You are currently browsing the monthly archive for June 2010.

A little premature, but we reckon we can get going again on the 6th July. Our game has been decided in Port Elizabeth on Friday where Brazil meet Holland in the QF. Bring it on………

Back in Cape Town after the game

Feeling slightly jaded and tired after a mission to get to Port Elizabeth for the quarter-final game. We travelled overnight on a coach from Cape Town. Ten hours later we reached our hotel so we could grab some sleep before the game. I’m never doing a coach journey again!

It all worked out well. It was a fantastic game with all the build up outside the ground and the atmosphere inside, switching in the first half when the Brazilian fans were making all the noise to the Dutch making the most noise in the second half. The Brazilian fans win in the drumming lessons. Some great drum beats, constantly changing throughout the game.

Even more high drama with the Ghana game later on. We grabbed some seafood after the game and then Bun went back to the hotel to catch up with some sleep while I went up to the Fanfest to join the crowds to watch the game.

Back in Cape Town on Saturday evening, we got caught up with the Germany v Argentina traffic just after the game.

My brother, Mark, is in town for a few days with Katrine, to see the QF. We met up with him on Saturday and, then again, on Monday. Whilst Mark went up Table Mountain, we made a visit to Stellenbosch, the wine region, 25 miles outside of Cape Town and visited a few winerys and vineyards to sample some wine and food.

We dropped the Landcruiser off at JB autos on Monday morning to get it checked over. That gave us the day free to discover Cape Town some more and to finally get to go to the Royal Eatery, the best burger in town and a wicked ovaltine milkshake. We met Mark and Katrine down there whilst they were finishing off their burgers.

We got the call to pick up the Landcruiser on Tuesday morning. A massive list of things either changed or checked over for the full service. Only one issue we couldn’t sort out – our rear diff locks are not engaging. Something to do with the actuator, which needs fixing or replacing. It will not affect us at all on our trip back.

So we are ready to leave Cape Town. We have a visit to Robben Island on Thursday and then we  are off.

We have pretty much decided to ship the Landcruiser from Namibia to Ghana at the end of July. We spent a while thinking about it and it made the most sense. We would get some brownie points by reducing our carbon footprint! It cuts the journey back to northern Africa by half and saves a lot of wasted time whilst waiting for visas in all of the countries until we hit west Africa.

These missed it the first time round. Quite a few, keep scrolling back through the pages. More to come

Route Taken: Cape Town, Mulzenberg, Kalk Bay, Fish Hoek, Simon’s Town, Boulders Beach, Miller’s Point, Kommetje, Cape Town

A very late night in Cape Town yesterday watching the Spain v Chile game and then meeting some locals from the Cape Flats who we went to a club with afterwards. Cape Town is party central and Long Street seems to be the one place to be during the World Cup. I imagine it’s always like that. Some great places to go to and right now, lots of people from everywhere heading down there.

We have covered 24,189 miles to get to the Cape of Good Hope. I still don’t quite know how we notched up that sort of mileage, but eight months is longer than most people spend getting to South Africa.

We’ve been trying to find the right spot to officially end our journey south. Partly not wanting the journey to end might have something to do with it.

We didn’t quite make it as far as Cape Point as we didn’t want to pay the entrance fee to the National Park. We left Cape Town this morning following the South Peninsula road to Simon’s Town and Boulders Beach where we stopped to watch the penguins, making their way out of the wind from the sea. The Atlantic looked menacing and very cold; the winds were very strong. Across the bay, we could see the other side of Cape Town covered in a blanket of cloud as it wrapped itself around the mountain.

Making a plan to watch the England game tomorrow and hoping that they make it through to Cape Town to meet Argentina (assuming they get past Mexico!). The England v Germany game wasn’t feasible unless we could fly. Bloemfontein is a massive distance from here, so we will let it go.

