Monday, July 10, 2017

Back into South Africa

We slowly packed up at Big Five Safaris Lodge and headed south for Nata, we were just out of town when I saw a huge kudu bull alongside the road, it was going to be a good game viewing day.  We had hardly left the town when we started seeing elephants and saw them constantly for the rest of the day.  Although lovely to see these gentle giants we have been told that they are a major problem to the country since the hunting in Botswana has been closed.  The total destruction of huge tracts of land is a very real indication of this.

We had decided to spend the night at a camp called Elephant Sands and we arrived at the turn off and headed to the camp, the gravel road was ok but not great and eventually it turned into thick sand, I managed the loose gravel and some of the sand but when it got really thick I decided to slow it down.
We arrived at the camp to find a very different camp from the last time we had been there in 2008, where there was a large number of trees and grass we were greeted by a desert! Not one tree in sight and white thick sand everywhere, apparently the elephants have destroyed every tree and blade of grass.  We walked around and looked at the barren landscape and decided that with our little tent with no shade we would carry onto Nata Safari Lodge, so back down the sandy track and onto the tar heading to Nata and Nata Lodge.  We arrived there to find a great shaded camp with good facilities.  We had a fairly late start because it was cold and decided that we were not in a great rush.

We had been warned that the road south of Nata was very bad and we encountered small sections of badly potholed road, slowing the traffic down a lot but on the whole it was plain sailing.  Ralph had phoned us to say that he would try and arrange for us to spend sometime on his family-in-laws farm along the Limpopo  River, the border between Botswana and South Africa.  He sent us co-ordinates for the gate and the camp and we set off.  We stopped in Francistown to buy food for the next two days, I battled to find decent meat and went from the Shoprite (South African brand) to the Spar, I eventually found enough food for the next two days.  We squashed everything into the panniers and bags on the bikes and hoped that it would not be too badly squashed.

New roads around the shopping area in Francistown had our GPS’s confused and we went around and around and we eventually spotted the more upmarket shopping centre with a Woolies Food! Too bad everything had been bought.

Good roads led us to the farm and we turned off the tar road onto a two track gravel road, luckily Ralph knows his mothers capabilities and and the road was sandy but good, about 6km to the next gate of good farm roads.  As we arrived at the camp the the sand was extremely thick and soft and I slowed down for the last 15m.

We arrived at the camp and we were met by Petrus, a wonderfully welcoming Zimbabwean managing the Kwalata Camp.  We were blown away by the beauty and tranquility of the camp and we had the whole place to ourselves! Five star luxury! A warm comfortable CLEAN bed and a wonderful shower.  The kitchen was made available and we cooked a very simple meal and sat outside listening to the night noises and then headed for bed and a good warm nights sleep.  We were starting with the real cold, the next morning was 6 degrees!

We had a wonderful slow start to the morning and a walk on the farm, Larry was thrilled with the number of birds that were moving around the area.  During the afternoon Petrus took us on a game drive and we saw lots of animals, the farm was dry but still plenty of grazing.

The next morning Petrus told us we could take a short cut through the next door farm and we would come out at the Martins Drift border post.  Fairly straight gravel farm tracks and 6km later we were at the border post, no-one else was awake yet and we were the only people there and then onto out final border crossing into South Africa at Grobler’s bridge.  The customs official said they hardly ever get people crossing with a Carnet, so I helped him complete the forms and 25 minutes later for both border posts we were back on home ground.  A good feeling but also a sad moment as we knew our journey was coming to an end.

We had made arrangements to meet with Larry’s brother, Shaun and his girlfriend Ingrid,  just outside Rustenburg.  Good roads and well sign posted made the trip a easy run until just outside Rustenburg where we met with the first of three long Stop / Go.  This held us up by about 20 minutes, but we arrived just in time for the braai, Shaun and Ingrid fed us really well and we spent a pleasant afternoon with them and then headed to Hartebeespoort to our daughter in law.  Ralph was coming home for about 24 hours and we were thrilled to be able to see him the next morning.

