Thursday, July 1, 2010

Day 30 - Alan's Perspective

After a tasty dinner, the night was spent trying to sleep whilst listening
to Richard coughing in the room next door!! He said he has a post nasal
drip!!! I am afraid he was not wrong.

The next morning after breakfast Richard told us about a quiet, scenic
route that took you past Mt Elgon. So off we went, it was Gavin's turn to
lead and he disappeared into the distance. First we were on a tarred road
driving though the most amazing scenery, the mountain was covered in clouds
and looked absolutely amazing. The tall canopy thorn bushes were a sight to

After travelling for a short while on dirt roads, in African terms (1
hour), we arrived at the Suam border post. What a surprise, here was a
little-used border post where officials were interested in where u were
from, where u were going etc. It was so quiet!!!!

We crossed over into Uganda and started to climb into the most beautiful
green hills, you get to drive through lots of villages with all the kids
shouting "mzungu"!! Locally they stop and stare at you as you are the
"mzungu tv".

We found virtually no traffic on the road and those trucks and motorbikes
that were around were travelling pretty slowly.

Down the pass we went!! All of a sudden Gavin's break lights come on and he
slows down to a crawl. The reason? The road was one BIG mud bath and he had
to engage 4x4!!!! Slip slide down the road he went!!! I looked at Jess and
said "oh well no wonder the road is so quiet". There after we slided,
skidded and bounced down the road. On some corners there were locals that
were either fixing or pretending to fix the road - definitely pretending as
they were not making a difference at all!! But they wanted money!!! Gavin
just drove through and so did I. I mean hey we did not need their help - we
drive Landcruiser's (that sometimes break down).

It felt as if the road would never end, never!! At some stage Gavin stopped
to get himself a beer but I decided against it (he should of as well
because the beer ended up all over the inside of his car. On and on went
the mud and sliding!!

The vegetation changed from farming fields to forests and with this the
road changed to a nice smooth dirt road for at least 5 km! Then back to the
fun stuff (and heart stopping as there was a pretty sheer drop on our

Eventually, hours later we hit tarred road again. What a pleasure!! With
all the mud caked on the wheels it felt like the wheels needed balancing
but after a few pot holes we were back to normal.

We stopped over in a place called Mbale for the night. The mozzies just
about carried me away.

We set off fairly early for Jinja. After a few kms The Beast started to
lose power every so often. Overtaking became a issue as every time I
accelerated she would lose power. Before leaving SA the car had spent two
days at Toyota whilst they "fixed" the problem. It appeared to be back!!

We arrived in Jinja and drove to the Nile to have lunch and to book a river
rafting trip for Jess, Gavin and Jen. Lunch consisted of battered telapia
and crispy hot chips. Delicious!

Our camping spot was at Gavin and Jen's friends (Neville and Ina) who were
farming just outside Jinja. We were met by their son, Graham, who was going
to show us the way to the farm. Driving to the farm we encountered more mud
but the difference this time was the oncoming trucks. They hog the middle
of the road and expect you to drive on the shoulder where all the mud and
water is. Gavin and I were slipping sideways. Pretty lousy section of road.

The farm is located next to Lake Victoria and has stunning views of the
environment. Neville does fish farming on the lake. Pretty interesting

Ina and Neville prepared battered kapenta, talapia and a fish curry for
dinner. Delicious!! We pitched our tents in their garden for the night,

Early the next morning we set off back to Jinja so that everyone could do
white water rafting.

Jess was extremely apprehensive at the thought of going down the Nile on a

Apprehension became excitement and off they went!! I had decided not to do
it because of my knee and shoulder and was to drive to the first rapid and
take pictures from the river side. I never got there!!

The Beast would not start at all so I spent the day taking both my petrol
tanks off and replacing both fuel pumps. With the help of Paulo and
Abdillah we managed to get the tanks off. Imagine this, I have this huge
200 litre tank full of petrol and no containers ti syphon it into. Well the
problem went away when empty buckets appeared and I saw the quality of the
fuel. I negotiated to pay for their help with petrol. The look of glee on
their faces was a sight to behold. Frankly, I paid too much but it was
worth it.

We eventually finished the job and it appears to be fixed. Today will tell!

I drove to meet the others who by now finished their adventure. Jess was
beaming from ear to ear, Jen looked happy to be back and Gavin was pale!
Gavin had nearly drowned when a rope from the raft wrapped around his leg
and he could not get it loose!! Hopefully he will write about his

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Monday, June 28, 2010

Au Revoir SA........

So, I arrive in Uganda in 3 days time. After reading the blog I am anticipating some rain, plenty of bad roads, lots of good food and lots of alcohol (and good company). I can live with that.

I am lucky my luggage allowance is 30kg as I have had numerous requests to bring STUFF!! The most important being Dry Wors from a specific butchery too!! So, minus 5kg from my luggage allowance, just for Dry Wors… I had to repack. I was then told to not worry about bringing too much luggage as all I really need is 4 pairs of pants/shorts… for 4 weeks??? I am starting to worry.

