Cape Town – The final days

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IMG_7388The last days in Africa I spent in Cape Town. Me and some of the others had booked a some nights at a hotel called The New Tulbagh Hotel. A quite nice and affordable hotel in the beginning of Long Street. From here we would go on trips throughout the city, visit the Table Mountain or just go shopping at V&A Waterfront. Actually, I did spend quite some time at V&A Waterfront since I had seen much of the stuff that I wanted to see in Cape Town already first time I was here.

I got myself a haircut at the Waterfront. It didn’t turn out so great as I had hoped but at least I didn’t look like a troll anymore. Bought myself some clothes, had some really great sushi and in the evening I would go out drinking with my friends. Not too bad in my opinion.

As mentioned before, we took a tour to the Table Mountain and this time the weather was clear. The view from there was fantastic. Funny thing that happened on the way there was that the taxi driver ran out of gas half way up so he had to call new cabs for us.

One good thing with Cape Town in general and specially Long Street is the amount of interesting restaurants. We spent quite some time exploring all those and some of them were really good. When it comes to sushi I must say that the sushi I had in Cape Town was one of the best sushi I’ve ever had.

On June 15 it was time for me to leave Cape Town, south Africa and Africa behind and get back to Sweden. After over 22 hours of flying and waiting in various airports I was finally home and greeted by my friends who had came to pick me up.

Gallery updated with pictures from South Africa!

South Africa Revisited

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IMG_7364When we had passed the South African border the roads was getting more and more road like instead of the sand roads we had been driving on for the past week or so. The weather also became colder and colder. We stopped in some town somewhere and I bought a blanket since my sleeping bag (summer edition) couldn’t stand the cold anymore. In the morning of June 6, the Swedish National Day the temperature crawled below 0 degrees Celsius. Lucky for us the rising sun soon made the day a lot warmer. It’s kind of a big change when it’s about 20-25 degrees plus in the day and almost below 0 in the night.

We started to move towards Cederberg on quite boring roads but the closer we got to Cederberg the more interesting the nature grew. We ended up in a landscape with fantastic mountains and beautiful valleys. That would end one late afternoon though. The sky was darkened by rain clouds and the rain began pouring down. The road became slippery and soon we decided to stop for the night. We tried to cook some food in the rain but with no luck. We ended up sitting inside the cars eating bread and what we could find that didn’t require cooking.

IMG_7369The next day the sun greeted us again and we continued towards Cape Town. We reached Stellenbosh in two days I think and made a few stops at wine yards. Specially notable was Marianne Estate and Diemersfontein. Then we hit a supermarket, bought some food and proceeded to Duncan’s Camping (the end of our tour). We ended the trip with a taco feast and wine bought on the wine yards. The next coming days we spent with cleaning the cars and packing our stuff preparing for the trip home. But first, we felt we needed one more night together in Gordon’s Bay and what a party it became. Started like a dinner, ended like a full scale party in downtown Gordon’s Bay.

This kind of marked the official end of the Africa tour. At least for me. Everyone was going home, some of us were going back in a couple of months and continue the adventure. I’m not one of them, sadly enough. But you can read about it here: 4x4expedition.se and click on the blog (it’s in Swedish though).

A huge thank you to Ronnie & Lena for this trip. It was great! Also, I’d like to thank the following people for this time as well: Henke, Madde, Stoffe, Cajsa, Martin, Berndt-Eric and Frasse.

Botswana Revisited Part 2

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IMG_7208After Maun we visit Lake Ngami again. Some of us takes a boat trip while I takes a stroll through the village instead. Our next stop, or part of the adventure depending on how you would like to view it is the Kalahari. I always thought it was some kind of desert with a lot of sand and stone. Well, I was right about the sand, but there were bushes and trees everywhere. It looked more like the savannah than anything else.

Going through the Kalahari took some time. Even though we only was supposed to travel like 250 kilometers it took us a couple of days. Somewhere along the road after the tar roads had ended we stopped to fix a puncture (which turned out to be 4 in the same tire) we met a funny man who we invited for lunch. He told us about his cattle and that he had been in the army and that he disliked the Chinese for some reason we didn’t get. We also saw some animals but not as many as we’ve seen before. I guess more animals would see us than we see them. It’s easy for them to hide in the high grass.

In the outskirts of the Kalahari we enter the Mabuasehube Kalahari Transfrontier Park. We see mostly gazelles/antiloops and oryxes and then some lion tracks but we never get to see the lions this time. Unlucky for us. But it was still a very pleasant trip trough the park. Another bush camp lost in the memories, another story to tell another day. The morning after we continue towards the South African border. Suddenly the lead car shouts over the radio: Lions crossing the road!!!

We get off the road and start looking for the lions but they are long since gone. We only had that glimpse of the lions when they crossed the road. That was the first time we saw lions outside a national park by the way.

