London to Cape Town 12th Dec to 14th Jan 07

London to Cape Town 12th Dec to 14th Jan 07

12th Dec 2006 – 14th Jan 2007

12th Dec Tues
Today we begin our journey back to Kenya. We have worked hard on paperwork etc whilst back and sorted out various things. Bought bits for my bike and spares for both. Tyres as well since we would have problems getting them in Kenya. Dad comes and picks us up and the journey begins. To King”s Lynn to catch a train to Hatfield where Sam picks us up and takes us in to Fulham,London. I have found the best place to carry my two tyres is round my neck! I probably look strange but its easier. Clive,strong man,holds his by one hand. We have supper in Fulham with Sam.

13th Dec. Wed
Leave Sam at 6.30am with tyres! Get to Gatwick with no problems. Find out we have to chuck the camping gas cylinders. We thought they could go in checked in luggage. Then they wanted us to prove we were going to exit Kenya. No exit ticket was a problem. Explain we will be riding out on a road on our bikes. Not happy with that. Luckily Clive had brought his carnet with him and that provided sufficient proof apparently that we were not going to seek asylum in Kenya. The fact that we were carrying our tyres had no impact. Having battled through check in we then had a big queue for security with visions that my toothpaste would be conviscated ! Took ages but no fuss about toothpaste nor a cigarette lighter that I have for our stove. These things could have been taken off me. We had to check in my little rucksack which contained a 250gm jar of marmite. That is not allowed in hand luggage,though cheese is. The jar is now more likely to get broken.
More “herding” in Doha and a busy airport. We have to go through a security machine immediately after leaving the plane. All peoples from all nations here. We have 4 or more hours to kill.

13th Dec. Wed
Leave Sam at 6.30am with tyres! Get to Gatwick with no problems. Find out we have to chuck the camping gas cylinders. We thought they could go in checked in luggage. Then they wanted us to prove we were going to exit Kenya. No exit ticket was a problem. Explain we will be riding out on a road on our bikes. Not happy with that. Luckily Clive had brought his carnet with him and that provided sufficient proof apparently that we were not going to seek asylum in Kenya. The fact that we were carrying our tyres had no impact. Having battled through check in we then had a big queue for security with visions that my toothpaste would be conviscated ! Took ages but no fuss about toothpaste nor a cigarette lighter that I have for our stove. These things could have been taken off me. We had to check in my little rucksack which contained a 250gm jar of marmite. That is not allowed in hand luggage,though cheese is. The jar is now more likely to get broken.
More “herding” in Doha and a busy airport. We have to go through a security machine immediately after leaving the plane. All peoples from all nations here. We have 4 or more hours to kill.

14th Dec thursday
Tired indeed after a night of flying, but Henry was there to meet us which was a welcome surprise. So we piled into his landrover with our tyres (all baggage made it) and snoozed while Henry made a few calls around town and then back to Thika. As we drove out of the airport we saw several giraffes feeding, which was a nice sight. It is drier than when we left which is good for us.Henry said we were being very lucky with traffic as we drove to Nairobi from the airport. Just after us, were coming 10 african presidents for a Great Lakes conference. So all the traffic was being kept moving and all the junctions had police at them waving us on. Clive told me to wave regally !
When we were unpacked Henry led Clive and I on my bike into Thika to get my broken bolts on my bike drilled out. It was not easy but in the end we had success. Back to Henry”s and spent a while putting bits back on the bike. Repacked,slept some more and now looking forward to being back on the road….tomorrow.

Miles…18077. Email balderston.

14th Dec thursday
Tired indeed after a night of flying, but Henry was there to meet us which was a welcome surprise. So we piled into his landrover with our tyres (all baggage made it) and snoozed while Henry made a few calls around town and then back to Thika. As we drove out of the airport we saw several giraffes feeding, which was a nice sight. It is drier than when we left which is good for us.Henry said we were being very lucky with traffic as we drove to Nairobi from the airport. Just after us, were coming 10 african presidents for a Great Lakes conference. So all the traffic was being kept moving and all the junctions had police at them waving us on. Clive told me to wave regally !
When we were unpacked Henry led Clive and I on my bike into Thika to get my broken bolts on my bike drilled out. It was not easy but in the end we had success. Back to Henry”s and spent a while putting bits back on the bike. Repacked,slept some more and now looking forward to being back on the road….tomorrow.
Miles…18077. Email balderston.

14th Dec thursday
Tired indeed after a night of flying, but Henry was there to meet us which was a welcome surprise. So we piled into his landrover with our tyres (all baggage made it) and snoozed while Henry made a few calls around town and then back to Thika. As we drove out of the airport we saw several giraffes feeding, which was a nice sight. It is drier than when we left which is good for us.Henry said we were being very lucky with traffic as we drove to Nairobi from the airport. Just after us, were coming 10 african presidents for a Great Lakes conference. So all the traffic was being kept moving and all the junctions had police at them waving us on. Clive told me to wave regally !
When we were unpacked Henry led Clive and I on my bike into Thika to get my broken bolts on my bike drilled out. It was not easy but in the end we had success. Back to Henry”s and spent a while putting bits back on the bike. Repacked,slept some more and now looking forward to being back on the road….tomorrow.

15th Dec friday
Good nights sleep! Got up to have breakfast and say our goodbyes to Henry. He then realised he had forgotten a meeting and suddenly had to dash off after a hurried good bye. Thank you Henry and Louise for being so kind and looking after our bikes and us so well.
We set off and headed for Nairobi, a road now well travelled by us! Having looked at my map of Nairobi the obvious road to take round Nairobi was the Outering road. It was one enormous traffic jam through the shanty towns of Nairobi.. We took to the dusty and bumpy verge at times; but if you did that you were not always sure you could get back on the tarmac . Lorries and cars did the same.! Having got half way along this route Clive decides he can”t take any more and takes a right towards the centre. Just as full of traffic at times and 3 sides of a triangle instead of one.! Henry, we should have asked you!
We got on the Mombasa road eventually and after 65 miles we got a very good tarmac road sponsored by the EU. In the beginning it was very busy with trucks going so slowly over the potholed parts of the road. Apart from the bumps slowing down the traffic , there are also the sleeping policeman and police checks. When ever there is a village you will get a sleeping policeman as you enter and leave. Sometimes there are more. Police checks happen regularly. They have not been a problem for us…we are generally waved through. Sometimes we get stopped but so far no worry, ie no bribery and corruption as far as we are concerned. Unlike the Ukraine, where we were in the summer, whose police trumped up reasons to “fine”us.
The countryside is green. Much greener than normal. Thorn trees and grassland give way to baobab trees and scrub. Where it is more fertile there is farmland,otherwise we see herders with their animals.
As we near Voi we travel between the Tsavo East and West national parks. It is rolling countryside with plenty of bushes etc.Clive spots an elephant and we turn back for me to see as I had missed it. There it was,flapping its ears and all covered in red dry mud. Big one. Saw some zebras too….
We reach Voi and get a room. Then negotiate a day”s safari in the park. On going out in the dark in the town we are told “to stay near the lights”. Otherwise everyone friendly! Our bikes are being guarded ,hopefully , by some Masai men!

