A Travellerspoint blog

Mt Kilimanjaro

Gonna take some time to do the things we never had

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View Round the world in 250 days on Nat and Ev's travel map.

On the first night of our Kili hike I started to fantasise, not your run of the mill fantasies, I was fantasising about spraining an ankle, getting bitten by a semi-poisonous snake or even a minor volcanic eruption. Anything to spare me the shame of being beaten by the mountain. I lay in my wet clothes, in my wet sleeping bag, in our wet tent with a throbbing altitude headache and we were only at 2800 meters, that’s 3 oxygen sapping kilometres, below our goal. Apart from my own altimetic ineptitude I was also having serious doubts about our guides organisational ability. Despite every single Kili trekking company providing tents and sleeping mats he deduced that seeing as we didn’t specifically ask for sleeping mats that we must have brought our own. He also waited until ¾ through the first day to check with us. You’ve got your own sleeping mats, right? Ahhh no! You would also think that porters would have some sort of system for keeping gear dry. Those freak showers in a rain forest in the wet season sure caught us by surprise…..

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Fortunately day two brought a little relief from the rain but not from the cloud. As we made our way up a further our guide took control of the situation and started chanting the Kilimanjaro mantra, pole pole (slowly slowly). We managed to climb into the clouds with only a hint of the previous days altitude headache, all it took was a little patience. This also led to my day two epiphany. I discovered the link between old people and flowers / plants. The clouds had reduced my vision (just like my nana) and the altitude had reduced my mobility (just like my nana) and I started to notice flowers (just like my nana). It was the craziest thing, once the parameters were changed I started enjoying flowers. Here’s some proof.

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By day three we had passes through the rain forest, through the moon forest and into the alpine tundra. It was the first time you could see the full extent of a Kili campsite. I’m glad we were hiking in low season because by the look of things it must get pretty crazy once it’s at capacity. Our little two person expedition had swollen to 10 people with the addition of a guide, an assistant guide, a cook, a waiter and four porters. At high season each campsite can hold 100 punters which, by my maths, would equate to around 500 people. Apparently the toilet and rubbish situation gets well out of hand. It doesn’t take long before one starts putting two and two together, or more accurately starts timesing park fees by campers and you can see why tourism is the backbone of Tanzania’s lacklustre economy.
There are 5 main routes up Kili.
The two main routes max out at 100 people the lesser routes at about 50.
You can climb in 5, 6 or 7 days.
6 months of high and 6 months of low. Lets say an average of 50% capacity in low season.
So that is 350 punters entering each day, paying $110 per day, for an average of 6days, for 180 days of high season and half of that in low season.
One comment in the guest book summed up the most common complaint pretty well “cost of upgrading toilets = ?? Park fees per year = $60 million” hmmm I wonder where the moneys going?

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By day five we were feeling great. Each day we had been acclimatising by hiking up to a new high before descending to camp for the night. The environment had been different and stunning every day but the time for cakewalks was over. It was time to measure ourselves against the mountain. We had made it to 4800 meters without too much trouble using the pole pole method but we were both a little fearful that no matter how slowly we climbed we were going to get worked by the last lunge to the top. Uharu peak is 5895meter above sea level and the last 1095 meters was hell. We were due to start at midnight but our guide (possibly not fully convinced of our ability) decided we should start at 11pm to get a jump on the crowd. I’ve learnt the when estimating the altitude you have gained whilst climbing a mountain it’s best to half the hight you think you’ve covered. Are we at 5000 yet? No 4900. Are we at 5400 yet? No 5100? This pattern continued until my mind was taken off the altitude by an overwhelming sense of nausea. It takes 6 hours the get to stellar point and another hour to walk around the rim to the highest point, Uharu peak. When we arrived at stellar point we were not greeted with the pre dawn glow and gentle breeze I had envisioned. We were met with –15degrees temps, 40 – 50 km winds carrying skin splitting snow drifts. We staggered around the rim, reached the peak (first people for the day might I add), took a few average photos and got the hell out of there. I suffered (noisily) for a good 3 hours on the way up and 3 hours on the way down. I haven’t really discussed Nat’s physical or mental state that much as yet and that is with good reason. She nailed it. Apart from a little breathlessness at the peak and a few tears at 3.30am (which is par for the coarse for her) she didn’t put a foot wrong the whole trek Upon arriving safely back at our tent she summed up her feeling with “I’m so glad we made it to the top so we never have to do that again”, I concur. Whilst climbing Mt Kilimanjaro was one of my life goals having done it I can safely say that climbing above 4000 meters is ridiculous. I thought many times on the night we sumitted , why the hell would anyone pay for this??? My feelings of bewilderment subsided as we returned to a more agreeable altitude and the sense of achievement kicked in. After 7 days without a shower we had both developed a tangy aroma that only a full bar of soap and a good 30 minutes of steaming hot water could cure.

