Archive for June 17, 2011

Russell writes on 11th June 2011: Pics by Darren apart from the one of him.

Russ 'At one with nature' ...He could be mising the shire1 Business wise we didn’t do so well in Pretoria, we only managed to get the Tanzania visa and failed to get the Ethiopian, Sudanese and Saudi visas. I was quite hopeful for the Ethiopian one, but it turns out they require a 6 month South African visa and that would mean at least a 30 day delay. I had been thinking about how so many of the doors northward seemed to be as closed as the Syrian border and questioned how we were going to get through. Then I remembered we ride with the one who is able. This gives me great hope, doors will be opened and a path levelled out for us! Pretoria was by no means a total loss, we met some great people, saw some live bands, Darren had a good time in Soweto and Jo’burg and I spoked a new rim for my front wheel (ok now I’m sounding like a complete bike nerd!). However, one thing about Pretoria we won’t miss – always being cold! At 1300m we were either huddled by the log fire in the backpackers lounge or in the tent with blankets over and under us. With the cool chill of Pretoria behind us we were keen to press on toward the warmth of Mozambique and its beautiful beaches. This would mean just a small glimpse of Swaziland.

Camping in a Swaziland park

We stopped only for one night in a game park and pulling into the campsite we were greeted by leaping impala. No one else was here, just us, the animals, a thatched roof shelter t and soon a large open fire. We only had a couple of visitors that night, a lone impala and a strange cat/rodent creature with a stripy tail. Our meal that night was cheese and biscuits as we only had enough water for a cup of tea. By lunchtime the next day we were already fighting our way through some crazy traffic in Maputo. Mozambique had brought a change of language, currency, temperature, faces and architecture – it was nice to be back in Africa!

Definately back in Africa!

There are some great town names here; Xai-Xai however, wasn’t as cool as it sounded so we rode on. Straight into a speed trap. The policeman said we were speeding but didn’t show us the reading, because we hadn’t been. Darren told him ‘Rubbish’! However, as soon as he found out we were English he changed his tune, was impressed with the trip and let us go. Ah, back in Africa.



Ok, seems Russ got bored – Darren Continues: 16.6.2011

 The second coper did legitimately catch us a few kph over. ‘1000Mt please’! ‘Ahh. I think we have some Rand’. ‘That’ll do’ he replied. We didn’t have any rand and I wondered over to Russ whilst the officer started to write our ticket, and told Russ to make accessible just 200Mt. ‘Well it seems Mr Policeman we only have 200Mt before our next ATM stop. Do you take Credit cards?’ Can you believe it.. He gave me back my licence and said we could go. He didn’t even take the 200! I’m confused… I’m still confused!

Tofo Beach


We arrived to Tofo. A chance for Russ to take his hour long swims in paradise and chill for a bit and for me to don on a BCD and do some scuba. A pretty decent package including 3 dives, accommodation, all be it in a tent, and meals. The first day started well.. Very well! Our 40 minute boat trip took us through dozens of dolphins.

I swam with these!!!


The boat stopped, masks, snorkels and fins were put on and under the water I went… and there they were, the dolphins! 20 or 30 or so. Above, below and to each side we swam together checking each other out. I’d once swam with the pink, river variety in the Rio Negro, Amozonas, but this this was something I’d only dreamt of. A very good start to the day! The dive, afterwards, went well as did the following two the next day with a few varieties of water dwellers I hadn’t seen before including some odd looking Rays and rare a Dragon Morey eel. Problem is I have a fever for more but not the cash. So I left it at that and Russ and I agreed it was time to move on.

A promised rainbow

A few hundred miles took us to Vilanculo, another paradise but with our lack of funds we enjoyed what was free and made haste for the Zimbabwean border on a full on, non-stop, bum and mind numbing slog that just about got us over the border. Ethiopia visa here we come!

Thanks Danny.. Just having the last drop of whisky you gave me on our leaving