South Africa

The Plan

Wow 6 weeks left and so much to do...... life happens around us as we go about doing our daily things, due to the usual unforseen circumstances, and the BAll FAMILY has many as those of you that know us is aware of, our plans change on a daily basis, BUT some things stay the same......

We are leaving on the 15th March (my pendulum confirms it!!!)

  • We are having a huge send off on the 8th march at our house , party time big time see the JOURNEY blog for details
  • Our route stays firstly up the Garden Route.We left Saturday morning 15th March, and made our first stopover at the Bushcamp, Wilderness, home of the Pfaff's.See the pics and details in the Journey Blog
  • 2 adventurers in Coffee bay
  • Second stop....Knysna, details to follow
  • On to Alexandria, SA that is, not Egypt yet!! Watch this space
  • On to the Wild Coast
  • then Coffee Bay for the 2 adventurers!!!!!!
  • Visit family on the KZN south coast
  • On to Mozambique all the way to Beira
  • Cross the border at Mutare into Zimbabwe to visit family still living in Zim (believe it)
  • On to Harare to visit more Zim family !!
  • To Botswana to the Okavango Delta
  • Cros border to Namibia , leave Stan in Windhoek sand then a slight detour.......
  • Fly to UK to visit Baby Son (!!!) Zack currently playing rugby, working and freezing in Bristol for 10 days THEN
  • To Angola in May
  • Next in transit through DRC/CABINDA and CONGO on our way to
  • Gabon then on to
  • Cameroon on our way to
  • Ghana...

Our journey

This is us deciding to make the jump into the unknown.

Cool

the party

We had our big send off on the 8th March and had the biggest jol that Meadow way has ever seen,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,a tip to those of you that are planning a similar trip, take LOTS of vitamins before AND NB NB make sure you say goodbye to as many friends as possible st the party. But first , lets look at the pics....
We just realised that we have the most amazing bunch of friends that ever existed. With the sounds of the Marimba band, thanks to Nadia, the drums supplied by Ruds , we had the time of our lives.The neighbours surely hated us as the drumming continued lto the early morning hours and we want to thank all of you for the most amazing pressies , so thoughtful and usefull , even Blackie enjoyed it.
Big problem however is always the morning after the night before.....thank you to my dear friend Liesbeth who, together with Ruds & Chrizel always seem to be there when needed most....tip to all of you out there, if you have a party, make sure you have the best friends and family around to help, specially if the house need to be empty within 3 days after the send off!!!
Just to give you an idea, see the state on the morning after below

Packing and final few days

What an impossible task, to pack a household away, and leave with only a carful of (hopefully) useful belongings. We had no idea how difficult it will be to reduce your life of so many years to the size of a Landrover!! An impossible task with one of us being a complete hoarder despite having moved 27times since Varsity!!!!

Once again, we are so lucky , as it would have been absolutely IMPOSSIBLE without the help of Anna Maria who worked and packed NON STOP , thank you so much. Sorry for you out there, she is not available for rent, you have to be her friend!!! Tip.. start packing ASAP as it turns into a nightmare very quickly as it is a hard as well as an emotional task.

THE FINAL FAREWELLS

TIP TIP TIP ......say goodbye to as many friends and family at the party as possible, we spread the process over 7 days and it is SOOOOOOOOO difficult , we were emotionally finished at the end of the week. BUT>>>>because we have the most awesome friends, the least we can do is to give credit whee it is due and ask you users to ensure you support them

1. For any design of your info cards, your web pages and the best printing in Cape Town, be sure to use AVALON PRINTING tel number +27 21 447 1102.

2. For the best "looking after your dog " couple in the whole wide world, thank you to dearest Ruds & Chrizel, Themba is lucky to have you guys

3. Thank you to the Logans for our last wonderful supper in Cape Town and to our beloved Ruds and Chrizel for putting us up after the removal van did its final trip. For the BEST removal company in Cape Town, be sure to use Mr September who can be contacted on 083 461 9164.

4. To the Wolstenholmes , dear Kathy and David, thank you so much for looking after my car, any of you out there who are interested in Nia, contact Kathy and if you want to become organiesthuizensc, contact David, the Mr Organic of SA. Only problem ,you will have to mail us to get their contact details!!!

5. To the Van der Westhuizens, thank you sooooooooo much for putting us up for our final night in CT. Liam , we enjoyed your bedroom and for the best breakfast in town, be sure to get hold of Peter and Moya!!! Thank you guys

6. To Kevin, thank you for dealing with our sheer stupidity as far as IT is concerned........your patience is great, we will get there one day!!!!

