Friday, 29 April 2016

Zambia

We arrived at the Zambian border post and we were shocked to find out just how much we needed to pay. The visa was $50 per person, road tax was $20, insurance was 300kwachas, carbon tax was 150kwachas and community tax was 30kwachas. That's a grand total of £120 just to get through the border!! Ouch!! It was even more frustrating because they wouldn't accept my South African passport as I did not have an exit stamp out of Namibia in it. I had to use my British one and therefore would have to pay for a visa even though I had a South African passport which would give me free entry. This meant we needed to give our route down to SA a rethink. Possibly going back through Namibia into South Africa so that I could change over to my South African passport and then go back up to visit the other southern African countries.

But we were in Zambia and headed straight for Livingstone. We decided to stay in the JollyBoys Backpackers for the night and would then head off to the David Livingstone Waterfront the next day where we would meet the parents. Once at Jollyboys we learned the camping fee was $9 per person and we had to camp in the parking lot; not ideal, but the pool looked very inviting so we were sold. The place was buzzing with young people enjoying the sun and the pool. After paying the bill, we had the same idea as everyone else and joined them in the pool! We chilled out for the rest of the day and I even had an afternoon nap on the very comfy sofas. Rob made a quick meal before we all enjoyed a cold beer by the bar area. I was struggling to keep my eyes open so it was an early night for me while the three of them chatted to some of the locals.



The next morning was my birthday!!! Cat and Charles treated me to a very delicious English breakfast with five roses tea! It was just what the doctor ordered. We got back into our costumes and headed for the pool again. I'm not one to just get into cold water, so it takes me a little while to gain the courage to jump in. The boys were determined to get me in quickly and splashed me when they could. Eventually Rob started running after me and I had no choice but to dive in and get it over and done with. Such hooligans!! We threw the rugby ball at each other in the pool before lying on the sun loungers to dry us off. Such a fantastic morning. 


Just before twelve, we started making our way to the waterfront as my Mom and Roger said they should be there by lunchtime. We pulled in to the parking lot and I noticed a car that looked very similar to my dads Isuzu bakkie. But I brushed that thought out my mind as he said, not too long ago on a Skype call, that meeting us somewhere in Africa probably wasn't going to be possible because Jenny (his partner) couldn't get the leave. We hopped out the car, got all our documents for us to check in and started making our way to reception. 
Suddenly, my dad and Jenny emerged from behind their car. We were all in complete shock!!!!! What were they doing here? How??
I broke into tears immediately and I could feel my knees going weak. I had to focus on my knees not giving way and falling to the ground. I stood dead still, totally grounded to the floor and wouldn't dare move forward. I watched as my dad too was just as emotional as I was. We were all shocked! Charles, Cat and Rob were giving him and Jenny a hug. I finally snapped out of my trance and ran over to give them both a hug. While hugging him, I felt like I was young again and hugging him brought back a sense of security, longing and love for this man that brought me up. I have only seen him twice since moving to the UK in 2008, and its moments like this when you realise just how much they mean to you and how much you can miss your folks. So this was a real treat and an amazing birthday present. 
Both Jenny and my dad looked so well, and I still couldn't believe that they were here.


We headed to reception and then to the bar to have a few celebratory drinks. We sat and chatted about their drive up from Gordyns Bay in South Africa and how sneaky they were!! It was fantastic to have them here. From where we were sat we could see beautiful Zambezi river with the spray in the distance from the Victoria Falls.  We couldn't ask for a better setting. 

We decided to head to the camping area where we would choose our camping areas and wait for Mom and Roger to arrive. We waited and waited passed lunch time, with no sight of them. Jenny had mentioned that the Botswana, Zambia border was a tough one and would take them much longer than they would gave thought. So we all jumped into our costumes and headed for the pool to cool off. We were having great fun dunking my dad and acting like hooligans. 

Eventually around 4:30 we heard a car drive round the corner and it was them. We all jumped up and ran to their car. They were finally here!! It was hugs all round and we were thrilled to finally see them, even with their crazy plastic safari hats on. Again emotions running a little wild. We had been planning this for some time and they were finally here. This was AWESOME!! I noticed that they had two roof tents on the roof and when asking Roger why they had two, he said it was because we were having car troubles at least there would be a spare if we broke down. I shrugged my shoulders and thought that was good planning!
But as I was trying to get my head around his explanation. I heard a scream! Cat was screaming and shrieking! She started running towards two people coming out from the bushes wearing the same crazy plastic safari hats. It was Cats parents!!!! How where they here? My mom and Roger were so sneaky and hid yet again the best secret from us!!! Now it was Cats turn to turn on the water works. She was in bits with total happiness oozing out of her. (This of course is the girl that never cries!!) All throughout our trip, she always said the only real thing she really missed was her family. She thought they would never come out and join her in her adventure, as it would be too "rough" for them. But they were here!! And Cat was ecstatic! I couldn't have felt more happy for her than in this moment. 

Robs parents unfortunately couldn't get the time off work and my Mom went up to Rob and gave him a massive hug sent from his parents. She told us how his mom and dad so wanted to join us and tried everything they could to get off work. But sometimes these things don't work out, but we all thought of them and they would always be in our thoughts.

We all chatted and set up camp before my mom pulled out a long happy birthday sign for David and myself (we both share the same birth day), balloons, a cake, presents and bubbly. This was amazing and our campsite looked incredible. We all sang happy birthday before David and I blew out the candles. David made a little speech before cutting the cake. We had an amazing braai that evening and ate like kings!! It's safe to say, we slept well that evening!

The next day we headed off to the falls and would try cross over to the Zimbabwean side to see the full size of the falls. Unfortunately they no longer offer a one day pass so they wanted to charge us $55 per person to enter and then another entry fee to the falls. No way were we going to pay that, so we decided to stay on the Zambian side and would see the falls from there. I felt awful as everyone kept saying we wouldn't see much on the Zambian side, and now we had all the parents here who had all travelled so far. 
But we headed back to the bridge towards Zambia where we were all egging Charles and Cat to bungee jump off. They both seemed a little unsure, particularly when they saw the price at $160 each. We admired the falls from the bridge, taking a few photos and chatting to the locals who were trying to sell their memorabilia to us. David did end up buying a little hippo, who he would later call Catherine. Cat wasn't sure whether to be offended or flattered, but David assured her that it was because her favourite animal was a hippo, not because she was a hippo. We all laughed!!
We headed up to a bar and low and behold they sold the bungee jumping tickets here. The folks all said they would pay and therefore Charles was in. Cat still was feeling unsure and said no! She was not doing it. My dad had a little chat with her and persuaded her that she would regret it if she didn't. He had changed her mind and they were both in. She started jumping around, shaking her hands and just becoming a little restless. You could see the panic rising up within her. 
I had already bungee jumped in Bloukrans in South Africa 3years ago, which is the worlds highest bungee jump at 216m. But I was itching to jump as well, so my mom said why not and she would pay for me too. This was incredible, and we were being so spoilt! Rob wasn't interested and wanted to stay behind and enjoy a cold beer while taking a few photos of us. 
So we said our goodbyes and headed down to the bridge where they would strap us us and we would all jump one after another down the 111m jump. Cat insisted she go first as she was petrified she wouldn't do it if she went last. She jumped first and watching her from the bridge made my heart pound that much more. Charles was oozing with pride that she had done it. It was him next and he seemed very together and calm. But he ensured me, his heart was pounding just as fast as mine. The adrenaline is indescribable! He jumped with such grace, screaming bungee as he lept off. It was me next. 
After strapping the harness to my body, I slid under the barrier to the jumping platform. They sat me down and started attaching the harness around my feet where they would then attach the elastic bungee cord and do all their checks before walking you to the edge. At that moment, your body starts shaking as they tell you not to look down. Even though i had done this before, my body was still shaking like a leaf while my mind had a WTF going over and over in my head. It's not natural throwing yourself off a bridge after all! But they started shouting 5... 4... 3.... (There was no going back now!) 2... 1... And I was off. Watching the ground moving closer and closer to you at a heck of a speed, you start doubting when the cord will pull you back up. But eventually it does and you start hanging in the air, bouncing up and down gently. This was when you can take in the sights of the falls, the river, the scenery and the bridge above! You feel like you could take over the world at this point! 
After Freedom (I thought his name was quite fitting for his job) pulled me back up, I could join Cat and Charles on the other side of the bank. We were all feeling the same, indestructible feeling and we all hugged each other in total pride that we all did it! It was incredible!!!!
Back at the bar, we all enjoyed celebratory drinks. Watched the videos of our craziness and Cat and Charles even bought a t-shirt to remember this insane moment. 