Then we starting to get closer to the civilization again. Some donkeys, some cows, a carriage dragged by two donkeys, some people, a car, some more cars, houses, a village, a small town and then the border to South Africa.

Gallery updated with pictures from Botswana!

Botswana Revisited Part 1

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IMG_7140Right after the border crossing we entered Chobe National Park. From all the national parks I’ve visited so far during this trip Chobe was the most packed one. With animals that is. Hundreds of elephants, giraffes, buffalos, gazelles, antiloops, zebras and so on. And they were everywhere! We spent well many hours in the park before sundown. Just before sundown we sneaked out of the park and bush camped not far away from the entrance. When we woke up in the morning we found big cat prints close to our camp. I wonder if an lion might have been passing by?

After breakfast, back into Chobe National Park again to finish the adventure. After driving many hours on sand roads, getting occasionally getting stuck in the sand, bumping around and seeing many animals we reached the southern border of Chobe and searched for a place to bush camp. After a while we found a place that looked good. During the late dinner in the darkness we heard noises around the camp. Using our torches we got a glimpse of what we thought was a hyena. Quickly doing the dishes and putting everything we don’t need away we got ready. We aligned our chairs in a circle, back to back, armed with our torches waiting in the dark.

And there, suddenly we heard a noise again. Someone pointed his/her torch towards the noise and there it was. The hyena trying to sneak around in our camp. It was an amazing sight! That night I could not sleep, I just lay there hoping to be able to get a glimpse of the animal again. I heard a lot of noises but I saw no hyena. Sooner or later I fell asleep after all.

IMG_7167Now we are on our way to Maun again. Maun was a nice place and for the new comers it’s going to be a good time with the Okawango Delta and all that. We stay at the same time as before. We even park the cars in the same spots. The biggest difference is that it’s so dry now. The sun has more or less burned away the grass, the trees and bushes are getting dryer and dryer. You could say that this part of Botswana has turned into different shades of brown.

While some of us go exploring the Okawango Delta I spend most of my time around Sedia Hotel or in Maun. One of the days we decide to have a BBQ party which turned out really nice even though we almost had to fight over the ”braai”. We also met a German (or if they were from the Netherlands, I don’t remember) couple that was doing a similar trip through Africa but on motorbikes instead. It was nice to exchange some experiences.

Zimbabwe Revisited Part 3

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Next stop was Victoria Falls, again! We stayed at Shoestrings Backpackers, again! We took a look at the Victoria Falls, again! We even walked across the bridge into Zambia and had a meal on the Zambian side. If you just want to walk onto the bridge you can get a ”bridge pass” at the border control, but if you want to enter Zambia make sure you have a double entry VISA to Zimbabwe, else you will have to buy a new VISA when you re-enter Zimbabwe again. A VISA to Zambia costs $25, a VISA to Zimbabwe costs $35 if I remember correctly.

The falls looked as amazing as I remembered them. And wet. Very wet. Since we spent some time here I managed to convince most of the gang to join me on another white water rafting tour. And of course I wanted the same guide as I had 2 months ago. Titanic! So we walked into Shearwater Adventures office and booked a rafting trip. And we were lucky! The rafting had been closed for almost 2 months due to the high water levels. The Monday we had booked on was the first day they would do it!

Said and done, the very next day we left. The road was as bumpy and the truck was as noisy and uncomfortable as the last time. We arrived at the same place as I had done 2 months earlier, we got our ”spoons” and the soup was just down in the gorge. We climbed down and after the usual safety instructions we we’re on the way. And it turned out to be a really good adventure. The Zambezi river was really aggressive and we had to paddle like crazy!

IMG_7109Then it happened! A huge wave flipped the boat! Everyone ended up in the water. We spent 1/3 of the rafting distance picking up members and their paddles. When we arrived at the sand bank where we had stopped and rested the last time we were exhausted. For me, it was loads of fun, but some of the others were not as enthusiastic as I were.

After some less dramatic rafting we arrived at pick up point of the rafting and we got to climb all the way up from the gorge again. And on the top we were greeted by food and ice cold drinks. Back at the lodge I met some nice people who I chatted with for a long time. I also met a South African tour leader who taught me the rules in rugby and also made me like the game!

From Victoria Falls it was just a short drive to Botswana, but before crossing the border we entered a small national park around Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge. We weren’t to excited about the park so we left or the border station instead.

Gallery updated with pictures from Zimbabwe!

Zimbabwe Revisited Part 2

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IMG_6859Arriving in Harare also marked the end of the second leg of my trip. Here some people left and some new people joined. One of the new people joining was my friend from back home called Franciska. Being away from home for now about 3 months made me start to long for my friends. And having one of them joining me made me really happy.