TIP TIP TIP, get your farewells behind you ASAP as it gets harder all the time, we cried for at least a week.

Our first stop

Finally , on the 15th March 2008 , we started our epic journey. First stop......WILDERNESS

There is nothing more emotional and rewarding than seeing a place for the first or "last " time, how awesome is our country and how lucky we are to live here. Stopping in wilderness was one of the best decisions we made for various reasons......TIP TIP if you want to experience the true beauty of this place as well as the best hospitality you can ever have , be sure to stay at WILDERNESS BUSHCAMP, www.boskamp.co.za and ph Ann and or John on +27 44 877 1168.

 

Thank you so much for the unbelievable "last supper" a stunning evening and a breakfast that most definately competes with Pieters!!!! We had a great time and were even taught the "Egyptian handshake" to ge used by our trip ......see the pic for a demo as done by Gigs. (Any surfers out there , be sure to support "The surf Zone" on Green Market Square in Cape Town. As a freebie, Gigs will even teach you the EGYPTIAN handshake!

Second stop Knysna

After the awesome hospitality of John and Ann we drove into Knysna well rested and fed.We drove along the back road between Wilderness and Knysna, getting a taste of the road less travelled.

Knysna is familiar territry to us, from our many visits to the Oyster festival. Our stopover this time was for a different purpose, aswe have an inkling we might return from our travels one day to settle here - for as long as we manage to settle in any one place.

We booked into the fabulous Under Milkwood selfcatering apartments, on the Knysna Heads, a place we had previously driven past onmany occasions, but never stopped. The drive down to the wooden cottage, nestled in the milkwood forest, tested the turning circle of Stanruza to the maximum. Once secure in our cottage, we headed for Estate Agent country, and met Wendy of Seeff . We had planned to spend the rest of the day, and the next, getting to know the different residential areas in Knysna, and seeing what houses were available for sale. Wendy was super, she and her team really went the extra mile.

We saw many houses scattered over Knysna, and were quite surprised at both the number of houses on the market, and the value for money. Together with Wendy, and other agents in the town, we managed in our usual way to view at least 9 houses, from fairy forest hideaways to sunny hillside homes.

We had already decided Knysna would be an ideal haven to return to one day, when our travels (and money) were over.Having sold our house in Cape Town, it was a question of whether to put the money in the bank, or reinvest in what was clearly a buyers' market. We had seen one house that clearly fitted the Estate Agent's motto of "the worst house in the best area". The house was an old wooden structure with thin board walls, your basic 3 bedrooms, bathroom, kitchen and lounge - but what a view! So in went a cheeky offer, and after a bit of haggling, it was accepted. With transfer scheduled for 31 May, all we have to do now is find a tenant. Any takers !??!

The ugly house BUT.. The stunning view from our house on the top of the world
 

We continued to be dogged with internet problems, the modem we purchased in Cape Town not behaving the way we expected it to. Annaliese lost a frustrating 2 hours' worth of information on Sunday night, before the helpful Vodacom team in Knysna and the aleays willing assistance of webmaster Kevin set us right - or so we thought! (see later for more problems!).

We left Knysna on Tuesday morning, planning to drive along the old road towards Port Elizabeth. However, we were frustrated by a seriesof road closures that left us no choice but to travel on the N2.

Alexandria NOT Egypt !!!!!!!!!!!!!

What a great treat to have such wonderful friends scattered across the country at just the right places! We joined our friend Elizabeth on her cattle farm in Alexandria, what a great place she has. Liesbeth, well done, you are doing so well all on your own and we are proud to tell everyone that we know what a great farmer you are.Thank you so much for spoiling us like that.

Stew did well on the quad bike, were planning to go horse riding but the heat got the better of him, so we stuck to herding cattle.......well actually helping to count them!!! Was a great break and we had the best meals and company , Deborah and kids, Mrs van Rooyen and Koos, hope your shoulder gets better soon. Attie, it was great to meet you and we will be back to check if you followed our decorating advice!!

Coffee Bay and pouring RAIN

We are here, in Coffee bay one of our favourite destinations.......BUT do we want to be here !!!!!!!!!