We headed to the falls on the Zambian side. When we got there we were told there was the wet walk or the dry walk, so we opted for the wet walk first and then the dry walk to help dry us off. We walked along the main path along a cliff opposite the falls where we would take in the vastness of the water cascading down. The falls are 1688m wide and average just over 100m in height. Between 550-750 million litres (depending on seasons) cascade over the lip every minute, making this one of the worlds greatest waterfalls and one of earths great spectacles being the seventh natural wonder of the world. We wandered down the path taking photos of this amazing view!! As we got further and further down the cliff we were getting wetter and wetter from the spray off the falls. It was the strangest sensation as it was raining in the heat of the day with the sun beating down on us. It started off with a little shower and then all of a sudden a total downpour! We were all drenched but loving it. We were in hysterics at our appearance as we all looked like drowned rats!!! We were having an absolute blast!
At one point Rob was trying to act funny and surf down the wet bridge in his flip flops. Well, you can just imagine how that turned out! He landed in a big heap at the bottom of the bridge and we couldn't help but laugh at his misfortune. I still never understand how watching someone hurt themselves can be so funny. But he too was laughing, so he didn't hurt himself that badly, luckily!!


We wandered back up and then onto the dry walk which luckily did dry us off nicely before we got taxis back to the campsite ready for our sundowner booze cruise. We had an hour to dot about before heading to the boat. So a few drinks later and a quick change of clothes we were on the boat and enjoying the amazing views as we drifted up the river. We were in awe of the amazing scenery and spent our time searching and spotting beautiful birds, hippos and crocodiles on the banks. They brought out some snacks and told us to help ourselves to drinks from the bar. It was an open bar and we all made great use of it, fetching one drink after another and we were soon all getting very merry. Dinner was soon served, and we were all enjoying the boerewors, salad and rolls. Just what the doctor ordered. I got talking with some local farmers who were also enjoying the amazing boat cruise. I always enjoy chatting to the locals as you get to find out what living in these countries would be like if you are willing to work hard. 
Just before getting off the boat the sun started to set and an amazing array of oranges, peaches and reds filled the sky. It was breathtaking with colours reflecting off the water. We were so lucky to witness this with our family there to enjoy it with us.


We headed back to camp, but the night was not yet over as we all got into our costumes and went for a dip in the pool. We had great fun, but Rob was rather drunk and decided he wanted to skinny dip. The girls had not yet got into the pool, so he was skinny dipping with the boys. In his drunkenness, he had got it all wrong. So he slipped his board shorts back on and everyone could all swim feeling more comfortable. Once we were all in, we were all dunking each other and having a great time messing around. It started getting a little chilly, so we headed back to camp where we would all sit around chatting and discussing and laughing about our day. 
After about an hour and a half, Rob still hadn't returned from the pool, so I went in search of him. He was not in the tent. He was not in the pool. He was not disturbing other campers. So my last option was to check the toilets. I called into the men's toilets and heard nothing. I called his name again, with no reply. I could hear the shower going, so I stuck my head further in and called again. Still with no answer, so I went in to investigate. Low and behold he was passed out in the shower with only the hot water beating down. He was red as a tomato, and not at all pleased to see me. This was the second night I would have to bag him to go to bed as was so drunk he couldn't even walk. He had been drinking whiskey again, which totally doesn't agree with him and just the sight of me makes him angry. I pulled him up and tried to get him to walk over the toilets for a tactical chunder, but he was angry with me that he couldn't walk himself. After one too many swear words directed my way, I gave up and asked Charles to help. This was the second drunken night on whiskey.
So Charles disappeared into the bathroom and I hid around the corner so Rob wouldn't see me. Charles started talking bollocks to him and telling him to get his act together. It was actually hilarious to watch as Charles bored him to death by chatting non-stop, joking and laughing at Rob and keeping him awake. I most certainly don't have the patience my brother has, but it worked and eventually Charles got him up and moving after letting him throw his guts up. Charles was my hero that night!!

The next morning we got up early so we could say our goodbyes to my dad and Jenny who needed to start making their way back to South Africa. We had booked canoeing for the day and my dad and Jenny booked a helicopter flight over the vic falls before driving south. So we headed to reception all together where we could say our final goodbyes and wish them safe travels back . Once again our emotions were running high, and there were tears once again. It was so amazing to have my dad and Jenny come visit us. Such a treat, but it won't be long until we join them in Gordyns bay in a few months time. 

We all piled into a bus where we drove to our launching point into the Zambezi river. We would be canoeing on blown up 2 man raft boats that would be difficult to flip if the rapids got too much. After a security briefing that took forever, we were soon off. The scenery was amazing and we all searched for birds and wildlife on the banks. It was absolutely stunning and incredibly peaceful. We eventually stopped for some lunch an enjoyed delicious beef or ham rolls that were absolutely devine, and gave us a good energy boost for the second part of the day canoeing back towards the falls. What a fantastic day it was. 

The next morning David had booked a microlight trip over the falls, and very kindly paid for Rob to go with him. So they got up at the crack of dawn to be at reception for 6:45. I gave him a kiss goodbye and was feeling incredibly jealous! 
Rob boasted about his experience telling me how it was the best thing he had ever done. It was the first time I had ever heard him so enthusiastic about what he had experienced. He got to see the entirety of the impressive Victoria Falls. He got to see elephants, warthogs, bushbuck, giraffes, hippos and other animals from 300ft up. His pilot told him about the last White Rhinos that were being guarded 24/7 in a small national park here in Zambia. He just wouldn't stop talking about it and how lucky he felt that David so willingly invited him. For a man of little words, he wouldn't shut up about it. And I was so pleased and happy for him that he got to do it!!!!
In robs words.... IT WAS FUCKING BRILLIANT!

After the boys returned, we headed off to Shoprite before heading north to the Kafue National Park. After about an hour and half in Shoprite, we were soon off and on the road. Unfortunately we arrived at the national park too late to enter so we bush camped outside the gates. This would be the folks first time bush camping and they seemed to take it really well considering there were no showers! David got chatting to the locals and it seemed as though he was loving getting to know the kids and learning all about them. He must have been feeling really generous as he started handing out all his copious amounts of socks he overpacked. They were loving it! And so was he.
Later one of the Rangers came over to have a chat and educate us about the difficulties the park faces with poaching and support from the locals. He was lovely and incredibly passionate about the park and his job. He helps to educate the poachers on the importance of the animals in the park and the money it generates for their local villages. Again, David was in the giving mood and gave him his trainers, that so happened to be a perfect fit. He was over the moon!!


