountain bikes to explore the area. Continuing north, we reach CHITIMBA and camp at the foot of a steep escarpment which we climb on foot to visit the picturesque village of LIVINGSTONIA where a Christian mission was founded in 1894 in memory of the great Victorian explorer and missionary, David Livingstone. The museum houses many of Livingstone's original letters and records and gives a fascinating insight into his life and explorations, and the quaint British village atmosphere of the town seems strangely out of place here in central Africa. There are stunning views from the top of the escarpment out across the lake and you can also take a short detour to see the beautiful 300 metre high MANCHEWE FALLS. From here, we cross the border into TANZANIA and after negotiating the rocky roads of the Kipengere Range in the far south of the country we reach the major southern town of MBEYA. Situated in the centre of a fertile area with coffee, tea, cocoa and banana plantations, there is an excellent market and we spend a couple of hours in town before continuing north through central Tanzania. Here the countryside changes to sparse bush and hill scenery interspersed with the legendary tree of Africa, the baobab or upside down tree. This tree is rarely seen in leaf but grows to a huge circumference and many specimens are over 2000 years old. Other common trees include the jacaranda, the yellow thorn acacia and the sausage tree, identifiable by its huge sausage shaped fruits weighing 3 or 4 kilos each. This area provides classic bush camping and with provisions bought from the market and the plentiful wood available, there is an opportunity to enjoy a first class meal and campfire amid this splendid, isolated African countryside. Crossing MIKUMI GAME PARK where elephants and other animals can often be seen close to the road, we reach the former Tanzanian capital, DAR ES SALAAM. Dar is a busy port and an excellent place for souvenirs, particularly carvings made from ebony and other local hardwoods. We spend a night at a beach side campsite just north of the city, and then we take a ferry to the exotic Spice Island of ZANZIBAR. Settled in the past by Indians, Chinese, Persians and Omani Arabs, the narrow winding streets, magnificently carved doors and spice bazaars of the Old Town resemble parts of the Middle East more than Black Africa, whilst the idyllic, unspoilt beaches on the east side of the island are amongst the best in the whole of Africa. Outside the main town, you can also take a tour of the spice plantations, visit Prison Island where you can see the giant tortoises or even swim with the dolphins in the seas off the island. From Dar, we turn inland and enter the Masai plains which straddle the Tanzanian/Kenyan border area. On a clear day we will be able to see the impressive peaks of MOUNT KILIMANJARO, at nearly 6000 metres the highest mountain in Africa. The tall, elegant Masai tribes people live a fiercely independent pastoral existence and Masai herdsmen are a common sight carrying long spears and decorated gourds which they use to mix their staple diet - cow's blood and milk which is then curdled with cow's urine. Passing the town of MOSHI we reach the busy coffee production centre of ARUSHA. From here we arrange 2 or 3 day game watching safaris using landrovers and local guides to visit the spectacular SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK and NGORONGORO CRATER. The Serengeti has perhaps the largest concentration of game anywhere in the world and elephant, rhinoceros, buffalo, lion, giraffe, zebra, hyena, eland, waterbuck and cheetah are just some of the animals which inhabit the 15,000 square kilometres of the reserve. For those who choose to take the full three day safari option, we spend a day driving through the Serengeti, watching for lion, elephant and, with luck, even leopard, before camping in the heart of the Reserve where the sounds of the wildlife can be heard through the night. The next morning we reach the Ngorongoro Crater which is an extinct volcano whose crater walls form a natural enclosure to a vast range of wildlife. The early morning view from the mist-shrouded rim with the crater lake reflecting the blue sky is unforgettable and once we descend to the central plains, the crater walls provide a natural backdrop to the prolific game. From Arusha, it is a day's drive across the border to Kenya to conclude our journey in the busy capital city of NAIROBI. Here the opportunities for further travel are vast; you can take a train to the old Portuguese town of Mombasa and the backpackers haven of Twiga Lodge, head for the atmospheric Swahili island town of Lamu, organise safaris to some of the remoter wildlife reserves of northern Kenya or simply enjoy the cosmopolitan shops, Western style facilities and excellent restaurants to be found in the city which is the commercial and cultural capital of East Africa.

