The Journey

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

Punta Malungane

What an experience we had in this our 21st country that we visited!!! It is so appropriate that this is no21 (overall that is, not only Africa) as this is a country of growth, of renwal, hope and a new life, all the things that is important for a 21 year old.

We unfortunately left late from The Breakers where we were staying due to the unfortunate passport delivery saga and raced (truly) to the border, I can be a very nervous co-driver as my family very well know!! and at times had to hold my breath for fear the car might just turn over if i let it out!!! BUT..... the day that started off in a very wierd and wonderfull way, continued to surprise us.

We started off in luxury, me having a PEDICURE !!!!!! (a girl has to look nice in the bush , i say!) Stew organising the last bits of shopping at Woolies (Ruds, we had ro support them !!for old times sake) and then sitting there chewing our nails waiting for the courier company. Then the hectic trip, through stunning countryside I must add on to the border. We got there at 5.05 !!!!!! They close at 5 and you all know what borderposts can be like.....Well LISTEN TO THIS

1. They , both sides (believe it) offered to let us through ........

2. NO BRIBES asked or offered......

3. No stamps in the passports, only a request to come back in the morning to officially enter the country!!!

Well, needless to say, you could have blown us both over. Such helpfulnes and friendly assistance I have NEVER experienced. Then followed a surreal trip of 14 km through a maze of sand tracks, not a sign in sight, in the gathering dusk, with only an initial marker and distance, we followed our noses,drove onwards down to the coast, around a picture-perfect dam, through the coastal bush. We finally arrived at Ponta Molangane campsite. What an experience,as we drove through a maze of campsites, chalets, huts and lodges, housing hundreds of SA holidaymakers.

Surfing in Moz !!!Surfing in Moz!!Our hut

We slept the next 2 nightsin a wooden hut, close to main communal kitchen/bar/diving camp. other than thepowere boats testing their engines from 6am, and the monkeys stealing our food, the place was paradise. warm gentle seas, a restaurant to eat at on the first night, and an endless supply of cold beer. We booked to swim with the dolphins the morning we left. Courtney,our team leader, her husband Paulus, originally from germany, and their 5 year old daughter led the way.

We spotted a pod of dolphins, and snorkelled amongst them, what an amazing experience to see these wonderful creatures in their natural envirnment , so close you could touch them(we did not as it is not allowed) later we swam above a reef, marvelling at the myriad of fishlife.

 

Maputo

We left Punta Malongane a bit late after the amazing experience with the dolphins, we thought it can't possibly be as bad as the roads leading to Punta Malongane ..........oh mu goodness....NOTHING could ever have prepared us for the roads leading to Maputo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We have honestly NEVER seen anything like this. The stretch of "tar" we were gleefully told about the previous day turned into a nightmare and was worse than any gravel road in exixtence anywhere!It had potholes the size of craters and bushes growing in the middle of the road for good measure!!

Tar roads Moz style!!!! You have no idea how it feels to drive here and Ann,we tried to follow the bloody telephone poles.......but they kept on dissapearing!! The eternal "No signpost problem"(nsp) raised its ugly head again several times and our noses are not always so good so we cannot always follow thame sucessfully!!!the road just splits into 3 seperate tracks all going into a different direction and the result was that 140km took us 4 and a half hours!!!! Both Stew and Stan deserve medals for dealing so well with all of this.

Once again, this country amazed us totally, you drive on this godforsaken track for hours, thinking you are in the middle of nowhere and KAPOW>>>>>>>>you see the skyline of a huge city with skyscrapers included for good measure. The firat sighting of Maputo was just something you had to be there to understand!!

We had to cross to the city with a ferry as the trip to f=get there by road would have taken another 2 hours and with sunset here taking place at 5.45, that was most certainly not an option  as we still had to find a place to stay.BIG maistake....best to have it organised before you get to a strange city, something we as seasoned travellers should have known, but as we decided that this trip will be different as we need to get out of our usual ways....read Annaliese being a control freak!!!!

The beauty of the first sight as well as the ferry ride soon changed to stress and fighting as we drove around like lost farts trying to find affordable accommodation with off street parking...a completely impossible task it seemed.eg the Holiday Inn charges R1600 per room for the night , no breakfast!!This clearly exeeds our budget by about R1000.