We woke up very early the next morning as the park opens at 6, but this is Africa after all, and the gate staff only showed up at 6:45. So we had been stood around for quite some time. We even started  playing with the Ant-Lions in the sand to help pass the time. The folks paid for the very expensive park fees and we were finally in. Unfortunately the grass was incredibly high and we saw nothing. We did however have some fun as there was big craters in the road. Unfortunately their hired car didn't have the ground clearance ours does, so Roger did some off roading in the bush to get around it while Charles directed him. He did really well, and seemed to enjoy it. Our broken landies glided over it with ease and we were back on the road. We arrived at our first campsite called Nanzhila Plains Safari Camp. It had a beautiful deck overlooking a damn. We brought some drinks and chips to enjoy while doing a bit of bird watching before the sun went down. Such a great way to enjoy the rest of the afternoon.
During the night we were woken by lions just outside our camp roaring the night away. They were loud and one by one we all awoke to listen to them. It was magical!



For breakfast we headed back to the deck to see what the morning would bring us at the dam. We saw some amazing birds and enjoyed watching the sun rise. After some crispy bacon on provita's, we were back on the road and already seeing more than yesterday. Lion tracks in the road next to the camp site, baboons running riot, a duiker, pukus and impalas and awesome birds. We eventually arrived at a turn off which was indicated on the satnav, however there was no sign of any road. So took the parents off roading once again. They seemed all a little stressed, but they were following Charles with ease. Charles did an amazing job picking the best lines and we were soon back on the normal road, and it seemed as though the parents all released a sigh of relief. 

We arrived at the Hippo Camp and set up for the night. They had started a fire for us and got a fire going to heat up the boiler for hot showers. We ate like kings once again and feasted on an amazing braai for dinner. Instead of lions calling throughout the night, this time we had hippos grunting the night away. It's awesome here in paradise!!
Again we woke up nice and early and headed back to the reception area to enjoy our breakfast overlooking the river. We found out about a small campsite that had just recently opened further up north and came highly recommended. So we decided to head in that direction to check it out.


While driving we were being swarmed and attacked by the tsetse flies. They hurt like all hell when they bite. Unfortunately for us, we found out that they are attracted to the colour blue and moving vehicles. We were a perfect target. So it only meant one thing. The windows had to be up in the boiling heat of the day, with the fans blowing full force and we were increasingly getting more and more jealous of the parents who were sat in luxury with their cool air-conditioned vehicle. As soon as we stopped to see animals or take photos, the windows would be down and all of a sudden the swatting begin. Rob was going nuts making sure no fly lived, punching and swatting like a mad man. He would then add the dead fly to hit ever growing graveyard on the window sill. We were in stitches with laughter as the car would swerve off and on the road as Rob was too preoccupied with the tsetsies.


We were incredibly lucky and came across a pack of wild dogs running in the road. We couldn't have asked for a more impressive sighting. The dogs were gorgeous, with their beautiful multi-coloured coats and their large round ears on their heads. They were beautiful and we watched them for a while trying to get a good picture through the long tall grass and dodging the tsetsies.

We arrived at the campsite called Kasabushi Campsite and it was just as they told us. Amazing views, amazing bathrooms and an amazing location. We got to know the owners a bit and heard about their grand plans to build an awesome 5 star lodge on the river banks. We saw the development of a few of the cabins and, oh my word, they weren't kidding when they were telling us about how amazing it would eventually be. This place would be a little slice of heaven! 
That night we had ran out of majority of food, only having catered for two nights in the park and overstaying by one day. The boys braaied spam (our left over rashons from the uk), tinned veg, couscous and mixture of other bits that turned out to be delicious!! Botched meals are always so good!


The next morning we went on an early boat trip around the river and its islands. The morning greeted us with beautiful mist rising off the water with the yellow sun in the distance. We came across copious amounts of hippos having a great time chatting to each other and seemed to pop up out of nowhere. The birds blew our minds away and we were all armed with our binoculars, cameras and bird books to make sure we were all spotting and defining them correctly. We were all laughing and chatting and just having the best time. We were once again so lucky to be experiencing this all together. 



It was time to start making our way back down to Livingstone where we all agreed the microlight needed to be done by everyone. Before exiting the park we were blessed with seeing Roan antelope in the road and it was a great ending to our time in the park. He arrived in Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, made a quick stop in Shoprite before heading to Eureke camp. We enjoyed another awesome meal before hitting the sack. During the night we were woken up by zebras in the campsite running up and down and causing a ruckus. There's never a dull moment here in Africa!

Unfortunately the next morning, we would be woken up to no clutch. Rob put his foot on the pedal before heading off to find it stuck to the ground. Bugger!! But luckily Rob knew how to drive it without and we headed off on the 500km journey jerking our way forward when pulling off in first. He did phenomenally! But it wasn't going to end there! As we were driving we could feel and hear grinding under our chairs and Rob immediately thought it was the transfer box. We pulled over and attached the tow rope to Charles' car so that he could pull us to Livingstone in neutral. As he was towing us we noticed it wasn't the transfer box but a rear wheel bearing. Rob could feel it through the brake pedal as we rolled forward. We didnt travel for long as a few kilometres down the road we were pulled over by the cops. It is illegal to tow with a rope and we needed a towing bar. They were really friendly and said we could continue as we were but couldn't guarantee the next police officers would be so understanding. we pulled over anyways to change the wheel bearing and would then hopefully be able to limp our own way back down to Livingstone with no clutch. 
But it turned out to be a larger job than expected with the half shaft seized into the stub axel. We tried to free it and it took ages with no result. We even had a very friendly man called Ernest, who worked on a local farm, come over to offer his assistance. Then two other locals came over and they all wanted to offer their help. It was fantastic to see such kindness, but they too were not getting anywhere with getting it dislodged. Eventually Ernest called Watson, a friend that took part in Land Rover rally driving, and he would be able to come and help. He eventually came over drifting his Defender and showing off his skills. He arrived and still couldn't help on the side of the road. We were only kilometres out of a town so we put it all back together and limped our way to his house where we would have more tools to pry it loose. David started making friends with all the local children and seemed in his element while the boys tried to sort out the car. Unfortunately we were not going to get to Livingstone tonight.




The rest of us left Charles and Rob there while we went off to the nearest campsite. We enjoyed the afternoon lazing about and it was so awesome that the folks were happy to just go along with it, not getting angry or upset with the change of plans. We had booked a microlight flight the next morning and now they were not going to be able to do it. We felt awful, but they were being amazing about the whole thing, and just seemed happy to be with us.
Eventually the boys returned and we were thrilled to see them! Rob explained how they had to cut the half shaft out and replaced the stub axel, wheel bearing and hub. But this did mean we were missing a half shaft so Rob would have to drive in difflock, with no clutch. 

