Home

Back, and got to say its sad and good to be home. We have next trip planned in March and maybe a sneaky FNQ trip in between.
Sorted lots of photos and video. Editing some up now but theres over 3 hours to get through. Thereare lots of photos up on Dropbox if anyone wants to see them.. The audio stuff has come out well and i will post them as well. Some PG13 there though so be warned!

Thanks to all for making an awesome trip even better!

Back to Oz

We leave Dubai tomorrow morning. Will be sad to go as it's been great. Has been very hot though. We did a tour this morning and found out the temp was 47 deg. No wonder we were sweating.
Dubai is an odd place. Very, very modern but with old ideals. Flash cars and women in burqua. Lots of expats (89% of pop) and heaps of tourists. No Japanese which is odd. Poms, Aussies and lots of Russians.
It's a very clean and very safe place. No alcohol in restaurants but available in hotels. But only certain hours. Seems they want the best of both worlds, Eastern and Western.
Inshallah.

Dubai

We have been here for a couple of days now. It's been very hot so most of our time has been in the malls. The Mall of the Emirates has the ski slope inside and is very impressive. Today we caught up with Steph and the kids at the Dubai Mall. It's a massive mall and just when you think you have seen it another whole wing appears. I got some new glasses to replace the ones I lost on Africa. 1 hour to make up in a set of Oakley frames. Cheap too!

Jo'Burg

We flew into Jo'Burg with Robert and Ruth. We were staying the night with them before going on to Dubai. The tiny bit of Jo'Burg that we saw was nice. Admittley it was only a small part. We had a braai (BBQ) that night and looked at some photos of the trip. Robert's house had 10 levels of security. From gates to electric fences and security doors on internal doors. Scary stuff. Next day we had a great brekky and then headed to the apartheid museum. Hard to believe all that happened so recently.

Zambia

We are safe and sound in Zambia (Tim included).

Some interesting days travelling up the Caprivi strip and a very interesting border crossing from Namibia into Zambia.  4 different caravans, 3 currencies, 2 hours and $150USD later we were in.

Internet access is a little limited so still no capacity to upload photos as yet.

Sad morning this morning as the group starts to head in different directions.

Staying with Robert and Ruth in Jo'Burg tomorrow night so hopefully can upload / update photos and blog from there.

Til then take care.

Dynasty (Mazambala to Victoria Falls, Zambia 305 km).

The roads for this day were long, sealed and straight and to be honest a little boring.
The day was made more exciting by the border crossing from Namibia into Zambia.
Leaving Namibia was a fairly easy process, entering Zambia not so simple.
The process is quite difficult to describe as there is no process. The most important thing was to make sure that prior to leaving you had all the necessary paperwork and stamps in your passport. This involvded visiting an office, a caraven, a shipping container and another office. The whole time you are harrassed by locals trying to exchange your money as you need 3 different currencies to purhcase the necessary paperwork. This seemed to take an average of 2 hours and gave us a bit of a laugh.
We were warned that the roads after the border were full of potholes but a pending visit from the Prime Minister had seen them all filled in and in much better better condition.
We arrived at our hotel in Livingston, the Zambesi Sun, mid afternoon leaving us some time to explore the falls prior to our last group dinner. The bikes were handed back after being checked over by Albert. He seemed pleased that most of the bikes were returned in good condition. A few had minor damage (like mine), some none and couple quite serious.
The Victoria Falls are truely spectacular. They are described as the smoke that thunders. Amazing to see and I'm sure the photos do not really do the falls justice.
Our final dinner was in the grounds of the hotel surrounded by giraffe, elephants and zebras. Jacquie finally got to try some crocodile. Most people retired to the pool bar to remenise about the highs and lows of their adventure and exchange details so we could all keep in touch.

Creatures of the Night (Divundi to Mazambala 260 km).

Another long day on the bitumen. The final 1.5 km into Mazambala was very deep sand. Many elected not to ride, and a big thanks to John, Scottie, Charley and Billy for ferrying the bikes. Bryce sustained a shoulder injury in the back of a Land Cruiser on the way in.
Mazambala is a remote lodge located on the Kwango River. We had to park up the bikes and take a boat ride to get to the lodge. Upon arrival we were orientated to the dos and do nots of sleeping in the African wilderness. The hippo gate (about 60cm high) is closed each night at 8pm. Apparently the hippo's short legs can't climb over so we were safe for the night in our cabin on the inside of the hippo fence.
After lunch and an afternoon lazing in the sun and twitching with Gary and Mick we headed out on a sundowner cruise to spot some more wildlife.
Our boat ride with Gift (the guide) took us into the national park on the Kwango River. We were fortunate to see elephants, birds (a twitcher's paradise), baboons, assorted mammals, hippos and the world's smallest crocodile.
After watching the elephants peacefully drinking, the larger of the tribe decided to charge at us. Trunk raised in the air, trumpet sounding and ears at full stretch a few on the boat were a bit scared. Gift remained calm and collected as we turned and headed to the hippos.
After a buffet dinner and a sneaky glass of South African port we had an early night.

Hotter than Hell (N'Kwazi to Divundi 192 km).

We did 10 km of the sandy and rocky road that follows along the Kavango River prior to bailing onto the parallel bitumen. This road was very long, very straight, very flat and very boring. The most entertaining part of the ride was dodging cows, goats, donkeys and locals. The kids along the road were all very friendly with big smiles and waves. Most people took the sealed road but a few did the whole off road section.
Once again the entrance to the hotel was deep sand, but fortunately only 500m long.
Jaks travelled on the gravel road in the support vehicle stopping at a few of the local villages along the way.
Our hotel at Divundi was quite luxurious and is one of the leading hotels of Africa.
After a swim and a relax by the pool most of us headed out on a sundowner boat cruise. We were able to see Hippos, Crocodiles and Jimmy leaping off the top deck of the boat. I'm not convinced the risk was worth the 1000 Rand he got for his efforts.
We were entertained by a local gospel choir prior to an amazing 5 course dinner.
A few quiet after dinner drinks saw the evening out.

Symphony (Etosha to N'Kwazi 490 km).

An early start with no bags to pack as Su had not been able to get the 400 km to us safely the night before.
The day was half sealed, half gravel.
We had good news that Tim was discharged from hospital and would continue his journey in the land rover.
The day was fairly unremarkable with more Namibian dust to eat. Long straights on good gravel with long sweeping corners made the off road section easy enough. Boss John was kept busy with several punctures through the day.
The final 10 km to the lodge was very sandy and rocky. Slow going for the less acomplished riders. Feet down and paddling through the sandier sections. The last 600 meters was the worst with some very deep sand in spots but no falls. Jaks drove the landy with the trailer over the sandy bit whilst John was ferrying bikes.
The lodge was fairly minimalist (still higher standards than our usual) and a great location on the Kavango River. Some people did a "boat" cruise to Angola whilst others sat and watched the sunset. To our surprise and joy there were no mosquitos.
Another buffet dinner with lots of game meats and then a few rum and cokes in the bar finished the night. Musical entertainment was provided by Pete on the guitar and Billy on the harmonica. Our evening festivites came to an end when the generator was turned off and we were left in the dark.

Alive 2 Vingerklip to Etosha.

After leaving Vingerklip we split into two groups. The fast ones headed out the sandy route and we went back out to the main road. It was 493kms on the sealed roads for us. At our first fuel we had news of a crash. Tim had come off in a fairly big way. We waited for news and then headed off. Tim was admitted to hospital with a back problem. We arrived just in time for the safari.
We spotted lions, elephant, and giraffes. Sitting in the bar waiting for our bags to turn up. Pics to come when our gear turns up.