As we know, all things have goood and bad sides and our journey will have good and bad times.....this one turned into a bad nightmare!!. We got utterly lost, it was pitch dark in a strange city, we could not speak the language, we were stopped by a "ploiceman" who claimed that we commited a traffic violation and promptly wanted to march us off to the police station,I burst into tears, Stew gave me one look and sped off in the car to get rid of the guy!!! Felt a bit like cops and robbers!!

We finally got a place via our trusted Africa on a shoestring guide, by Lonely Planet and found a nice , clean room in th Ibis Hotel in the centre of town, with a 24hr guard, a meal of goat stew (ugh!!) for Stewart and rubberised fish for me!! However, the nightmare did not end as we were promptly informed by the hotel that they cannot accept our dollars as they claimed  the noted are too old!!! We first thought it was a joke and went from bank to bank and got the same story. This was a gatslag as i started saving for this trip years ago and therefore have a lot of old dolars. We refused to give up and were finaly partly lucky after i stood in the que for 1 hour, they agreed to change dollars newer that 2001. Well, I am sure we can use the old ones in Zim!!

Despite all the bad luck, Maputo is a stunning city, Anna Maria, even have Italian designer shops!!!! Here development and decay goes hand in hand and you can have Cappucinoin one of the stunning coffe shops whilst you watch drains overflowing a little bit further down the road!!

The old and the new.....amazing city

We decided to have the obligatory prawn and crayfish meal......delicious, but we wanted to get out of the city as we clearly already became bush people not used to being in a city. We left for Xai Xai on the coast, so therefore the silence, no cell and/or internet connection 

Xai Xai

The road from maputo to Xai Xai was a good tarred road, making the trip of 230 km north an easy one. There were several police checks at the villages, but we were waved through each one by smiling friendly officials. John......keeping to the speed limits helps!! We crossed the Xai Xai bridge over the Limpopo in the gathering dusk, and true to form it seems , arrived in the dark. A "GArmin" read and some half-intelligible instructions from a petrol attendant led us off to the beach ("praia") a further 20kms out of town. On our arrival at a circle in the middle of nowhere we were met by Manuel who hitched a lift standing on Stanruza's running board and guided us to Praia de Xai Xai campsite.. It consisted of a rudimentary bar & reataurant , chalets ful of a group of Free Staters. We reanted a "bungalow", had an impromptu dinner of cold meats and bread together with another good bottle of red wine and soon passed out watching "Fiddler on the Roof" on the laptop!!The beach bar

The next morning, Annaliese promtly went straight into a huge branch with Stan, so at this stage we are not sure if the tent is still 100%, but do not have the guts to find out !!! We set out to explore after a cup of cofee at the "bar" and found we believe a place that will no doubt be one of our favourites on this trip!!! Our stunning "house on the hill"

Watch this space for further adventures and disasters!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Inet shop closing.Love to all till next timexxxx

To get to the “resort” follow the road N/NE past the main Xai Xai campsite on the beach, past a few groups of houses. It is called Chonguene Beach Resort and belongs to Pieter from Pretoria. Also has a bar and restaurant if you feel like company. Truly to be recommended if you want to find a place to stay in Xai Xai. We loved it here as it is still wild and not overrun by stacks of Gauteng/Free State/ Mapumalanga holiday makers. You have miles and miles of beach all to

yourself.

Our house on the hill, the view and the insideStew buying bread from Richard

The momnent we saw this place, it was as if both of us finally felt the true spirit of Africa ica, the slower pace, the smell and sounds of nature, the clear sky, the sound and constant movement of the waves. We realized how fortunate we are to do this trip . We booked the place for 3 nights and for the first time both of us truly relaxed, chilled enjoyed life and each other.

All was however not just moonshine and roses, as life needs to be lived on both sides!! One thing, there was hardly any reception for the phone and ZACK, you little shit……every time we tried to phone, we had to climb a dune……..so appreciate the 3 messages you got!!! Also no internet connection, so despite all the thousands of rands we spend on “staying connected” we still cannot use the device and will be dependant upon internet cafes. BUT PLEASE keep on mailing as it is the BEST to get news, we will reply as often as we can find an open café!

We also experienced the true tropical climate here, lying on the beach one minute & the nextthenext minute the sea turns grey, the clouds gather and rains pours down in buckets!! So different from our Cape Town drizzles!