That night we opened a few bottles of bubbly to celebrate our last night together with the folks. Their holiday with us was over in a flash!! We were so happy they had a snippet of everything that we had experienced in our 6months of traveling, all in the 10days they were with us. Borders, bribing police, African roads, off-roading, car troubles, African time, begging Africans, beautiful children, friendly people, sleeping in a tent, no showers or showers under the stars, long drops, bush wee's, sounds of the wild, birds, wild animals, cows and livestock, beautiful sceneries, relaxing together, delicious food, braai's, plans forever changing, family.... And the list continues! The only thing we didn't introduce them to was vegetable slop! Which I have to say I'm pretty pleased we didn't have to endure ourselves!
The next morning was time to say our goodbyes, and we were all in bits. Tears flowing down our faces and even the boys were struggling to hold it back. We had just had the best time with them!! They had spoilt us rotten; overwhelming us with their generosity, kindness, love and happiness to just get stuck in. Every one of them seemed to love it, and we were so blessed to have them with us. We love you guys so much and can't tell you how much you visiting us, meant the world!!
Love and miss you always....




Saturday, 16 April 2016

Namibia

After driving into Namibia from Angola we headed south to our first campsite in the town of Ondangwa. We drove past a Shoprite and other clothing stores that took our fancy. After travelling on the road for almost 6months, our clothes are starting to look incredibly tired. But we arrived at the campsite where we were greeted by a lovely host who told us a little about the place as they were still doing renovations and getting it looking tip top. She showed us the ablution areas and where we would camp overlooking the small dam in the center of the premises. This already was looking amazing as we were so used to camping where ever people could fit us in with limited ablution areas. This was amazing as the ablution blocks were clean, and fairly modern; the camping area had its own braai section and we were loving the more luxurious side to our camping. 

We returned to the bar area to enjoy a cold Savannah and Windhoeks with CHILLED glasses! This was luxury. We sat listening to them all speak Afrikaans to each other and Charles and I were kicking ourselves that we never learnt it. We did enough to pass the subject in school but never took an active interest in learning it. I always thought it was a coarse, unflattering language and therefore stubbornly decided I was not going to learn it. Man, do I regret it as I would love to be able to converse with them. 

We went back to camp, set up our tents and parked our buts in our chairs ready for a lazy afternoon doing nothing. Rob was in his element as he had made friends with the animals on the sight. Very cute dogs and cats and he even got to hold a goat and a duck. That evening we lit a fire and enjoyed meet on the braai with deliciously fresh salad. We were loving our time here, so decided we would enjoy one more night so we could get some washing done in the morning and then wander into town.  

The next morning we got up at a slow pace and had some cereal to get us ready for a lazy day. I decided to crack on with the washing which turned out to be more of a task than I ever dreamed of. Rob had put water and washing up powder into our big washing drum while in Angola. We would then drive along and it would act like a washing machine on the roof of our car. The theory was fantastic, however we had been driving non stop for ages and with the rain we had in Angola, there was no way our washing would dry over night. So we had left it in there.
I joined Cat in the ladies bathroom where we would do our washing together. I opened up the box and we both almost passed out by the stench that came out. The smell was horrendous!!! I emptied the water down the shower as quickly as I could to get rid of the smell and turned the shower tap on to poor over our clothes. This was a disaster!! A normal hour long process to wash our clothes was now going to take over double that time! Poor Cat was mid wash, so she couldn't escape either and had to endure the smell of our mistake. 
It could have just been the fumes, but my mind was a blank. I stood in the bathroom for a moment staring at this disaster, not sure where to even begin. Eventually I snapped out of it and got to work. I took one piece of clothing quickly to the sink, rinsed it until I couldn't anymore. Washed it, then rinsed it, then washed it and rinsed it again for good measure. Unfortunately the clothes still had the unpleasant smell in the fibres, but it was also now ingrained in my senses and no matter what, all I could smell was this revolting rotting dirty water. What I needed was a washing machine!! Where is Andrew and Kristina when you need them.. Lol

Once the washing was all hung up and on the line we decided to stroll to Shoprite to grab a few things and visit some of the clothing stores. We went passed clothing store after clothing store and we all opted for the cheap Mr Price. No point buying expensive clothes when they would just get ruined. So Cat managed to pick up a few bargains, some vest tops, a dress and shorts while I only managed one dress for N$60 (£3), so all was good!

We walked out the shopping centre and immediately stumbled along a KFC, so we decided to stop there for a quick lunch and our first KFC since England. We weren't surprised to hear that they only had chicken or the basic burger in stock. No wraps, no burger deals... This is the Africa we have become accustomed to. Don't look at the menu and order what you see, rather ask what's in stock and then there will be no dissappointments. But we still enjoyed our pig out session before wandering or rather, rolling back to the campsite.

The next morning we had a leisurely start and packed up slowly. This is most certainly a much better way to start our mornings. We had become so used to rushing to get on the road, that we could now take our time and move at a more relaxed pace. We had been watching the resident parrot fly past our campsite the past few days and this morning it decided it would come say hi, disturbing Charles while he tried to put down his tent. He soon got quite familiar while almost climbing into Charles and Cats car, and the next moment he was climbing all over us. This bird was beautiful and we were loving how friendly it was until it tried to steal my sunglasses right off my face. A true African bird...



We said our goodbyes and we were soon back on the road headed to the next campsite which was a community camp where the proceeds go to the Okongo Forest Committee. It was very basic, but we enjoyed a relaxing afternoon while the resident baby would come try steal my kindle from me, obviously just very intrigued by what it was. It tried to even wake up Rob while he was having an afternoon nap, but had no luck as he was abviously dead to the world. But if you had asked Rob, he would say that he wasn't sleeping, just checking his eyelids for holes. Lol! 


Again the next morning was slow going and we soon headed to the next campsite called Kaisosi Lodge. Driving through Namibia is absolutely beautiful. The local villages seem to take more pride in their huts and surroundings. There is very little rubbish lying around and the huts have more structure with neat fencing lining their perimeters. The countryside is absolutely beautiful with bright blue skies and fluffy white clouds above. 
We arrived at a dirt road which would lead us to our campsite. But as we drove down it we came to a massive warning sign and water surrounding us. A security guard came over and said our vehicles would be fine driving through it to reach the lodge. So we waded through it having a great time watching the water surround the vehicles. We arrived at the lodge and it looked absolutely amazing, fancy even. We checked in and found out the camping fee which was N$140 (£7) per person, the more expensive camping fees we've paid on the trip. But once we saw the campsite; which had its own personal toilet and shower with kitchen sink and braai areas per camping pitch, we were ecstatic!! The price of the campsite suddenly became well worth it. We headed to the bar after setting up camp where we sat and admired the beautiful view over looking the river. That evening we enjoyed a braai under the stars and were even able to Skype our friends back at home. What a fantastic day it was relaxing and enjoying the spectacular views.




Our next stop was a place called Ngepi. Andrew from Angola messaged us to say this place is amazing and most definitely a must. So we headed straight there. Like the last place, the rains from up in Angola had flooded all the infrastructure, so one of the guys working at Ngepi got in our car while I sat in the centre console to direct us as to where to go safely. The flowing water blocked all view of where the road would normally be. We drove through deep waters and it started seeping in through all the doors. If you put your hand out the window you could touch the water. Rob mentioned that some areas the tyres lost their grip on the ground, but we were loving the adventure. It was great thrilling fun, but we were glad we had our guide as we would most definitely not have driven through otherwise! We arrived and parked in the flooded parking lot. No shoes needed here and we got out of the cars feeling the water in our toes. Luckily our cars were able to do it as most people had to leave their cars on the banks and get a boat across. 