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My buns, they don’t feel nothin' like steel.

On a very different note we have received devastating news from home and are as a result we’re ending our trip early. We have loved writing about our travels and hope you’ve enjoyed reading about them. We will no doubt be off again some time in the near future and are already looking forward to blogging again.

Lots of love,
Nat and Ev

Posted by Nat and Ev 13.06.2007 01:14 Archived in Tanzania Comments (6)

Zanzibar

Don't stop me now, I'm havin' such a good time

storm 26 °C
View Round the world in 250 days on Nat and Ev's travel map.

If pestering tourists was an Olympic sport Tanzania would definitely make the podium, India might pip it at the post but it would be one hell of a contest. After two weeks of people being friendly just because, Dar was a very nasty reality check. It took us the best part of an hour to shake the touts and to work out the best way forward which unfortunately involved going back into the feeding frenzy to accept one of the offers shouted at us as we came through the arrivals gate. Touts are one of the worst things about travelling but at the same time not much would get done without them. After weighing up the options we discovered it would only cost us a few dollars more to fly straight to Zanzibar rather than spending the night in dar and catching a two hour ferry. We allowed ourselves this one last splurge before committing to getting back to the shoestring budget we are bound to. We found a little place just on the edge of Stone town, dumped the bags and got busy getting lost.

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After reading the LP in an effort to formulate some sort of plan for exploring the city it became apparent that there isn’t much to “see” in Stone town. There are a few sights, Freddie Mercury’s house (very disappointing – no shrine, no histograph, nothing but a t-shirt shop), a b-grade fort and the sultans house but in spite of these crappy sights the rest of stone town is packed with intriguing Zanzibarian life. Stone town is a maze of tight, high, disorientating alleys where life goes on. Kids go to school, donkeys haul carts of building supplies, vespas speed past and veiled ladies do their best to stay out of photos. One of the highlights was the hustle and bustle of the nightly seafood markets. We didn’t like it quite as much as the Maputo Market but it was still a fun night out.

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My Uncle Robert (PNG Uncle not Copa Uncle for those who often get confused) has spent plenty of time in Africa and implored us to get to some live music whilst travelling through Africa. We had tried and failed miserably a few times, particularly in Mozambique where we were subjected to that Portuguese song that has been rehashed for ads and footy stars world wide way too many times, I call it “there’s only one Tony Locket” or the “one tone rodeo” song. I was sure our night out in Stone town would right the wrongs. We had heard about a big gig going on at the fort. It was apparently an Afro / R&B thing and it sounded like the place to be so we gave it a crack. It was supposed to start at 8. We got in had a few beers as the crowd grew then two guys started spinning some hip hop records. Not my scene but it was just the warm up so I wasn’t too perturbed. As the crowd grew we took our seat a safe distance from the stage. By 9 there would have been about 500 people siting in the forts amphitheatre waiting for the fun to begin. There was a group of fun boys going off to the right of the stage, doing their best P-diddy impersonations. I once thought there was nothing worse than white people pretending to be black. I was wrong, black people pretending to be black is way worse. After 2 hours of warm up music we began to wonder “is this it” but just as we began to loose hope the first act came on. The P-diddys went nuts. After 30 minutes we went to bed. Sorry Uncle Robert. We are trying hard but failing miserably.

Note: Funboys to the right of the stage
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We also partook in the classic Zanzibar day trip, the spice tour. It was pretty cool to see the huge array of spices and what they look like before they get dried, crushed, filtered and jammed into those little masterfood jars. It was tempting to buy a few kilograms of cloves but common sense took hold and we managed to reduce the spend to a few gift size parcels. Who’s going to be the lucky recipient I wonder?? We had a mega spicy lunch and stopped off at a cave where slaves were held until there was enough to fill a boat. We also stopped off at Mrs Sultans holiday house. She wouldn’t let him sleep with his 99 concubines while she was in the Stone town palace so he built her a holiday house. He’s an ideas man.