The lifestyle here is unbelievable, the locals bring freshly caught crayfish to your doorstep, Richard, the baker appeared at our door early the first morning with freshly baked bread and croissants!! Even more amazing is that he managed to find us the next morning after we moved 4 kms down the road !! I could not believe when I saw him outside as we did not even tell him that we will be in a different place.

We also discovered the most amazing site……..a haunted hotel!!! I promise, Stew did not believe me either, but he had to after what happened there! But first about the hotel, the locals have different stories, but it either belongs to a certain D”Oliveira who also owns the Polana or a cetain Durbanite, not sure. It is completely abandoned due to the war, but not badly vandalized at all. It is HUGE with 110 rooms as well as self catering units (it seems) but a lot of the stuff is still there, like the marble counters, the bar stools at the bar, some of the headboards, you can just see how smart the whole place was, you can hear the music if you listen very carefully, see the people dancing or having cocktails, having drinks on the patio, you can see the cooks preparing the most amazing meals etc!!! The place is a photographers dream and I went mad clicking away. We even found some of the old menus as well as food and drink order slips!! Check the pics………

The seats at the pool

 

This was however not the end of the fun and games here, will continue tom as the bloody place is closing again!

We started feeling a bit weird and left the place in a bit of a hurry, only to discover that Stanruza was stuck!! Really stuck in the sand, see, HAUNTED HOTEL !!! (now Stew had to believe me!) Well the only thing we could do was to be exited to use all the fancy equipment! So out came the sand tracks …….. progress was VERY slow to say the least and I am not much help in the pushing department with my bad back. Luckily within a short while the first local appeared, then the next one and then the next one and then a few etc.., what we did realize with this whole episode was that your fancy equipment is just exactly that, fancy! The help that worked best in the end, was putting a whole lot of bushes (readily available) on the tracks they all helped to push and voila! Off we went with at least 4 hanging on to the car for the rest of the way back to our house !!

Getting the fancy stuff!!The locals know best

We spend our last night at Xai Xai having steak and loving the view and the sound of the waves

 

Inhambane and Tofo

We left Xai Xai (for a change) at the correct time to ensure an early arrival at our next stop , Inhambane. The road was OK, a stretch of about 100km in true Moz style a bit of a disaster with crater potholes which takes absolute concentration to stay on the road. We stopped in Inhambane town for a delicious cup of coffee and Stews standard beer, had the best salads ever (remember we have not seen salad for a few days!!!) and discussed with the locals whether we should go to Tofo or Bara, decided to give Tofo the thumbs up and as we had loads of time to check out the places, once again found a spot at “Nordiens” right on the beach. Our standard requirements now are not negotiable!!! Sound of the waves, right on the beach nothing less !! We do not have a problem with extras as long as Stan can be parked close to the abode to enable us to use our fridge, most times our water (!!!) as well as our cups/food etc. Yes, you got it right, the standard accommodation here is nothing more that 2 beds, if you are lucky, the place has a loo and a shower and luxury is if there is a fridge in the room. Anything goes if it is called “self catering”

Tofo has a completely different vibe than the area further south where we came from, younger crowd and a lot of Europeans and Americano’s. A real laid back vibe and we had to laugh at ourselves, the place is most probably the size of Riviersonderend (if that) and we already think of it as civilization and a big town!! We will be in for a shock once we hit the UK!!!! There is a colourful local market, a few great eateries and a lot of bars!!! And hey……..you can even get wine here as well as HUNTERS !!!!! Heaven

Our hut at Nordien's Market at Tofo

The thing to do here is surfing (yeh go John, the waves are great) and/or diving. Since my open water 1 diving qualification is but a distant memory and since Stew always wanted to do the diving course, we decided to take the plunge and go for it ! I knew chances are that my back will not cope, but we had to try and started, I got as far as the first open water dive, about halfway through the course and unfortunately had to give up as my back started talking to me!! A big pity, but at least I got this far and can always continue once my back is stronger. Stew is still busy and loving it as the marine life here is awesome and the visability under water 20x better that in Cape Town. He will no doubt keep you all updated once he finished. In the meantime I will keep the site updated and send pics so you can all share the place with us.

