Africa, Motorcars_Automobiles, Travel Africa

Philosophy – Going On Safari

Get the BEST 4X4 possible, modify it, take engine spares, take all your own food and water and fuel, fit a winch, fit a snorkel, take hi-lift jacks, a big toolkit, solar power, satellite phone, there must be more . . . be entirely self-sufficient.

OR

Sommer just take the car you have, buy food along the way. Meet the locals and depend on them.

Here are two different approaches:

  • I told you about the Austrian biker. Now meet a lady from Cape Town who realised her little Toyota Conquest with close to 400 000km on the clock was turning twenty  – and she was turning eighty! So combined they were 100 years old with plenty high mileage! She thought “Bliksem, it’s Time To Drive Up Through Africa”. She left Cape Town and she’s in Ethiopia now (update: She’s now in Sudan) (update: She made it to England) and going strong. Go and read her blog for an adventure – and for wonderful creative spelling! She calls her blog My African Conquest. Lovely stuff, Julia’s all about BEING THERE and the people along the way.
Julia, her Toyota Conquest and friends in Sudan
  • Then there’s this approach: A five year preparation of a monster truck with everything including the kitchen sink. Gas, solar, batteries, diesel, water, fuel, EVERYTHING! This beast has a big buffalo boss above the windscreen and it’s called Nyati! Paul’s approach to his travels is different. He writes like . . stream-of-conscious and he’s more about getting home. He’s no spring chicken either, at 70, so hats off to him too!
Now at the pre-COR inspection

Different strokes, different folks. For some it’s more the journey, for some it’s more the equipment. It does tickle me that the huge big Benz truck has seats with wind-down windows for two, while the tiny Toyota has seats with wind-down windows for four!

But it’s all travel and it’s all good.

Do go.

Africa, Aitch, Birds & Birding, Travel, Travel Africa

Maputaland Meander

Aitch was impressed: Luxury with Wilderness Safaris at Ndumo, grub and game drives laid on. Aitch had fun with the giraffe’s dong. So where we going next? she asks. “You’ll see”, I say. Hmm, she said, knowingly, raising one eyebrow but saying no more . . .

 

We were in a magic Isuzu Trooper kindly loaned to us by Mike & Yvonne Lello and were on a Maptuland Meander. Leaving Ndumo we drifted east to Kozi and inspected the campsites, then drove on to Kozi Bay Lodge. “I’ll just run inside and arrange things,” I said, optimistically.

So I walked into the lodge and came out and said “We’ll just camp outside the gate, I brought a tent!” Ha! You hadn’t booked! Aitch announced triumphantly. She’d known all along. She actually loved it. She didn’t really mind the roughing it and the uncertainty and she LOVED catching me out and teasing me about my disorganisation.

She says there was a bit of muttering and a few mild imprecations erecting the unfamiliar tent. OK, some cursing, she said. Loud cursing.

Borrowed Lello's tent, too

We drove to Kosi mouth:

ndumo-kosi-mabibi-isuzu-1

Then onward, southward. Where we staying tonight?, she asked sweetly. “You’ll see,” I said. Hmm, she muttered knowingly, raising one eyebrow. Well, let me just say ONE thing: We are not staying at Mabibi. The newspapers have been full of stories about bad guys at Mabibi. “Izzat so?” Yes. We can stay anywhere but Mabibi.

Well Rocktail Bay Lodge was also full and we drove on as evening approached. The fire watchtower man had knocked off and was walking home. We stopped to ask directions, then gave him a lift so he could show us the way. He settled down into the bucket seat, pushing Aitch onto the gear lever.

You’re going to Mabibi, aren’t you? said the all-knowing one. “Well, there’s nowhere else,” I mumbled. When we got there she surprised me by saying Let’s just sleep under the stars, I’m too tired to pitch the tent. So we did. My brave Aitch! Here she is next morning.

Mabibi Camp. Aitch aziz

What a lovely vehicle was that Isuzu Trooper! What magic Maputaland roads!

 

Lift! Lift! Sure! Hop on! It’s Lello’s car!

Lift!! Lift!!

One more night, in relative luxury, if the little wooden cabins at Sibaya camp can be honoured with description! and we hit the ugly highway home. A very special place Maputaland.

 

 

Africa, Aitch, Birds & Birding, Travel, Travel Africa, Wildlife, Game Reserves

Hwow! Hwange is Hwonderful!

One of Aitch’s list of ‘things to do’ once we knew she had cancer, was to visit her twin sis in Botswana. Janet quickly mustered her network and arranged a trip to Hwange, Zimababwe’s world-class national park. Her friends Beks and Sarah Ndlovu of African Bush Camps own a concession and run a very special camp at Somalisa in the eastern area, Linkwasha I think they call it.

Beks calls it his Hemingway-style camp. We called it bliss. Unpretentious tents from the outside, luxury inside.

Hwange, Somalisa Camp

The weather was amazing! Bright sunshine, then huge gathering clouds, then pouring rain and back to sunshine in a few hours. Enough rain to bring out the bullfrogs – the first time I have seen them, not for lack of looking. They were out for their annual month of ribaldry: Bawdy songs, lewd & lascivious pixicephallic behaviour. Also gluttony. Then back underground for 11 months of regrets.

HwangeSomalisa2010 (70) Hwange Cloudburst &  Nightdrive (20) Hwange Cloudburst &  Nightdrive (36)

The rain was spectacular!

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After the rain, sunshine and new spoor on the bush telegraph page-wiped-clean: Aha! The lions have cubs!

There are cubs about . . HwangeSomalisa2010 (40)

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After a good soaking the animals would have to drip-dry. We could get under cover and have hot showers, hot drinks and warm dry clothing.

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Hwange, Somalisa Camp

Hwange has become my favourite of all Africa’s big parks. It is simply fantastic.

Hwange Somalisa Camp

Those sand roads are very special, as were the breakfasts out on the pan.

—-oo0oo—-

Prologue:

I had dashed off an email to Aitch in Feb 2009:

Hi Aitch – As ‘they’ so crudely put it, we need to ‘sh*t or get off the pot’ as far as a decision to get to Okavango (and Beks Ndlovu’s camps) this year. Either soonish (March), or September / October (very hot). We must decide yes or no, and if yes, who could we leave the kids with? Dilemma – K

—-oo0oo—-
So glad we didn’t get off the pot! The kids were fine; We got there in Jan 2010 for Aitch’s last – great, unforgettable – Botswana trip. We’d been once before in 1997.