This place was awesome with funky, quirky signs all over the place. Communal fireplaces, bean bags and hammocks to chill out on while viewing the beautiful Okovango River. You could even take a toilet stop at Poopa Falls; a tower that housed a toilet overlooking the river. Not a bad way to enjoy a number 2!!!! 
We set up camp, ate a quick lunch and made our way back to reception where we booked an afternoon game drive in the Bwabwata National Park. We had a couple of hours to kill before our game drive, so we chilled out on the bean bags with a cold beer. All of sudden, after an hour of chilling out, we were being ushered to move along as we were late?? We looked at our watches and still had loads of time? But little did we know they were running on South African time instead of Namibian time. We hurried along to the boat that would take us across the water to the vehicle. 

Theo was going to be our guide, the same guy that helped us cross the water. We drove through little villages and dropped off a few staff members at their village before making our way to the park gates. We arrived at the park gates and Theo quickly ran in to pay the park fees, before we could set off. We started the drive and immediately I thought it was going to be awful. The car whined like most African vehicles and this guy had a heavy right foot. We were speeding through and all I could think was he was going to chase away all the animals. But low and behold we started seeing one thing after another. I was shocked and had to take back all my thoughts. We saw sable, impalas, zebras, warthogs, kudus, red Lethwes, Buffaloes, hippos, giraffes, tsesibes, ostriches, elephants, duikers, mongeese, and even a quick glimpse of a leopard darting off from a quick drink. In two hours we saw so much! I got incredibly overwhelmed and started crying for some reason. I'm obviously growing a little old, but seeing so much is so amazing, I just couldn't get over how lucky we were. It was Cats first time to see many of these animals in the wild and she was loving it, which made it that much more amazing. We all were having a fantastic time! Such a special day and we were loving spending it together. 




We darted for the parks gates as we were running late after seeing so many animals. The gates were closed but luckily not locked yet and we were able to get through without paying a hefty fine. Theo was amazing, and he too was taken aback by what we had seen in the 2hours in the park. He had his camera out with us and his passion for what he does oozed out of him. We enjoyed a couple of beers with him before saying goodnight and heading back to camp on the boat.

(The sunset during our game drive)

The next morning we settled our bill, while Rob bought a Ngepi t-shirt as a souvenir (which is now his favourite top and can't get him out of it!). We headed back along through the overflowing Okovango river and were having great fun watching Charles in front of us!! We spent the day driving through the Bwabwata National Park heading to Namushasha Lodge. We were lucky to see a few ellies and ostriches on the road. Eventually we headed to the lodge and this looked incredibly posh. We booked our camping for the night and paid the hefty N$120 (£8) per person. In their little souvenir shop, Rob had spotted a little landrover that he fell in love with, it was N$276 (£14 - ouch!!). So he decided to sleep on it before making a decision, and if he still wanted it in the morning, he'd get it! We all laughed at his indecisiveness as it's normally Charles that needs a bit of persuasion, not Rob! We drove to the camp site which was amazing, overlooking a river and grasslands as far as the eye could see. It was stunning! We had a man light the fire so we could enjoy warm showers in the very modern bathroom. We even had a kitchen area with gas cookers provided. Amazing!
We made a bit of lunch, changed into our costumes and headed to the pool where we relaxed for the rest of the afternoon.
That night we had a great time cooking our meals together and enjoying a lovely evening before giving up trying to avoid the mosquitos. So it was another early night fir us.



It was just as well we had an early night as we were all woken up by a 'tik tik tik tik', 'tik tik tik tik tik'. Charles and Cat were obviously feeling a little crazy and got up and went for a run along the river bank. They are very good, while Rob and I are the unfit, can't be bothered type!! I wish I had the will power they do!! But we got up and started putting down the tent when Rob noticed where the tik tik noise was coming from. There was a beautiful African Golden Weaver bird admiring his reflection in Charles's side mirror. This bird obviously didn't like what he saw and was trying his damnedest to break the mirror. 

After enjoying our breakfast and admiring the view, we went back to reception to pay our bill. Once Rob set his eyes on the little tin landrover, he was sold and got it regardless of how much it was. He was a happy boy. We did a quick last minute checking of the bank statements and a quick loo stop before heading off. While sitting there we heard a farting noise every time someone walked through the men's toilets as the door would close. The boys were in stitches!!! They then each would walk through the door and cock a leg up to pretend the fart was there own. Well, actually, I wouldn't put it passed them that they took this opportunity to let rip and get away with it!! This of course was made even worse as Cat and I cringed at their disgusting behaviour in this very snazzy establishment, with very rich people wandering past. Boys will be boys...


We drove around the bowl of the Caprivi until we got to the border town of Katima Mulilo. We headed for the Caprivi House Boat lodge which once again was a real gem of a place. We met the lovely Rachel who was a South African who had moved to Namibia. She was incredibly welcoming and showed us around. She pretty much told us to make ourselves at home, use the kitchen if we wanted and with an honesty bar if we wanted a few drinks. This place was awesome and we did just that! We took our drinks over to the deck again overlooking the Okovango river and made use of the wifi.
That evening they lit a fire for us and we all sat around chatting with the local guys there. Fantastic!! 
We decided it was so good, that one more night here would be just the ticket. 

The next day was bliss. More clothes washing was done, more eating, more drinking, more fires!! Charles even got to have a go on Rachel's scrambler, which is just up his street. He came back with a massive grin from ear to ear that took ages to die. Definitely a happy boy. We got to meet all the resident animals, dogs, cats, and baboon spiders!!!


We headed off to the border the next day after searching for ages to get reflective stickers and triangles for the vehicles. But we had no luck. Everyone had told us it's an absolute must in Zambia and we would be fined without it. But we had no choice but to try our luck.
We arrived at the border and the Namibian side was easy and quick. Passports stamped, carnet stamped and out into Zambia.
This was where things would start getting very, very expensive!!! I tried to use my South African passport as I didn't need a visa on that one, but they wouldn't accept it as the exit stamp from Namibia was in my British passport. This was incredibly frustrating, but not much I could do, even after a bit of pleading. So we had to pay the $50 per visa. Then we needed to pay the $20 for road tax. Then insurance was 300Kwachas (£25). Then carbon tax was 150kwachas (£12.50). Then community tax was 30kwachas (£2.50). That's a grand total of £120 for the border!! It was an incredibly expensive day!! But we were through to the next country! Another sticker day! And soon we would be seeing my mom and Roger, so we were excited to be in!



Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Angola 2

We left Andrew and Kristinas house and needed to head south as quickly as we can. We needed to be in Zambia, Livingstone by the 17th of April to meet my mom and Roger and it was the 6th of April already. So we left early that morning and hoped the car would be ok. Rob mentioned it was still smoking when he brought it back from the garage the night before, and boy he wasn't kidding! It was still just as bad it was before we replaced the turbo. My thoughts were in the line of "oh shit!! The car is still broken!!"... But Rob ensured me that it would still smoke because of the excess oil in the exhaust and would burn through soon. Then he added 'hopefully' to the end of his reassurance... Well we decided to drive and see what happens, trying to dodge all the police officers in the process!! Eventually we made it out of Luanda where Rob could put his foot down. About an hour after setting off we noticed the smoke dying off and eventually it was gone!!! Well, we had a mini celebration in the car and I could feel Robs tension and worry finally dissappearing.
After about half a day of driving, Rob finally said, he was happy with Daisy and she was driving like a champion. What a relief!!