We arrived at Winandi and Ralph's home and Mr and Mrs Fokker joined us for a very pleasant meal out. The next morning we went with Nandi to Lanseria Airport to fetch Ralph, we had a quick breakfast with the two of them and packed our bikes to head to Bloemfontein.  It was wonderful seeing both of them, Larry had last seen them in November last year in Dubai.  At 11am we climbed back on our bikes and had a smooth trip to Bloemfontein, we had booked into Bain’s Game Lodge because we knew it was going to be very cold and it was, when we woke the next morning there was lots of frost about.

Our next destination was Hammonds Farm, Fort Beaufort, to visit Amy and her family, we only left Bloemfontein at about 9am, trying to evade the bitter cold.  With layers of clothes on we set off, after about an hour and a half we stopped to put our rain gear on, not because of rain but to try and stop the cold, it helped but we were still bitterly cold.  The wind was horrible with us riding at a 45 degree angle at times and bouncing around like champagne corks when a big on coming truck was level with us.  Eventually when we got to Queenstown it started to warm up, going to the Nico Malan Pass we could feel a distinct difference and coming down the escarpment meant that the wind got less and less.

Amy and Charles had been forewarned that we were close and we met Charles and Matty at the top gate of the farm, Matty decided that he wanted to ride with Larry and there was only just enough room for him between Larry and the black bag containing our camping gear.  Much excitement as we arrived at the house!

During the night there were a few rain showers (not much, the Eastern Cape is suffering one of the most severe droughts in memory) and the next morning spots of rain were still about so back on with our rain suits and the last 100km to Grahamstown and home.

28 June. 2017
We were in luck, we didn't get wet just cold and as we arrived home the gate opened, Murphy rushed out to meet us and nearly bowled me off my bike, what a welcome home.  Granny Eth and Kitty Fat gave us a much more sedate welcome, Granny was thrilled to see us and Kitty Fat was terrified of us in our biking gear.

It is always great to be home but it is also sad to finish a long planned trip and we have a sense of what now???????????

Bikes have been washed and cleaned and parked in the hanger and will be taken out on regular runs for the next few months…… until our next big adventure!!

Thanks to everyone who helped us logistically, emotionally and just followed us on the blog, it is always great knowing that people are out there interested in what we are doing.  Until next time.

