They just don’t make wives like they used to. Wives used to pullback the covers before one retired. Some really well trained wives would remember to bring ones slippers when you removed your brogues after a long and tiring day at the office. They wouldn’t be at you about what a hard day they had had with the kids just when you settled back in your chair with a whiskey. Then in the morning they would pull up the covers even though the maid was coming in later. Now had my wife done as she used to do before she turned sixty, I wouldn’t have left my little bag containing my camera, wallet, driving licence credit cards etc on my bed, as I would have seen it when I went back to check we had not left anything behind. It would have been on top of the covers not hidden out of sight. I know the Casa Lisa generator left us in the dark when we got up at three in the morning to escape the
traffic as we headed South, but I don’t think that is any excuse for not pulling up the covers. Maputo
Had Ewa pulled up the covers I would have been in a position to show my drivers licence to the policeman. When I told him that I did not have it on me because my wife didn’t pull up the covers, he wasn’t that impressed, but I think understood my situation and let me pass unhindered. Maybe he had an old style wife? Actually thinking about it maybe Africans do have old style wives who do their job properly, as the next policeman manning the road block after Komatipoort customs, on the South African side also felt sorry for me when I told him my story. We just discussed a couple of places where he could spend his Easter holidays in
then we bade each other fairwell. Very understanding these cops. Mozambique
Just to go back a bit, with the help of Abdul we finally got the Kombi going by 3.30 pm on Wednesday the 5th. What an amazing individual Abdul turned out to be, as well as being a top class mechanic. In a way it was worthwhile breaking down in
Pemba, as we really got to know our way around the place and met and made some really wonderful friends. So often we rush in and out of really interesting places and miss the roses. Abdul must have spent three days of time running all around getting parts machined, then assembling and replacing the cylinder head. When I asked him how much I owed him, he turned to me and said “Nothing, I have enjoyed meeting you and have made a great friend!” He really cared about us, and at 6 in the evening sent an SMS asking where we had got to and if we were OK. What a bloke.
Other great things came our way. We got to know Brenda and Rudi (the owners of Pemba Dive and Bush Camp) pretty well. We got to know their offspring Kai and Bianca, although I have a feeling Alex got to know Bianca a little better than we did! We were upgraded to the honeymoon suite for two free nights. We were invited to a prawn dinner to celebrate Bianca’s birthday and Ewa certainly enjoyed the chocolate birthday cake! All in all we made great friends and were sad to wave them goodbye.
The drive home was 4400 kms and we had three and a bit days to drive it if we wanted to see JoJo before she flew back to the
. We made it and the Kombi didn’t miss a beat, but what a trip. It was a great help knowing what to expect on the way home, as we had a pretty good idea of road conditions and where we were going to sleep in the evening, but which ever way you cut it, it is a long drive. I sort of broke the trip up into bite size chunks 200 kms at a time, then I would say to myself that it will only take two hours to cover the 200 kms, therefore we will arrive at such and such a place by six, then hope that the clock or my calculation were wrong so that we would in fact arrive at five! We always arrived at six! UK
Pemba at 3.30 on the afternoon of 5th Jan and drove for 5 hours to Mantes Nairuco, Manuels place outside Nampula. It is rainy season and you watch these amazing cumulus clouds build up for the afternoon deluge, which is really dramatic with claps of thunder and lightning all over the place. We were really lucky as we continuously seemed to just clip the edge of the storm, so we managed to maintain our 98km/hour average speed. If you do happen to drive through one of these storms you really have to slow down a) because you can only see about 10m in front of you and b) you can’t see the potholes as they fill up with water!
Our destination for day two was Inchope, which is about 1200kms Nampula. A five o’clock start was a tad later than I wanted to leave, but that was first light and I had to perform my morning ritual of checking the oil, tyre pressure and water level in the radiator. As we were the only campers at the place, we slept on the floor of the Ladies changing room, as this meant we did not have to rearrange the Kombi to its sleeping mode, so we could get a quick and early start. The place is really clean, with great showers, clean toilets, electric lights and no ants! The cockroaches, mozzies, spiders and other flying insects were no match for Super Doom; they were soon lying on their backs giving a last twitch as they were swept out of the door.