We drove past amazing scenery and I was absolutely gutted we've had to miss such an amazing country. We drove past an amazing river with huge colourful escarpments either side of it. It was absolutely stunning, so we stopped to enjoy a cold beer to break up the driving. Stunning place!!


We eventually arrived into Lobito where we would camp for the night at Zulu Bar. A lovely restaurant that welcomes overlanders to camp on the beach for free with the use of showers and toilets. We had heard Kars and Simone were there at Zulu Bar, as Kars was recovering from malaria. He had caught it a couple of days before we arrived and spent 2nights in a clinic where they could monitor his fever. As we parked up and got out to greet them, he seemed well and approached us holding a beer!! Top form!!! We enjoyed our evening chatting and catching up before making boerewors, lettuce and tomato sandwiches for our dinner. Yes this was luxury!! 


We had a slow start in the morning which was lovely, enjoying cereal for our breakfast. Since we had been to a Shoprite (a South African grocery store), I could go nuts and get all my childhood loves. Yes I was like a kid in a candy store!! So that morning I enjoyed strawberry pronutro (a strawberry flavoured readybrek, or porridge), yes everyone looked at me strangely while I enjoyed my pink paste for breakfast. But I didn't care, as I was in food heaven! 

I popped off to have a quick shower before we headed off, which doesn't seem so out of the ordinary. But today would prove interesting. I went to open the ladies showers, but they were locked. So I tried the men's when a man next to me said, 'this lady will open the door for me'. Perfect! So we both wondered in and there was one shower with no curtain. She worked at Zulu bar and hung up her bag and started to change into her work gear. I wasn't going to just get starkers next to her; I'd wait until she was done and then I could have a shower in peace. She eventually left, but there was no lock on the door, so this was going to be a quick in and out. After I was done drying myself off and putting on my panties, three ladies wandered in and all stopped in the doorway when they saw my white ass and boobs on display. They stood there in shock with door wide open, so I just ushered them in, in hope they would close the door. I thought they would continue with their business like the other lady, but they just stood there staring at my naked body, while chatting about what they saw in Portugese. This couldn't be more awkward and I scrambled to get my clothes on and get out of there!! I'm not sure if they had seen a white person naked before with intense tan lines!! It did make me laugh afterwards, when I could gather my thoughts about what had just happened. 

After telling Rob about my embarrassing experience, and him laughing at me too. It was time to hit the road again. Before leaving Lobito we stopped at a man waving Kwanza's at us so we thought we'd change a small amount for a petrol stop. He tried to sell us 300kwanzas for $1. No way were we doing that as in the last two weeks the dollar had strengthened, so Rob immediately said 390. He just said ok! No bartering, no nothing. Dammit we could have even tried for a higher rate, but 390 was good. So we couldn't complain! 

We drove to Lubango where we drove past a 4x4 camping shop, so we had to stop to check it out. Now it was time for Rob to act like a kid in a candy store, his eyes had widened as we walked around seeing awesome stuff on offer that you could not get in England unless you were willing to pay a pretty penny for it. It was good stuff and cheap!! Luckily I managed to get him out of there without spending a thing. Phew!!!
We then called Cat and Charles and decided we would meet up at the Shoprite in town. 
Rob had given me grief about meeting up with them again, taking his frustration about the car and everything else out on me. Rob wanted to spend a day or two alone to see what it would be like travelling just the two of us, but we had bombed it through. I think he was feeling jealous they had such a cool experience while we were stressing about the car in Luanda. To be fair, he likes his own company, so if he had it his way he would have sent me off with Charles and Cat if they had a spare seat.
But it was hugs all round and I was thrilled to see them and find out all about their travels in Angola. After a quick stop into Shoprite, we decided to head off for a drink where we could catch up. It was a lovely little spot where we could enjoy a bottle of red altogether.
On our way to the campsite, the heavens opened and we were in for a very rainy night. We quickly put up the tent in rain and we were all drenched! We all laughed as Charles even enjoyed a quick shower in the rain. Luckily our campsite had a little shelter where we could light a fire and enjoy our dinners listening to the rain pitter patter on the tin roof while we dried off. We sat chatting the night away which was great fun.

In the morning we decided to go do some touristy things. I wasn't going to leave Angola without seeing at least one of the beautiful sights it had to offer. Rob was less than thrilled as he just wanted to reach Zambia without stopping. He moaned that we didn't have enough time and said I was being selfish. I suppose I was being selfish, but we had spent so much money on our visa and we had heard such amazing things from Andrew and Kelse, that I had to see some of it. It would have been a shame not to. After working out that we had about 1300km to do in 10days, I knew we would be fine. So we went off and saw the famous Serre da Leba pass even with a grumpy Rob. But he seemed to let his guard down when we saw the amazing sights it offered as we descended down the winding steep road. It was magnificent as the clouds hovered in the valley with the mountains poking out in the distance. As we got down further and further we saw beautiful paintings/graffiti on the walls next to the road. We then did a quick u-turn and made our way back up where we would stop at a view point to take in the amazing sight of the road and the mountains. Absolutely stunning and a definite must!!




We then decided to head to another view point on the other side of town which offered an amazing view of the valleys under this massive escarpment. We drove up the valley with grassland everywhere and then all of a sudden large boulders started lining the roads. Some balancing on top of one another and we wondered how they got there and didn't fall off. Rob unfortunately, was now fuming as we were wasting valuable time we could be making bombing our way to the border of Namibia. But even though he had a sour face, I could tell he was loving seeing the beauty that Angola was showing us. We got to the top and walked to the view point. I can't put into words how magnificent the views were. We stood looking down and watched the clouds roaring up the banks and then disappearing to reveal sights as far as the eye could see. I could have sat there for ages pondering life and taking in this phenomenal view. 



We left Lubango and although I might have been incredibly selfish making us see the sights, but I was happy we did and I think secretly Rob was too. We drove on through the day and slowly I could feel Robs frustration fading away after making good distance. We reached a small town where Rob had seen a sign for N'gola, an Angolan beer that we had not yet tried. So we did a quick stop to have a taster. Rob enjoyed it but his favourite would still be Cuca and Superbock. We had seen a note on the maps that said there was a massive baobab tree just outside the town so we decided to check it out and hopefully bushcamp there for the night. We drove down a sandy road passing little villages and waving to say hi. Eventually we arrived to three very large baobabs which would turn out to be a beautiful spot to make camp. The ground was however crawling with incredibly large ants that had a serious stinging bite to them. So it was a quick change into long pants and shoes before whipping out the chairs, beers and wine so we could watch the beautiful sun set and later enjoy the moonless sky that revealed an incredible array of stars. Rob even pulled out the camera to fiddle with the settings in hope to take a good shot of the night sky. We were being dive bombed by massive bugs as soon as we turned on a light, so it was proving a little difficult, but we had fun trying. 

It was our last day in Angola and it was definitely a country I'd like to come back to and explore more! We loved seeing some of the woman still wearing their traditional African outfits, not bothered about their boobs hanging loose and in the open. Not letting the modern world interfere with their traditional way of life. We watched how the young children carried around their plastic chairs that they would use for school. And lastly, we enjoyed seeing the little evidence left of the war that ended not long ago in 2012. Some old tankers lay on the side of roads which was very interesting to see.