16th dec sat
When we woke up we found pools of water on the floor. Neither of us had realised that it had poured with rain in the night. This hotel seems to still have the roof area under construction so there had been a lot of rain coming through. Much mopping up going on as we went down to breakfast early, to be ready at 8am for our driver.
He did turn up and in the right vehicle. All went okay till I asked for the roof to be opened(so we could stand and view). It would not open until Clive put his shoulder to it. Transpired later that the driver had been unable to open it before. He knew it might not work.! After that all fine. Did not see any rhino but we did see a pregnant monitor lizard,a secretary bird, a maribou stork, and a cobra snake,amongst other good things like hippo at Mzimo springs. All these were surpassed when late in the day we saw 2 leopard on the road,very close to. They could have jumped through our windows as we took photos!
After that there were problems..We had to leave the park by 7pm. We were about 10kms from the gate at 6pm when major bang and we have a blow out in back tyre. Driver does not seem that clued up and we help. Spare is underneath and required my knowledge of my old pick up to release it. However, not good news…spare is on wrong size hub and does not fit. So we are in the gathering dark,in a wildlife park with man eating lions in the area, in our shorts, and then the malarial mosquitos get going. I do have anti mosi spray with me so we cover ourselves in spray first. Then back to helping our driver put the old burst tyre/wheel back on. Only thing to do is proceed onwards on burst tyre. Its a dirt road with stones. He mobiles his mates until he announces his mobile is out of credit, at least we have our uk mobiles and there is a signal. Now pitch dark as we crawl onwards at 5 mph. Amazingly the spent tyre stays on the hub and after an hour we reach the gate. Its now 8pm. Park people had not leapt to the rescue! Taxi apparently coming…..and coming! Eventually it arrives at 9am and we get back from our safari at 10pm! Our driver was upset at the tyre problems. But he should have known his own vehicle better!
2 drinks,some food and to bed..

17th dec
We have received bad news over night via text. Ian Baker, who rode with us through Libya and then most of the way to Khartoum, has had an accident with a bike(bicycle?) and is in hospital “broken and bruised”, his bike damaged and the other person with a broken leg. We believe he is near Mbebe which would mean he is in Tanzania. We await more news.
After paying our guards (the 2 Masai men in traditional clothing) for guarding our bikes for 2 nights and a day,we leave Voi and head for Mombasa, on the coast. It is a cloudy day and there is a small threat of rain. Because its cloudy, its cooler which is better for us. Even so it is 28c. The road is good and the truck traffic not bad. Few private vehicles. Green scrub land mostly, with herding and some farming in more fertile parts. Scattered settlements seem to be making a “cash crop” from producing charcoal. Bags and bags line the roadside either waiting to be picked up or to be sold. We see Masai people beside the road now and then. I think there are far less children beside the road compared with Sudan and Ethiopia. Clive may not agree! Maybe Kenya has got population growth under control?
Our good road suddenly has a bad patch and then some more as we near Mombasa. The good road has ended and we have to bump along a broken tarmac road which at times becomes dirt or under construction. Trucks crawl along swerving around but small van taxis are a pain as they try and get along as quickly as possible. At one point (we drive on the left in Kenya) a bus coming from the opposite direction takes to our left hand dirt,potholed hardshoulder of road, just as an impatient taxi travelling our way takes to the same potholed hardshoulder. They are travelling into each other. I continue behind a truck whilst Clive overtakes it not knowing that the bus which has gone over to our hard shoulder is going to take a dive back to the other side of the road and that the taxi ,which has overtaken on the inside , will appear beside him. It all happens at very slow speed so its not really a problem!
We do arrive in Mombasa.! Safely! Clive wants to find some symbolic tusks over a road. Asking along the way we find them and then its off to Fort Jesus, a vast portugese built fort using coral as a building material. Built in the 1590s. A local guide latches on to us and watches us eat lunch. We pay for him to takes us round the outside. A waste of money as all info in our lonely planet guide. One does pay up just to get rid of them! Also had to pay guy to look after the bikes but that is worth the £1.50.
Its hot! About 35c. Go on to Bamburi beach hotel, which is just north of Mombasa. Have a swim! Very warm but shallow. Coral reef offshore. Lots of beach hotels, one after the other. This area seems to be attractive to white single older men and possibly single older ladies as well. Those looking for a partner…? We were watching as we ate our evening meal.!

18th dec mon
Late breakfast for this is a non moving day. Our plan now is to spend a week (for christmas) further up the coast ,north of Malindi. Today we have a few things to do before moving north. In between internet etc we went to a crocodile farm. Clive,a bit reluctant to come, enjoyed looking at the mass of small crocs all lying together. The big ones were lying around looking very evil with their little eyes on you.. There was a little sideline in small creatures like spiders,tarantulas etc in small cages. This was not good. The cages were filthy,the specimens poor or even dead. Definately not well presented!
The internet cafe was suffering from a bad phone line. Wasn.t working at all for most of the morning. Then it did and then it didn”t. We lost emails we had written as the line went down.
It is hot outside..too hot to do much. We try and fix Clives horn which is not working and I move my camera mount to the otherside of the handle bars: we are driving on the left here and I have been missing the chance of photos because the camera is pointing the wrong way.(had been mounted for right hand driving).
Our next door neighbour watches us do these odd jobs. He is a single older english man out here for six weeks. He is accompanied by a young black man today. We probably disturbed them as we arrived back!

