After years of saving and planning, our dream to overland through Africa is finally becoming a reality. Along with our Land Cruiser, Michael Buble, we will be travelling through our beautiful continent for 6 months! Woohoo!

About Us

We have been married for two busy years and have lived in Johannesburg all our lives. Ang is a Speech Therapist and Grant, an Environmental Consultant. We both love the outdoors and have dreamt of travelling through Africa together before we were even together (sort of). Please keep in touch and let us know your news. Hope you enjoy the journey with us.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Homeward bound: Kosi Bay to Cozy Jozi

Well, here we are; sitting in our lounge, preparing to post our final blog entry five whole weeks since we arrived back in Joburg. Time flies in this city.

We told some small white lies in our last post regarding the specifics of our return home because we were planning on surprising a heavily pregnant Lisa and Steven on the 25th June. After two lovely nights at Craig and Nadia's spot in Mangusi Hospital, Kosi bay, we woke early and embarked on the very very last road trip of our amazing journey.

We listened to all our favourite trip songs and got lost in our thoughts as we prepared ourselves for 'going home'. The sight of the fully completed N4 and N3 highways was impressive. The world-class quality of our city struck us in comparison to the cities we have driven through and stayed in over the past 6 months. We felt quite proud actually.

With bubbling excitement we pulled into the driveway of Lisa and Steven's complex and begged the security guard to let us in so we could surprise them. My likeness to Lisa stood in our favour and he let us in! After a series of knocks on their door, we were faced with a stunned Steven and were run into by a bowling-ball Lisa! We surprised them fully and it was so wonderful to see them and catch up after 6 months. Four days later our beautiful niece, June Valerie Barrett arrived, and we are completey in-love with her!

The weeks following have been chaotic. Family has been up from CT to meet little June and so we have been lucky to have spent time with the Hallands as well as the Beringers and catch-up with friends too. After a week settling into our flat and sorting out our lives, we went back to work! Back to school, back to reality, as they say :) Bush-man-Grant has been replaced with school-boy-Grant for the hefty price of R50 including a face massage and neck-click.


I'm loving being back at work (best partner, colleagues and clients in the world), but hating the chores of daily life in Joburg. Visits with friends and family, returning to our church and regaining our status as most-frequent customers at our DVD shop have kept us smiling and not frantically planning our next trip. Michael has been attended to by a new (more competent) mechanic, but has unfortunately left us deep in debt. After a serious discussion on the merits of keeping him, Michael's charms have won us over- he's staying!

After many great chats and fantastic support, we are resting in the knowledge that it will take us a while to adjust to life here and at the same time, not lose the life-lessons gained on the trip. But, in the meantime, here are our trip-stats, as promised:

Total days on trip: 163
Number of nights slept in tent: 126
Number of nights not slept in tent: 37
Kilometers travelled: 23 988
Liters of petrol consumed by Michael: 4091.12
Countries visited: 8
Mountains climbed: 1
Number of marriage-saving GPS's flown-in to Nairobi International Airport: 1
Nice people met: Too many to count
Horrible people met: 1 (Australian- typical!)
Number of days spent waiting for a new hub for Michael: 12
Number of bribes paid: 0
Number of mosquito bites: thousands
Number of malaria self-tests performed: 3
Number of malaria infections: 0

'Praise the Lord, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits-
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagles'.
Psalm 103 v 1-5

Friday, June 24, 2011

Mozambique Part 2: Doing Time in Mozambique

Our southward journey continued as we left Pemba for Nacala, another coastal town offering more stunning views, white beaches and warm seas. It is tough, but we soldiered on. The town of Nacala is positioned around a bustling port, however, we found a pearler of a spot south of the town called Libelula. Perched above the ocean and with it's own private beach, Libelula became our home for three nights. The first night was awesome with sundowners, and later, dinner on the beach. We like mozambique, we like it a lot. Most of our time there was spent reading and relaxing on the beach. This routine was only disturbed by the need to eat and sleep. We also conducted our 2nd Malaria test of the trip on Ang and thankfully the result was negative, just a bit of a cold. After three nights the road was calling and we packed up Michael and headed south.

Our next destination was Ilha Da Mozambique. A fascinating island just off the coast of Mozambique that is steeped in history and conveniently connected to the mainland with a 4km long bridge. Although the island is only 3km long and 500m wide there were loads of sights and sounds to absorb and we did that by walking the streets. While walking through the island town we tried to imagine it as it was a hundred or so years ago when it was bustling with Arab traders and fishermen. It was, unfortunately, also a key cog in the slave trade and many of the slaves were sold and bought here. Now the streets are alot quieter and the buildings a little worse for wear. Our evening was spent on a roof top terrace of a local restaurant soaking up the sounds of the islands population walking the streets. It was hard to believe we were in Mozambique!