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Zanzibar’s other drawcard is her beaches. We decided on a small beach town on the north of the island called Kendwa. Most of Zanzibar’s beaches have been conquered by the 5 star set. Fortunately there are still some beachfront villas that don’t cost an arm and a leg and we found one that wouldn’t break our renewed shoestring vows. After a nice lunch and a swim we wandered along the beach until we reached the over water bar of the neighbouring 5 star hotel. It was nearing sunset and the temptation of a beer over the water was too hard to resist until we discovered that a drink of any sort would set us back 10 euros which is about what we paid for our accommodation. We wandered back to the povo end of the beach, which incedently has the same white sand, the same turquoise sea and the same stunning vistas, to our humble beach bar for a $3 cocktail. Luxury is overrated.

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Soap Box time! I have two thoughts that don’t really fit in to the blog in a logical flow so I have dedicated this chunk to them.

1) I know Swahili was around thousands of years before the Lion King but I still think Disney must be held responsible for the unbearable overuse of the phrase hakuna matata in Tanzania. I’m sure it wasn’t uttered nearly as much before they popularised it with their touching cartoon musical.

2) At times I can have a shortish fuse. I have very little patience for touts that persist with the “Jambo Jambo meeester” after you have told them you’re not interested in whatever it is they are trying to sell. I have discovered that the quickest way to piss of a tout is to shoosh them, especially with the shoosh action of index finger over shooshing lips. Of course once they get pissed of you have to brace yourself for the hakuna matata that inevitably follows. Damn you Walt.

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Our last day on Zanzibar we finally ran into the tail end of the wet season that we had been chasing north. We have had beautiful weather for pretty much all of our time in Africa but we finally got caught in a tropical downpour. In an effort to stick to the shoestring vow, for at least a day or two, we decided to catch the $20 overnight ferry rather than the $35, 2 hour jetcat, for a combined saving of $60. This unfortunately meant we had a long wet day to kill in Stone town before our 9pm ferry. I didn’t mind the slow day. Nat worked herself into a restless frenzy, which I found mildly amusing. We got into Dar in the morning just in time for the heavens to open again. We spent the day wandering the flooding streets of Daresalam, which is nowhere near as exotic as it sounds. After a 8 hour bus trip that should have taken 4 hours we arrived in Moshi. The better part of the next two days was spent finding someone to take u sup Kili. We finally decided on the 7 day Machame route Mauly tours (http://www.mauly-tours.com).

Next blog will be about either our triumphant adventure or the many philosophical and physiological reasons why we didn’t make it. Either way it’s going to be a cracker.

Wait till Biggus hears about this!

Lot’s of love,
Ev and Nat

P.S. For all the doubters out there (I know who you are) Kingos has kindly offered to set up a tote.
Apparently you stand to make a lot of money if we don’t make it to the second camp…..

Posted by Nat and Ev 02.06.2007 03:51 Archived in Tanzania Comments (2)

Northern Mozambique

I've been caught stealing.... (aka the case of the missing boots)

sunny 34 °C
View Round the world in 250 days on Nat and Ev's travel map.

It wasn’t until we were bumping along the main road of Ilha de Mocambique in a dilapidated van, which had clearly been used for fish haulage, that Nat realised her mistake. She had left her hiking boots behind in the previous bus.

We had spent the morning travelling from Nampula, on a large bus for about 4 hours until about half an hour before arriving at our intended destination, the remaining passengers were taken to a small bus station and told to jump into a smaller van for the trip over the bridge to Ilha de Mocambique. At some time during the transition Nat had forgotten that she’d stuffed her boots under the seat. I was given the unenviable responsibility of reminding Nat not to forget her boots. I forgot. Apparently that makes me even more liable than her. Luis (proprietor of the imaginatively named “Casa Luis” Guest house) knew the manager of the bus line and called to see if the boots were still on the bus. When the message came through that they were not we instantly assumed that they either hadn’t looked in the right place or worse that one of the staff had found them and decided to mind them for us, indefinitely. The ramifications started to sink in. No Boots = no Kilimanjaro. We hitched and walked back to the bus station and asked if we could search the bus. We didn’t find them and after harassing the staff some more we gave up. Having something stolen has an instant effect. We found ourselves distrusting everyone, the rose glasses we had been looking through had been cracked and muddied. We formulated a very average plan B and headed back to Ilha for lunch.