I have started to research places to stay in Mozambique, or rather one of my staff's father lives in Mozambique and has very kindly given me a lot of info on where to stay and where not to stay (more importantly). Where to go to swim with Manta rays and dolphins, best dive spots and places where we can stay and get Mates Rates …

After reading about some of the places they have had to stay in, I thought that a little preparation would get us hot showers and decent toilet facilities….

So, in just a few days time I get to view Silverback Gorillas in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forests National Park on the slopes of the volcanoes, Chimpanzee tracking in the Kibale forests and see the glorious Murchison Falls in Northern Uganda and MOST importantly I get to see Alan and Jess……….I don’t think any of us realised just how long a month is!!

Au Revoir…… SA, Soccer and all the Vuvuzelas


This is code for Lake Nakuru!!!!! Later.

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Day 28 - Alan's Perspective

So the road to Kakamega Forest is, was and no doubt will always be abysmal,
to say the least!!!

Earlier on in the blog I did mention how we very quickly learned that when
you looked at a map and planned any days travel you could not take the
distance to be travelled and know how long it was going to take to get
there as the road conditions are just so unpredictable.

I have skipped a bit of our travel time!! Must be the whisky and beer we
are drinking!!!

Gavin and I had decided that we would leave Temba at 07h00 so that we
could do the border crossing fairly early on in the day - did I just say
another border!!! Yes a crossing into Kenya!!! I have to say that the
experience we had at this border post was the least stressful to date.
Everyone was so pleasant and happy to see the msungu's (white people). It
took us no longer than 35 minutes to get through. Awesome stuff.

I digress, so Jess and I are up with the sparrows and standing to attention
next to the car at 07h00 sharp, ready to go. Gavin and Jen stroll out at
about 07h55!!! Gavin had forgotten that we wanted to leave early!! Sadly we
are unable to have any coffee or breakfast before we left so we headed out
for the border post. For those of you that know Gavin and Jen well, they
need their coffee in the morning!!

So border post done and now off to find coffee and breakfast! The scenery
is breathtaking, green hills and fields of tea plantations. You expect to
drive around a corner and see a sign advertising tea and scones!! But that
was not to be. I stopped and asked a policeman where we could get a decent
cup of coffee and he said just up the road!!! An hour later still no coffee
or food!! We took a wrong turnoff and ended up on a beautiful road and
scenery, which Gavin and I have decided not to tell anyone about lest too
many cars use it and mess it up, on our way to Kakamega Forest. We stopped
at a golf course for coffee and lunch!! Not even Pecanwood members are
allowed at this golf club but we did get food!

Everyone was happy again!!

The distance to be travelled only 128 km. Ja right!!

The last 40 km of road was hell (and we did not even make our targeted
destination!!). We crossed the equator but did not take any pictures
because all we saw was a building that said New Equator Pub (Gavin saw the
right sign!!).
It was dark, pot holes were leaping out all over the road and it had
started to rain cats and dogs!!! I had to sms (radio was not working) Gavin
and tell that we were going to look for a place to sleep before it got too

We spotted a hotel in the town of Kakamega and managed to get the last two
rooms. Phew!!! Because of the rain Dstv was not working so we could not
watch any soccer.

Slept well and then set off to the forest, Udo's camp via the bottom gate.
We were told that we could not reach the camp via the bottom gate as there
is a swamp in the middle of the forest so we decided to stay at the camp

Washed clothes, everyone else went for a guided tour in the forest but I
decided to stay behind for some much needed quiet time. It rained again!!.

I put some lamb chops on the braai accompanied by butternut, toasted
sandwiches and baked onions. Had a great time around the fireplace then
went off the tent. In the early hours of the morning the heavens opened up

Eventually we got up and sat around for a while watching the tent and
clothes dry!!

Back on the road through the stunning forest to Eldorette (George in
Zambia's recommendation) and then on to 888888 to see rhino!!

We stopped in Eldorette at Will's Pub for lunch. Gavin met a chap called
Raj, who ran the Naiberi Camp site, and it went down hill from there!!

The first night we had a pretty late night where copious amounts of Jim
Bean was consumed!!! Next day Gavin and I went into town to draw money and
charge my one battery up. It was Raj's birthday so he went out and bought a
ton of pork to braai, which is Nepalese chef prepared the Indian way. It
was very tasty!! I had a early night.

Sunday we set off for Kitale (opposite directions to the rhino!). By mutual
consent this tarred road is the worst we have travelled, 48 km in just over
two hours!!! We stopped in Kitale for coffee and a kidney bashing break!!

By this time Gavin and I were saying well if we attempt the next 164 km we
will miss the England vs Germany game so we opted to find somewhere to stay
that was reachable.

Just for the record, we are unable to post pictures at the moment because
the internet speeds are so slow.

We ended up at Siarikwa Safari Lodge, met Richard, talked about motorbikes,
looked at car engines, had a delicious dinner, roast chicken, beef olives,
roast potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, butternut, bread sauce, gravy,
vegetable soup and steamed pudding and a bottle of Jameson's. Bed!!!

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