We made an early start the next morning and while crossing the bridge to the mainland we were treated to an amazing sunrise that could not be ignored and we pulled over to enjoy the spectacle. It was going to be a huge day of driving for us and probably the longest stretch we had done the whole trip. We had to travel the 900 odd kilometers inland because central Mozambique apparently has limited accommodation or sights worth stopping for. It was during this trip that we had our first encounter with the infamous Mozambican Traffic Officers. We still did not have a front number plate after it was claimed by a horrible stretch of Tanzanian road and we were certain we would get whacked with a fine due to it's absence. What followed, however, was priceless. The missing number plate was overlooked, but, instead they wanted to know where we were going and where we came from. The "where do you come from" question always gets me and I am never sure whether I should say South Africa or the place we had just departed from. On this occasion I chose the South Africa option and apparently I passed the test, but, Ang was not so lucky and she was asked to prove her South Africaness by producing her passport which was scrutinised for 10 minutes. The photo was compared with the real life face and even drew the attention of a beggar who thought it fascinating and there we were waiting for the cop and beggar to surrender Ange's passport to her so that we could depart. The long journey finally came to an end at the banks of the Zambezi river, where we set up camp and spoilt ourselves with a meal at the restaurant.

The next day we crossed our old friend the Zambezi. We figured out that it was our sixth encounter with the mighty river. I also did a quick calculation as we crossed the newly built bridge and taking into consideration the mean annual rainfall, average gradient, wind direction, water temperature ad barometric pressures i was able to determine that we were crossing over the exact same water that we witnessed falling over the Victoria Falls a few months earlier. Truly amazing!!!! Just kidding, but, imagine how cool that would have been. Just imagine

We pulled off the EN1 and headed east on a dirt road to the Gorongoza National Park. We were really excited to be back in the bush and it was really cool to be there, a park that was once one of the greatest in Africa, but, was decimated by poachers in the early nineties. Thankfully with the help of the Carr Foundation the park is getting back on it's feet and becoming a tourist destination again. Although game sightings were few we loved waking up to the sounds of the bush, reminding us of the Kruger.

Vilankulos was just an overnight stop for us and provided the facilities to stock up on food before we headed down to Pomene. We did not know what to expect of Pomene, but, knew that one could only access it by 4x4. Michael negotiated the sand track with ease and when we came to the campsite at the Pomene Lodge we knew we had found a gem. The lodge is situated on a thin spit of sand that separates a huge mangrove estuary from the Indian Ocean.  Our camping spot was a mere 30m from the sea and the view from the rooftop tent was amazing.

Ang: We set-up camp there for four nights and enjoyed long walks on the beach, early morning swims in the sea and meeting more amazing people. We were invited for dinner at Mike and Yvonne's campsite on one of our nights there and were treated to delicious Cutta steaks and a curried veg potjie. The following day we met a Dutch couple, Danny and Lieka and all six of us spent many hours gazing up at the lunar eclipse that evening on a deserted stretch of African beach. Definitely one of the trip highlights. After more socialising with our new friends over the following two days, we excitedly packed-up camp to head down to Inhambane, where we were going to be joined by friends from back home, Pierre, Ross and Dave!

After a mammoth drive from the Kruger, the guys arrived in Tofu, where we were waiting for them with much anticipation. It was amazing to see them again and we spent the evening catching up at Bamboozi Backpackers. We had such a great time, playing cards, swimming in the crystal clear Mozambican sea, exploring the area, buying fish for a delicious fish braai, and just lots of chats and laughs! We also caught some waves in Tofu, with Ross showing us the ropes.

After a few days in Tofu we packed-up Michael and Wilson (the Landy) and headed south to the beautiful, isolated area of Chidenguele. We had a great two days there. Grant and i felt like we were on holiday (from the trip :-)) and only every now and again remembered with mixed feelings that we are on the final final stretch of the trip! The guys needed to head back home and we needed to 'wrap the trip-up', so we all drove to Maputo together.

We met-up with my cousin Glenn and his wife Danae (who have lived in Mozambique for a number of years) and were entertained with insider's experiences of living in Mozambique and Maputo. Having friends to share our experiences with and make new memories with was wonderful and the perfect way to 'end' the trip. Thanks so much for meeting up with us Pierre, Ross and Daves (and Wilson of course)! We love you guys!!

Very soon we are going to brave the Maputo-Ponta sand road and enter into our beloved Sunny South Africa! We will then spend two nights with Craig and Nadia and get to see their home and life working at Manguzi hospital in Kosi Bay. After that we'll do the last stretch of the trip into Jozi!!

Bob, again, right on the money :)
"And when it's time for leaving Mozambique
Just say goodbye to sand and sea
You turn around to take a final peek
And you see why it's so unique to be
Among the lovely people living free
Upon the beach of sunny Mozambique"

As we mentioned, we are feeling quite mixed about the trip ending. We are overwhelmed that we have been so abundantly blessed in being able to live out our dream to travel through Africa together; and although we are sad that our nomad-life is coming to an end, we are so excited to see our family and friends again and we are proudly looking forward to the arrival of our first niece/nephew on the 30th June!! So, we have very exciting times ahead of us. Once we are back home, we will blog some of our 'trip stats' and those types of things.

... And Michael was his Name-O

Our Trusty Land Cruiser goes by the name of Michael Buble'. Unlike his human namesake, he is not from Canada, has not won any Grammy's and does not sing (he purrs). Our Michael got his name courtesy of Ang. When she first saw the Land Cruiser 80 Series she said they looked like big bubbles. Upon doing a little research we found that in Columbia and Venezuela the Land Cruiser was nicknamed Burbuja (Bubble) because of it's roundness. Bubble turned into Buble' and Michael was his name.

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