Half way through lunch Luis popped his head into the restaurant looking for us. He mumbled something about boots… thief… now… We didn’t really know what was going on but we jumped in the back of his ute and headed back to the bus station. As we pulled into the station we were greeted by a group of 30 or so angry looking guys (most of whom were wearing kofias). At first I didn’t get it but then I saw the guy who had been sitting behind us on the bus, the front of his now ripped T-shirt covered in blood. His clothes were shredded and his face was bleeding in quite a few places. Sitting next to him were the boots. It looked like the damage had been done a while ago. He had been kept at the station for our benefit. We didn’t really know what to do. Was I supposed to slap him or abuse him further or thank the punishers??? I was tempted to take a photo but it looked like the thief had been humiliated enough. We grabbed the boots jumped back in the ute and got out of there as quickly as we could.

After all the commotion a relaxing arvo strolling around the island was in order. Ilha de Mozambique is one of a string of East African islands, all of which have had a very similar past. Fishing hubs for thousands of years, settled by Arabs as spice trading points, invaded by the colonies and used as administrative posts and finally turned into tourist meccas. The most famous of these islands is Zanzibar which has been a tourist mecca for years and years. Ilha is so close yet so far being an Indian ocean paradise. It’s got plenty of crumbling colonial buildings, a big fort, a touch of Islamic architecture, swaying palm trees and it’s surrounded by beautiful reefs and turquoise water. We stayed for a few days and in the whole time we were there we saw 8 other people that could have possibly been tourists. Beautiful island, hardly any tourists, what’s not to like! Nothing spoils an island more than poo and rubbish on the beach. There are twenty or 30 little coves all round the island and all but one of them are used for dumping of rubbish and dumping of dumps. We were tempted to swim, especially considering the temp was above 30 and the humidity was out of control, but the risk of running into a battle ship was too great. It really is a shame but we enjoyed our few days there all the same.

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We headed north to Pemba for some chill out time. We really did chill out and as a result we don’t have anything exciting to tell you. We basically went into town a bit, swam a bit (no battle ships in Pemba) and read a whole heap. We had planned to travel overland into Tanzania but we met some girls who had just done the reverse trip and their tales of woe were enough to deter us. We decided to stay a little longer in Pemba and fly to our next stop, Zanzibar.

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Rule 8: If this is your first night at Fight Club, you have to fight.

Lots of Love,
Nat and Ev

Posted by Nat and Ev 26.05.2007 08:33 Archived in Mozambique Comments (2)

Southern Mozambique

Big fish, little fish, swimming in the water

sunny 31 °C
View Round the world in 250 days on Nat and Ev's travel map.

As soon as we crossed the border I felt good. Nothing had really changed but for some reason I was buzzing. Maybe it's because Mozambique is more foreign, more exotic. A week has passed and nothing has even come close to bursting my bubble. Mozambique rocks.

We had a few days in Maputo to organise the next leg of our trip doing things like getting our Tanzanian visas and organizing flights. As always the places we needed to go were scattered systematically throughout the city making a succinct, mission accomplishing sojourn, impossible. It did however take us to some cool places we were unlikely to see otherwise. Maputo is a pretty shabby, kind of mouldy looking, place but the people are super friendly and it's got a really cool Latin / Afro thing going on.

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So far the Moz food has well and truly exceeded our expectations. It's all about super fresh seafood and piri piri, loads of piri piri. We went to the Maputo fish market for dinner. It was one of those pick your own squid jobies. I'm thinking "what do I know about picking fresh seafood?" How is this a good idea in a country with substandard
hygiene? Fortunately our cook helped us and the meal was fantastic.

A few people have requested a kg update. I would love to know myself but the only scales we have found were at the Mapotu Central market and I tipped the scale at 110kg. Hmmm. If I had to hazard a guess I would go with 93kg however I must confess that the photo in the last blog made me look thinner than I am. Lets hope my exercise / piri piri ratio is low enough to keep the kgs dropping.

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We spent heaps of our time people watching and chatting with the locals. Here are a few classic Maputo moments.

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With our admin out of the way we set course for Tofo and more importantly Tofino point. Youngos.net had given me a mega hankering for surf and after being frustrated by flat surf in Cape Town and Durban I was hoping Tofino would fill the void. We stayed at a hostel called Turtle Cove, which was in the coconut groves behind the point. The place was fantastic but the owners were a joke. They were so inhospitable it makes you wonder why they went into the hospitality industry. I awoke to the light rustling of coconut palms and splinters of light shining through the walls of our grass hut casting a zebra
pattern on our mosquito net. By the time I got to the board rack the other three boards were missing, a sure sign that there was a wave about. Tofino is a 200 meter, sand bottomed, point break and on our first day in Tofo it was doing its thing. The water was light aqua, somewhere in the mid 20's, the early morning air was about the same. It took me a few waves to find my feet and for the first twenty minutes I was becoming concerned that 4 months out of the water was going to render me waveless. When I did hook into my first Mozabique wall it was a cracker. Clean, 4 ft, whackable and I managed to fluke my way all the way to the shore. It was a long wait in between sets
but with only the 4 of us out we all got a few good waves. I began to fade after my fourth wave as the inevitable spaghetti arms got the better of me.