I’ve put out a message  on ‘the hubb’, the overland site, to see if there is anyone out there who wants to share a container to ship their vehicle to Ghana. In the meantime, we’ve had some luck with getting the visas for Angola. We now have a good contact at the embassy, after meeting her yesterday. She has listed exactly what we need to do. We still need an invite from a hotel in Angola which I have kind of got round, by asking a travel agent to sort this out for us.

Also thinking that we are running out of time, A 4000 mile saving if we shipped the Landcruiser to Ghana would save a lot of time and effort. From Ghana, excluding Mauritania, it’s a clear and relatively easy run back to Morocco. Visions of crossing the Niger river again to Timbuktu are getting us excited. Were missing Muslim Africa and can’t wait to hit that part of Africa again.

Weekend in Cape Town. A clear sunny day on Sunday, so we headed to Table Mountain to take the cable car up to the top. We had views looking down over the city and of Robben Island.

The rest of the time we spent relaxing in the flat knowing that we have two weeks here to take it all in. On Monday we hit town, on a mission to sort everything out. The Angolan visa is proving to be a nightmare to get and runs true with all that I’ve read online.

We bought our coach tickets to Port Elizabeth for the 2nd July. It’s a 1000 mile round trip so we have decided to leave the Landcruiser in Cape Town to save on fuel. Still unsure who will be playing in that game. Brazil could be playing Spain or Holland at this rate.

The vehicle is booked in to get a proper look at with the best Landcruiser mechanic in town on the 5th July, so we’re glad we found him after making a few calls. It will get a proper inspection and service. The only problem we know of are the hand brake plates were worn out due to all the mud in the Okavango in Botswana. Luckily it’s an automatic!

One possibility, if the Angolan visa proves too difficult, is shipping the vehicle to Accra in Ghana. This would wipe out all the problem countries for gettng visas and also eliminate a huge distance at the same time. We would be practically home from there! We would still  hit all the countries we want to visit in West Africa. Waiting to hear back on this at the moment. It’s a possibility, if the shipping and flight prices are good for us.

More to come…..

Route taken: Knsyna, l’Agulhas, Stanford, Hermanus, Cape Town

We took in Africa’s most southerly point at l’Agulhas before heading across some farmer’s tracks to hit the N2 again. Some stunning scenery along the Garden Route, and some great views of the coastline as we headed towards Cape Town. The journey from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town is quality and one of the best journeys to do in South Africa.

We stayed over in Hermanus on Thursday night. We arranged to meet Niki and her son, Greg, at the Waterfront in Cape Town on Friday so that they could take us to his flat where we will stay for the next week. Very lucky and it  means that we can crack on with things on Monday.

Great to see the iconic Table Mountain as we came into town on the motorway. It definitely feels like we have reached the end of our trip south getting here. We will go to the Cape of Good Hope next week as it’s the place where most overlanders head to when they reach the end of their journey.

As you well know, England are in town for another game, so we tried to get some tickets before the match. We were offered two tickets, but the sellers wanted way over their face value. Lucky we didn’t after the horrendous result. We ventured over to the big screen at the Waterfront to watch the game. Great atmosphere down there being so close to the ground. We had a late night and took a taxi back to the flat in a cool old 70’s Mercedes.

Route taken: Jeffrey’s Bay, Storms River, Plettenberg, Natures Valley, Knsyna

We were expecting great things from the game yesterday. Ronaldo’s early chance seemed like it would live up to expectations! A great spectacle all round despite the lack of goals.

We got to the stadium early to take it all in. The stadium erupted when Drogba came on to warm up. We were right opposite the Ivory Coast bench just off the  half way line and could see Sven freezing his nuts off.

It still feels like the games are to kick off. Some dull results all round so far hey! Luckily, England have given us some entertainment and as one presenter said after the second goal ‘God save the Green’.

We missed out on the back pages the day after England’s first game but saw a few clips on Sky News, which gets a good showing here on DSTV. We will be in Cape Town on Friday when England roll into town for the next game. We will try and get tickets for that game on the day. There have been reports of seats being empty despite all the tickets being sold out.