19th dec
Cloudy day but nevertheless hot. Set off towards Malindi. Clive has soft front tyre so stop in garage to put air in. My bike then would not start!. Battery went “click”. Why/how did it start 10 mins ago? Any way , this means unpack to get seat off to get to battery. Before I do that I have to push the bike to some shade (Clive insists). I manage to drop it as the sidestand had come up.! Plenty onlookers help pick it up. By this time I am dripping with sweat…..dripping. In the shade its spare tyres off,bag off, other bag off, seat up, tools out…. Nothing seems wrong, further tighten connections and bike starts. Seat on, check still starts and then repack, get on and “click”! Everything off again! I am SO hot. Take battery leads off and on. Starts so leave it running (ignore fact bike gets hot if not moving) and repack all over again. Been alright since but I dont think I have dried out all day! Not long after we got going again ,it rained on us. Tropical showers that should not be happening now. Got caught without waterproofs so wet from rain and sweat.!The road is tarmac but very potholed in parts. Not too much traffic and so we wriggle our way along taking care to spot the potholes before we overtake. People walking by the road with various loads….ladies carrying them on their heads,men by bicycle.
We called in at a smart place called Hemmingways and had a drink. Clive has stayed there in the past. It had a very lovely beach. Apparently the author Ernest Hemmingway was there and did go fishing in Watamu.
We are now just north of Malindi in Mambrui . Its full of Italians as is Malindi itself. Our little house has limited electricity,no phone, and no telly. We are going to have to find somewhere to eat on Christmas day!

20th dec wed.
Begin with a swim. Still feel hot! On bikes into town, Malindi, to have breakfast ( we have no food in our self catering place) and to go shopping. We pass many bicycles with various loads on board. One had a table and another some long pipes:others carry water in yellow plastic containers and even more have sacks of charcoal;big sacks and they could be carrying 3 or more!
It is becoming very obvious that this is a very Italian area. Italian african/holiday destination. The cafe we go to is all italian and there are many italian tourists. Do internet, and then research where to go for our christmas meal. Old Man and the Sea seems the spot . We have now looked at various places, including Hemmingways. There can be two different rates. One for residents of Kenya and one for tourist. Hemmingways believed we were residents of Kenya as we told them we had just ridden down from Nairobi.!! Where we are staying only has tourist rates and is thus double the price for christmas meal. Old Man and the Sea has one rate. Many do not believe we have come all the way from UK by bike so we can say we are resident in Nairobi….
Then we wander in the direction of hardware shops and try to get Clive”s bikes horn fixed: it stopped working in Nairobi and it is badly needed!!. We do famously well and in dripping heat we find the right little street with the aid of a bicycle repair shop man! One thing always leads to another if you keep asking. I even wandered off and in the end found a nut to fit my bolt for my back mudguard. Finally we went shopping in a supermarket.(Had to leave the shopping to the end because the butter would melt! ) We were assisted all the way round the shop. Very reminiscent of my mothers shopping days, I am sure. Step back, tell them what you want and it is packed for you. Service.! However, they could not believe we were packing all this lot onto motorbikes. Having emptied our panniers we had loads of room for shopping for two.
No one goes shopping by motorbike.! But it was easy.

21st dec thurs
Clive intends to clean his bike, I fancy swimming and reading which I do for a while. Get bored and fix light on my bike and decide I might as well clean mine!! Not so thoroughly as Clives.
Weather overcast but still at 33c. What happens if full sun?Do a whole lot of lengths up and down the pool. I have looked at the beach but tide always at wrong point. Tomorrow am.

22nd Dec.

Swim in pool and then walk to the sea to see if we can find fisherman and have a swim there. Tide is out and it is all rocky so no swim. Clive negotiates for man to get us a lobster for tonight. We will see……..
Go into town on the bikes to shop etc. Spend nearly an hour in a bank queue because the ATM is out of action because their phone system is hopeless.

We were pleased to get an email from Ian and a text yesterday. He is okay, but with a badly damaged little toe and much bruising. Had a terrible time being stitched up without any anaesthetic but managed to contact the Irish Embassy who drove 10 hours to rescue him. He has subsequently managed to fly himself and the damaged bike to Cape Town from Lusaka, so will be home in time for Xmas and to recuperate.( See you there Ian ) It seems that the Irish Embassy were very helpful with sorting damaged bike and extricating Ian from the situation. The cyclist admitted his fault.

I think we will now update after Christmas as we are now in Malindi and not moving until Boxing Day.It is then off to Tanga ( that most famous of towns as it was Clive’s birthplace many years ago!! )
HAPPY CHRISTMAS everyone. We are looking forward to getting going afterwards; not least to getting out of this heat.
Spare a thought for our hospital charity and if you can donate anything the details are on our opening page.
After Christmas its Tanzania and then Malawi and ………..

25th dec mon
Christmas evening and we are champing at the bit to get on the road again. We leave tomorrow morning.
We have had a strange but relaxing Christmas. To me it feels odd, being in a hot climate. I want the cold!
The Kenyans are “calm” about Christmas. Decorations are low key. That has been nice. None of the christmas fever. Just a Happy Christmas and then lets get on with life.
Tonight we ate in the restaurant here, in this complex and then went to “an acrobatic show”, in the disco bar! We came upon it by chance. Its was good. 7 or 8 young kenyans performed various acrobats for us. They were amateurs but full of life,energetic,talented: it had mistakes which endeared us to their performance. Well done to them. I could imagine them practicing their routines on the beach.
Earlier in the day I had gone for a little walk outside our perimeter. Each beach resort has its own area with a fence or wall around it for security, guarded 24 hrs a day. For a while I was left alone but then a little boy came running up and without much delay asked for 100 kenyan shillings. Straight out! He was rather surprised when I showed him I only had swimming goggles and sun cream with me!
We have had no problems going out and about on the bikes or in Malindi. The problem is very much for tourists who do not have our freedom to leave places like this in their own transport.