Days 1-3: from Victoria Falls enter Zambia, via Livingstone to Lusaka
4-9: enter Malawi - Lilongwe, Nanchengwas, Cape Maclear, Kande Beach
8-11 Livingstonia, northern Lake Malawi
12-13: enter Tanzania, Mikumi National Park
14-19: Dar es Salaam, Island of Zanzibar
20-23: drive via Moshi to Arusha; game drives in Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater
24: arrive Nairobi

Capetown

Arrived on thursday the 24th around 11:30 and after dropping the bags off at Magdels parents house and changing into a swimsuit and teva's we went to the beach. There are some great mountains surrounding Capetown which remind me of Rio down in Brazil. There are also shantytowns filled with uncounted masses of poor like the fatawas (sp?) in Brazil. Supposedly Capetown is the only area the National African Coalition did not win in the last election. If they win here as well next time they will be able to re-write the constitution. So they are supposedly sending bus loads of poor blacks into the area to increase the vote.

Anyway, the beach was nice, but very windy (it was windy almost every day of my stay and very hot on the few calm days). Took some pictures of the beach and surrounding mountains. Walked along the beach and saw a photo shoot being done with some decorative girls being drapped over some surfer dudes wearing the must have outfits guaranteed to increase your standing on the local beach :) Had dinner at the parents (who are very nice), Tani cooked a great meal, and then everyone went to bed early.

Next morning went for a run along the beach in Strand where Magdel's parents live ( a sub-burb of Capetown). Then went for a hike up Table Mountain. Maybe a hour and a half of tough hiking, but a great view from the top. Rode the rotating cable car back down. Then to Green Market for lunch. After which I went to my tour office to set up a hostel for next thurday and confirm my tour. We all had drinks with Rosemary ( a friend of Magdel) at the Radison, then Greg and I saw the Lord of the Rings while Magdel went out for a birthday dinner with a friend. The movie cost 27 Rand and another 8.5 R for a large coke. Currently it is about 11 Rand to the dollar, so everything here is about 1/2 off or more.

Anyway, to speed up this somewhat boring recap spent the next several days going to a birthday party at a vineyard up in the mountains with a picnic and wine tasting. Went camping up in the Cederberg mountains for two nights with Greg, Magdel, and Rosemary, where we did some rock climbing and bouldering in Rocklands climbing area. Then returned to Capetown driving along the west coast and camping on the beach. Spent the last evening visiting some climbing friends of Magdel's. Then on thursday got dropped off on long street.

Of course the first thing found was the Carnaval Court Hostel (255 long street) had no record of my reservation, but they gave me a double room for the single 90R price so no problem. Went to find Nomad adventure tours prior to the 7pm pre-safari meeting and again found they had no record of my booking - one wonders why I bothered to do anything in the states before hand :) Anyway, still room on the trip so that is sorted out.

So far there has been none of the death and tribulation you are all reading for, everything has been a pleasant vacation. But fear not things are looking up for more excitement in the future. It is rainy season in Nambia so we were told to expect some washed out roads and breakdowns. Malaria, sunstroke, and dehydration are almost certain to plague us. And certain to spell trouble there are several cute girls signed up for the trip as well. Ours will be the last trip into Zimbabwe for a while because the upcoming elections are expect to ignite the country into riots and such, in fact we may be diverted to Zambia if things get to hot. You may have heard on the news of the US and Europe freezing the leader's funds he is smuggling out of the country. He recently told all the farmers to turn in their guns so they would have no defence against the squatters moving in and taking the land. I am sure there are other sides to this whole situation, but the feeling here at least among those I talked to is the country is f*&%'ed.

Spent thursday night catching up on email, sending out reports and such. Also went to Mama's Africa for a dinner of Kudu, Ostrich, Springbok, and Crocodile. Yummy, with a band knocking on drums and boards and such for african background music. Spent friday sleeping in for the first time, getting last minute insect repelant and such and sending out this update. Time for dinner soon. I will try and get some pictures sent to Joe tomorrow, although I don't know how long until any of this gets posted. I have been warned that there won't be much contact while out overlanding so don't expect to hear from me for a month or more. Maybe then I will have some harrowing tales:)

Later,
John - Feb 1, 2002

Nambia ->

Well everyone I am in Swakomund so I will send out as much of an update as I have time for:

To finish up Capetown I need to pass on Rosemary's dessert recipe we had while camping in the Cederburg's. Split a banana, insert chocolate and marshmellows, wrap in foil and put on coals for 5 minutes. Great alternative to smores!

Other than running around for last minute supplies I didn't do much the last couple of days. Friday night I decided to go see a movie since the street was quiet and the party at the hostel didn't start until later. Got some directions to the waterfront and spent the next hour walking around the streets of Capetown at night looking for it. Rosemary later told me it wasn't a safe area to walk at night, but I had no problems. Saw Training Day and then walked home about 1am. On Saturday, went back to Waterfront which is a major tourist attraction and had lunch with Rosemary then went to the aquarium. Dinner that night was at a really nice steak place, but I can't remember the name. Only 70R for the meal however.