Larry and Sharon

Sunday, July 2, 2017


We spent three nights in Russell’s camp, the camp is really great, lots of big trees and very comfy chalets with en-suite bathrooms and plenty of hot water.  We also had three meals a day which is unusual for us on these bike trips because it is so difficult to carry food and often difficult to find food in remote villages.  Jo and Calvin,  the camp managers were fantastic and went out of their way to help us find accommodation and even sent food with us when we eventually left.
Russell took us for a long drive around the concession and there is lots of mopani bush and huge trees, it is hilly and very remote.  Larry is determined that a runway has to be built in front of the lodge so that we can fly over the area.  Russell did his trike license a few years ago but has not maintained it, so that is a good job for us in July when we get home.  We are looking forward to a trip up there with a microlight!!
We saw lots of animal spore but very few animals and Russell assured us that this was normal, this is proper hunting and not culling or shooting.  Plenty of birds and he is keen to get some birding safaris going there.
At one stage we landed up on the old national road, a twee spore track leading to the closest village of Zumba, the negative side of things up there is the corruption of the local leaders, they want meat all the time and expect the hunting camps to provide them with this.  Hippo is a firm favorite and there are plenty of them.  The river is teaming with hippo and huge crocs.
Elephant, lion, hyena and hippo often move through the camp,  unfortunately we didn't get to see them while we were there.
After all our laundry was done for us and our tummies were filled we had to head back to the village of Zumba to clear immigration and then onto Luangwa, to re-enter Zambia and collect our bikes.  Lesley was at home when we arrived at their home and we loaded the bikes and got into our newly laundered BMW suits and headed out towards Lusaka.  The road was an easy run and we got into the city at about 2pm so traffic wasn't too bad, we stopped at one of the large shopping centers and managed to get something for supper.  Our next overnight place was called Moorings and we had stayed there in 2011 and had the worst meal ever so were not going to repeat that.  I decided that bangers, mash and mixed veggies were on the menu, we have a small gas stove and two pots and a tiny frying pan so it was quite a feat to cook a meal like this and serve it hot, pots and pans were juggled on the stove and we had a wonderful feast.
The next morning we headed for Livingstone and we decided that we would like to try and camp somewhere near there.  We looked in the actual town, but didn't find anywhere that grabbed us, too many people and traffic and loud music. So we headed towards the Kazungua border, thinking that we would find  a place along that road, the first road that we went down lead to a very fancy resort, about 2km from the actual resort we came across a herd of elephant, a couple with huge tusks.  We stopped and Larry took some photos and while doing that two game guards ambled up to the elephants and started walking among them! Obviously a tame herd used at the lodge.  We had some sand and I managed it fine with my newly acquired skill of lots of power, got to the main road long before Larry!!
So the next road down had a sign for a lodge and so we ventured down this one,  after two gates and lots of horses we arrived at the fancy lodge and were told definitely no camping, back up the sandy track and the lodge owner told us that down the next track there was a campsite, so we set off again.  We arrived at the third turn off and a nice gravel road greeted us, great stuff! This didn't last long and it turned into thick deep sand, Larry said another 4km and we would be at the camp, hmmm 4km of sand!!  I was doing ok going fairly fast when I must have hit a root or a stone in the road and landed up with my helmet filled with sand and the bike lying next to me.  Larry came back and we decided to turn and head for the ferry.
We had to pick the pace up a bit to get to the ferry and clear immigrations and customs before dark.  We arrived to the normal African chaos and I managed to push and shove to the front and get our passports stamps and Carnets done.   There were a huge number of large trucks lots of them carrying copper waiting to board the ferry, we pushed our way to the front and the bikes were loaded first and then all the foot passengers and one huge truck behind us, five minutes and we were in Botswana.  Last time we were there we thought it would be our last trip on the ferry as the bridge was in the process of being built, the progress is about the same as in 2013.
We headed into Kasane, towards Chobe River Lodge which has some great camping, sorry we are fully booked!!  Oops all the South Africans have invaded up north, maybe that Put Foot Rally?! So we headed back down the road we had just come on.  We went into about five different camps and no-one had space for us, Larry asked the one lady, not even a tiny piece of grass and she replied we don't have grass just ground!
At about 6.15 we landed up at Big 5 Camping and Safaris and they had plenty of camping, it is a very pretty lodge set on the banks of the Chobe River with a very nice restaurant and bar, the camp site was at the back and each site had they own little bathroom and to top it all it was cheaper than any of the other camp sites and better!  We set up camp in the dark and decided that a meal in the restaurant was called for, Larry went across to our neighbor and asked if we could put our illegal meat into his fridge.  This was a Hollander by the name of Peter and we was waiting for a client who had a ticket booked from Holland to Johannesburg and then to Kasane, but he managed to buy another ticket and landed up in Windhoek!  We had a delicious meal of pork ribs and steak and crashed in our tent with our brand new PEP blanket straight after supper.
We had been told that the road to Nata was closed and so Larry set out to find out what was happening further south, it transpired that the road between Nata and Gweta was indeed closed but that was on the road West, we later found out from other travelers that this has been under water since February but there is a very poorly sign post detour.  We will see tomorrow.