26th dec tues
We are in Tanzania! Another milestone. Clive has been very excited all day about getting here. This is Clive”s birthplace. He has not been here since he was about 6/7 years old.
We began today quite early, at 8am. 33c as usual (night and day seem to be the same temp). So try not to exert, but by the time the bike is packed, I am so hot….again.! All goes well until south of Mombasa. We caught the ferry off Mombasa island. It runs every 20 mins. Roasted in the sunshine! Head on down south looking for somewhere to make a food stop. Clive stops to talk to me just beyond a junction. We decide to take the turn . Clive says “lets take this shortcut path” Saved a u turn. Suddenly see Clives bike hop sideways. Must have hit something. Clive upright but surprised. See Clive move a rock and think he hit the rock . “Now where do I go?”But its okay. Later in a nice cafe we discover Clive had hit something hard and he had big dent in his exhaust and a bend on his crash bar. Perhaps lucky. He had hit a hard upright pipe concealed in the grass on the edge of the path.
Head on towards the border. Lots of small settlements. Straw roofed ,mud walled houses. Making charcoal to sell. Tarmac road good and traffic minimal as we near the border. Formalities good but bikes sit in hot sun as we go from customs to immigration to police on each border.
Then head onwards on the expected dirt road. Its very good and no problem. However after 20 miles I hear a scraping noise and my back mud guard has broken off again. Can”t take the vibrations. Thats the second one.Take photo for BMW and give broken mudguard to onlooker. Not long after the water bottle (newly purchased 5l,) comes bouncing off Clive”s bike. I shout down the autocom but as usual its not working properly (was a few minutes ago). Clive does not notice. I pick it up. Somehow prop it behind me and expect Clive to have noticed I am not behind him. But no. He thinks I am being moody! It takes me a while to catch him up. Apologies. In the meantime a very big black cloud is threatning rain on this bit of dirt road. We do not want that. Amazingly it does not happen.
Houses here similar to Kenya but I detect that the Tanzanians appear more confident. We shall see. Smell salt fish in several villages.
Arrive in Tanga and find an hotel. Clive”s bike does not fancy its side stand and falls over outside the hotel. It has not been Clive”s bikes day. Now he has a broken indicator cover. He mends that later with super glue.
Have a good meal. Televisions everywhere showing english football.Its like a religion, football. The border guards ask which team do you support…the hotel reception wants to know which team you follow etc. Its common ground….english football teams are followed the world over. By men ,anyway! In every country we have been to so far.

Dec 27th wed

Forgot to mention yesterday that after washing my hair last night, it did not dry for ages due to the humidity. 2 hours on and it was still wet! It was nice to use unsalty water though….in our last spot in Kenya the tap water was very salty.
An uncomfortable night with a very noisy air conditioner . Very hot without…can”t win.
After breakfast off to change tyres. Follow helpful hotel man on his little motorbike. Via bank, who dont want my kenyan money(!) so then via bus station to do a bit of street money changing. Have to get the thousands right as its about 2200 to the ¬£, and these guys are very sharp.Then to tyre changing. Unlike Egypt ,where we were surrounded, the onlookers keep their distance and watch from a seat across the road….mostly anyway. Its hot ofcourse and the poor guys hand levering our tyres are soon pouring sweat,and so are we. Job done and off to see yacht club where Clive remembers going to with his parents. Then the hospital where he was born. Building still there but needing attention. Then the church where he was christened.Then internet whilst it rains. It was just about the slowest internet connection we have come across yet. Failed to load photos though did try!
It pours with rain again in the early evening, rather upsetting our plans of going out to eat elsewhere by motorbike. Stay at hotel and suffer the very slow cooking time as advertised on the walls ( minimum order time 45 mins) ! And so it was…..
Tanga seems a pleasant spread out town. My first taste of Tanzania. I like the feel so far,.. over Kenya.

28th dec thurs
With rainy clouds in the sky again we slowly left Tanga after a bacon and egg breakfast. On to a good tarmac road in rolling countryside.
Its not so hot ,5c less, which is nice. Green countryside with plenty of small trees. No animals to be seen even when it becomes more scrubby. We have found out that the weather here in Tanzania is not normal and that they have had rain far earlier than normal and plenty of it. So we are seeing a very verdant Tanzania. The Flame trees are just in flower and look lovely. Haven”t managed that right photo yet though!
I take photos as we go along. Its a bit hit and miss. The people would not let you take photos of them if you stopped. This way they usually don”t realise…but then I don”t always succeed!
Houses as in Kenya; thatched with mud bricks but some concrete with thatch roofs. Red mud/earth outside. Lots of people sitting around under the trees or in the shade. Plenty of colourful ladies with babies in bundles on their backs and loads on their heads walk along the road. Men with bicycles loaded with all sorts of things bicycle or push their loads along the road. Men in small gangs are cutting the verges with large “pangas” (correct?) . Slow process.
We pass a tanker that has failed to make a bend inspite of all the warnings and the sleeping policemen. It is a diesel tanker with two tanks. It has a crowd of people round it and they are all helping themselves to the diesel. This tanker, lying on its side will probably not get recovered. They probably do not have the lifting gear to get it.
At a major junction there are numerous people trying to sell you things, especially pineapples. We have seen an enormous looking fruit for sale by the road. Can”t recognise it, maybe its a vegetable? The sellers chase every bus that stops.
As we head for Dar ,the road gets busier. Mostly trucks and buses. The trucks breakdown fairly frequently. The reason seems to be either tyres or axles. All has to be fixed where they stop….half way up a hill, or in the middle of the road. Its not just Tanzanian trucks…we have seen this in Kenya too etc.
Lots of flood water by the road. Our threat of rain today passed us by luckily ( we had a few drops). But suddenly ahead there is some flood water across the road and a bus has slipt off the edge of the road. Policeman on duty! Its not deep and we pass on with no problem, and reach Dar Es Salaam. Check into first decent hotel. Quick turn around and off to the centre in a taxi. Not a lot to see or buy! I think a nicer city than Nairobi but probably far smaller?
In the evening our hotel has live music. Not bad kind of African songs/beat. We eat almost in the dark and I have problems working out where the bones are in my fish( not that good, bit dry). Clives meat better.