With the new people installed we left Harare behind us and was aiming for the caves in Chinhoyi. On the way there we noticed several places where they sold worms for fishing. The display for the worms was quite entertaining. The caves proved to be really cool and we also found that the water in the cave was very blue. This night we stayed the night in a small village and in the morning a woman from the village asked us if we had heard the hyena which had been standing right outside our camp site and howled. We didn’t. She also told us that two nights before some elephants had strolled through the village and destroyed some fences and a water pipe.

IMG_6906On our way to Lake Kariba we met a German couple who had some trouble with their car. We helped them fix the car temporary and hopefully they managed to get to some place where they could fix it properly. We continued towards Lake Kariba and finally we ended up in some kind of resort that looked really luxury. Turned out that the place was more or less deserted. There was some staff there who maintained it and we could stay there. Last time they had had any visitors was 3 months ago but they were very happy we came.

We booked a boat trip on Lake Kariba the coming day which turned out really nice. We spent the whole day on the boat, saw some elephants, hippos, crocodiles and of course lots of birds. Some of us spent an hour fishing or so. When we got back from the boat trip we cooked the fish which tasted pretty nice. We also pealed the last of the peanuts we bought in Mozambique and roasted them on the open fire with some oil and salt. The result was quite nice!

Zimbabwe Revisited Part 1

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IMG_6825After crossing the border we more or less headed straight for the capital Harare. Finding a place to stay in Harare seemed harder than we thought. We know there would be just one or two places with camp site possibilities and it turned out both were closed when we got there. After spending several hours looking for a place to stay we finally got some help from a man who showed us some kind of camp site outside of town. In this camp site we met a Danish couple who were also doing a tour in Africa with a 4×4 car. It was nice exchanging experiences with them. That night it was really cold but luckily for us the sun made it really warm and nice quite quickly.

After consulting the internet for a while we found out that there was a place called It’s A Small World Backpackers that might be able to provide us with a parking space for the cars so we drove there. The place was located in a very green part of Harare, I’d like to say that it was really beautiful around there. I think it was located in one of the more wealthy parts of the town. I liked Harare because of it’s mix of western and African civilization.

One of the nights we decided it was party time for real so we took a bush taxi into downtown Harare, found us a restaurant (we had to ask some gentlemen to direct us to one because it was quite hard to find a good one) and after the restaurant we went on to some kind of club where a local band was playing and everyone was very happy and dancing, which we also did. When we went outside we was very close to get arrested by some corrupt policemen who threatened us with jail if we didn’t bribe them but after some discussion and some help from one of the locals the policemen left.

The guy that helped us advised us to leave the area in case the policemen would return, they were a bit grumpy about not getting any bribes so we continued into a international night club called Chez Ntemba close by. It was no one there but we paid the entrance fee and got our stamps so we could return later on. Then we found another guy that tipped us about a place called The Londoner which was supposed to be good. We took a taxi there and once again we almost got arrested by corrupted cops but this time we got away much easier. And for free as well thanks to our taxi drivers.

Well at the Londoner the climate was a bit tense because everyone in there first thought we were some white Zims (Zim = person living in Zimbabwe, and also short for Zimbabwe) and the white population of Zimbabwe is not always liked everywhere. But after convincing the people there that we were only tourists they changed the mood and welcomed us. The place was packed with people, it didn’t smell very good and the music was so loud that you could not have a normal conversation but we had a really great time there. I met a lot of interesting people and even got invited to a coming party which I had to decline since we would have leave Harare in a day or two.

Sometime later that night we left the Londoner and went on to the international night club again. No police around, good for us. We went in and continued the party there until the place closed and we had to get back to the backpacker lodge. The day after me and Veronica went on a small trip into downtown Harare again. We visited the Harare Gardens which turned out to be a really dry garden but it draw a lot of people anyway, I guess being able to sit in the shadow below a tree is a international pleasure!

Mozambique Part 2

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When we arrived at Inhambane we spent some time just driving back and forth because we didn’t really know which way to take to Tofo but we finally found some kind of off road road through a tropical jungle. While driving between coconut palms and small huts we got chased by some kids who thought it was fun to jump onto our cars and stand on the back bumpers and ride along with us. That was not the safest way of transportation I’ve seen but I’ve seen some crazy stuff down in Africa.

Fatima’s Backpackers have a lodge in Tofo as well so that became our obvious place of rest this time also. Not only did we get discount for having stayed at Fatima’s Backpackers in Maputo, we also got an excellent service and had a great time on the beach. In Tofo we stayed like a three or four nights doing nothing really. Just relaxing, chilling and having a good time. I rented a beach bungalow for the duration of my stay here. I also went on a diving trip which was nice.

The kids on the beach sold both roasted cashew nuts and fresh pineapple, it’s hard to resist these culinary delicacy. There are some nice restaurants around in Tofo by the way. They might be a bit more expensive than the ”common Mozambique” restaurant since Tofo is considered a tourist place but still they are cheap. And the food is excellent. Try the fish or seafood, you won’t be disappointed. Fatimas has a restaurant of their own which is also good so don’t miss it out i you’re here! Tofo is also the pace to go if you like reggae because they play it everywhere. I’d say it adds to the atmosphere!

