2012 Africa

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!

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

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!

2012 Africa

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!

2012 Africa

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.

2012 Africa

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.

2012 Africa

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.

2012 Africa

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!

2012 Africa

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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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

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!

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