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Our grass hut

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The set up, day 1

We spend the rest of the day wandering the sandy streets and checking out Tofo. It's a really cool town and I'm sure that in 5 years it's burgeoning backpacker scene will be compared to the Byron Bays of the world. Beachfront blocks of land are going for $10,000 USD. It's the perfect souvenir. Unfortunately you need to be a resident or business owner to buy one.

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The next day we awoke to a much louder rustling of coconut palms thanks to a strong onshore wind that would all but kill the surf for the next few days. After a lazy morning we caught the bus to the capital of the state Inhambane, which is about as laid back as a city can be. Wide tree lined streets, crumbling layers of paint (pastels of course) on Portuguese or art deco architecture and beer gardens with outdoor pool tables. We had a massive lunch at the Mercado Central and worked it off with some fierce bargaining.

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On day three I managed to get a cheeky wave in before the wind came up but with the new swell still few days away it was more about getting wet than anything else. I did however come close to soiling myself when a large fin surfaced in the choppy sea 10 meters away from me and pointing in my direction. Ant's cries of "DID YOU SEE THAT FIN!!" certainly didn't help matters. Fortunately my fears were relieved a few seconds later when a dolphin dove out of the next wave. I have been surfing and hanging out with two guys and a girl from Cape Town. It's funny how South Africans affect me. I definitely have a love hate thing going on. Fortunately my surfing buddies, Ant, Riyadh (and
Riyadh's wife Aniya) fall into the first category and we spend the rest of the day swimming eating and hanging out in the village with them.

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(Photos c/o Riyadh)

The Surf cleaned up the next day and despite being a little small it was good fun. The rest of the week followed a very similar pattern and ended up becoming one big relaxing blur. We ended up spending a lot of time hanging with the Cape Town trio, surfing, interneting, drinking massive milkshakes, eating prego rolls, swimming and occasionally
venting about how horrendously run the hostel is.

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We did manage to rouse ourselves from our close to comatose state of relaxation for Tofo's major draw card, swimming with whale sharks. There are huge plankton clouds just off the coast at Tofo and the whale sharks can't get enough of it. You're given snorkeling gear, taken out the back and once a whale shark is spotted it's into the
water for a closer look. The first time the driver told us to jump overboard there was a 5 meter shark swimming right towards Nat. It made a slow turn and sunk a little to avoid her and continued on its merry way. They are so docile and quite slow moving so it's really easy to swim with them. Once they want some alone time they slowly
drop into the deep blue. We had just stopped following one that had dropped when another surfaced a few meters away from me. It was very surreal. Riyadh's camera was having trouble focusing through the plankton cloud so it looks a little cloudy. In the water it was very clear.

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The predicted big swell never really eventuated but the conditions gradually improved over the week. We had to share the break with a big group from Durban for the last two days but fortunately, by then the sets were marching in regularly and everyone was getting plenty of waves. We had a flight booked so extending, as tempting as it was,
wasn't an option. We decided to get up super early on our last morning to try and get a few in before we had to get moving. It ended up being the session of the trip. 4 to 5 foot, long clean lines and for the first hour or so there was only a handful of us on it. After
two and a half hours of joy I pulled into what is most probably my last wave until we get home. I dragged my self from the water, we said our good byes and started the trek north.

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If you're keen to get some epic empty waves in moz Ant's a surf guide. www.surfing-safari.co.za

Nice point break, long workable rides

Lots o love,
Ev and Nat

Posted by Nat and Ev 11.05.2007 10:12 Archived in Mozambique Comments (0)

Lesotho Natal and Swaziland

All the small things

sunny 24 °C
View Round the world in 250 days on Nat and Ev's travel map.

We had planned to head north but a rendezvous with Jake in Durban was enough to convince us that it was worth looping back down before heading up to Uganda. Unfortunately the meeting feel through but after doing all the planning for the reroute we had plenty of other reasons to go back to South Africa.