After Tofo it was time to move north and west again so we took the road to Chimoio, from Chimoio it is only 90 kilometers to the border to Zimbabwe. But before we reached Chimoio we stopped at a small village somewhere along the road where we met a very nice old woman who showed us how they harvest peanuts. We thought we could buy some peanuts from her, turned out we got a small sack of peanuts for the money we gave her. It was a very nice stay, but we had to move on to reach Zimbabwe in time.

IMG_6802In Chimoio we got ourselves a surprise. When we stopped at a Shoprite to buy some supplies we found a Danish guy who invited us to stay at his place for the night. We followed him to a small work shop where we could put our cars behind the walls. That night we had another barbeque party with Niels Bonefeld, the founder of Baisikeli. He explained his bushiness idea for us which I actually found to be smart. I like that he was very honest about it as well. Check out their website for more information.

After having a good night of sleep and a breakfast worthy a king we packed our stuff, said goodbye to Niels and headed towards the border. At the border station it was time to get rid of the remaining meticals (the money they use in Mozambique) so I bought a bottle of vodka for $1 and a six pack of coke for $6. The Vodka tasted horrible and just a few centiliters of it required a full can of coke. I knew it was something fishy with the vodka being so cheap!

Gallery updated with pictures from Mozambique!

Mozambique Part 1

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IMG_6606Mozambique was the first country where we had some trouble with the language since the other countries had been British colonies at some point English was a commonly used language there. Mozambique was Portuguese and obviously they spoke Portuguese or their local languages. But, many people also knew a little English and one of us knew some Spanish so we did alright.

Our first stop was Maputo, the capital of Mozambique. We stayed at Fatima’s Backpackers situated quite central in Maputo. From there we explored the town. First we visited a market located inside a park where they were selling all kinds of hand crafted items. Many pieces of art, jewelry, masks, paintings, things for storage, bowls and things you didn’t even know you could possibly want. Everything was very beautiful but I’m not the type o person who buys souvenirs really so I resisted the offers.

Later that day we visited the famous fish market. It was a very nice experience walking around watching all the fish, pointing at one, buying it and having them delivering it straight to a restaurant and the people at the restaurant would cook it for you. My favorite is the big prawns so naturally I had a bunch of those. Really tasty when BBQ’ed and served with some fresh lime. Best part is, it’s very cheap. We continued our evening out by trying to find a good pub which proved to be quite hard, the taxis only took us to places where white people use to go. Not so very local, not so very Mozambique we figured.

We also took a walk in Maputo and looked at some more “touristy” things like a statue of the first president since independence, the Iron House where the president was supposed to live and the Tunduru Garden. We also found some kind of old fort that had been turned into a museum and close to that a shopping mall. I also found out that in Mozambique they have the only really good beer in the whole region: Laurentina Preta.

IMG_6642After a visit at the shopping mall and in a grocery store to buy some food we returned home to Fatima’s Backpackers and had an amazing BBQ party on our own. That was kind of a very good ending on our visit in Maputo. The morning we left Maputo we made a stop at a school somewhere outside Maputo before hitting the road for real.

On our way north we came upon an old deserted hotel complex. We also got stuck in the loose sand there and had to deflate our tires a lot to get a better grip. After some hours we were on the way again. That night we bush camped in an area where there might be mines, no one knew for sure since the various mine maps available said it was mined, while some said it wasn’t mined.

The next stop on our trip was Tofo, one of the real paradise beaches in Mozambique. I remember that somewhere on the road to Inhambane we stopped for a oil change on the cars. The car shop where we stopped was more or less two-three huts along the road. The staff was nice and really happy to help us out and with changing the oil. While they worked we bought some fruits at a small market some hundred meters away. There’s something special with eating fresh fruit in the place where they are grown. They taste different. Can’t have that taste back home. 

South Africa Part 3

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Upon arriving in South Africa again from Swaziland we drove towards the Kruger Park. As soon as we enter the park we see a lot of animals, rhinos, elephants, gazelles, giraffes, buffalos and so on. We spend the night in one of the rest camps and I take the time to phone home for once. The next day we continue our tour through the park. We follows a road that takes up on a small hill where we see a lot of people outside the cars. Curious on what is going on we also exits our cars. It turns out there is an idiot fooling around with a huge python that is very annoyed by the man. One of the guides tells us that if it had been in the afternoon the man would have gotten bitten by the huge snake.