Monday, June 26, 2017


We spent two days at Mayoka Village, had a good rest and some laundry done, they managed to loose two socks in the process, one of Larry’s and one of mine, so effectively 2 valuable pairs. We are now heading south to northern Mozambique to spend sometime with a friend, Russell Lovemore on his hunting and fishing concession on the Zambezi River, near Cabora Bassa Dam.
We headed to Senga Bay and a campsite called Cool Runnings, lots of lovely grass and ok ablutions.  We had our steak and chips that we had bought further back and had been frozen at each lodge and then carefully put into the cooler box with plenty on frozen waters to keep everything cold, this has worked really well and it is great to have home cooked meals.  The steak was rump but didn't look great when we pulled it out of the packet, but once it was cooked it was really great meat.
The next morning we packed early and got ready for the sandy tracks out of the village again.  Just before we left a family arrived with a young boy of about 8 who had been burnt down one side, badly burnt arm and a little burn on his side and face.  The lady running Cool Runnings is a retired nursing sister and she helps villagers with this sort of injury, the burn looked horrific and it was carefully cleaned and bandaged, not one tear from the little boy, really brave!
The road was good leading to the border between Malawi and Zambia and we were stopped at a road block just before the Zambian border, two officers came over and asked for our licenses and I gave them my international drivers license and Larry took his license out of his wallet.  They then demanded to see our insurance, we had to get off the bikes to get our document wallet out of my pannier and give them the Comesa Insurance documents, one stood next to my bike and the would not let me get on the bike and the other did the same to Larry.  After a little pushing and shoving we managed to get on the bikes and then the reason became clear, what are you going to do with the money that is in your wallet?  Larry carefully explained that we were going to buy petrol with the money and we were not going to give it to them, after a few minutes they realized that we were not going to be intimidated and they eventually waved us off.
When we arrived at the border post it was plain sailing, immigration and customs is getting easier the further south we get.  While I was inside doing the paper work Larry was keeping an eye on the bike he met up with five British cyclists, we exchanged information about road conditions and places to stay. They were heading north and I don’t envy them the Great TanZam Roadworks!  We are definitely doing it the easy way.  Our bikes are heavily laden but at least we have a motor to keep us moving!  They were all very sunburnt and fit looking!!  They suggested that we stay at Dean’s Hillsview Camp in Chipata, I had already found this on the GPS, they told us that there were two motorcyclists in the camp and so we decided to try that camp.
Shoprite was again in the village and we stopped to stock up on a few fresh goodies before heading to the campsite.
We arrived at the campsite and it looked ok and there were the two bikes that we had been told about.  Two Husquavanes 690 (apparently the same at the KTM690) both with very uncomfortable looking seats!!  Tom and Caroline are two journalists traveling the world and writing about their experiences on motorbikes, unlike us they go looking for the gravel rough roads, the longer the better!!  It was great to meet another couple and we stayed up much later than normal chatting about our different travels, they are heading south eventually when they will ship the bikes to South America from Cape Town.  We hope to see them in Grahamstown towards the end of July.
Dean's Camp was a huge disappointment, they have tried to combine a farm yard with a campsite and it doesn't work, we had chickens, ducks, geese, goats, turkeys and three puppies in and around our tent all day, doing what animals do!!  The stench was terrible and the puppies chewing on the tent and eventually one managed to get into the tent and chewed one of Larry’s socks, so he is now down two pairs!!  The owners are a very young Italian couple, she has just had a baby, just over a month old.

Tom told us about an app to download called I-overlander, it is a mapping program but also gives you places to stay, shop, internet and general over landing information.  It also gives you reviews on all of these and we have so far found it to be extremely accurate.  Our next destination was The Bridge Campsite, the review said that it is overpriced and the campsite is very run down – spot on.  The only problem is that it is the only campsite in the area and so has a captive market.  We had just chosen out campsite when a land cruiser and a Ford double cab bakkie pulled up, the most obnoxious fella and his family climbed out of these two vehicles, the swearing at his staff was unbelievable!  Eventually he came down to us to apologize, but it did not stop the swearing and screaming.
We packed up early and headed to the village of Luangwa,  where Russell told us to meet his staff at the filling station and they would show us where to park the bikes in a safe place.  We arrived 10 minutes early but they were there waiting for us, we headed into the village were we met Kenny and Lesley, an American couple working as missionaries for the Baptist Church.  We parked out bikes in their yard and left most of our gear in the laundry. We cleared immigration in Zambia and then headed to the Mozambique side via boat on the very fast flowing Zambezi River and to the village of Zumba to clear immigrations on the opposite side.  Three countries meet at the confluence of the Luangwa and Zambezi River, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, the locals move freely between these three countries with only a exercise book that is sometimes stamped at the border posts.  This was the most efficient border post into Mozambique that we have ever experienced.  Just a 20 minute trip by boat down the river and we arrived at the camp, it was really great seeing a friendly and familiar face again.  Thanks for inviting us Russell.
After a delicious lunch Russell loaded us into a boat and we headed into the different channels on the Zambezi river, lots of hippos and crocs.
We will be here for a few days and will then head towards Lusaka and Vic Falls, then into Botswana.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Tanzania to Malawi

