Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Day One 25th June 2010 – I WISH I was Amazon

After we got over the disappointment of mode of transport been changed from Land Cruiser VX Amazon to the Toyota WISH-I-was-Amazon we finally set off from Embakassi at 7pm after the Brazil vs Portugal match despite a few (read many) delay tactics by the wives and ‘wives’.

Kiarie, Shem, McCrutch and Jomo at Embakassi

Several pee-stops later courtesy of the Heineken brigade namely Shem and name withheld we got to Border town Namanga at 9:30pm very impressed to find DSTv at the Kenya Customs Office and caught a few minutes of the Spain vs Chile match.

Shhteam FC at Namanga Customs Office

You are now entering Tanzania

Border crossing was pretty much straightforward and a few brokers later we had paid COMESA insurance plus reflectors, fire extinguisher and a first aid kit.
Enter Tanzania – and our first brash with the Tanzanian authorities was a mere 200mts into TZ after Shem decided to play fool on a signal to stop by the TZ border cops. They finally caught up with us at the diversion (more on that later) and the conversation went a little like this.
Cop: Mulidhani mumeshika lami mutaenda kabisa? Hamukulijua barabara litaisha?
Cop: Hamuoni gari letu limeandikwa STK? (Equivalent of GK) now we know.
Cop: Muonelea tupoteze mafuta ya seriakli?
A few apologies later in our best Swahili they let us go WITHOUT A BRIBE!!!!
10 minutes later and our second brash with the TZ authorities was hilarious after Shem inexplicably decided to knock a cop from behind luckily he was not injured and again NO BRIBE REQUIRED!!!!
Diversions – there were 47 yes fourty seven diversions between a 100km stretch between Namanga and Arusha got more shakes than a milk shake.
Third time not so lucky – Our third brash with the law resulted in paying a bribe this time after a thorough car search the officer declared that carrying bottles of Viceroy is againt custom laws and blah blah blah – Damage Tshs. 10,000

Not very clear but I swear if you look carefully you will spot a few giraffes we came across on the road to Arusha.

1:30am – Finally at Arusha and we sign off wake up call set to 0615 hours

Driver of the Day – Jomo 1 – Test drives for McLaren F1 in the off-season

Quote of the Day – Utamu wa kitu niku kosa kushiba – TZ Customs Officer

Day Two 26th June 2010 – Dar mpaka Moro

8:30am – Time to set off target Mbeya, Tanzania (near the Zambia border)

Chilly and Drizzly morning in Arusha

U Turn – 25kms towards Dodoma a very friendly cop informs us that we taking the long route to Mbeya and we needed to head back to Arusha and nyorosha to Moshi.

Arusha culture centre

Speed guns aka ile torchi – Got busted for speeding…not once but thrice had to part with bribes ranging from Tshs. 5,000 to 10,000 depending on how broke we were at the point. In our defense it’s difficult to read a 50kph sign while driving at 190kph. More road sign drama while trying to read swahili ones while Jomo is driving....JI HADHARI KUNA WA...........................800 metres ahead........NYAMA WA PORIIIIINNNNIIIIIII

Our first cop stop, Kiarie none too amused

Terrain – Tanzania is one hilly and mountainous country check out the stunning scenery below

Shem having a shaggzmodoz moment

Dar mpaka Moro – Was very tempting to turn left and head to Dar which was only 100kms away compared to Morogoro 305kms away, we shall make time for it when we come back and look for TMK wanaume to redo the video.

Scenery on the way to Iringa

Mbeya town – 11:00pm and 1300kms from Arusha, 1550kms from Nairobi and we are yet to reach the border town Tunduma. TZ is one big ass country (both meanings apply here).

Ghana oh yeh – Managed to watch Extra time of the Ghana game, they must have known Shhteam FC have not arrived at their destination yet, elation kibao very proud of our African brothers see you in Souzzi Afrika (as it is pronounced by this Bongo nation).

Driver of the day – Jomo, but special mention to Shemkamehta for flying us between Iringa and Mbeya about 300+ kms in just under 2 hours. Force India F1 may have a driver seat for you next season.

Quote of the day – Naomba nisaidiwe na taweli (For Kiarie’s sake someone please find out what a Towel is called in Swahili).

Day Three 27th June 2010 – Before Sunset

Still in TZ – Swahili is well and truly a challenge, excerpt from a conversation at a local petrol station

McCrutch: Jaza tank

Attendant: Itingishwe? Apana

McCrutch: Inakuja pesa ngapi?

Attendant: Elfu arobaine na tatu mia kenda sabini na sita nukta nane tano

McCrutch: Ehhhhh?

Attendant: Elfu arobaine na tatu mia kenda sabini na sita nukta nane tano

McCrutch: Ati atia?

Attendant: Elfu arobaine na tatu mia kenda sabini na sita nukta nane tano

McCrutch: Kwa kizungu?

Attendant: Kimombo sifahamu kuja ujisomee hapa kwenye dial

For the record it was Tshs. 43,976.85

Toyota Crown Country – I guess all the Toyota Crowns ever designed were shipped to TZ the place is full of them, other Toyotas simply don’t exist here. We have done 1500kms in TZ and we did not spot a single Premio, Carina, NZE, Allion even a VITZ!!!!!!