Getting out of Vic Falls isn’t easy. For starters we were running out of currency and at the moment withdrawing money in Zimbabwe is financial suicide. The official exchange rate is US$1 = ZIM$250. The black market rate is US$1 = ZIM$20,000 which basically means that if we withdraw money from the ATM or cashed a travellers cheque, you will find that a can of coke costs you $56US. We had a couple of options for getting out: fly for $300ish each or hitch a ride on an overland truck heading back to SA for another tour. We wandered around town searching backpackers and pubs looking for overland drivers. We finally found a truck heading back but they were waiting on petrol money from their head office before they could make the 1300km trip to J’burg. They told us to wait at the campsite and they would let us know when the money had come through. After an excruciating 40 hours of waiting we finally got rolling. Trouble is getting fuel in Zim is difficult and expensive so we left VF with the truck running on fumes. Needless to say we ran out 30km short of the boarder right next to some elephants. The two drivers hitched across the border with as many water bottles as they could carry while we cooled our heels with the remaining crew. When they finally returned they discovered that the fuel lines were full of air which resulted in another hour or so of tinkering. The delay meant that we were going to be driving through Northern Botswana (the most elephanty part of the most elephanty country in Africa) at night. Five or six times during the night the truck would screech to a holt waking us from our sleep and throwing us from our seats. By the time we arrived at the Botswana - South Africa border it was shut. We finally made it to J’burg 48 hours late and more than a little frazzled.

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We hadn’t heard too much about Lesotho other than reading about a horse trek Peter Moore did in “Swahili for the broken hearted”. It sounded like just the ticket so we got a car and headed further south. Before we got to the mountains in the south of Lesotho where we would be riding we had to negotiate the knot of nerves that is Maseru, the Capital. Rome, Paris and Bangkok have nothing on Maseru in the bad driving stakes. Fortunately with a population of 290,000 we didn’t have to endure the chaos for long. After a huge feed we hit the hay early in preparation for the journey. I knew 12 hours of riding was going to hurt. The degree of pain was the unknown. 5 minutes in I started to get a little bit a chaffing on my leg and it was looking like two days of pain. Our decision to do the ride was soon justified. The mountains of Lesotho are spectacular. Riding through the canyons, up and down rocky paths and across rivers I began to channel the spirit of John Wayne. I relaxed in the saddle and got a one hand on the hip, one hand on the reins thing going. I felt pain but more importantly I felt like a cowboy. The spirit of Calamity Jane must have been preoccupied. Nat didn’t feel like a cowgirl but she enjoyed it all the same.

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We left our horses at the village which would be our home for the night and headed up the valley on foot for an hour or so to a waterfall. As we got to the top the sun started to soften and everything got that warm glow. We got back to the village just as twilight turned to night, the perfect backdrop for baked beans on toast and G&T’s.

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After an early start we rode back to base camp and hit the road to Durban. It was a long but pleasant drive along the north edge of the Drakensburg ranges. The next morning we had a drive around Durban and ended up at the beach for breaky. I was hoping for a surf but as the photos show it wasn’t worth the effort. The city has a pretty cool vibe and we would have liked to stay a little longer but with our time with a car running out and lots more to see we headed up the coast.

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St Lucia is Hippo central. We were going on a hike into the wetlands the following day but we got a little sneak peak hippo action when two mutone hippos stopped for a late night snack in a park opposite our hostel in the centre of town. The hostel has a guide who was kind of on crowd control, not letting us get too close, but we still managed to get within about 5 meter. I was tempted to move a little closer. It’s easy to forget that they are Africa’s most deadly animal. The next morning on our walk we found a herd (or is it pod? or even hip?) of about 15 hippos playing right near the bank of the river.

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A Dutch couple we meet in Lesotho had just come from Swaziland and couldn’t stop raving about the Mlilwane game reserve in the Ezulwini Valley. I think it’s safe to say that after all the game viewing we’ve been doing we’re both looking forward to a change of pace but they told us that Mlilwane wasn’t your classic game park. Seeing as it was finally a step in the right direction (North) we decided to follow their recommendation. We arrived in the Valley in the mid afternoon and as soon as we entered the park we loved it. I’m not sure what exactly made this park so different. One of the cool things about it is the absence of predators. It sounds like a negative but it’s really cool being able to get out of your car and walk up to a zebra or ride a bike around without fear of a leopard dropping from above. We spent the arvo getting up close and personal with as many of the residents as possible.

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Next stop Mozambique to find out if it really is unique to be among the lovely people living free, upon the beach of sunny Mozambique.

The waiting game sucks, let’s play hungry hungry hippos!

Lots of love,
Ev and Nat

Posted by Nat and Ev 08.05.2007 07:29 Archived in Lesotho Comments (3)

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