Bruce and I embarked on this 5 week adventure some time before records began. I suspect it would have been in 1999. The trip took us overland around some great parts of Southern Africa. We got to go on safaris, adventures and found some new friends.
Our trip was split into two tours…
The Nomad Safari
We greeted each other in Jo’berg after flying from different continents. On our second day we met the tour group (Nomad) for our first week of travels which would take us to Vic Falls.
Our tour consisted of 10 adults (some were rugby players) in a VW bus driven by “You killing me” Graeme. We were packed like sardines!
Front: Me, Middle: Peter, Erica, Sharon, Lee, Back: Carlo, Bruce, Paul, Angela
The first part of the tour was to Kruger National Park where we spent three days on safari. We got a good start on the big five by seeing a pair of Lions, some Buffalos and quite a few Elephants. A night safari added a Leopard to the count making that 4 out of 5 in the first park!
The Big Five consist of Lion, Leopard, Rhino, Elephant and Cape Buffalo. Animals they used to shoot with guns. Now we just use cameras.
We also saw many other cool animals and birds….
And got mooned at. This was not the only time!
The next few nights we camped in Bulawayo. Bruce and I sneaked out to check out the bars and discos. We seemed to be very popular with the locals, and escaped with no losses.
One trip took us to the Zimbabwe Ruins where they put on some entertainment for us.
With historical stuff completed we set of to the Chipangali Animal Hospital & Breeding Center, but not without a breakdown on the way. This was not the only time!
As you can see, lots of supervising going on.
We decided not to get our supplies from this place. Better look for some good meat.
The final day with the Nomad group took us to Victoria Falls where we finished of with a booze cruise and a nice view.
Bruce had a strange tree fetish at the time (or was it his girlfriend?). Anyhow, this was a “special” tree, apparently.
The Kumuka Safari
In Vic Falls we said fair well to our Nomad Tour and joined up with a larger truck tour run by Kumuka. No more fancy VW seating fur us any more. The new team:
From left-right top row: Tim “Fat boy”, Katrina “Xena”, Michèle, Steve “Grasshopper”, Anna, Pete, Matt “Silky”, Tracey, Bruce “Ralph”, Tony “Tiger”, Big Jon, Suzi, Claudia, Siân, Steve “Herbs”, Norma “Norms”, Sitting down: Matt, Felicity “Flick”.
Most of these guys had been touring together for a while making us the outsiders. I think we fitted in quite quickly.
We spent three nights in Vic Falls which gave us time to do a full days rafting (wild/mad), to check out the falls (big) and get to know the new tour group via a few beers. Our new tour guide was “Priscilla” and our driver was “Bwian” Rian.
It seems they lose a few tourist each year in the rapids, and a few more just fall of the falls. I’m not surprised.
Some proof I actually did it.
Once again we had a few close encounters with elephants, once on the way home from the pub and once in our camp site.
Lot’s of campers like to live out of reach from the animals.
However, Ryan (the drive) found out one night that even sleeping in his truck didn’t protect him from curious elephants.
The first few days with the new crew took us on a trip to Chobe National Park. During this journey we suffered four flat tires and a breakdown. We saw some animals as well!
Next we headed into the Okavango Delta on mocoris(?) to spend two nights camping rough and walking through the delta, guided by a group of locals.
We travelled around the delta via the waterways.
It was quite hard work (for the locals).
The entrance was guarded by some Hungry Hippos, supposedly the most dangerous animal in Africa. A few times our guides had to punt very carefully so as not to attract too much attention.
The camp site was basic. Toilet rules were to place the toilet paper in a tree to indicate the toilet was occupied. I never quite got how that worked, nor did the animals!
Some of the locals showed me how to make a bracelet and decorate a nut. I still have them.
Other locals just supported me with my beer drinking.
They made punting look simple. Unlike me.
We went walkabout in the open land of the delta and saw herds of Giraffes as well as visited an Elephant Graveyard.
On the return to civilisation we suffered one more puncture. This eliminated all travellers but me from being the jinx. I was lucky not to be lynched!
After a good shower, lots of drinking and a nights sleep we headed of to Rundu in Namibia where we celebrated Bruce’s birthday with more drinking…
Up for the next three days were Etosha National Park where we witnessed a Lion Attack and saw Rhinos in the wild, completing the Big Five. Wey Hey!
Poor Lions, they didn’t get any lunch that day.
Then a night was spent in a cheetah farm…
The next few days were spent traveling to Swakopmund via Twyflefonten (?) (rock paintings), Skeleton Coast and the Cape Cross Seal Colony…
A notorious area for shop wrecks.
And a lot of Seals…
That did not smell very nice.
We spent a lot of time in the back of the Truck. At times we got cabin fever, especially Xina.
In Swakopmund we went quad-biking and sand boarding during the day. Clubbing at night…
Contrary to any rumours, we did not get lost on our bikes, we just used an alternate route (damn dunes all look the same to me).
Even Ryan got into dancing at this disco.
To clear the hangovers we decided to climb the “Big Mama” dune. Two steps up, slip back 3 steps. It was hard.
But worth it.
Fish Water Canyon provided a whole host of adventures. We walking into it.
And flew over it.
Just encase you didn’t notice. Lets zoom in to see our plane being double mooned!
We also canoed down the Orange River. It was a lot more relaxing than at Vic Falls!
Then it was close to the end and we headed down to Cape Town via Cedarburg, where it had snowed!
Before getting into town we hit a and a few wineries in Stelinbock. Here we met a group of “doctors on tour” that had just lost one of their team out of a van window. Apparently the window fell out when he was mooning the traffic, while on a free way. luckily he was pre antithesis with wine and there were some doctors near by!
I spent several days in Cape Town, checking out Table Mountain, Cape Point, Cape of Good Hope and the usual tally of bars and clubs.
And that was it. After some sad farewells I returned to Manchester with a day stopover in Istanbul (The day after an earthquake!). p.s. Don’t buy $2 pints of aftershave from there, it’s fake.