29th dec fri
This was not one of our good days.
Wake up early ,6am, to lashing rain and wind. Tropical rain! We have to retrace some of the road of yesterday including the bit that had water across it. How will that be?
It was no problem. In fact there was no water at all. We had begun about 10am after waiting for the rain to stop. It had not, but was still drizzling much like a day in England except that it was 26c.
Back along the road to the junction where we joined it. On stopping for a drink, Clive announces that his bike has a problem. Fairly sure its the back wheel bearing. ( the second one to go in 42,000 miles ) We are at a big cafe where overland type vehicles were stopping. I sit trying to get through to either mechanics in the UK or BMW south africa ( the only place where there is a motorcycle agent for BMW). I am not succeeding.Meanwhile Clive is with his bike attracting onlookers. Amongst them is a mechanic who is saying he can fix it! In half an hour the bearing is off but fix it we are now not so sure. The end result at the moment is that I am sitting in this cafe while Clive and the mechanic have ridden off to Dar Es Salaam (where we have just come from) to see if the bearing can be fixed or similar one found. This will take at least 3 hours. I have no book…I have to keep guard over Clives bike and our bits and pieces! (I have appointed a guard as well.) But they all say nothing will get pinched. Certainly I feel Tanzania is much better than Kenya.
Texts from Clive indicate that they have failed in Dar. This means UK is the only hope. It is Friday pm before holiday re. New Year. Several dealers shut. In the end Vines of Guildford come up trumps. They are open, they can cope with me on mobile from Tanzania and not wanting to do small talk.!! Part is ordered and on its way. It may take a week.
Clive gets back with mechanic on my bike. Old bearing is put back on, everyone paid, and we return to Dar in the darkness. Interesting ride on the main road with some buses/trucks with no backlights, some very dim etc. Coming towards us they could be on sidelights but more commonly on dip and then put full beam up just to dazzle you…so it seemed. Back to dip after they were past you. Hardly any street lights so the dark people had to look after themselves…hopefully. ( Clive adds: On the way in to Dar up one of the hills I had noticed a deep hole in the centre of the left hand lane of the road, we ride on the left here, not very wide about 18 inches round but very deep, where road had colapsed. In the daylight it was not a problem, I just dink the bike and I am round it. However in the pitch black with lorries with six spot lights on I couldn’t see the road as they pass for maybe two or three seconds and if a front wheel of a motorcycle went into that one hole it would be an immediate off… so I was trying to be in the centre of the road and thus near the oncoming trucks or on the left close to the edge where dark people wearing dark clothes were walking or riding bikes with no lights on… you get the picture !)
Clive tired. He had ridden from and to Dar twice. It is about 70 miles each way.
So we will not be in the hills near Mbeya for New Year but in Dar Es Salaam. We will have to explore some more.!

30th dec sat.
Day one of hanging around waiting for spare part to arrive from England. Centre of town day. We plod around, shops are open and I find a bookshop where I buy a book to read. Make further contact with Vines of Guildford…this time on a landline…to say thank you for getting the part on its way.
Our hotel is right next to Dar”s local market. Not the sort of place to go in the dark nor in the day with valuables. Nevertheless I had a small explore alone into the food section. Very rough,dirty, but lots of nice spices and fruit. Will have to have another look another day. Clive is a very reluctant market browser!
Wish our hotel had better food and that we were given some light. The other night I had fish and seeing the bones was impossible . The tables are all outside and lights are negligable.

31st dec sun
Last night we ate round the corner in a place I had spotted next to the market. It said Pizzas. Very local. Various stalls cooking food outside the place saying pizzas. A few tables on the footpath. Wonderful fresh fruit drinks ie mango for about 15p per glass. The pizzas were “Zanzibar pizzas.”…finely chopped veg, beaten egg, and spicy meat inside a thin pastry which was wrapped over and then fried. Very good. You could also have chicken, fried covered in spice, and spanish type omelette with chips in it. The locals were rather amazed we were there I think. It was all much better than our hotel!
Today we go off to explore the Msasani peninsular 2 up on my bike. It is a very up market area full of spendid houses for ambassadors of many countries. It is all very spaciously laid out with lovely gardens. Near the top of the peninsula is a very nice hotel called the Sea View. We had a wander around pretending we were staying there.!
New year preparations are also in full swing by the locals on Oyster Beach. Looked like plenty of food stalls and music.
I have been very impressed by some of the ladies hair styles here and in Kenya. A lot of trouble is taken to create some wonderful “heads”. Braiding, hair pieces, beads, colouring; all go towards creating their hairstyles. The women are also clad in bright colours so they can look great.

Clive and I have had many discussions as to the best way of stopping the poverty that is spreading throughout Africa which in Clive”s opinion is exacerbated by the guidance given out by religious leaders who do nothing to reverse the population explosion.
I agree with Clive”s opinion but am not as pessimistic about the future.
Its New years Eve. Our hotel food is not good but they are good on music. The music starts at 10.30pm. Its Taraab music. A mixture of arabic,indian, and african. Audience all seated, like a concert. But girls get up to dance with a few boys. Girls predominantly seated to the left, boys to the right. Girls all dressed up in their best, boys have their best colourful shirt hanging out!.Each number is very long and the girls gently sway around. The new year is counted down and we shake hands with our nearest seated guests. Then on goes the music. We have a quick “sway” before we leave. They will continue till dawn!

1st jan mon
Expedition to southern beaches after I have cleaned the air filter on my bike. Thought I ought given we have time!
Not having the right detailed map we go too far down the coast on a more inland road. Nevertheless its all interesting. Tropical landscape with small mud hut villages. There are cement walled houses too . Plenty of people sitting in the shade. Loaded bicycles are seen all along the route. Best was one with 3 bags of charcoal with 2 pineapples dangling from each bag. I failed to get a photo. Since Clive”s bike is out of action, we go around on mine with Clive driving and me on the back. It is very good of me!!! The only advantage is I can try and take photos.
Fruit is in abundance. Seems to be mango ,pineapple and pawpaw season. And Jack fruit, though I have not seen them being eaten yet. Perhaps they are not nice?
We have had some lovely fresh juice.
Find cafe…called ? Pub! Eat fried plantian with some meat and tomatoes bought from a young boy”s stall just near by.
Back to find beach…we are 20kms inland! Find Sunset beach. Its on a beautiful bay. There is very little tourism here…some hotels but low key. We swim in the sea with a few breakers and have fun surfing in. Its bank holiday so beach is quite busy. Not many whites:mostly indians and africans.Get very sandy and have to shower. Bit of a nightmare for me. 3 cubicles with doors. Thats fine but there is a queue of african and indian mothers with sandy children. As each mum gets a cubicle more children keep appearing and are sqeezed in one by one. Then one mum jumps the queue with her children. Right, so if that is the system…..I am ready the next time a door opens and finally get in to find the shower is a mere dribble. It helps …but slowly!
Back to Dar via the ferry. Hotel staff getting to know us. I am referred to as “Mama” and Clive as “Mzee” ( that means” old man”).!
Tomorrow Clive is expecting his part. I think he is being optimistic. But we can”t wait to get going again.