Sunday morning early meet at Nomad adventure center and loaded up in Elle our truck until Vic falls. There are 12 guys and 9 ladies, we will pick up two more ladies in Swakopmund. After Vic falls there are currently only 8 of us going on to Kenya, but we will pick up 7 or more new passengers and a new truck. I am one of the oldest on the trip. First day drove to ClanWilliams and camped at the dam, took a swim in the lake and picked tiny leaches off my feet. All the stops to Swakopmund will be camping in tents with dinners around the campfire. Since I don't have my journal with me and I am sure you don't want a day by day I will try to just hit the highlights.

Did a overnight rafting trip down the orange river after crossing into Nambia (temp at crossing 48 degrees C!) Partner and I managed to crash our canoe onto the rocks, sinking it and spilling us into the rapids. I held onto the sunken canoe and swam it to a gravel bank where we could bail it out.

Hiked up to the top of Dune 45 and then went to TSOSSUS VLEI for a walk with Bushman. TSOSSUS translates as "the place where people disappear into the sand" Also walked to Dead Vlei and took more pictures. If I manage to get them to Joe to put on the website these were the ones with just dead trees sticking out of a baked white hardpan. Picture of me sitting on a fallen tree was also where a small boy sat in what recent movie scene? First one with the correct answer to this trivia question as determined by posting on the guestbook wins something. :)

I have also had a chance to pet a leopard, picture somewhere of it kissing my ear, and play with a young male lion. It thinks it is the lowest status creature at camp Gecko so as long as you show no fear and bat it roughly on the ears if it gets too frisky you are fine. Show you are scared and he loves to find something that will run if he chases it :) Our truck was invaded by African Killer Bees at the base of Dune 45, had to climb inside with the quide to open the windows with bees buzzing around our heads. Then went tearing down the road to blow them out. Only other close incounter was a baby cobra that slithered across my foot while I was trying to repair my sunglasses at camp. I kicked it off by reflex before I saw what it was. It postured at me for a little before slithering off into the brush. Got to Swakopmund yesterday and went out for a meal in a restaurant for the first time in a week. Had Springbok pie, then everyone went out dancing until late. Went skydiving this morning, quad biking out on the dunes this afternoon, and I am writting this while I wait for sunset to go para-sailing. Leave tomorrow for the malaria area and I have forgotten again to take my Malarone. Damn! :(

Bye for now - John 2/10/02

Luska ->

Hi everyone, I haven't sent an update in a while and don't have time now as I am already late for the truck, but I will give a quick rundown with a followup later.

Went deep into the Okavango Delta by mecura (a canoe pushed by a pole) for a couple of nights, slept surrounded by lions, elephants, hipppo's and such. Caught some bug that laid me up in Vic Falls throwing up for a day, which blindsided my attempt to update from there. Zimbabwe closed the border to a bus load of British tourists the day after we got through. Got a fake charge by a bull elephant while on canoes two days ago while on the lower Zambezze river where we camped out as well. Elephant came within 5 to 10 meters, but just wantted to scare us off. Had to play obstical course with the Hippos in the river, they like to tip canoes sometimes. Only got to swim in the shallows a few inches deep so we could see any crocs under the water.

We have lost both of our guides to malaria, one is in the hospital now and can't be moved, the other drove us into to Luska. We are waiting for replacements before continueing on. Managed to leave half the group behind yesterday. Went down the road about 3 hours before turning around to get them, so yesterday was a waste, what a screw up. Blame the malaria. I will hopefully go over the last 3 weeks in more detail the next time I am at a computer for more than a few minutes. Take care everyone.

John 2/28/02

Luska (cont)->

Well the plane couldn't make it to Luska today so our replacement driver won't be here until tomorrow. We went and setup camp out of town. The truck came back to resupply with food and I came in to try and get another update out while waiting. Let's see - what do I remember happening since Swakop...

Parasailing over the desert that evening was cool. The next day we had until 1 while we waited for a couple of girls from Sweden (Anne and Marlin) to arrive. I found a computer shop and burned all the pictures I have so far onto a small CD and mailed them to brother Joe. There are far more than anyone is going to want to wait for on the web so I hope Joe and his wife Christi will do a quick sort and just post their favorites to my site. Also got my first cheeseburger in a while.