7- 9 June 2017
We left Singidha fairly early the next morning knowing that we had over 500km to ride to Iringa.  It was a long slow ride as the area as far as Dodoma is heavily populated with villages roughly 2km apart, there are police at every village with little handheld radar speeding guns just waiting to catch us.  We eventually manage to find a local hotel with “very good very fast internet and good restaurant”.  We settled into our room and discovered that the internet only works from reception and is so slow that we could only download emails one at a time, the restaurant served us the most peculiar pizza that we have ever eaten.  But the good new is that we managed to get hold of Raymond Theron and have arrange to meet him outside of Ruaha National Park.  Raymond is in the park busy building high end luxury timber lodges.
The next morning we set off fairly early out of the madness of Iringa, we asked at the hotel about a good supermarket and we were pointed to the main one, I went in to see if we could find any food to take with us but it was so limited that we set off with a couple of cans and bottled water.  Raymond arranged to pick us up from a campsite called Chogela Lodge just outside of the park.  We knew that we had about 80km to do on gravel road and we had heard that it was a rough road, we were in luck and found that the road had recently been worked on and was a pretty simple run to the camp site.  We set up our tent in one of the prettiest campsites with lots of trees and quaint ablutions, the staff were extremely friendly and only too pleased to help.  Supper options were limited and so we decided that we would open our tin of sweetcorn and two slices of salami each, just enough to keep the worms away.
We packed and parked the bikes next to a lock up room where all our gear was stored and Raymond and Rex arrived to fetch us.  It was really great to see a familiar face and we headed back into the village for Rex to do some shopping.  Rex is in charge of shopping and feeding everyone in the lodge and he really does a good job.  Most produce is bought from the local villages and is completely organic, lots of veggies, potatoes, onions, butternut, a local spinach, meat and eggs.  After stocking up we headed into the Park, it took a fair while for us to register and pay, but the staff where extremely friendly and helpful.  Our first sighting was of a large chameleon in the middle of the road as we arrived at the main gate.  Larry picked him up and put him into a tree just in time as a local car came speeding into the area.
Driving through the park, it was dry and lots of tall grass.  Rex told us that it had been a green wall two weeks before that.  Game was plentiful, lots of dikdik, giraffe, kudu, impala, buffalo (huge herds) and lots of ellies.  And of course lots of birds for Larry.  After about 45 min drive we arrived at the construction site, we were given a comfy room, with two single beds and an en-suite bathroom which had a hot shower and everything that we needed.  Lunch was delicious, fresh homemade bread and lots of goodies to put onto it.  Raymond took us for a tour of the site after lunch and it is a huge operation with over 70 staff members.  The lodge is really going to be spectacular, large wooden units with the most beautiful slatted windows and wooden decks, unit number 1 was almost completed and Raymond showed us the renderings of the lodge which gave us a very good idea of was the completed project would look like.
We had three nights in the Park and every evening, Raymond, George and ourselves would go off for a evening game drive.  We saw lots of animals and some most spectacular sunsets. The second evening we were lucky enough to see a large young male leopard, it was next to the road and was completely unconcerned about us.  Each morning Larry and I would set off in Raymond’s Landcruiser, it was a real privilege to be able to self-drive in the park, thank you Raymond!!  Larry ticked a large number of new birds and we both relaxed and had a wonderful time  The last evening, while sitting around the fire there was some excitement near the kitchen, we all jumped up and there was a large spitting cobra.  It moved around the building and eventually went in under the door into Raymond’s office.  Larry couldn't help himself and went in armed with a broom and sunglasses to help it back into the bush.