2nd Jan tues
Now we really are waiting for this part. New Year holiday time is over. Try emailing to get info. Takes till 3.30pm our time to discover that it is probably in Dar. That is frustrating!
I am impressed how hassle free it is here. The centre of the city is small and there are not many tourists. But we can go about our business like anyone else. It is in the tourist areas that you get the hassling.
Now 5pm and guess what…. the part has just been delivered. Great joy all round, well done Vines of Guildford and especially Andy Tizzard.
So with a bit of luck tomorrow morning the bearing will be replaced and we should be on our way by lunchtime, so the plan is to stop in Morogoro tomorrow night about 150 miles to the west of here. Lets hope things go according to plan.

3rd Jan Clives Dads birthday.

Well the bearing was fitted without too much trouble and we left Dar es Salaam about 2pm having collected our clothes etc from the hotel and headed for Morogoro. The ride was ok except when we arrived we could hear that Clives bike was still not quite right.
When he de-celerates the whole rear wheel moves quite dramatically and there is some noise coming from the front of the drive shaft near the gearbox. We are not sure what to do, there is no BMW dealer in Dar so there is no point returning there, and we are about 1500 miles from Lusaka the next major city where in any event there does not appear to be a BMW motorcycle dealer either. We have phoned our friendly dealer in Norwich but there is not much you can do down a phone line…
We shall continue as best we can and hope for the best, it may survive it may suddenly grind to a halt…

Thurs 4th Jan

Head off westwards and further inland , destination Iringa. An easy day as long as all goes well.
Good road and great scenery. Green and tropical becomes green and drier as we go further west and higher. Tree clad hills show up on our left. The road is not busy. Trucks, buses and us it seems. Trucks broken down, with their usual array of branches on the road to warn you; buses going too fast( who would be a backpacker!) and crabbing along the road. One seemed to be almost side on as it headed towards us. Each and every bus and truck belches black diesel fumes at us,on the flat and particularly climbing into the hills.
Trucks that have had to leave the road in a hurry are left in their overturned state as they are too heavy to right again. We probably saw 3 or 4 today. The cause of their misfortune….? Something overtaking coming towards them or blown tyres most likely.
At one police checkpoint(we have not been stopped yet) we see another bmw traveller! They are two up. We say hello. Perhaps we will see them again.
The road takes us through Mikumi National park. At first all we see are baboons but then we see giraffes, zebras, 2 elephants and then ,in front of Clive by the side of the road appeared a lioness and 3 cubs. She was going to cross the road but changed her mind. Bad luck for me as I was further behind and by the time I got there she had hidden.
It begins to shower/downpour on us on and off. I have no vizer on my helmet as sidepiece is broken so the rain hurts my face! But we are quite lucky skirting some very black clouds and heavier downpours. With no where to stop (little tourism) we keep going and reach Iringa early. It is in the hills/mts at 1600m.
Our hotel has a bath so I delight in having a bath. Water is hot but also a good browny yellow colour…..before I got in!

I find it amusing when our motorbikes, big motorbikes, are referred to as pikipiki. “you have a nice pikipiki”. I also like the name for their public minibuses “daladala”s. Reminds me of “dial a ride”.

Fri 5th Jan

Off we go on a good road up on a plateau. It seems quite fertile. Many of the traditional houses are being replaced with better brick homes with tin roofs. Yesterday we see onions and mats for sale, today its potatoes.
We are going along a straight piece of road when all of a sudden a chid runs out from right to left in front of Clive. He had no chance but managed to avoid contact till the child had reached (luckily) the left side of his bike. Child hits his indicator and perhaps his crash bar,rolls and ends up in the verge. From behind it seemed to me that the child may not have made contact with Clives bike. We ride on as we have been told to do looking for a police station, we do this as if the child has been hurt the villagers have been known to take the law into their own hands…. After 70 miles the police stop us and ask why did we not report the accident? We explain but must go back to the last biggish town. The police station was down a dirt track which could not been seen from the road and without a sign to it. They had Clives passport by now. Talking to Clive for the first time (autocom not working again) he tells me that he is afraid the child may be hurt. That it had hit his bike….his indicator quite hard.
We hang around this police station untill two policemen arrive from Iringa and inform us we must go back to where it happened. We learn that the child is in hospital.
Getting to Mbeya is proving difficult. One step forward and two back.
We arrive at the scene of accident under Police escort and find everything calm, but lots of people soon appear one carrying part of Clive indicator glass. A sketch is made by the Police officer and then we are escorted to Iringa police station, Iringa being where we had left earlier. Not straight to police station though…hospital first. Police want to see the boy, but we do not go in as Clive does not want to be accused of bribery if any money is requested. We then go to the Station and finally give written statements including me. We feel that our not stopping was something they may fine us for. We wait. I wait while Clive sits with biggest chief. Then we are waiting for next biggest chief, the Deputy chief of the entire Region. It appears they can”t make decision, perhaps trying to find a way to exact a fine ! however finally ,at about 7pm, Clive advises them that he is very happy to offer the childs family some money but only once he has been cleared of any responsibility. When this is done things begin to move, he gets his passport back and its thumbs up. We now go to the hospital accompanied by a plain clothes policeman to see the boy.The mother is sitting by his bedside, she is very young…a teenager. She has 2 children and no husband. The little boy has a cut on his head a broken leg and his been unconscious since he arrived. Clive is very upset by this little bundle and talks to the mother. He gives her sufficient money to cover all his medical expenses plus and then discusses the situation with the ward sister. She assures him that the boy will be alright although it will take some time before he is able to run the way he did this morning. We leave the hospital about 8pm.
It has been a bad day and we are back where we began. We finally are free to go but are told to report to the Police station in the morning…a further fine? We go to a different hotel to last night, and the first beer didn’t touch the side………… !