The next morning we made a quick bacon and egg breakfast before heading to the Santa Clara border. A very easy border but the first one we had digital scanners and computers before checking us out of Angola. Very high tech from the hand written books we had become accustomed to. It did still take its time as the lady at immigration entering our details into the system was a SLOW typer. It was then at the customs post where the officials were unsure about the carnet's and pulled out some old forms from previous travellers to make sure. We laughed as we saw Andy's form from Wheelie Adventurous, an awesome guy we had met during our trip down Africa. But they stamped us out eventually and we went through with no hassle.

On the Namibian side we met a lovely ENGLISH (wahooo!!!) speaking lady spraying the underneath of our cars with disinfectant and asked us each to get out of the cars and wipe our shoes on a rag with more disinfectant. It was the first time we had to do that! Then it was for immigration where they checked our temperatures for possible Ebola alerts, luckily Cat passed as she had come down with a cold in the past few days and not feeling her best. We then filled in some forms and handed our passports over. Charles and I tried to use our South African passports, but she said she couldn't stamp us in on a different passport to the exit stamp we had in Angola. So we had to stick to our British passports. Bugger, we were hoping to try change over to our South African as it should be much easier in the southern countries. We will have to try our luck again at the Zambian border. 



It was then time to pay the road tax of N$242 (£12) for the use of foreign vehicles in Namibia and then off to customs where we got our carnet stamped quickly and efficiently. We asked about insurance for the vehicles and they all looked at us blankly, so I guess that was answer enough that we did not need insurance for Namibia. We drove out of the border gates and were greeted by driving on the left hand side of the road!! Finally we were driving right hand drive vehicles on the correct side of the road!! 
We were in Namibia!!!! Immediately I had a strange feeling that made me smile with happiness. A feeling of home struck me hard! We drove past South African companies after another. Everyone spoke either English or Afrikaans, and everyone was supper friendly. We had hit the southern countries as I knew them. This was fantastic!!! 
We popped into a busy pick'n'pay (grocery store) and it was buzzing with people and queues. Normally I'd be out of there and not wanted to deal with the chaos. But I was lovely the hustle and bustle while being surrounded by products that brought me to the good old days; my childhood in SA!! Nostalgia took over and I held back my tears!! I didn't realise it would hit me this hard!




Even Rob was loving the prices, food selection and booze I had introduced to him to over our years together in England while dragging him to every South African store I could. We were loving this, even chatting to the security guards who were guarding our overloaded cars was amazing. Yip, I was one happy lady!! 

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Angola 1

After leaving the Angolan border it wasn't long before our car started making a horrendous squeaking noise and then silence. The revs had dropped and the steering seazed up. We radio'd Charles and Cat to pull over to check the problem. The auxiliary bolt tensioner was lying loose in the engine bay. The bolt had stripped the thread in the housing and worked its way loose. Rob quickly fixed it, but did notice the water pump had too much play in it and we needed to get that replaced sooner rather than later before it caused more damage.




We headed to the next big town called M'Banza Congo where we could change some dollars on the black market (normal rate $1=Kz180, black market $1=Kz350), stock up, get some welding done on Charles's body mounts, and gather ourselves in a very nice European style hotel. Yes a shower was more than welcomed!! The brown coloured water coming off my body in the shower was revolting! We had officially become proper hobos and probably smelt like ones too! So seeing this disgusting brown water wash away was more satisfying than anything you'll ever know. We were meeting some people the next day and needed to be semi presentable, so this was a welcomed stop over after slumming it in the Congos!
We woke up the next morning and were very pleased to find out breakfast was included!! Cheese and ham rolls with cereal and coffee! Just what the doctor ordered! 



We needed to get fuel before we headed anywhere, but like most of Africa, they were experiencing a shortage of diesel. We joined the mega long queue and waited just under 2hours before we got to the front of the line where we could fill up and change some more cash. We had been stuck in M'Banza Congo for so long, that we now needed to move quickly to get to the beach where we were meeting Andrew and his family. Andrew was the one that helped us get our Angolan visa, so we were excited to meet him and thank him for his efforts with a cold beer or 5!!

We drove off the main road and followed a dirt track until we reached the beach where we were going to bush camp with them for the long Easter weekend. While driving, we watched the amazing sunset over the sea while dodging a massive migration of crabs crossing the road. I was sat in the car clenching my seat as we heard one crab after another being crunching and being crushed under the wheels. The poor things had no chance! The only thing making me feel better, was that there were thousands! As we crept closer and closer to the beach we saw groups of campers with roof tents. This was the first place we have seen people camping with incredible gear. We had arrived in the south where the camping tradition was in full swing. We didn't know who we were meeting, so we drove past one group after another, hoping we would see someone that recognised the cars and would wave us down. Eventually we drove to the last group and was even more surprised to see Kars and Simone jumping up and down waving their arms to signal us. What were they doing here??? How did they know Andrew? How did they know about this spot as its on no map we were looking at! This was such an amazing surprise!!

We jumped out the car and it was hugs all round!! We met Andrew, Kristina, their kids and their incredibly welcoming friends, Kristiana and Kels. We could tell, this was going to be an awesome weekend! 
We found out that Kars and Simone met Andrew in Luanda while they were having car trouble. Andrew helped them out and they were overwhelmed by the help they were getting from him and his family. This family were incredible and loved to help overlanders as they were treated with the same love and warmth when they did the same trip we are doing. So this was their way of giving back. 
That night we were treated like royalty as they fed us amazing food and the drinks were flowing. We had gorgeous steaks, rolls, fish, pasta salads... the list just continues. We couldn't believe our luck as we enjoyed every second chatting and getting to know these amazing people. The boys were in and out of river under the stars and Cat even got dunked as Kars picked her up and carried her in, clothes and all!! The rest of us danced the night away under the stars, while Rob had pulled his usual trick and drunkenly fell asleep in his chair! What an incredible night.

The next morning, the sun was shining and we could take in the beauty that surrounded us while we camped with the ocean on the one side and the Onzo river on the other. It was just magnificent!! We were treated to pancakes, chorizo, eggs and bacon for breakfast!! This was right up our street and we were in heaven! The rest of the day we enjoyed swimming in the river, canoeing in the mangroves, getting to know our hosts and of course more drinking and eating! 
The rest of the weekend continued to be amazing. Patrick and Kris even turned up which was incredible! We were all there, and loving every second.
Our last day camping with them we went to an amazing seafood restaurant and enjoyed shrimps, crayfish and squid. This weekend would forever be a highlight in our travels!!



We were shocked to see the contrast Luanda would present to us as we drove into the city. We entered through the outskirts of the city which had incredibly potholed roads, rubbish lining the streets, with mud and tin build houses squashed on top of each other. Then, to our surprise, we reached a tar road and everything became extremely civilised and quite European. Massive skyscrapers, beautifully kept gardens and an impressively beautiful boulevard that overlooked the ocean. This place had money!!!
We continued on till we reached the yacht club, which offered free camping to overlanders with full use of the showers and toilets. We enjoyed a couple more drinks with Andrew and the family and Paolo before calling it a night.

The next day Andrew and Kristina offered their driver to us so that we could find a water pump. So Stallone collected us all in the morning and took us back to their house where Cat and myself would enjoy the comforts of their home. Enesh, their house worker, ushered us in taking all our dirty laundry (including our sheets!! Machine washed sheets... AMAZING!!!!) and gave us fresh towels so we could have a proper shower. We were in heaven!! 
The boys went off with Stallone and found a water pump easily, changed more dollars on the black market ($1=Kz370) and organised a SIM card with Internet access. 
They returned in no time and we spent the rest of the day enjoying the free wifi and machine made coffees. We even got to Skype all the family which is always so special!