Our last morning and Rex drove us back to our bikes, parked near the village, everything was as we have left it and we re-packed the bikes and set off back up the gravel towards Iringa and heading to Kisolanza and the Old Farm House.
It was an easy run and a short ride, we have stayed at the Old Farm House twice before and we were looking forward the excellent meal that is always served there.  When we arrived the lady at receptions said sorry they could not help with a meal as they had 25 people booked and they were at capacity!!  She came back about half and hour later to say that 7 people had cancelled and we could have a meal, expensive but well worth it.  We had supper with a South African, named Zack who is in the avocado pear industry and we know a number of people in common, what a small world.
There were two overland vehicles and the one set off for Chitimba Lodge on Lake Malawi at 4.30am, we had a late lie in and headed for the same place at 8.30 we eventually caught up with them and overtook them at the border.  Both border crossings were ok, very friendly staff on the Tanzanian side.  We rode through the entire length of Tanzania without being stopped once by the police.  It seems that the Tanzanian people have elected a president that is determined to get the country back on track, he has a zero tolerance to corruption and fired most of the revenue department because they were on the take, maybe this type of governance will filter down to the rest of Africa.
Nine and a half hours later we arrived at the turn off for the lodge, we had ridden on the Great TanZam highway which turned out to be the Great TanZam road works, lots of traffic behaving badly, in particular the bus drivers, detours and bad dusty gravel roads which took us over four hours to do the first 200km.  I was then greeted with my first bit of sand and because the bike is so heavily laden I decided to try and paddle my way through the 650m of thick deep sand, lots of kids in the road, Larry was ahead and kept telling me to go faster, I just didn't have it in me!! I fell over once much to the delight of our entourage running next to me.
After we pitched our tent and had a cold shower the first overland vehicle arrived, they had had a 16 hour day and still had to pitch tents in the dark.  This group is not the normal group of youngsters but an older group made up mainly of couples.
The next morning we decided to head off to Livingstonia, a mountainous pass just off to the right of our track.  I had already told Larry that I was going to stand and use lots of power over the sand, I pulled off and stood immediately and powered through the sand, what a difference, Larry had a little wobble in front of me and I had to slow, so back to the paddling but once I got onto the slightly harder sand back to what David had told me and I managed to get out of the sand quickly and with no spills.
We then headed to the rough gravel track to Livingstonia, it was horrible and we had a revolution in Malawi! After negotiations we decided to keep heading south and we managed to get our first speeding fine! We each had to pay MWK10 000, about 14usd, not much but it still hurt especially as we were the only people in her receipt book to have paid MWK10 000, everyone else paid MWK5000!
In Mzuzu, we found a good Shoprite supermarket, and managed to find some reasonable looking food to cook! Steak and chips soon! We then headed back to the Lake and we are currently staying a Mayoka Village, Nkatha Bay, a lovely lodge which tumbles down the hill onto the lake, our ride here was great, lots of twists and turns through indigenous forest, some near road, some road works and some potholes!!
A few days here, then back on the road again!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