Next stop was Spitzkoppe, a huge pile of rocks out in the middle of nowhere. We actually brought extra water with us to leave with some of the locals since they have no water for a 100km. For those of you who have seen Enchanted Rocks in Texas picture steeper piles laying around in groups. Saw some old bushman paintings - notable I guess because of their age. Otherwise nothing you would put on the fridge. The benefit of being first is a lack of comparision :) That night I took a turn swinging the fire chains. A pair of chains about two feet long with a corded wood end that is soaked in oil and lit on fire. The object is to swing them around you without getting tangled up, clobbered, or burned. It is quite cool to see at night and their owner Ali is quite good. Several of us also tried swinging them unlit, but I was the only one Ali let use on fire. Payoff from all the two handed sword forms I did for Kung-fu. For a first or second attempt I didn't burn or kill myself although I did have some comical moments when they got out of control. Tricky little suckers, especially in the dark at the edge of a ledge overlooking the campfire :)

Headed to Etosha park - saw a mother cheetah with two cubs that went into a stalk and then ran down a rabbit right in front of us. We were all taking pictures, but she was too fast to focus on once she took off. Made the kill and let the cubs who were somewhat clueless eat right by our truck. Guides going to Etosha for 3 years haven't seen cheetah's so we were very lucky. Also saw wilderbeasts, giraffes, zebra, and a rhino. Next morning on another game drive came across two lionesses with three young eating a couple of zebra they had killed earlier in the morning. We got within about 30 feet so again really lucky with what we saw. Should be pictures on their way to Joe.

Couple of days deleted in interest of brevity. Had some rainstorms soak the tents, etc. Got to the Okavango Delta and loaded tents, sleeping bags, and small day packs into a old 4 wheel drive army truck to head into the delta. Transfered into speedboats and went further into the delta. Really cool speeding through narrow channels in the grass and papyrious stacks. Came across a group of hippo's in the water. Camped that night out on an island to the sound of lion's out in the night. Next day got into mecuras, two people and gear to a canoe with a poleman to push us further in through tiny channels in the reeds. Middle of nowhere, camped on another island, went on game walks, elephants in the distance, lots of baboons, some warthogs, etc. The poleman did some african singing and dancing that night. Then reverse back out to the speedboats and to a third island back near the truck dropoff where Mecura Lodge is. Rain opened up that night totally flooding the tents. Everyone except a couple of people feeling sick where still at the bar so everyone went running through the downpour to save cameras and sleeping bags. Everyone slept in the bar that night.

Next day took a flight over the delta in a small plane with a couple of the others. Lots of wildlife, flew about 500 feet up. Further camps at camp Balboa and Chobe river. Went on river cruise through Chobe park, lots of crocodiles, hippos, and elephants. Then headed into Zambezze and Vic Falls, no problem at border despite upcoming elections of Mugabe, but heard that a bus of British were turned back at the border the next day.

Vic Falls is a cheap place to get tourist stuff. The local currance trades at 6x the price on the black market so if you don't change at the bank everything is cheap. The Falls are impressive, but I missed the rafting trip because I got sick and spent the night throwing up and the next day sleeping. Said goodby to half our group here and got some new folk. The new truck and drivers were having problems so the departure day started late and our old truck drove us over to Zambia to setup camp and wait for the new truck and the quides Charlie and Aiten. I went for a gorge swing that afternoon. Better than bungee or skydiving. You freefall 54m off a cliff before the rope pulls you into a swing across the gorge at 140 to 180 km/hour. Jumping tandem backwards was best! Went tandem with Evon from Germany, her friend Sindy and Leon were with us. Hopefully I will get copies of their pictures. Next day had a 500km drive on really bad roads to camp Gwabi on the zambezie river. Next day took off on canoes for the day to camp 30km down the river. Came across a elephant eating grass by the bank who thought we were after the grass ourselves so gave us a warning charge to within less than 10m. Thats a scary sight when you are in a tippy little canoe in shallow water! Had to dodge hippo alley where we were weaving around them. Almost went over from a submerged tree. Had a little swim after lunch and at our final campsite on this island on the river, but had to stay in shallow water less than a foot deep so we could see any large crocs coming. Otherwise, people have been pulled under in deeper water and don't make it out. Have to be carefull at night when washing hands in river. Beautiful sunset, with a full moon out. Great!

Motorboats came for us the next morning and we headed out to Luska. Charlie didn't come into the river with us because of being very sick with Malaria, she went to a local hospital instead. She was still in bad shape when we came out. She is now in the hospital here in Luska and too sick to fly. The driver Aiten is also feeling bad (pretty sure malaria also), but is still moving under his own power. Both will be staying here to recover while Nomad tries to fly a new crew up to join us. Sounds like our early driver Jan will be one of them. Anyway, gave me a chance to finish this update and send Joe another CD of pictures. Feeling good, no one will believe I wake up on my own around 5:30 every morning and go to bed as early as 9 if there isn't a bar at the campground. Go figure.