This day also provided us with many nice experiences as we saw crocodiles, lions in a distant, elephants, more rhinos, gazelles and the likes, hippos, buffalos, even a chameleon who was walking in the middle of the road. This day we exited the park and found a camp site in the town of Komatiepoort. Here we stayed for 2 nights so that some of us could go back to the Kruger Park and do a night safari. Myself, by now I was a bit tired of the animals so I just used the time to wash some clothes, read a book for once and just relax. Soon enough we would continue into Mozambique which is one of the countries I thought would be one of the most interesting ones.

Swaziland

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We left Lesotho and came out just south of the Drakens Berg World Heritage Site. It sure was a beautiful place but when we arrived there the weather was incredibly bad so we could not really enjoy it to the full extent. With this in mind we continued north towards Swaziland and hoped for better luck there!

IMG_6376The best thing with Swaziland was probably that it was warmed here, it was actually hot which was very welcome. We stopped along side a river for a lunch break and we even jumped into the water after the some of the local women that was washing clothes in the river had insured us that there were no crocodiles in the water.

The roads finally lead to a town called Manzini where we decided to stay. After spending several hours trying to find some place to stay in Manzini we gave up and looked for some place outside the town instead. Finally we found a place called Sundowners Backpackers. This would become our base for the following days. From here we booked white water rafting that turned out to be a disapointment from my side. There was not much rafting, it was more paddling in calm water but it was mostly nice anyway, not just the way I had hoped for. The trip ended with a jump from a 10 meter high cliff down into the boiling water below a waterfall. And on the way back the mini van we traveled in almost caught fire.

In the evening we chartered a bush taxi that took us on a quite crazy through the nightlife of Manzini and eventually we ended up in a very local pub somewhere. Here we danced and partied all night and someone was kind enough to play DJ Call Me – Marry Me like 9 times in a row. Then sometime early morning we arrived safe and sound at the Sundowners again.

Lesotho

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IMG_6183Almost immidiatly when we entered Lesotho I could feel how my mood changed. South Africa is more like a bad version of Europe, while Lesotho is more African. There were a lot of things that changed upon entering Lesotho, but one of the most important was the people. They seemed more happy in general.

Our first stop in Lesotho was in a town called Quthing where we looked for a restaurant for some while until a friendly man showed us. We had hoped for a more local kind of restaurant but we got showed into a room that looked quite fancy. Then they came and served the food. I think the place we ended up in was some kind of conference restaurant or something. Not really what we had been looking for but it was nice never the less.

This night we bush camped close to a river and some of us went down to wash themself in the river. The rest of us took a walk in the woods and looked at the view. The next day we continued and ended up in a village that was situated well over 1500 meter above the sea level. Here we stayed and shopped for both beer, food and some other stuff. I turned in a pair of my shorts that was more or less falling apart to a tailor. When I got back to pick them up they refused to take any payment with the motivation that they really did nothing. Well, they fixed my shorts and I was grateful for that.

IMG_6251We also had some amazing food in a small shack. It was some kind of cooked meat, some cooked vegetables and the usual maize porridge. The meat was really nice. After a while we left the village and headed towards the border. But before we left Lesotho we wanted to stay another night. We found a village where we could stay, some of the children came by and played some football with us. They also showed us some traditional dancing and singing and we showed them some Swedish traditional dance (små grodorna).

In the morning some of the older kids came by and wanted to show us around in the village. So we let them guide us around their village. They took us to their sheep pen situated in a cave in the hillside, showed us the water reservoir and some other stuff. Over all it was a really nice time. Then it was time move back to South Africa and take a closer look at Drakens Berg.

South Africa Part 2

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April 20, start of the second leg of the trip. 6 new people, 6 new stories. We start driving east out of Cape Town, over the hills and far away. We did a short stop at the Misty Mountains Wine Estate. After investing some rands into wine we continued south east through Hermanus and down to Struis Bay and Cape Agulhas which is as much south you can get in Africa. I think that somewhere around this area is the famous Garden Route as well, but I might be wrong on this.

After a day or so of driving we finally arrived at the famous Bloukrans Bridge, the place where people go bungee jumping you know? Face Adrenalin is the name of the company. If you go here, take the leap out in thin air, experience the 2 seconds of total agony and then enjoy the next coming seconds of your life falling free until the bungee cord saves you! And it only costs like 700 rands or something.

Later that day we arrived in Port Elizabeth where we stayed for 2 nights. One day of shopping in the only shopping mall there, one night of partying and one night of relaxing. After Port Elizabeth we drove to Addo Elephant Park where we had some amazing experience with elephants, lions and the usual lion-food-animals. On the way out I spotted a big herd of elephants, probably over 50 animals right outside the park at a water hole. We stopped and watched the elephants for some time before we continued, we had to find a bush camp for the night.

From this point it was time to turn north, north towards Lesotho and then Drakens Berg. On our way to Lesotho we started climbing higher. We drove up in the mountains where the climate was considerably more chilly then what we were used to. In the mountins the fall had already begun and during the nights it got really cold. My sleeping bag didn’t really kept me warm those nights so every morning I would greet the sun with a lot of gratitude. Driving off road up in the mountains was a very enjoyable experience that I do not regret being able to do.