We know that it takes a long time to get anything done in Africa. This has transfered to the very slow start in the World Cup. Maybe there has been a spell cast over the games to stop any one team from scoring more than one goal per game!

The Ivory Coast fans were dressed in bright Orange football shirts. They drummed and moved to the rhythm which continued for the whole 90 minutes. ‘Allez les elephants’ was on the back of an Ivorian supporter dressed up in a elephant costume.

It was a great day all round. We started by from Jeffreys Bay after breakfast and got going to hit the N2 into Port Elizabeth. We joined the speedy traffic hitting town to see the game. Mainly Portugese fans, with flags blowing in the wind as they passed us on the motorway.

A Portugese fan asked us if we were lost as they passed us in traffic when he saw our number plate. Only when we hit traffic in Port Elizabeth did we get to hear the vuvuzela in full glory. It’s being called flufluzela on the SABC (the main South African radio station, reporting all day on the World Cup) as it claims that the plastic horns are blowing out germs onto people when they sit in the stands.

Only in Africa can a colourful plastic item be so popular. Chinese items are the favourite throughout the continent. Still, a great noise when something exciting happens and the stadium blows together. Not so pleasant when someone sitting behind you blows in your ear! It still remains an awesome sound when you are in the stadium. It gets louder when the action gets closer to the goal and brings the whole stadium alive.

Bun finally bought a vuvuzela today after she found the one she was after. She proceeded to practice in the hotel room before I told here to be quiet – it’s driving me mad!

Were now in Knsyna, on the edge of a lagoon and currently home to the French team during the World Cup. We are aiming to meet up with Thierry Henry later to celebrate Bun’s Birthday! We saw the team coach as we came into town.

We headed on from Jeffreys Bay this morning and got here to have lunch at the Oystercatcher. We had some great oysters and a massive plate of black tiger prawns as a treat for Bun’s Birthday. Knsyna is a nice town on the Garden Route so we decided to stay here overnight.

We then landed at the Inyathi guest lodge, a swiss style cabin for a room which is very nice and has an old fashioned freestanding bath and a TV for the football. An uncanny coincidence as we are watching the Spain v Switzerland game as I update the blog. Even the weather here is reminding us of when we set off on the trip last Autumn through Europe.

The rain has returned good and proper after the good weather for most of yesterday. We can see the hot weather on the national weather forecast in Namabia and Botswana further north but we are freezing most of the time on the coast. There was snow on some of the peaks as we passed the Tsitsikamma mountains.

Next move will be to move onto Cape Town, staying somewhere in easy distance to get there for Friday morning. Looking forward to arriving in the Mother City. It also means that we can crack on with getting things sorted for heading north.

Route from Colesberg: Colesberg, Middelburg, Cradock, Cookhouse, Somerset East, Addo Elephant National Park, Port Elizabeth

Here we go. We are in town to see the Ivory Coast v Portugal game this afternoon. First game and we can’t wait, it should be a qualilty match. We are trying to ignore the wet and cold weather. A massive thankyou to Will & Niki for letting us stay at the farm over the last few weeks – the rest was well needed.

We stayed in Jeffreys Bay overnight, a hours drive away from Port Elizabeth and one of the surfing capitals in the world. It took five hours to get from the farm in Colesberg to the coast.

From here we will base ourselves in Cape Town for a few weeks before coming back here to watch the first QF game. Bun’s birthday is on Wednesday, so we hope to be in Cape Town then!

Update – I’ve just managed to get tickets for the QF game at Port Elizabeth on the 2nd July, match 57 (w53 v w54). We are hoping it will be Brazil v Holland, if the group games work out to plan.

I’ve also added a new cartoon from Tony Husband under 17/05/2010 – Khwai River Camp / Mogotho Camp to Maun (Old Bridge Backpackers). Thanks as always Tony. Just showing Bun now!

