Crossing Africa Newsletter X

Hello to you all,

So I write you, not from Namibia, but from the place I wanted to go in the first place, Bulawayo Zimbabwe.

After a couple of tries, I think it was the third time again, I managed to leave Zanzibar. Instead of going to the mainland by dhow, this time I decided to take the ordinary ferry from Stonwe town to Dar Es Salaam.
loading the bike onto the Dhow.
I can now tell you, take a dhow! It’s much easier, and a lot cheaper, even if you have to pay a bribe to the police arriving on either side.
I left Zanzibar with Andy, one of the other Dive Masters in training that can call himself Dive Master now, on the night ferry.
The next morning we arrived in Dar and all of a sudden low deck became high deck on that side of the harbor so the bike was 5 meters up.
ofloading the bike in Dar.

With a bridge lifted to that height I managed to drive the bike of.
After that all kind of harbor paperwork and such was coming my way, so there and then I decided that if it is possible to fly my bike back home, that’s going to be the way.

In Dar my passenger for the next few weeks was waiting. Jip, I am going to try to go 2-up for a while. She hopefully will make the tarmac stretches ahead of me a bit more interesting.
A short into:
Her name is Josette and met her in Nungwi Zanzibar, was on a Oasis Trans Africa overland truck and got tiered of sitting in the truck so…

We spend most of the day in Dar looking for a proper helmet which was found after going through most of the city. Apparently there is a Yamaha dealer in Dar, but never found it, so if somebody has the GPS-coordinates, PUT them ONLINE.

Leaving Dar the next morning we where heading for Morogoro or Iringa. Driving into Morogoro and stopping there for an afternoon drink, I thought that Morogoro sounds familiar, but where from. Grabbed my little note book and remembered, there is a Horizons Unlimited Community there, dialed the number and told Steve I was in town. We where very welcome to stay at his wonderful house but as he had to finish work if we could meet him there around half past five, no probs of coarse.

We drunk an other couple of drinks and played some card games, when I became very tiered, shivered and had a slight temp. That evening I found out that Malaria had hit me. And in the end found no better place to get it… After starting the treatment it went well quicker and apparently I noticed it in time, as I did not get this slap in the face as you normally get when you first get malaria.
We spend three nights at Steve’s place and left for Iringa.
Steve I can’t thank you enough for the great help we received!

On the way to Iringa the road took us through a National Park, where we saw, Zebra and Elephant next to the road, great stuff. After Iringa it was one go to the border between Tanzania and Malawi.
Josette next to the huge bike 😉 on one of those beautifull views.

Trying to get out of the crowd in Iringa.
There is a nice mountain pass to climb that goes up to 2300 meters. We stayed at a place near the border and had to welled the exhaust there as it broke off.

The border crossing the next day was as easy as it can get in Africa and did not need any visa for Malawi so that was a great. The road took us to Chitimba that day, on the wonderful, but not close to often-called Caribbean, Lake Malawi.
We ended staying there for three nights of which two up on the cliff, with a great view over Lake Malawi and some adrenaline pumping rope swings and abseils.

The next stop was Nkatha Bay, one of the places to be and the location of a Dive Center so we went in there to book a dive for the next day. As I was parking the bike Josette asked me is this Florians? I did not know what she meant but as I walked around the corner it all became clear to me, Iris her motorbike was standing there. (Iris and Florian helped me out after my accident and I copied their luggage system after the crash AND I drove from Addis to Lake Baringo with them) Josette knew about them as I told them about my travels with them.
So that was a fun to see them at first and to see them do a dive course!

The dive there, for both of us the first fresh water dive ever, was a bit disappointing as the visibility was very bad, but still a nice experience. Also I was hoping to meet Andy there again but he left 6 days before us, so he’s traveling down south with public transport very quick.

Lilongwe was the last destination in Malawi and as the city looks very American, it wasn’t, there was really nothing to do except some quick and cheap Internet.
Trying to leave the town early, to make it into Zambia and to South Lulangwa National Park that day, did not work out, but we made it to the National Park in time and no visas again as we pre-booked a game drive with Flatdogs, the camp where we stayed. Which was a really great place to stay.

South Lulangwa is one of Africa’s to National Parks, though not to us this time, but as it was my first real game drive on this trip, definitely worth doing. The road to and from the park is terrible though that on the way back my luggage frame broke of.
After 5 minutes a car past by and of Josette and my luggage went. I tied up the frame and was so light that I could really play around with the bike again! I quickly took over the car and arrived in Chipata to find a welder to fix the frame. Next to the welding shop was a tailor to fix my tank bag and opposite to the welder was a cafe that did breakfast. So all in all it was not bad at all, but Lusaka was the destination that day, a whole 750-km and this was the first time in Africa that I had to do some night driving.

On the wall in the Backpackers hostel there was a painted map and it said there was a Spur restaurant in town! (For all those non South Africans – Spur equals Big Fat Steaks) Jumped in a cab, to find no spur there anymore, AGGGGGGRHHHH. So instead we ate Italian.

So where to go from Lusaka? Livingstone!!! Vic Falls. ZIMBABWE! It was a place of mixed feelings. At first I was almost where I planned to go, but had to leave Josette behind so she could go and see wonderful Namibia, that I am going to skip as I have a lot to do in Zimbabwe.
Now for the first time in this writing I am truly going to recommend a place!
It’s called Faulty Towers Backpackers and is probably one of the nicest places I have stayed in that’s located in a town. And the biggest plus: It has very HOT showers with PLENTY of water coming out of the tap!

In Livingstone I bought two 30 liter jerry cans, which made my total fuel capacity 100 liters and gives me a range of something between 1500 and 2000 km which is enough to cross, fuel lacking, Zimbabwe.
The border was very easy again, no problems with the fuel, you are allowed to import 500 liters per person a head, so if you want you can carry 1000 liters, the kind official said.

In Vic Falls Josette met up with the truck and I set the compass to Bulawayo where I arrived at sunset and found my way easy as really nothing changed except that there where no traffic jams anymore. At the SAA-office I phone my cousin who kindly escorted me to his house. I AM THERE! Which is a really strange feeling.

The first few days in Bulawayo I took it easy, fixing the bike as there was a small oil leak. Can’t fix it here at the moment because I can’t find any copper rings that fit here, shortage in Zimbabwe is noticeable in every way.

After that I went up to Gweru to crate a glider I bought from the gliding club there.
It took me three days together with Martin Naude to put it in a trailer that was designed for an other glider (Skylark 2). But after those two days all peaces of the goevier that was built by Fokker just after the war fitted in the trailer.
Now the restoration process can begin once it arrives back in Holland after 40 years.
One obstacle still lies in its way and that is to get the trailer to Harare from where it will be shipped as there is hardly any petrol in the country.
During my stay in Gweru I got a bed in the Antelope Park just south of Gweru, where you can ride on the back of an African elephant or walk with Cape Lions, which of coarse, I did both, and both where absolutely amazing!

At this moment I am back in Bulawayo trying to organize some petrol and after that I will head for South Africa although I don’t know what to do exactly so if you can help me out?? The options are:
– Ship the bike together with the glider from Harare
– Drive to Jo’burg and fly it out from there
– Drive from Jo’burg to Bloemfontein to Durban and follow the coast to Cape Town and ship from there
* But keep in mind I want to meet up with my, now in Namibia, passenger.
* Do diving of the coast in SA (Sardine run is going on)
* Have to do it all before the fifth of July…

Hang in tight for -maybe the last- next newsletter!

CU under the Cu