Cape Town – A paus from the expedition

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So I had left the expedition cars to explore Cape town on my own. Well, not entirely on my own since I was about to meet Lisa, a girl from Stockholm, Sweden here. I found her on Reseforum.se and decided to met up with her. She had went on a safari trip and then had about a week extra time in South Africa and she choose to spend it in Cape Town.

Anyway, we stayed at a hotel called Cape Town Lodge Hotel located on Buitengracht Street. A bit pricey but the service was excellent and the breakfast buffet was really nice.

After spending one day just walking around on Longstreet we decided we should rent a car. We became a lot more mobile with a car so now we started to plan some excursions.  One of our excursions led us out in the Stellenbosch wine District and to some of the wine yards around there. Some I can remember is Tokara, Laibach and Villiera. This day we had a Danish couple with us that Lisa had got to know during her days in the Kruger Park. All in all this was a really nice day, we got really lucky with the weather and the wines!

Me and Lisa also went on a shark diving trip one day. For that we had to go to a place called Gansbaai. We went diving with a company called Shark Diving Unlimited and had a nice and exciting day. After the shard diving on the way back to Cape Town we heard on the local news that someone had died in a shark attack in Gordon’s Bay. What are the odds?

We also made a trip to the top of Table Mountain, we took the cable car instead of walking since that takes several hours and we had other things to do that day as well. The view from Table Mountain was fantastic, but this special day it was what the locals call “table cloth”, in other words cloudy at the top. The experience is like standing in thick fog. Still, it was a beautiful sight. The afternoon we spent on V & A Waterfront going through what felt like 1001 different stores.

One nice thing with Cape Town and the famous Long Street is all the restaurants situated there. Every night we would try out a new place. The best part is that all restaurants are incredible cheap so you can actually eat almost anything and pay almost nothing for the food. And they do have a lot to offer when it comes to food. They have all international stuff but also a lot of local food which is just great!

And then Lisa had to go back home to Sweden again. And I had to move to Gordon’s Bay and the expedition cars since it was almost the April 20 and the start of the second leg of this trip!

South Africa Part 1 – The end of the first leg!

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IMG_5668From the border we continued on road 7 down to a town called Springbok where we stayed for the night. On the day of arrival it was obviously some kind of holiday because everything was closed but after some asking around we finally found a camp site. A hot shower was very welcome! We continued south on road 7 and found Stellar Organics, a wine yard on the GPS and paid them a visit. We bought some bottles of wine there and proceeded towards Langebaan on the west coast.

We stayed 2 nights in Langebaan. The first night we had a small wine tasting with some cheeses we had bought in the local supermarket. It was a really nice ending that day. When we continued south towards Cape Town we drove through West Coast National Park which was very beautiful and then finally we arrived in Cape Town. Or not.

We went right through it, drove through Camps Bay and further south towards The Cape of Good Hopes. First we arrived at Cape Point which is the very tip of the big cape on which everything is situated, then we found Cape of Good Hopes. We stopped that night in a small town called Simon’s Town at a restaurant called The Black Marlin Restaurant. During the night the wind blew so much that it almost blew our tents away.

The following day we went to see the penguins in Simon’s Town before we continued on our way to Cape Town. The first two nights we would spend in Bellville on a camp site there. Here in Bellville I had to say goodbye to everyone since they were going home from here. This was the end of the first leg on this trip. Now it was only me and of course Ronnie and Lena from 4x4expedition.se left. It was “resting time” for the expedition cars, Ronnie and Lena was about to do some service on the cars.

The other passengers on this leg left to spend some time in Cape Town or fly directly home. Myself, I had already found someone to hang out with through a traveling forum.

I’d like to thank Ronnie & Lena for this awesome journey, and I’d also like to thank the following people for the very enjoyable trip we had togheter: Robert, Elvira, Christer, Anna, Gabriel, Sandra and Richard. I’ll see you around! 😉

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Namibia Part 2

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IMG_4995Before we arrived to Swakopmund we took a short detour to a place called Cape Cross where there is a seal colony. The info on the GPS said: This place smells very bad! And it truly did. But it was very cool to see the seals, smelly or not! Speaking of smelly by the way. By now we hadn’t had a shower in 9 days so we probably smelled pretty bad too!

We stayed in Swakopmund for a couple of days. Went downtown one day to have a couple of beers and watch the game on the telly. Was pretty nice sitting in a bar chatting with locals and that stuff. The next day we went quad biking on the dunes for some hours. I must say it was really nice just driving around there!