The ever present COWS on the beach

The rain is coming down in buckets and we, our tent, Stan, our clothes, our EVERYTHING is WET , no fun to sleep on a wet matress, with wet bedding , but we will persevere and promptly had the best double gold veritas, double gold michaelangelo double everything bottle of red wine in the whole world. The result was that we became untouchable, so much so that we even packed up the whole camp again just to move 2 sights down the road to a beter wiew and in the hope that if the sun comes out, we will have a little ray of it. Well, now the 3rd day and.........still waiting !!!!!!!!!! We must however tell all that read the site, the campsite in Coffee Bay (not at any of the backpackers) is one of the biggest jewels in this area.It is a nightmare to get a permit as we had to brace the Easter Friday traffic in Mthatha to get this crazy piece of paper, not advisable we promise, but true to form, the nicest , friendliest people ever .Butterworth is truly a one horse town, but something happens when it is easter............. you take 45 miniutes to travel down the mail road, all of 3 kms , we will not talk about what Mthatha was like.... needless to say, we got e=what we came for thanks to Mr Goverment (that is his name) who kept the permit g=for us till 3,30 evn though the office closed at 1. CHECK this out RSA parks board, how about this service!!!!!!!!!!!1

A t R20 pp per night camping, you cannot expect much, but the views and the fact that you are right on the beach make up fpr everything. Sarah, you have NO idea how welcome the disinfectant wipes are .....................my constant companion, and all the A&G friends, you have no idea how well the cob works, we just have to figure out what to look at while you are cooking your food on it as one usually stares at the fire, not much fun staring at a stainless steel cob!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We met a great couple from the UK, well done to Kim and Rachel, you guys put South Africans to shame, you have done more touring and seen more of our stunning country than most locals. Looking forward to meeting you in Devon to check out the surfer spots with Zack and Liam.

Our abode, Stew writing about Knysna, tent looks a bit too small for him I'd say !!!!!!!!

  Stew in all his wet glory Moving form one site to the next!!! BUT..........check the view

Port St Johns

This is for sure one of our favourite places , even better than Coffee Bay and looking at the vegatation, the stunning views, the ocean and experiencing the friendliness of the locals as well as the unspoilt beauty of nature in this special place, one can only marvel at the miracle of ceation and hope that us humans will appreciate the beauty around us.It is so peaceful and one has no choice but to relax.

Just check out this stunning view form The Glass House where we stayed, right from our stoep. Must be the best place to stay in PSJ,right on the water with views to die for, Karen is the host and be sure to contact her at

 

Ruds, Chrizel and crowd, check out your house on this pic

We continued our search for something for me to swim in as (how this happened I do NOT know) all my special costumes for my menopausal body including all suntan lotion etc must now be safely stored in Extra Attic storage in Cape Town!!!!! NO bloody luck I tell you, do not think the peole here need any of that, so we had no choice but to join the locals as far as their swimming habits are concerned!!

We also discoverd (how this happend once again we do not know) that we had no front number plate!!! Best of all is that we managed to drive halfway around SA without one and believe it , went through at least 3 ROADBLOCKS!! Noboby picked up that our front number plate safely stayed behind in Cape Town!!

Needless to say, no place here to find a new one, so we decided just to ignore it and enjoy the food, the wine and SUN SUN SUN YEAH !! and also ignore the ever increasing mosquito bites.......gets a bit difficult in the heat, but Stewart believes (why I do not know) that you will eventually become immune to it!!

 

We left here on our way to the KZN south coast and once again the vegetation and beauty of the place take your breath away.

Kwazulu-Natal

We drove into KZN via Port Edward, stopping for a delicious lunch at the Wild Coast Sun, which elicited another search for the elusive replacement swimming costume, again to no avail. We then followed the old road up te coast to to our next destination on the South Coast, Sunwich Port, the home of Auntie Colleen and Uncle Gerry, just north of Port Shepstone.

Uncle gery has the most amazing plant in his garden with flowers that change colour at different times of the day!!! Anybody that knows the name???? hERE ARE THE PICS

The flower in the morning ..and later

We stopped for a coffee and to view the sights of Margate, with Annaliese finally finding the "perfect' replacement costume. We arrived at Sunwich Port lete in the afternnoon, and spent the next 2 nights washing our dirty clothes, obtaining a new number plate and other essential provisions, wine, beer.... i forget the rest.

A late complication with our Angolan visa, which had resulted in us leaving Cape Town without our passports, threatened to derail our plan to travel up to just before the Mozambique border the next day. Instead we arranged to stay the next night in Umhlanga,in order for our passports to be couriered to us there. After rpacking Stanruza with all the essentials, including some additional fishing kit donated by Uncle Gerry, we made the short trip to Umhlanga on Thursday morning. We booked in the Breakers Resort for the night, enjoying an afternnon by the pool and awalk along the beach Afurther complication with Stewart's passport meant a late start the next day. Just a word of caution to those wanting an Angolan visa, make sure The Travel Lounge in Palm Centre is avoided!

  Our last bit of SA luxury!!!!!

We plan to drive into Mozambique this evening (Friday) , and spend a night or 2 at Ponta Malongane, 15 km into Mozambique