I can’t say that sleeping in a room of recently sprayed Doom is a very healthy option, but there we go, the options at that time of night were somewhat few. As in so many conflicts between man and nature, the end result is not that satisfactory! If you turn on the light, all manner of flying, crawling things come out of the woodwork and form a mist around the light bulb as they try to commit Hara-Kiri. So you don’t turn on the light until the door is closed, the towels have been placed to close the gap under the door and the windows or screens are closed. Only then can you turn on the light and dispense the Doom as required.
I must say I don’t like to see them twitching, so I stamp on the bigger bugs, as I think that is a little more humane than twitching to death. But then I don’t like to hear that crunching sound as the humane blow is delivered. Why are bugs’ guts yellow?
On the whole the roads were not as bad as I had expected, except for a 30km stretch outside Macuba. Quite unbelievable! There you are going along at a reasonable pace on a first world road. The games being played in my head are right on the button, 98kms average speed, spot on Nampula by 5pm. Then out of the blue you hit a “hasbeenroad” . Plain dirt roads are predictable and can be tolerated, but hasbeenroads are virtually impassable as the once asphalt surface makes way for a cavity that would almost swallow a Kombi. If you were Martian and took a birds eye view of the road, you would be completely mystified by the goings on of the Earthlings below, as their movements become completely random in a desperate attempt to avoid destruction. Our average speed dropped to 15km/hour. It is hard to fathom why this particular 30kms failed to gain the attentions of Government, as either side of it is a perfect road? It did however create a financial opportunity for the local youth, who instead of going to school or tilling the fields, would spot the approaching vehicle moving spasmodically forward in random motion, then spring out of the bush with spade in hand and with much gusto and fanfare, fill in a pothole with dirt, drop the spade and put their hands out for money! Maybe there were Aid Workers or wannabee good samaritans who did in fact give to these kids, and this was the reason for the road condition. Dug up by kids? Don’t laugh it could be true!
The road goes through some spectacular wooded countryside which no doubt will be open veld in the not too distant future as you witness these massive trees being carted out by trucks emblazed with Chinese writing. It is gut wrenching to see.
We would have liked to visit the Gorangosa Reserve as we drove right past it, but unfortunately we did not have the time to do so. The Gorangosa Reserve was the headquarters of Renamo during the war, which practically saw the demise of all game. However the books tell you that the game is returning. I have my doubts if it will ever get back to its former glory. Starvation will see to that. As you drive down the road you see all sort of Vendors selling their trophies, which include dead monkeys, duiker, rabbits, live upside down chickens and hunks of “I know not what” meat. Maybe by not visiting the reserve we were spared further heartache. We will never know.
The guide books are not very complimentary about Inchope which lies at the intersection of the East / West between
Beira and Zimbabwe and the North / South EN1. It is really a large truck stop. On the way up we went West towards before going North through Tete, and saw very little opportunity for camping or any other accommodation. So it was with great relief when we came upon what at one time must have been an amazing holiday resort with two large swimming pools with cascading fountains, camp sites, all manner of chalets and rooms, a restaurant, dress shop, discotheque and pool bar. The time was 5.30pm. Inchope was 27kms down the road and we knew there was only bush for the next 93 kms on the other side of Inchope, where it was our intention to bush camp. So in we drove. The rooms were clean and there was an aircon. A walk around the place reflected every other locally owned establishment. The frog population in the pools were flourishing, waterfalls without water, shop with no goods. We ordered chicken and chips which eventually arrived, but the beer was cold and the sheets were clean. We weren’t even bothered by the toilet not flushing or the shower not draining. The price was expensive, but I am sure the space was normally sold by the hour. We put our head on the pillows and slept for 6 hours, leaving at 4.00 am being careful to not wake up the car-guard on the way out. The poor lad must have been tired. Zimbabwe
Our next destination point was Casa Lisa Camp Site 50 kms outside
. It is a drive of about 1000 kms., the problem is that after about 200kms you get towards the coast at Vilankulos and the highway robbers increase. These robbers are not like the Shiftas of Northern Kenya, they wear police uniforms caps and AK47’s. They put roadblocks across the road and stop any vehicle with a foreign number plate. They ask you how you are, then proceed to take money from you. Our only saving grace was that the Kombi looked terribly dirty and shabby and it was driven by two doddering old people who were lost and needed directions to the next town. Bastards. As long as countries are subjected to the governance of the likes of these people, they will go no where. Maputo
We had stayed at Casa Lisa on the way up. It is not run by Mozambiqueans, it works. How sad is that. After over two months in
Malawi and we came across only one establishment run by the locals which had any semblance of good management or basic cleanliness. Mozambique
On arrival at Casa Lisa, who should arrive at the same time? The Great Trek from
Pemba. It was great to see them and hugs all around. “Luister Oom” says Piet, “We have a chalet for you, my broth-in-law was meant to come with us and booked and paid for a chalet, so please use it, it is much more comfortable than camping”!