After leaving Swakopmund we drove to Dune no 7, the highest dune in the coastal dune belt. Climbing on the dune proved to be very painfull because of the sun heating the sand. After one or two days of driving from Dune no 7, crossing the tropic of the Capricorn we reached the red dunes of Sossusvlei. What a place! First we drove for an hour or so just to get to the national park, then another hour of driving or so to reach the parking lot. When we reached it we saw a sign saying: Only 4×4 beyond this point! and we thought, we should follow the road further in.

Finally we reached “the end” of the road and started to climb on dune 45, the highest of the red dunes. From the top we got a nice view of the area before descending down. I don’t think I have ever had so much sand in my shoes before. Sossusvlei truly is an breath taking place in many ways. I can also understand why it has been the scenery for many movies in the past. The environment is somewhat surrealistic.

From Sossusvlei we took started moving south for real, towards the goal for this leg, Cape Town in South Africa. But before we would enter South Africa we had one final stop to make. Fish River Canyon, the second largest canyon in the world. By the time we reached Fish River Canyon it had become Easter so we had a small Easter celebration with the mighty canyon as background.

After leaving fish River Canyon behind us we headed towards the South African border and somehow we found a dried out riverbed that we felt an urge to explore. It was the dried out Orange River according to the GPS. We made our last camp in Namibia below some high cliffs. The next coming morning we passed through a wine yard before hitting the border control at Noordoewer.

Also, the gallery is updated with pictures from Namibia!

Namibia Part 1

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IMG_4411After the border crossing between Botswana and Namibia I can’t really remember much of the road until we hit Rundu which was nothing special either except that it was a town. Continuing a bit southwest we would soon come upon Grootfontain and a hour driving or so outside we visited the Hoba Meteorite which is the largest known meteorite on earth.

After the meteorite we aimed for Etosha National Park, the last chance for us to see lions on this leg of the trip. When we got there we set camp a couple of kilometers from the entrance so that we could enter the park the first thing in the morning. The sunset was amazing this night.

The following morning we entered the park and asked the rangers about the lions. They said that the lions had taken a zebra this morning and that they now probably hid somewhere so chances to see them are probably very small. A little bit discouraged by this we went on on this safari. We saw plenty of animals in the early morning light and after a couple of hours driving we saw the carcass of a zebra surrounded by vultures. I guess that was the one the lions had taken earlier in the morning then.

And then, over a small hill crest and around a bend there they were! The lions! And plenty of them. I think we counted to 7 lionesses and a couple of cubs. While we sat there in the cars just admiring these majestic cats something happened in the bushes to our left. One single male lion emerged. All the lionesses walked up to him and saluted him, it was a quite fantastic sight!

The lions walked just around the cars, some of them were so close so we could have patted them if we would dare stretch out our arms, but that would probably be quite foolish. We continued through the park and finally we got to see some wildebeest in a herd as well. We also came upon a dried out lake and drove out to the viewpoint which was pretty cool. After exiting the national park it was time to find some place for a bush camp.

Twyfelfontain or /Ui-//aes as it’s called on the local language (click language) is Namibia’s first world heritage site. It contains petroglyphs or rock carvings that is supposed to be up to 6000 years old and made by the hunter/gatherer people who lived here. A really magnificent place and if you take the guided tour you get some extra value for your money if you can persuade the guides to talk some click language.

IMG_4939The next day our journey towards the Skeleton Coast started. This would lead us through massive parts of wasteland which was one of the coolest parts of the entire trip. Generally I think Namibia had the most amazing nature and experiences even though I’d say the entire trip itself was an ultimate experience in itself. And then, the Skeleton Coast which is more or less the whole coast from the north of Namibia down to Swakopmund. We spent a whole day just driving around in the Skeleton Coast National Park and looked at various things. Some stranded ships, some deserted mines, an old oil rig and so on. II also took the chance of dipping my toes in the Atlantic Ocean but that was a very unpleasant experience since the water was ice cold!

Botswana

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Upon entering Botswana we discovered that we had no pulas available because all ATM’s within almost 200 km range was out of order. But that was a lesser problem, first we needed to find a place to camp for the night. Going off road placed us right next to a farm and the kind farmers showed us around and told us there were plenty of lions around. One of their cows had just been attacked the other week for example. In the evening the roaster chased all the chicks into a tree so that the lions would not be able to reach them. All night we could hear farmers in the area making noise to scary the lions away and we also heard dogs barking in the distance.

The next day we continued along the road. It was a long, very straight road. I think it went on for like 600 km or so. Arriving at the !Nxia Pan was quite exciting. It’s a national park and we entered. We had some luck right after entering when we saw a small herd of elephants cross the road in front of us. Then we also had some nice sightings of zebras, various kinds of gazelles and some gnus and a buffalo or two. No lions here either. On the way out we saw 6 giraffes that lined up beautifully along the horizon. I really like giraffes, they move in a funny way and seem a bit goofy but they are really beautiful.

