Sunday, July 08, 2007

We made it!!

Almost there!

After 248 days, 39 323 kilometres and about 40 punctures we made it to the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa. After heading in southerly direction for so long and then reaching a place were we could go south no more was strange this was the place that was in the back my mind the whole time and there we were staring out over the empty ocean, that point itself may have been just another place but it was a great sense of achievement, to simply look at my bike and think it got me here and I got it here all on our own, not once did we use another mode of transport to carry the bikes we rode ever inch of the way except for the odd river crossing of course.

We made it.......
Cape Town and its surroundings are very beautiful, with Table Mountain in the heart of the city it is the most picturesque city I have ever seen, far cry from down town Lagos, Nigeria. After travelling the length of the African continent not once been hurt by a single wild animal it was Cape Town were I came unstuck, I was mauled on the hand by a killer penguin as I removed it from a fence it was stuck in!!!

A harmless killer!
The server flesh wound cuased by the killer penguin.
We stayed with a friend of mine who I met 18 months earlier whilst travelling in Cuba, Ricky De Agrela, who also enjoys an adventure having flown a mirolight around the world in 2004. This was great to have a nice bed and a garage to start the arduous job of fixing the bikes up to continue my journey north.

The microlight that flew around the world.

Above the waves, Ricky and I with Table mountain in the background.

Back in Namibia

Namibia was fantastic, the scenery spectacular, we headed north to where the Himba people are, these stunning primitive people have a tradition were the women rub a red colored paint all over their bodies and cake their hair with red mud to form huge long red dreads, just amazing people to encounter, the most amzing for me thus far.

Himba Ladies.

More Himba people.
In the north western corner of Namibia close to the Angolan border we encountered a road that was on par with a tough piste we road in Mauritania, huge boulders with steep climbs and descents smashing against my bash plate and having to wrestle the bike as the road wound through a mountainous pass was tiring work. Even though it was more of the adventure we liked, it made us want to simply get to Cape Town and not be subject to anything braking on the bikes nor on us, we had come so far and felt we did not want to be slowed now, we headed for the better roads once again.
Amy's chain skipped off on the corrugations.
A bush camp in a cave.

Crossed this before but home in Australia.
The rest of Namibia was a breeze besides my rectifier giving up half way down but since I heard it could be a problem I had been carrying a spare all the way from London so fitted it and continued on our way. The further south we went the colder it became, we passed a seal colony, the massive dunes of the Namib Desert and the ghost town of Kolmanskop, engulfed by sand dunes.

The giant dunes of Souselvie, Namibia.

The trusty stead.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

......illegal entry

We reached the Zim/Botswana border at about 3 in the afternoon with the thoughts of getting through and getting down the road 100 k’s to Francistown for a bed but were we wrong and our biggest dilemma was about to begin.

On the Zimbabwe side we simply were stamped out and we road on to the Botswana border bidding a good farewell to Zim after a nice time there considering all we had heard before going there. As we approached the Botswana border post we could see lines of cars and people everywhere, queues, queues a mile long with no less than 200 people in them, we were in for a long wait. We lined up after parking our bikes and asked around how long the wait would be and it turned out to be a lot longer than daylight hours we had left and we did not want to be stuck riding in the dark. After awhile I came up with a plan to try and get through quicker, down the front of the line I went and spoke with the soldier controlling the line, gave him a story I was a very important person from the government and hey presto he said go through, great I thought. But this was the point that we would go no further!

The customs lady asked for our passports, looked at mine then Amy’s, the emergency passport, she raised an eyebrow, oh no what now. You have to remember in this part of the world blacks hate whites, not all of course but there is a lot of grudges held and when one is given certain powers they think they can dictate what ever they want. The customs lady said that we could not enter as it was an emergency passport and Amy needed a visa but I did not! We both thought this was rubbish and we did find out later it was. So I started out politely questioning her actions to why really we needed a visa and then kindly asked to speak with the officer in charge. The customs lady went to get the boss came back and said she will be with us shortly. We stood for about 30 minutes waiting, no boss arrived I asked the lady where she is and her simple reply was she has gone to lunch! Was getting well pissed off by now. I said lunch its almost 4 pm, the customs lady began with a lecture of well we need to eat you know just like ‘you people’ as they prefer to us, I started been not so nice realising that all hope of getting Amy’s passport stamped was fading and our option was to turn back to Zim and go to Harare, over a 1000 k’s back for a visa from the Botswana embassy, not an option I thought. So I argued the point some more that we needed to see someone important, then the reply came that the boss had one home, I lost it, saying how incompetent these people were and if this was a reflection on the people of Botswana I don’t want to enter their country anyway. Hmmm some how I think I was going down the wrong path. And then the boss appeared, I glared at the customs lady politely calling her a liar before chatting with the boss, nope her stance was the same and that was that.