6th Jan sat
We had been told by the police last night that we had to call back in this morning before we left town. Clive feared that they were going to delay us further. Which they did. Now they want to photocopy Clives driving licence and his passport. faie enough but the police do not have a photocopier so off goes our friend ( by this time !) to a photocopier in town. he comes back and then boss decides he needs my passport photocopied. Another trip of 20 mins. Then papers are shuffled and shuffled and put in a folder and then finally after 1.5 hours we are free to go.
To be fair to the police…it was an accident where someone had got hurt and they had to make reports etc. They were very through..sketch of scene statements and so on. At no point was money for them even hinted at. The only thing that would not have happened in England was the police making us pay money to the family. We were seen , quite rightly as having money so why not help the family whose son was hurt. They could have
made a fine which they did not.
The slowness of it all is caused by lack of modern tools such as computers or even a typr writer! All was done in long hand. Their premises were very run down as well. We were not the only accident that the traffic police dealt with that day…a bus had over turned near Morogoro and one passenger had been killed and others injured. Obviously that took time as well.
So off we finally go and good progress is made. Lovely rolling countryside, very green because of all the rains. Total lack of tourism to the extent that when we stopped for lunch the children would not come up to us easily.
Villages and houses very basic but some fertile land where cultivations were taking place and crops were growing including rice.
We reach Mbeya, a town that we thought we would reach quite a few days ago! Clive’s bike is still not right. The new bearing is fine but we think another is playing up so we have decided to take the Zambia route instead of Malawi; the reason being that Zambia is part of the South African Federation and South Africa has plenty of BMW agents so getting a spare should be easier there than in Malawi. We cross the border tomorrow…we hope!!!

7th jan sun
The peak hotel was not a great place. The waiter himself said it was going downhill and that the owner was the drunk person in the bar. At breakfast they had no coffee !
As we do the 70 miles to the
border through green and fertile rolling countryside I think of the people beside the road,the ladies with their loads on their heads; all sorts of loads from bundles of wood to large bowls of rice: of the men with their bicycles all loaded up; I have seen one with a chair frame, others with sacks of charcoal,masses of pineapples,chickens,flapping shirts with their hangers dangling. The children, some with their loads too, maybe water, girls in party dresses, boys looking scruffy, the little boy in hospital. Men and women with their hand hoes off to tend their land. The speeding buses that often overturn. The crabbing buses. The potholes in the road.
It is a busy country. Now as we near the border people are busy in their fields gathering,selling. All by hand.
The border is busy. Lots of touts (or ticks as they are refered to here). We feel I had better stay with bikes and Clive disappears with some ticks and I am left surrounded by more. It does not take too long and over into Zambia. Same ticks seem to follow.! A bit more of a palaver here, visa and council tax (!). Money to change. Pay off 2 ticks (we hadn”t needed either but what can you do?) and off into Zambia.
Good road with occasional large pothole. Green long grass with small trees,shrubs and sometimes bigger trees. Lots of little villages of square, mostly brick built, but round grass covered roofs. Seem to be making money from selling charcoal. Bags wait to be collected from beside the road. The land is being denuded because of it.
Plenty of people sitting around. More children than Tanzania. Less people with a purpose using the roadside. There are people but they are either grouped and talking or just ambling along. They don”t look busy. Men on bicycles are not pedalling hard. In fact they worry us as they are going so slowly they are wobbling over the road. We go past the place where Ian had his collision: gives us food for thought.
The road is not busy. A few lorries go the other way. There are no buses in stark contrast to Tanzania.
We stop in Isoka. Very difficult to find food. In fact we fail, the restaurant not having any. We buy 2 packets of biscuits and 2 cokes. Petrol pumps next door have no petrol but boy sitting near us says he can get 5 litres. The can of petrol appears with another boy on a bicycle. All organised by mobile phone. It is expensive ( naturally!). Later we find out that he did not over charge and that petrol is very expensive here. Hence no traffic on the road. It means that the little villages are very cut off with no buses, no taxis and no minibuses (like the ones that ply the roads of Kenya and Tanzania.)
We are aiming for Kabishya hot springs. It is near Shiwa Ngama. It is up a dirt road for 32 kms. Because of the rains the road is sandy in parts and a bit wet in others. We slowly make it. Two nights here we think, to enjoy the hot springs.
It is owned by Mark Harvey, grandson of Sir Stewart Gore Brown. There is a book by Christina Lamb called Africa House, which is a novel based on the family and the house. We are not near the house but we hope to see it.
Have supper talking to Mark Harvey and his wife.

8th jan mon.
We had good discussions about Zambia and Africa last night with Mark and Mel. Today we head for the hot spring pool. It is a natural pool near the river and feeding into it. A small man made wall makes the pool a litle deeper. It is very lovely: clear as a bell and hot,33.1c on my watch temp gauge. All is in a wonderful tropical setting. There some pretty birds and butterflies….Clive not interested in these! We have it all to ourselves; though more guests arriving some time today.
We don”t see Mark again as he has just got malaria. For the second time since being here. We must be careful.
The people arriving are 4 older people. One couple from Lusaka ( she has lived in Zambia all her life) and another who have houses in Jo,berg, England, and Cyprus. It was interesting talking to them in the evening. Another life!

9th jan tues
Clive”s birthday. Happy birthday Clive. I am afraid no presents right now. What he wants I cant buy here!
It poured again in the night and still looks very cloudy this morning. We have 32kms of dirt road to do and in the wet it will be slippery. We are going to tour Shiwa Ng”andu…the house that was built by Sir Stewart Gore Brown. It is 20kms down the dirt road. It IS slippery on the clay and sandy in other parts. We go very steadily and survive without mishap and reach the house. We are shown round by great grand daughter Emma. She is 15yrs old. The house is built in local bricks. They are a very nice colour. It was interesting. Afterwards we ride up a rough track to look at his grave and see the view of the lake from there.
Then on down our dirt road to the main road.
I find the rest of the day fairly boring. The road is the most dull since the Libyan desert. Its good tarmac with long straights; same green woody scenery with the little villages, bunches of people now and then;virtually no traffic. Clive does not agree and likes it, likes the rolling green hillsides etc.
We have to watch the cyclists….they like to bicycle on the wrong side of the road. Sometimes they decide to change sides! I can see how Ian”s accident happened.
It is very basic by the road. Subsistence farming with little bits of produce being sold by the road (including huge fungi). We stop in a cafe but the only thing they can get us to eat is a frankfurter type sausage. No roll! Petrol stations are few and far between. In one we were offered green cooked caterpillars to eat. Lady selling them said they were lovely. We had seen some crispy beetles for sale the day before. Clive and I are a bit squeamish re eating beetles and caterpillars. No hotels.
We set off late in the day to cover almost 300 miles and it is nearly dark by the time we get to the first possible stopping place…a farm guest house/chalets called Sweetwater farm. Next one is about 50kms further on. We decide to stop but it is poor value. Wont be coming again. One of the worst.