Later, John - 2/28/02

Nairobi

Well the overland tour has ended and I am in Nairobi now. I will catch a ride with the truck back to Arusha tomorrow morning if Jan feels well enough to drive. I had an update mostly done earlier today when I had to leave the computer, unfortunately the save draft on yahoo doesn't seem to have worked so now I have no energy to redo the long version :(

We left Lusaka with Jan and the new driver Francois, the old guides Aiten and Charlie were left at the hospital to recover from malaria. First night out was at Bridgecamp, a small campground along side the river with nothing to recogmend it. Next day continued on to Lilongwe in Malawi. Picked up some supplies, looked through the craft market, and found no atm's that except foreign cards. The next day went on to Singa bay campground at lake Malawi. Nice beach and sunset, some volleyball and a tour of the local village. The next morning woke up to a torrential rain. The bottoms of the tents are nicely waterproof so a 8 inch deep pool forms as the water rains through the canvas top. The flys are smaller than the tents so only slow the inevitable soaking. Everyone bailed to the truck or the bar to wait out the rain. I spent most of the morning at the nearby hotel talking with Jan and Francois about ideas for different careers. The hotel was very expensive at 160$ US a night, but upon asking for a menu to order breakfast was told that different orders would bother the Chef and I should just order fries like my friends :)

Spent afternoon on beach and climbing some rocks, had to stop short of the top due to lack of ropes for getting back down. No rain the second night, beautiful sunrise over the lake the next morning, watched a troop of baboons roam about and steal someone's sandwich from behind her back. We were scheduled to go to a campsite further up the lake, but both campsite and road were washed out. Instead took the M1 up the center of the country. This is the major highway in Malawi and about like the road out to the farm in Granger. Found the Lulauwe campsite up in the mountains after a horrible road through the forest to the middle of nowhere. Quite cool which was a refreshing change, played some pingpong that night and went for a couple hour hike the next morning where I broke the battery door on my small camera sliding down a wet clay road. Back to lake Malawi for the next two nights. Highlights were a three hour hike up to a waterfall which proved I am not ready for Kili, a goat killed and roasted on a spit, and another downpoar the first night where I slept in the truck. Next day headed for Tanzania, everyone got out twice to help push the truck up muddy roads. Drivers were sure we would get stuck like all the other trucks we passed on the side of the road, but somehow we made it through unlike the drifter overland truck behind us that needed a grater to pull it out twice. Stayed in another campsite up in the mountains on the way to Dar Salam. I really like the cold nights compared to the normal heat. Great hot chocolate at the bar here. Fell off the back of the truck the next morning in the dark, but escaped with only scrapes and bruises. Macardi beach campsite in Dar was hot and full of mosquitos and serves a orange slush with a suprising hidden kick in it. Next three days were spent on Zanzibar, first night in Stonetown and the next two up at the north end at Nungwi beach. Went diving one day to Mnemba Atoll. Saw lots of turtles, and swam with some dolphins that were swimming by. Zanzibar is a interesting place with a mix of Arab and African cultures. Nice place to relax for a while. After another night a Mecardi beach it was up to Arusha and the Messerani snake park. There is a picture somewhere of me holding a snake on my shoulders. Highlight of the trip was heading into the Serangeti (sp?) and Norogori crater for the next two nights by landcrusiers. The amount of wildlife is unbelievable. Places where the herds of zebra and wilderbeasts streached to the horizon. Saw elephants, lions, cheetahs, buffalo, girafes, hippos, crocodiles, monkeys, baboons, eagles, vultures, cranes, and a leopard which are rare to see. Spent the night in the lodges which were very nice. Had some wilderbeast which tastes like beef and some warthog which tastes like pork chops. Francois went in with us but spent the whole time down with malaria in the back seat. Back in Arusha we left Francois in town to recover at the hospital and left for Ambroseli National park in Kenya. After the Serangeti and Norogori it was a huge disappointment and even the Massa dancers were boring. Just some guys chanting and jumping straight up and down. I had a great night sleep and took some good pictures of the sunset on Kilamanjaro. Jan however was feeling quite sick himself and barily drove us to Nairobi the next day before checking into the hospital with Malaria himself. The campsite here is a dump and most people are just waiting to fly out. I will hang around until Jan is in good enough shape to drive back down to Arusha where I will try and arrange to climb Kilamanjaro.

End of the overland - March 20th 2002