We had a great meal and slept like a log until 3.00am. That’s when my wife forgot to pull up the covers!
The Great Trekkers and us all left at the same time. They went ahead and soon disappeared over the horizon. It is hard to describe the road through
, you have a 50% chance of not having an accident. The Chinese are apparently upgrading the Road ahead of the African Games. It is almost impossible to see what is road and what is not. There are no lights and what vehicles there were at that time of the morning have no lights. It was small wonder that the Police Casper-like vehicle had a head-on collision with an old BMW that they were trying to extricate from under them. We drove around the shambles, and it was with great relief that we emerged unscathed on the other side where we turned right and headed on a proper road towards the South African border. That was more than I can say for the Great Trek. They were seen coming by the Highway Robbers who, being a Saturday morning at 3am needed beer money, which was not going to be forthcoming from the driver of the taxi with 32 people hanging on the outside. Much easier to take R1000 off the South Africans who had three girls sleeping flat on the back seat, not wearing safety belts. Maputo
It was a great relief to get into
. The stark contrast of agricultural shambles on one side of the border and the vast organised banana plantations on the SA side, bear testimony to the benefits of structure and planning. South Africa
by 6.30. Hanover Hanover is exactly half way between Cape Town and . I have never been their before, so I said to Ewa if it is half decent we are stopping as we would then only have 700km to drive in the morning. Well we were blown away by Johannesburg Karroo Madness No.3 Darling Street. It would appear that the Gay community have moved into a lot of these little Karroo towns and turned dusty villages into B&B delights. It was a really quaint place. We had two Pizza which were so large we were eating them for the next two days. The Dutch Reformed Church was all lit up and was quite magnificent We parked under a shady tree outside the restaurant and slept soundly until 3am, when we hit the road for the last haul home.
Karroo was looking magnificent after all the rains. A proper Boere breakfast at Laingsburg hotel really hit the spot.
It is a beautiful drive down through the
valley, but I was absolutely shocked by the size of the squatter township outside DeDoorns. DeDoorns for Pete’s sake. It highlighted exactly my fears. How can the South African tax base support all these immigrants flooding in from North of us? Hex River
We made it into
at 1pm, 12500kms of driving. What a trip. Cape Town
A quick overview? Should we be employing foreigners, are we not propagating trouble? We are sitting on a knife edge.
About wives that are not like they used to be! Ewa washed my other pair of shorts and T shirt not very well, but that was not the problem, she didn’t iron them. Now if you don’t iron your clothes after being in the countries North of us, something hides in your clothes and lays eggs on you while you are not looking and it itches. I will have to do my own ironing.
Poor Doff !!
I was thinking of placing an add in the paper as follows:
Wife required. Must be able to push a Kombi, do ironing and washing, cook, speak many languages, ride a motorbike, have sence of humour, non smoker, pay her own way.
Do you think I will get any replies?
Actually I don't know why I bother, I have such a wife! South America here we come.