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Plans can change so fast

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My plan was to travel to India from Sweden through eastern Europe, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan India, then north to Nepal and then south again to the southern parts of India. My plan was to go with 4x4expedition.se but since Ronnie got sick they had to postpone the expedition to 2014 instead. So now I’m stranded with 4 months of vacation and no where to go.

Well, that is not entirely true, I will speak with my boss next week and tell him I’ll stay home this fall with a few small exceptions. I have plans on taking a weekend to Kiev, Ukraine and take a peek at Pripyat. Also, a bit later on I might go to Zanzibar and visit a friend who lives and works there. A couple of weeks in the sun is never wrong.

I know I have said that life is too short to visit the same place twice but I might make an exception or two every now and then.

Anyway, there’s nothing bad that it doesn’t come anything good out of, with the expedition cancelled I get to spend more time with my girlfriend which is good and I get more time to plan my next long trip which will only take me through 4 countries but together they cover probably one fourth of the worlds landmass. More about this later this year!

2012 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.

2012 Africa

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!

2012 Africa

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!

2012 Africa

Zanzibar (pre-expedition trip)

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First time I ever heard of Zanzibar was on a TV-show when I was a kid. It sounded exotic then, it still sounds exotic. On the 20th of February was the official starting date for the trip with 4x4expedition.se. Some of us who were going to go with them decided we wanted a warm up. For me who should be away for almost 4 months, what’s another week in the long run? So, me and two of fellow passengers on the trip rented a house on Zanzibar.

IMG_2112Getting there is easy, surviving the heat shock is worse. Flying from a -19ºC Sweden and landing in a +30ºC hot Dar Es-Salaam (Tanzania) is a shock, but it’s a nice shock at least. Getting to the jetty and take the ferry to Zanzibar proved to be a bit of a challenge, finding a cab in the middle of the night was not that easy. And when we got to the jetty the ticket offices hadn’t opened yet so we had to wait for a while. Bought our ferry tickets and found out that we had overpaid since all tickets are the same. Bummer!

The ferry ride took about 3 hours but it was pretty nice sitting there in the early morning sun. When we got of the ferry in Stone Town we had to fill in some forms and then we proceeded to the tourist information to find out where our hotel where. We took a short ride in a taxi (500 meters) and checked in at the hotel. Changed some clothes and rested for an hour or so and then we proceeded to explore Stone Town for a while. Saw a monument over the slave trade that took place some hundred years ago for example.

We also found some nice restaurants, tried the local food which have made Zanzibar famous. Zanzibar is also called the spicy island because of the rich flavors or the food. I don’t know about that really, I wasn’t that impressed but maybe I tried the wrong stuff. The next day we rented a car and went south on the island. Most people who go to Zanzibar probably go to the northern parts where all the large hotels/resorts are located but we went south to a village called Jambiani and to Villa Biba (the house we had rented).

I’m not going write so much about that since it’s was mostly relaxing stuff. But some things you can do around Jambiani is going on diving/snorkeling tours, if you take an hours drive south from Jambiani to Kizimkazi you can swim with dolphins.
One day we took the car to explore Zanzibar a bit and we had gotten directions from some people we met while being on the diving tour to a place called “The Rock Restaurant“. It turned out to be a restaurant situated on a huge rock on the beach. When it was tide you could walk out to the restaurant on dry land but when it was flood you would have to wade to it. Really nice food, good service and decent prices. Having that in mind, Zanzibar is probably the most expensive place in Tanzania in general. I guess some of the lodges around the great national parks in northern Tanzania can be quite pricey as well.

IMG_2375On the 18th of February we headed back to Stone Town, dropped of the car and took the ferry back to Dar Es-Salaam. We choose to stay one night in Dar Es-Salaam to get the “feel” of this African metropolis. Loud, dusty, milling, chaotic, African. The next day we took a taxi to the camping where we would meet up with Ronnie & Lena from 4x4expedition.se and the other participants.

Gallery updated with pictures from Zanzibar!

2012 Africa

2012 Africa Introduction

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In the winter of 2012 I went on a expedition trip through 10 African countries during 4 months. I left Sweden on the 12th of February and arrived back home again on the 16th of June. I went with a company called 4x4expedition.se whose concept is going by car by a loosly planned route where the participants can make decisions on where to go and how long to stay. The cars are equiped with tents on the roof so that we can camp, there’s also small gas stoves and other equipment needed for camping. So the concept is also not so much hotels and resturants (which makes traveling pretty cheap since we buy most food from local stores/markets).

The trip was divided into 3 legs.

The first leg started 20th of February in Dar Es-Salaam, Tanzania and went through Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and ended in Cape Town, South Africa on the 14th of April.

The second leg started in Cape Town on the 20th of April and went through South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique and ended in Harare, Zimbabwe on the 19th of May.

The third leg started on the 20th of May and went from Harare to Victoria Falls and then to Botswana through the Kalahari back to South Africa and ended on the 10th of June in Cape Town.

I stayed a couple of extra days in Cape Town before flying home. Also, the dates mentioned here might differ a bit, I don’t remember entierly but they should be somewhat accurate. I should have done this when I got home 5 months ago, not now. Oh well. Enjoy anyway!

This video is 20 minutes long and require some loading time, please be patient!

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