Today is our last day at Tofo and I decided to explore the town Inhambane a bit. Interesting.... best of all is that i found a cafe with , wait for it ...wireless connection!! We also now discovered that we were taken for a HUGE ride by some Vodacom employees who convinced us that we will be able to connect with the modem anywhere as long as we buy time..........we bought a R1000 airtime !!!!!!!! for the connection and now we were told that Vodacom is only registered for voicemail and sms in Mozambique!!! Gatslag is that we cannot even use that now as we never got the roaming for the number.....all very disturbing as it is money wasted, you loose it after a month and it now seems that they do not haver any agreement anywhere in SOUTHERN aFRICA! Oh well.......by the way, we urgently need news on Zim, a bit cut off here and the only news we get is that it is chaos there. we need a bit more as the plan is to go there next week.

A typical Inhambane scene

SCUBA Diving

Scuba diving is something I’ve always wanted to do, but a combination of no time, asthma, claustrophobia, sinus/hayfever  problems  and general inertia meant this was unfulfilled, until I decided to take the plunge (literally), ignore all the problems, and go for it. A Dive school called Diversity in Tofu was the venue, and together with Annaliese initially, and a visiting lawyer  (can’t get away from them) from London, Toby, we   crammed in the 4 day course into 3 days. 

 

The first morning was  a mass of theory  and bewildering terminology, together with  a pool dive. Then, that afternoon, we were off in the boat  and down to our first ocean dive. Despite the best efforts of our instructor, Donna Rodgers, I was very nervous, but the incredible underwater world below was  worth overcoming all those fears. It was truly amazing, and Donna’s expert tuition made the initiation to Scuba diver relatively seamless.

 Have I ever been an attorney????? Diver...yeah!!!!

The next day  was hectic, more theory, 3 pool dives to learn new skills, and then 2 back to back dives  in the ocean to practice those skills. Underwater was phenomenal, time passing in a flash, filled with moray eels, pesky shoals of brightly coloured fish, huge star fish,  a small ray or 2, crocodile fish, paper fish….. WOW, what a new world  of adventure. The day ended with a compulsory 200 meter free swim from to boat back to the shore, more exercise in a day than I can remember for a while!

 

The last day consisted of the exam, and then final dive, when newly learned skills were put to use when Toby’s  air ran out on the bottom! We all made it back to the boat safe and sound, and I am now a qualified SCUBA diver  to 18 metres below!

 

 

Inhambane and Tofo

We
left Xai Xai (for a change)
at the correct time to ensure an early arrival at our next stop
, Inhambane. The road was OK, a stretch of
about 100km in true Moz style a bit of a disaster
with crater potholes which takes absolute concentration to stay on the road. We
stopped in Inhambane town for a delicious cup of
coffee and Stews standard beer, had the best salads ever (remember we have not
seen salad for a few days!!!) and discussed with the locals whether we should
go to Tofo or Bara, decided
to give Tofo the thumbs up and as we had loads of
time to check out the places, once again found a spot at “Nordiens”
right on the beach. Our standard requirements now are not negotiable!!! Sound
of the waves, right on the beach nothing less !! We do
not have a problem with extras as long as Stan can be parked close to the abode
to enable us to use our fridge, most times our water (!!!) as well as our
cups/food etc. Yes, you got it right, the standard accommodation here is
nothing more that 2 beds, if you are lucky, the place has a loo
and a shower and luxury is if there is a fridge in the room. Anything goes if
it is called “self catering” 

 

Tofo
has a completely different vibe than the area further south where we came from,
younger crowd and a lot of Europeans and Americano’s.
A real laid back vibe and we had to laugh at ourselves, the place is most
probably the size of Riviersonderend (if that) and we
already think of it as civilization and a big town!! We will be in for a shock
once we hit the UK!!!!
There is a colourful local market, a few great
eateries and a lot of bars!!! And hey……..you can even get wine here as well as HUNTERS !!!!! Heaven  

 Our hut at Nordien's   Market at Tofo

 

The
thing to do here is surfing (yeh go John, the waves
are great) and/or diving. Since my open water 1 diving qualification is but a
distant memory and since Stew always wanted to do the diving course, we decided
to take the plunge and go for it ! I knew chances are
that my back will not cope, but we had to try and started, I got as far as the
first open water dive, about halfway through the course and unfortunately had
to give up as my back started talking to me!! A big pity, but at least I got
this far and can always continue once my back is stronger. Stew is still busy and
loving it as the marine life here is awesome and the visability
under water 20x better that in Cape Town. He will
no doubt keep you all updated once he finished. In the meantime I will keep the
site updated and send pics so you can all share the
place with us.