30 May to 6 June 2017

We left early for Nairobi, knowing that the traffic going into Nairobi was going to be a nightmare, to make matters worse our GPS’s were set to two different destinations!  I was in front and Larry was following which is unusual as I like to ride behind Larry. My GPS said get off the main freeway in 14km and Larry’s said 6km and so the chaos started, we eventually landed up in downtown Nairobi with traffic at a stand still and chaos all around, we got into a huge traffic circle and and Larry managed to push in front of a bus and I couldn't get past the bus and we became separated, I eventually just saw the go-pro camera ahead of me now and managed to catch up to him.  We pulled over in a bus stop and looked at the two different GPS headings, we decided that mine was the correct one and re-programmed Larry’s to be the same as mine.  The destination may be the same but the routing was different (Me: go left in 600m, Larry: No go right in 750m, Me: Ok lets go right, Larry: GPS not happy, Me: mine says go left in 200m, Larry: Ok ) we eventually arrived at the correct waypoint to find nothing familiar from our last trip.  Eventually a local guy on a bicycle came past and said the place you want is behind you, we turned and found Jungle Junction.  The confusion was that they had moved three years ago.  If anyone has driven through Nairobi you will know the chaos that we encountered!!
Chris welcomed us to JJ and Paolo, anItalian doing a round the world trip on a Dakar 650 with well over 260 000km on the clock also came out on his bike to find us in the street.  A well run good stop for overlanders.  Chris promised that he would look at my bike as soon as he got the chance but he was overloaded with repairs.  Uwe Schmidt was also in camp, a South African who rides professionally up and down Africa with clients.  Uwe was a mine of information about which routes to take and places to stay.  We also shared with both of these bikers the route crossing the Gulf of Aden to salalah, as this is not a known route.
Chris eventually started on my bike and found that all was well, just that our friend Jalal had not bled the radiator when adding coolant, this sorted, Chris changed oil on both bikes and gave them both a well deserved wash.  We did a test drive to a very smart shopping centre called The Hubb, bike was running smoothly but once we arrived at the entrance we realized that the Kenyans are taking no chances of a trigger happy gang of terrorists entering the shopping centre.  All cars and the bike were searched and I had to get off the back and was patted down.  The lady doing this was very confused about all the protection in the BMW jacket.  We had the same once we had parked the bike and walked to the entrance.  We managed to do the shopping that was needed and headed back to JJ.
We spent 4 nights there and managed to catch up on some general repairs and I managed to get some work done.
We left Nairobi heading for Arusha, Chris pointed us to the pipeline road and once again we were back in the thick of traffic.  Chris promised us that this was the best way to leave Nairobi and I believe him but it was still horrible, the road was narrow and potholed and chaotic traffic. Once we had cleared the city the roads were not as busy but in shocking condition.  So a slow exit from Nairobi.  We eventually got onto the main highway and it was plain sailing to the border.
We cleared immigration and customs on both sides and on very quite nice roads headed for Arusha.  An uneventful trip and we passed the entrance to Wayne and Brigette’s home and wished we could have spent a night with them.  We headed to Meserani Snake Park for a night of camping. The camping was fine, just a bit noisy with traffic noise and the loud music from the local tavern.  The next morning we met up with Ma and BJ, friends of Ian and Wayne Henry.  We had a very pleasant hour with them.  Also met with Danny McCullem, an old salt in the hunting industry!!
Our next destination was Dodoma, the people that arrived at the Snake Park told us that the road was terrible, Ma quickly gave us the correct route and we set off.  Traveling in Tanzania is slow because of the villages, you have to slow down for each village, some of them only 500m apart, 50km per hour and there are normally police at either end of the village with radar guns waiting to catch us speeding.  Eventually at about 3.30pm we arrived in the city of Singida and decided that we would do well to spend the night there, we went back to the Stanley Hotel, parked our bikes in exactly the same spot as we had in 2011.  Our room once again was basic and clean and we took the top of the range with hot water, but pressure was so low that we had to have a bucket bath.  Early to bed after a long day, but the local shebeen was having some sort of talent contest and the music was thumping! That lasted until about midnight, only problem was we could now hear our neighbors channel surfing, after a thump on the wall that stopped and the night of passion started!!  I started giggling loudly and that stopped that noise, some chemical assistance in the form of sleeping pills and we woke at about 8 for breakfast.
We loaded the bikes and set off for Dodoma and then onto Iringa, over 500km!!  It was a long slow day and we eventually arrived in Iringa at about 4pm with very sore backsides.  We have found a nice hotel and going to have pizza for supper and early into bed.
We managed to get hold of Raymond Theron and will meet with him in two days time and will go into the Ruaha National Park, he is currently working in the park, building lodges.
More soon

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Entrance gate to Awash National Park

Vultures eating in the rubbish that is found around the towns

Awash Falls Camp

Stopping for Larry to do some birding - Ethiopia

The truck that they wanted us to load the bikes into just before the town of Awash.  I got into trouble for taking the photos, look at the big gap that the bike would have to have been lifted into the truck