Andrew and Kristina arrived back from work and we all piled into the cars after collecting our amazingly clean washing! Until you do a trip like this, you will never understand the power of machine washed clothes and sheets!! A serious luxury!!! But enough about washing machines.....
We headed to a restaurant on the beach front called Miami Beach where we watched the sun set and ate more amazing food while enjoying the company of our new friends.

In the morning, Rob got straight to work in replacing the water pump. Rob eventually had a crowd of people watching him and asking him questions about the engine and trying to learn what he was doing. Unfortunately, the new water pump had a crack in it and we needed to return it and get a new one. The only problem was Andrews driver was not available, so we needed to find another way to get there as the car was in bits. Luckily there was a taxi service for workers using boats to get to work, and the men surrounding Rob were some of the drivers. They couldn't use the cars but one guy that spoke a bit of English said he would walk with Rob and do the translations at the shop. 
It was absolutely roasting, so when Rob got back, he was hot and bothered. Charles, Cat and myself made some lunch, but he wasn't having any of it. He wanted to fix the car and didn't need any distractions. So after asking him one last time if he wanted food, and getting a very annoyed response. I decided to leave him to it!!


After Rob put the car back together, he was feeling much happier so we decided to spend the rest of the afternoon exploring Luanda. We walked up to the Fortaleza de Sao Miguel, a military museum representing the war. It was absolutely amazing, however all the information plaques were in Portugese so we couldn't understand any of it. But we did admire all the army vehicles and a museum with hand painted artwork on the walls, which housed examples of the early African weaponry to the latest guns. We wandered around the fort walls and took in the amazing sights as it offered a 360 degree view of Luanda. It is a very divided city between rich and poor. On one side was the European style boulevard and on the other the shanty towns. Incredible to see.


We wandered back along the boulevard and found a lovely spot to enjoy a drink before heading back to the yacht club where we would meet Andrew and Kelse. Back at the yacht club we enjoyed another with them and then headed off to an Ethiopian style restaurant. It was Devine as we were brought out a big sticky pancake with all sorts of different sauces, meats, and veggies. We all got stuck in as this was a use your hands and share. It was a real treat and absolutely devine! We sat chatting about some good routes to take and were again, spoilt as Kelse had printed out a massive map of Angola for us. They got us incredibly hyped about all the amazing this to see and do in Angola. We were itching to head off tomorrow after their infectious love for their country had rubbed off on us. What a fantastic night!!! 


We woke up the next morning buzzing to move on. We packed up the tent and just before we were about to head off, Rob and I noticed a puddle of oil on the floor. He started the engine and left it idling to see where it was dripping from. After about 15min of leaving the engine on, Rob noticed the oil was dripping a lot more and was coming out of the exhaust. Well, this was not good!!! We decided to drive it to Shoprite where we had planned to stock up before making our way into Angola. It's safe to say the car was not well and certainly not happy. She was chucking out heavy white smoke out the exhaust and Charles and Cat said it was like driving in an awful sand storm. Rob knew exactly what it was and immediately said, the turbo has given up. It wasn't long before the cops pulled us over and wanted to fine us for the smoke. We told him we were going straight to a mechanic and would get it sorted. After a bit of persuasion he gave us our documents back without payment and would let us continue. At that point we contacted Andrew who could advise us on a decent mechanic. While we sat there waiting for the coordinates to come through. Another officer came over to say he was going to fine us for illegal parking. What?? We mentioned his colleague who was stood next to him, pulled us over. This is all very difficult when we don't speak Portugese and they don't speak English. But they eventually let us go and we headed straight for the garage.


We sat at the garage for ages and ages while we waited on word from Andrew. Again we couldn't have asked for better treatment. He had 3 of his mates looking for a turbo for us while his driver would go to every 4x4 shop searching for one in town. Unfortunately there was no luck! We would need to source one from somewhere outside of Angola. The car was immobile and we were now sitting ducks. Charles and Cat had gone back to Andrew and Kristinas house earlier that day, so Andrew sent his driver to collect us and bring us back to his place. They were overwhelmingly hospitable and were more than happy for us to stay at theirs and sleep in Savannah's (their little girl) air conditioned room while we sorted out our car trouble. 
That night we got treated to yet another amazing meal, with wine, chocolate, Amarula... The lot! This was incredible! Charles and Cat ended up staying there the night as we had far too much to drink for them to drive back to the yacht club. 
We thought about getting a turbo from South Africa, and even put a plea on all the 4x4 sites in hope someone would be able to help or suggest other options. Everyone was amazing and we had people messaging us from all over the world. Rob eventually found one in the uk, which would be sent via DHL airmail. It was going to be a long weekend so the earliest we could collect it was next Tuesday, 6days time. We ordered it and would hope it didn't get held at customs in Angola (something that happens regularly here in Angola) 
We all agreed that it would be silly for Cat and Charles to hang about in Luanda after paying so much for our visas. So we said goodbye to them and they would go and see the country without us. Yes, jealous is an understatement, but a much better plan! We would hate to hold them back!

We spent the next week enjoying the home comforts that Andrew and Kristina were offering us. I got to know their adorable kids and enjoyed playing and having a good time with them. We played with playdough, paint art, read books, watched cartoons, splashed around in the pool and just had a really good time! Rob on the other hand was being a typical guy and avoided them when he can, but he still couldn't resist a goodnight kiss and cuddle from them. There's a soft side somewhere in him! Lol...

During the weekend we had a great time enjoying a braai at Kristiana and Antoinne's house. More amazing food with the drinks flowing. After food we walked over the road and onto the beach (yes they have an amazing spot on the beach front!) where we swam in the sea and watched the sun go down while in the water. Such an amazing experience! Life really isn't that bad being stuck in the city.
We carried on till late that night, with the boys even venturing onto the roof to do some home repairs during the wee hours of the night. Probably wasn't the best of ideas considering the amount they had drunk. You've got to laugh at moments like this as they stumbled all over the place! 

The next day we all piled into the car and headed for the yacht club where Antoinne had organised a speed boat for us for the day. We would motor along the coast admiring the city sights with large ships scattered all around us. We eventually pulled up close to a very popular beach which had all sorts of activities going on. Wind surfers, jet ski's, knee boarders, and people playing on the beach. It was a little slice of heaven. 
We stayed on the boat and made some lunch before diving in for a dip. Rob started feeling incredibly sea sick as he's generally not great on boats. Before we knew it he was dangling over the edge throwing his guts up, while the guys cheered him on as he fed the fish. Like a champion, he carried on partying and enjoyed a beer straight after to wash his mouth out!! Lol....



That night it was early night before saying our goodbyes to Andrew who needed to be up early the next morning for a business trip. No words could express our gratitude for his generosity and hospitality. He would never know how much we appreciated his!!
The next day was a joyous day as we got to pick up our turbo!!!! Yes, this beautiful package had finally arrived and we were over the moon!!! We went straight to the garage where Rob could get it all installed with the help of the guys at the shop! While Rob was busy with that, Kristina took me to a Shoprite where I could stock up on a few things before setting off in the morning. 

Finally we could be out of their hair and back on the road!! That morning we said goodbye to Kristina, Marley and Savannah. It was actually a really sad moment for me as I had grown to really love this incredible family. Marley and Savannah were great kids and I just loved spending time with them. I hope our paths will cross again in the future!! Thank you just doesn't even cut it!!!