IMG_4145After the !Nxia Pan we drove the remaining 140 km to the city of Maun which is situated just south of the Okawanga Delta. We camped at a hotel located just outside of Maun. The hotel was owned by a British man and his Botswani wife. The name of the hotel is Sedia Hotel. Here we stayed for some days which gave us plenty of time to take a flying safari over the delta, explore the town and see a dance show performed by some of the staff on the hotel.

When we left Maun we found a lake called Lake Ngami which is somewhat special. On the shores of the lake there lives fishermen. They move their village after the shoreline depending on if the water is high or low. We convinced some of the fishermen to take us on a tour on the lake with their small boats. We kind of regretted this because the boats was not made to take that many passengers and the fishermen who was obviously high was not really good at driving the boats either. We managed to get back to the shore again without any accidents but to be honest the trip was not really worth the effort.

We followed the road north towards the eastern parts of the Okavango Delta and eventually we would find the roads totally flooded so we had to wade with the cars which was fun. Took us more or less a whole day to get through and reach a camp site where we intended to stay for the night. Turned out that the camp site was very expensive and they had no real service, not even a bar so we decided for a bush camp instead.

IMG_4272The coming day we continued towards Namibia but first we had to go on a small excursion on a river. We found a man who would take us on his boat and off we went. The river sides was filled with papyrus and in the distance we could see some large birds slowly circling. The guide picked up a water lily and made a necklace for Lena out of it and said it was a special wedding necklace used by the locals. After the boat trip it was one more bush camp and then we arrived at the Namibian border.

Zimbabwe Part 2

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After Victoria Falls we went to a town called Hwange and bought some supplies before we went on to Hwange Game Reserve. This park is famous for it’s huge population of elephants and there is also supposed to be a lot of lions here. We saw no lions. But we had some really nice experiences with the elephants. Driving through the reserve we realized that it would soon be dark so we better find some place to rest.

IMG_3879Along the road we picked up a ranger who took us to a campsite where we stayed for the night. Just outside the campsite there was a water hole with hippos in so we spent the evening with eating our dinner watching the hippos come out of the water in the darkness. And suddenly a huge lone elephant bull came walking right below us. The joy of sitting there beneath the twinkling stars watching this amazing wildlife is indescribable. The next day we would proceed towards the exit of the reserve and towards the border of Botswana. If only someone would let us out!

Suddenly we see two female rangers running towards us with AK47’s on their backs. When they arrived they explained that they had been hunting baboons. Then they let us out and we were on our way to Botswana. We arrived at a really small and more or less unused border crossing right before it was about to close for the night. I say unused because the last car that had passed before us passed the border 2 months earlier.

Zimbabwe Part 1

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Arriving in the Zimbabwean town of Victoria Falls in the afternoon the best thing we could do was finding a place to stay. We ended up in a place called Shoestrings Backpackers and had our first pizza for this trip. We camped in the cars in the backyard which suited us pretty good. Now, we knew there were some cool stuff to do around here. One of us had serious thoughts of bungee jumping, I convinced 3 others that we should go white water rafting on the Zambezi river (which is supposed to be one of the top 5 best white water rafting in the world with a rate of 4 & 5 and sometimes even 6).

Said and done, we went out to find someone who could take us. We found that Shearwater Adventures were the perfect providers of adventure for us! So we booked a tour the next coming day. In the evening we took a short tour on the town to see what was up in Zimbabwe. Found a bar called Hunters where we spent some time before going back home.

The following morning we were awakened by a thunderclap and then the sound of a lightning splitting a tree somewhere really close. Well, now that mother nature had our attention we figured we should crawl out of bed and prepare for the white water rafting. A couple of hours later we were on the back of a truck that slowly worked it’s way forward through the harsh and unforgiving nature around the Zambezi river. When we finally arrived at the starting site we got our safety gear (helmet, life jacket and paddle) and the guide pointed down the gorge and said: Here’s your spoon, there’s your soup!

We begun descending down to the ”bottom” of the gorge with a lot of inconvenience while the staff ran up and down like it was nothing. At the bottom of the gorge we got appointed a guide for our raft. His name was Titanic. This didn’t bode all to well. After a while the staff had pumped the boats and deployed them into the water and we could finally begin the white water rafting!

We went about 10 km downstream and had a really good experience. Some really good splashes and me and Robban fell into the water once but over all it was a really good ride. Oh the fun!!! When we were done and finally hit a shore where the water was calm we had to climb up the gorge again. Now, tired after the rafting and carrying the helmet, life jacket and paddle in the hot sun was not a nice experience. But when we got to the top we got our reward!

The staff from the truck had set up a BBQ and there was a huge chest full with ice cold beer, soft drinks and water. The food was so tasty and sitting on the edge of the gorge looking out over the mighty Zambezi river was something extraordinary!

The next day we left Victoria Falls, but before we left one of us wanted to do a bungee jump. I’m quite impressed considering he was 58 years old doing this jump. All respect to Christer!