Wednesday, 19 November 2008

First out of three legs back to Cape Town

The day Morten left, our car was left at Toyota in Lilongwe for its third and hopefully final service. On the first of November Simon (a friend of Christians' from Sønderborg) arrived to Lilongwe. The plan was that he would stay with us for the next month, which would allow us to cover Mozambique, Krueger National Park, Drakensberg, and the Wild Coast with him.

On the same day that Simon arrived we started on our way south. This meant that we could make it to the beautiful (not really - nice campsite though) border town of Dedza. Upon Simons arrival we knew that we had several days of transport ahead of us, so with our first day getting us to the border we were hoping that we would be able to make it to Vilankulo within the following two days. After two days on Mozambiques highway - which was in no condition to be categorized as a highway - and one night in Chimoio at Pink Papaya we drove into the Beach town of Vilankulo. Out of this drive, Pink Papaya was probably the biggest experience... Imagine a guesthouse/dorm, where everything is pink, even the staff is wearing pink. This place was run by an elderly German couple where the man ran around in his Kimono in the morning. Everything here was pink, even the fluorescent lights were painted pink - just for that extra touch of pink.

We arrived in Vilankulo, with only our 5th gear broken. After a couple of days of assessing the situation we decided to get Isac, the brother of Dodo - the local junkie, whom by the way also has the only reliable workshop in town - to look at it. Isac was very helpful and decided to start taking the gearbox apart friday morning and assured us that he knew the problem and would be able to get new parts from SA and get it to run again by saturday noon. This would be app. 36 hrs after they started with the car. Trustworthy as the man seemed we chose to believe it, and went out on our first dive on 2 Mile Reef saturday morning. Now, when we say our first then you just know that we didn't get the car on the saturday. As the famous saying goes, which we by now have learnt from heart: "This is Africa...!" - we ended up getting the car on the tuesday, still without a fifth gear.

This delay from the mechanic gave us several good days in Vilankulo. After having a look around Vilankulo, we had decided to stay at Baobab Beach, this was the slightly more backpacker option with camping and a nice bar :-)

By the time we left Vilankulo (on the wednesday) we had had 4 dives along 2 Mile Reef. In these dives we saw 1 blacktipped reefshark and a couple of seaturtles, the biggest of which had a diameter of over 1m. We also got a chance to visit several of the islands in the Archipelago de Bazaruto, climb the sanddunes on Bazaruto, snorkel along the reefs of the islands, go for a trip in a traditional Dhow, and have several memorable nights in the bar. During the early hours of the morning we got fairly acquainted with the bar staff as well as an English couple, a South African ranger and a dude from Botswana. All of these people contributed with entertaining stories of their experiences in Africa. The most important thing that we have learnt from these days is: "This is Africa, there is no plan, there's only a vague idea".

After Vilankulo our next stop was Tofu/Tofinho/Barra or Coconut Bay. This decision we pretty much left until the last minute in the car, but we opted for scenario where we went a couple of days to Barra followed by a couple of days at Coconut Bay. At Barra we got the option of staying at a slightly nicer place to do some diving and celebrate Pernilles birthday. Both of which we did in style, even though we did not manage to get the staff to sing "Beautiful Pernille'eee". After the celebrations we went out on a Ocean Safari where we got the opportunity to snorkel with 2 Whalesharks as well as 25 or so Dolphins. After the stories we had heard from other travellers we felt very fortunate to have seen the
whalesharks. At Barra we also had 3 dives at a diveshop where everything was taken care of. We pretty much just had to show up, get in the boat, and when told to jump - then jump.
After 2 nights at Barra we decided to take some dives further south at a place called Cocnut Bay. Here the dives would almost be half the price of our previous dives and the place itself more secluded. Indeed it was both of those things, we were almost the only ones there, except a rookie flyfisherman (whom during our 3 night stay, never seemed to catch anything...) at the campsite.

All in all our diving around Tofu was a success with the sightings of a couple of Whalesharks, and on our second to last dive a small (1.5m) Manta Ray in the distance. Both of the animals have this majestic look, when they move gracefully around in the water next to us clumsy divers. On one hand, having seen them, we are ready to leave, but on the other hand, we could easily spend more days here in the hope of seeing more of either and perhaps some sharks.
We will be making our way towards Nelspruit in SA, just outside the Krueger National Park. Hopefully we will be able to get our trustworthy Hilux fixed. Ohh, did I forget to mention that we have also determined the cause for a recent clonking noise from the rear of the car. It seems that one of the leaves in our right leaf-spring suspension has snapped in half and was hitting the axle.

Stay tuned for our next report, where we expect to write a bit about Krueger, Drakensberg, a certain Danish Julefrokost (Christmas dinner), and of course the most recent news regarding our trusted Hilux.


Jan said...

Hi guys,

Så er der snart gået 4 mdr. hva? "out of sight out of mind" Nej ikke helt :-). Nyd resten af turen, vi glæder os til at se jer i december.


Camilla said...

Hej! Jeg ved jo snart ikke hvad jeg skrive. Det lyder bare fantastisk hver gang man hører fra jer! Jeg synes også at tiden flyver og glæder mig rigtig meget til at I kommer hjem og vi skal jule-hygge:-) Knuz fra zøz.

muttimarie said...

Bonjour, so good to hear exciting news from you. As Camilla says it is difficult to comment as you seem to experience so many fantastic things. Looking so much forward to seeing you, all your photoes, films and hear some of the stories you haven't publiced -I guess;-)Hope the car last till Cape Town. Knus mutti marie

Mads said...

whalesharks ligefrem. Det må sgu ha' været en fantastisk oplevelse...endnu en til samlingen.
Jeg kiggede lige ned over hele jeres blog. Der er jo snart ved at være nok til en udgivelse i bogform :)
Nyd de sidste uger af jeres tur, og ha' det godt til vi ses herhjemme i kolde Danmark