Toyota Crown Galore

Mbeya, Tanzania - 0830hours and we need new brake pads after traversing this country in Rift Valley like terrain, we went up and down the escarpment in darkness (yes the rift valley also exists these sides) too dark to take pictures must have been a lovely view but we will on the way back.

Rooms facing the “beach” at Mbeya, TZ

McCrutch updating the blog…finally got a decent connection

You see….we are only taking coca-cola and biscuits

Bridge at Mbeya - find the advertising here weird with competitors such as Pepsi and Coca-Cola advertising at the same spot. For the record TZ is a Pepsi country.

Finally at the border…chap in the picture ended up been our broker for border crossing madness

Traffic jam of Trucks at the Tunduma border

Border crossing madness

Ugali (sima) is served in three's here

Finally crossed the border now we set off for Lusaka....or so we thought

Beautiful sunset in Zambia

Quote of the day - Huwezi endesha chombo cha moto bila leseni - TZ Highway Cop...He actually meant chombo cha motor aka motor vehicle

Driver of the day - Michael 'Schumacher' Kiarie for evading 131 potholes

Night Three June 27/28th 2010 - After the Sunset

Amount we paid is enough to buy a VITZ

2130 Hours cruising at 180kph in the zambian bush headed for Lusaka then................

Massive pothole...even this photo doesn't do it justice

End result is 2 flat tires and 2 badly bent rims

This one is properly buggered......

This one is completely buggered......

Enter into the scene riding his bicycle....Katongo aka Baba Catherine. Was from visiting his Fiance 1km away and was headed home and decided to help us. God Sent i tell you.

Katongo: Wow your tires are buggered
Katongo: You mean to say both tires are buggered
Katongo: One is badly buggered
Katongo: But the other is completely buggered

Shhteam FC lights a fire to keep war....the outside temperature was 10 degress with a cilly wind

Fire wasn't enough we had to catch a few....

We even got used to the bush....cooler box was a good seat

Repair job required on the rim to get us to the next town 100kms away

Katongo getting paid for a Job well done.....

30kms from refuge the tre gives way again but this time no Katongo to the rescue....drove on the rim until we got to a town called Serenji and slept fully clothed in the first available guest house. (reports suggest that Jomo slept with his shoes on)

Quote of the Night - No prizes for guessing who....Katongo - You are completely buggered

Driver of the Night - Jomo - For getting us to Serenji at 3am on 3 wheels

Day Four 28th June 2010 - Light at the end of the tunnel

0630 hours of a forgettable chilly morning in a sleep town called Serenji....we finally managed to get somewhere to sleep but the thickness of the blanket was as good as a padded mosquito net. Place was unbelievably windy and cold. The sun been out was null and void.

We slept fully clothed...mpaka with the crutches

Buggered and partner in crime totally buggered

Toyota WISH-i-had-wheels

1000 hours and we finally had some repair job done on the car and we could proceed to the next town to fix it properly....drawback was driving at 100kph on a super super highway. Felt like we was walking.

1300 hours after some hit and miss town we arrive at Kabwe where now we did a proper repair job on the vehicle, spent most of the afternoon in the garage...sounds just like home only this time we were in the garage for real and not buffet park doing 'repairs' on the car.

Kiarie and Shem overseeing the repair job at Auto World in Kagwe
Jomo having a man from Murang'a moment

1700 hours and we finally off to Livingstone via Lusaka. Road was very good no more potholes a 600km journey. We finally got to Livingstone past 1am.

Driver of the day - Kiarie for getting us to Livingstone and not so special mention for Shem who kept stopping us for pee-stops every 10kms. Take some brandy next time.

Moment of the day - The buggered tire been hammered into shape at Serenji. Couldn't believe that tire could be round again.

Day Five 29th June 2010 - Mosi-o-tunya

0800 hours and we off to Mosi-O-Tunya popularly known as Victoria falls. Can't use words to describe it, let the photos have the final say.

Cabs in Livingstone. They are all Toyota 100's and of course blue in color

Our first glimpse of the zambezi as we approached the falls. That point marked the record floods of the Zambezi

About 20 dollars for non residents

Dr. Livingstone himself....Not so in the flesh

Shhteam FC at the falls

Time to get suited's gonna get wet

The water mass is unbelievable.

Raincoats are put to use

The rain that comes from under...the spray was amazing

Rainbow at the falls

More pictures of the falls

Bridge between Zimbambwe......and Shem

Bridge to get to the western cape of the falls....not one for the faint hearted
McCrutch drying off after a 30 minute shower from under
Steers at Livingstone before heading for the border

Shem and Kiarie at the Botswana border crossing

Footnote: We were in Zimbabwe for only 15 minutes so as to get to Botswana

Toyota WISH.......Only 3500kms

Wildlife on the way

The lovely giraffe couple

We finally sit down and have a drink after 4 days on the road

2100 hours and we get to Maun, Botswana. Watched the Spain vs Portugal match. Tomorrow we head to the Okavango

Highlight of the day - Victoria falls is even threatening to be the highlight of the trip. You can literally run out of adjectives to describe it.

Driver of the day - We did 3 countries in one day, although we was only in Zim for not more than 15 minutes. Shem got us through the beautiful savanna and bush in Bots to Maun. Splendid roads and drive.