We left the building dejected, it was late the sun almost set, a Friday afternoon so none of the Australian embassies could help, what to do, Amy got upset it was just to much for her. I was thinking of a plan, I had my passport stamped first but Amy did not but if we just could get passed the border man at the gate. We road up thinking the worst and prepared to turn around and go back, as it was a one way road we had to still ride around the border which involved entering Bots and then following the road back around into Zim. We road up to the border gate and I simply said to the man we need to go through and ride around to the Zim side please, he half looked at my passport and not Amy’s and waved us through, we road on nervously as I knew what I was thinking and hoped Amy the same, that was ‘lets keep going' I slowed so Amy was beside me as we approached the right turn to take the road back to Zim, took one look at her and yep she was thinking the same as me, we screwed the throttle into Botswana, I was fine but Amy was illegal, we cruised to Francistown in the dark, I now had to think of how to get her out of the country……


Namibia was what we had been waiting for and anticipated for so long but as time went by we longed to be back in Angola, the rotten roads, bush camping, all this because the adventure was over(for now). The roads were superb, petrol stations everywhere and steak, steak, steak, vegetables are more expensive than steak in Namibia!!

It was nice to have all the luxuries of course but our trip took a sharp turn toward the more angle of a holiday rather an adventure. Having said this there were a few things that remained the same that reminded us we where still in Africa in the form of punctures and spares or there lack of. Trying to get to the first town that had a motor cycle shop that could give me a new tube was an effort with the already large number of holes in the rear tube I had to replace the patches every 80 k’s due to the heat from the road and inadequate glue I was using! Eventually we made it and the Baja was desperately in need of a new chain and sprocket but of course there were no such sprockets available in Namibia so the only solution was to machine the centre of a new sprocket and the outside of our old one and weld the two together, so after a few days a few steaks and quite a few hot showers, first since Nigeria we were mobile again and headed for Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.

Entering Zimbabwe.
Victoria Falss from below...........

.........and from above.
Zimbabwe, well what to say, besides a lack of fuel, an inflation rate the highest in the world at around 3000%, and a leader who seems to have lost all his marbles-its actually not to bad. Vic Falls was quite something as it should be I suppose been a natural wonder of the world and what better way to view it than to take a ultra light flight over the enormous falls, throwing mist hundreds of meters into the air.
We made the capital Harare in time to for the ANZAC Day service for all resident Aussies and Kiwi’s and visiting ones as well, we looked a little out of place in our travelling rags amongst the suits and dresses but once the good Aussie wine and local beer flowed people were all ears to our stories.
ANZAC Day, Harare.
On the road to Harare my dash mount had had enough breaking on the corrugations making me have to hold it up with my left hand for 2 days until we reached the capital. Luck was on our side as we met a fellow biker called Rocky(an ex boxer) who lets say owned an adult establishment and along with his help and welding gear we fixed my dash and few other little problems our bikes had.

Repairs, Me, Rocky and Mpose.

Rocky on his vintage BMW.

Amy picked up her new emergency passport, which would become the biggest hassle we would have to face in time to come, more on that one later. We headed south to Botswana and on our way taking a wrong turn lead us to some good fortune. We stumbled across a white owned farm and because of the man who lost his marbles is hard to find in Zimbabwe-a white owned farm! The owners Joan and Lara let us stay a few nights, maybe in time to come there will be no white people on the land, I sure hope not.

After a nice time there it was a short ride to Botswana, where the trouble begins……………..