Greetings from South Africa. We’ve finally made it down here, just in time for the World Cup – it’s not like we planned it!

First, an update from soulless Bloemfontein in Free State and a host city in the World Cup! We are not hanging around here long. I hear that the England team has just landed. It took them ten hours to get here. It’s taken us almost eight months! It’s been a fantastic trip south and we have have seen so much.

We’ve been slack. Our quest for decent internet connections hasn’t improved here so far, after entering one of Africa’s more advanced countries. Let’s not forget, this is still Africa.

We crossed into SA on the 23rd and have since made our way to Colesberg via Kimberley.

During the last few days in Botswana, we made contact with Dave Newman, who is a High Court judge in Lobatse, just south of Gaborone. We got in touch with him through a friend of my parents  in Montserrat.  It was great to meet up with him and his family in Gaborone and then stay with him for the night and enjoy their hospitality in Lobatse before crossing into SA.

In Kimberly, we went to see the Big Hole, the world’s first hand dug diamond mine. Bun got excited when we hit diamond country and crossed over the Orange river where the first diamond was discovered!

We have been missing the cinema, so we got a chance to see the new Ridley Scott film ‘Robin Hood’. It was the best of a bad bunch. If a film had been deliberately made to stir up English folk before a World Cup battle, this is it! It wasn’t as bad as we were expecting. Nice to eat some popcorn too!

From there we spent a few days on the farm of Will & Niki, long time friends of Bun’s family in Herefordshire. We stayed there for two nights with Will. Niki was still in Cape Town so we decided to go off for a few days to await her return.

After are trip to Bloemfontein to sort a few things out, we headed back to the farm and have been there ever since. It’s in The Karoo and known for it’s sheep and cattle farming but you also see other creatures like jackal, springbok and pocupines. It’s winter here and we are getting used to the differences compared to UK winters. It’s lovely in the day with warm weather and clear blue skies but at night the temperature drops to near freezing.

The area where they live is isolated and vast. It’s 40 miuntes drive off-road from Colesberg. We have been taking it easy here, watching lots of French Open tennis and news from the UK between sorting out the back of the Landcrusier. Also plenty of local World Cup stories knocking around. DSTV (The South African satellite network, we’ve had all over Africa) is the best for decent tv and sales have been going mad before the start of World Cup. I’ve been running with the dogs and Bun has been walking with them in the afternoon. We also took out the quad bike the other day and had fun driving around the tracks.

In Bloemfontein we stumbled across the Fifa ticket office. Thinking all the tickts had sold out, Fifa announced another ticket phase last Friday. Shortly after, the computers crashed country-wide. Since then we have been lucky to find two World Cup tickets for the Ivory coast v Portugal game on the 15th June in Port Elizabeth. Great news and it works out well for our onward journey to Cape Town from there.

After the game we aim to follow the garden route along the coast to the southernmost tip of the continent (St Agulhas, also the divinding line between the Indian and Atlantic oceans) to then hit Cape Town & Western Cape and base ourselves there for the rest of our stay in South Africa. We will hopefully catch some late games in Cape Town if we can find tickets. My brother, Mark, is due out here at the start of July so we will meet up with him at some point.

We are right now deciding to travel back to the UK up the west side of Africa. If we stay a month in SA, we plan to leave here in mid-July before hitting Namibia after that. In the meantime we are going to enjoy being here whilst we gradually get ready for the journey north. At this rate we aim to be back in the UK in November. Well, that’s the plan!

Need to sort out early visas for Angola and Gabon. The list of countries we plan to visit travelling north will be……..

Namibia, Angola, Gabon, Congo ( Not the DRC, the other one), Cameroon, Nigeria, possibly Togo & Benin, Bukino Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Western Sahara, Morocco, Spain, France, UK!

If anyone wishes to get in touch with us whilst we are here, our SA number is +27 (73) 8961826. More updates when we get settled.

June 2010