10th Jan wed
Its daughter Gina’s birthday today. For us its drizzling. Our breakfast is fine but pleased to leave this place. Down the short but slippery mud road. Strangely Clive does not speak to me once we reach the road. The autocom is ofcourse not working properly…I can usually hear Clive but he cannot hear me. But today he has his microphone far from his lips so I hear nothing. So off we set towards Lusaka. Headlong..not in terms of speed, but as if we have no time to stop. What is up with him? Usually we would stop. Same scenery as yesterday. Bit more traffic. I feel we must be careful. Its raining on and off and stings my face as I have no visor ( broken). Finally find out whats up…I had said I want to go through the Drakensberg mts in S A. Apparently Clive does not. Hence no speaks today. Perhaps he is worried his bike wont make it and the extra 500 miles may prevent us getting to Cape Town.
As we near Lusaka things get more lively. Communal markets and all associated things with big towns. I also notice that there are many large farms. Big fields growing good looking crops. This is white farmer at work!! In Lusaka we go straight down Cairo road with no problems. We had been told to be careful in the traffic. Gangs of boys can pinch stuff from cars and motorbikes whilst you are stopped in a traffic jam. However we have no real jams as we have ensured it is not rush hour when we arrived .
We are going to stay with friends of Henry and Louise Wainwright. These friends have very kindly said that they would have us to stay even though they do not know us. Directions were to find the Castle shopping centre and ask for them. This we do. Clive is always so quick at spotting that kind of thing. I go in and ask if anyone knows our host. The second person I ask does. Up the road a bit and down a bit of a dirt road before turning on to a large farm. John Henderson is running a large enterprise here sending veg to Tesco and all sorts of other things. Big business. We have a very enjoyable supper with them out doors. Mosquitos hopefully being held at bay with spray! We hear (again) from John about the laziness of the Zambians : how they cannot be motivated even when enticed with more money etc. They lack any ambition to work !

11th jan thurs
Our hosts go off to work and we are going to leave after internetting on otherside of town. Leaving our stuff off we go and do internet, have lunch and then go to fill up with petrol. In the station I see another bike, 2 up, and realise it is the bike we saw in Tanzania near Iringa with the japanese girl. We end up having coffee/tea and then finally deciding to stay another night here, in Lusaka. We go and get our stuff and take a “chalet” in a packpacker place called “chachacha”.
Our new friends are a polish man and a japanese girl. The polish man has been travelling for years, can speak japanese, has been to about 150 countries, takes photos and sells them to pay for the travelling, is a private pilot, can yacht,,etc. He appears to own several bmw bikes scattered round the world. This all sounds as though he is wealthy but I think not. They mostly camp and cook for themselves. They are aged 25/26. We chat, and sample the fungi that they bought from the side of the road .

12th jan fri
We leave Marcin the pole and Acane the japanese girlfriend. Marcin has to get a visa for Namibia in Lusaka because he is Polish. Neither we nor the japanese need one. We hope to see them again in Livingstone.
We have a long ride today if want to get to Livingstone. We dont have to but the problem is a place to stay in between. Choma is the best bet if we do not make it.

The road is good,empty and mostly straight…like the great northern road we had come on to Lusaka. Green grass with shrubs and trees. Ranching in one area and sugar (cane) in another. Big white farmers it would seem. Otherwise same little villages with grass roofed houses. People hang around, bicycles wobble and we keep hand on horn..just in case.
Clives bike seems to be hanging in there but his brakes are getting worse. We tried to renew the brake fluid yesterday but no success. He has servo assisted brakes…complicated. My back brake had air in it. It must have a tiny leak. It is working again for now.
We head off down a 500m dirt track to find the “Riverside lodge” hoping for some food. I ride through one large puddle on the sandy track and then slip in the next and drop the bike! I am unlucky in puddles. But I dont get wet…remain on feet!
Next stop we try and get tea or coffee but the cafe did not have any. They always have a coke or pepsi or Fanta though. Sit and drink and watch 2 local men play draughts on a board with bottle tops as pieces. 2 mothers sit with their tiny babies. One strange man comes in and expects us to buy him a coke. We watch the bikes.
Off again. We reach our destination , the Jollyboys backpacker place in Livingstone at 5ish. Tomorrow the falls.

13th jan sat
Take Jollyboys bus down to the falls . Blue sky and looking to be rain for once. Low key tourism makes this a much more pleasant experience than I had imagined. I compare it with 4 years ago and the Niagara Falls ….all that tourism and regulation. Here we buy a ticket and wander off on a choice of 3 paths. We find the falls very impressive. Very wide across and a 100m or so drop; much bigger than Niagara. The spray from the falls was as heavy as rain: difficult for taking photos. I did all 3 was a descent of many steps and then a climb back up. It was a very hot ascent! We then spent quite sometime with the curio sellers. They all sold much the same things . We did some deals in the end. How we will carry what we bought on the bikes is another matter!
Back to Jollyboys where I sign up for rafting on the Zambezi.Clive declines. There are many activities to pursue here including bungee jumping,abseilling, rafting,canoeing, etc. So its up at 7am for me.
Marcin and Acane make it to here. We chat again. He is a keen photographer and is carrying around 2 Haselblad cameras on his bike.

14th jan sun
I am up at 7am to get ready for the trip to go rafting. Off at 7.30 to join others from other hotels. We have breakfast and training and then off we go. Walked down a steep path to get to the river over rock falls etc. We rafted between rapid 7b and 23. (Up to category 5). Great fun. The Zambezi is very warm and the water runs very deep and fast in this gorge below the falls. Thus not much danger of hitting rocks. We did alot of swimming too as we were allowed to jump out of the boat between rapids. Getting back out of the gorge was made easier with the aid of a strange kind of train on a wire that pulled us up seated backwards. Saved a lot of sweat!! An hours bumpy truck ride through the countryside and we were back to base. In the meantime Clive washed bikes and ‘saw to things’. Says it was not his cup of tea and that he could not afford it.


Africa Long Distance Touring