Apr 19, 2012

Hard times, fun times and a whole lot of luxury

Finally figured out what was wrong with my mcel connection in mozambique, well went to a mcel shop and helped a local work the phone while he tried to explain in portugese what the problem might be. Since the last update which was typed almost a week ago but only went through now, briefly the following has happened.

Had rain sun mud sand, muddy sand (which i'm still trying to figure out if it is worse than mud) forests savanna parks wild riding and way too much to properly describe and still get some rest. Well here's for trying

After arriving in Mbamba anf waiting for the boat i was seriously glad wouldn't head into the mountains again. Had a chat with my uncle (who is taking his sons on a serious piki piki trip to kenia, http://www.growingnations.co.za/) who convinced me that the section up to the border was some of the best riding they've done. So into the mountains again we go. 'Luckily' there was a shortcut from Mbamba to the border so did not have to detour to Songea. Met up with my uncle also august and his son, Gustav. (the other august had bad crash and was resting his hand). Yes there are plenty of us crazy people wandering around.

In any case was smashing being able to have a conversation without sign langauge, and in afrikaans. Had oats and lots of treats (HONEY!!) at side of road. Made my sorely miss my oats which got evenly distributed between the airports at the start of my journey (combined with the fact that most days i cycle 2-3hours before having something more than a couple of handaz to eat, even more so). They very graciously offered to tow me up the mountain, which def saved me a couple of hours and is a story in its own rigth, some scary moments and got sprayed with mud. Unfortunately also lost matras but going along fine without, trying to ride a bit harder so i'm more tired at night;). Also the super welding job we did in mbamba held a total off 8km. Luckily makeshift fixed it again and oom august found the ingenious high tech solution of bungi cord (which held for the next 400km).

Had another epic two days through the mountains, the 'road'/track is only being used by motorbikes so basicly did a slightly wide overgrown singletrack. You might be able to take a 4*4 through there if you have a lot of time and seriously do not love your car. So the riding was spectacular. Some seriously scary moments on slippery sections in morning through the forests with panniers weight pushing me all over the place. Was kinda glad for it though would have def wrecked myself if didnt have to slow down for them. Riding was well worth the amount of climbing/pushing i had to do. The problem of the shortcut and the border meant that i was going parrallel to the border and over all the mountains instead of keeping along one. Still amazing views along the way.
'Found' Lipiramba, which according to my maps and gps should only have popped up 40km later. Locals pretty convinced that this was in fact where Lipiramba has always been. Made the river crossing in a boat which had to be emptied out after every crossing, interesting times.
Border crossing was quite slow, both times the officials had to be phoned and drove out to stamp me through. First live snake encounter. Very difficult situation at mozam side made me think no i'm not going to bribe them but they only didnt want me to ride through the park close to night. Thanked them for their concern and kept going. Very peaceful sleep in park, missed big herd ellies by hour or so, no animals although lot of tracks in mud. Had absolutely horrid section of 10km in mud, with panniers tied down had about 0.5cm of clearance between wheel and top so made for a very effective braking mechanism. Also extremely effective at getting one's spirit way way down. Had some interesting afrikaans phrases slip which hopefully the locals didnt catch or wont repeat. Had someone make me food sonce nothing in village to buy. Also refused my money. Paid dearly for making the mistake of not taking bad exchange rate from local (up to there everyone accepted shillings and then suddely nothing and couldnt exchange anywhere). Extremely hungry ride for 90km, which turned to 110, into Lichinga. Stopped at first atm and bakery, best doughnuts and some weird pastries i've ever had.

Luxury food and some extremely friendly people making my life much easier in Lichinga, thanks Keith! Also got panniers sorted proper, lets hope it makes sa.

Plan is to leave lichinga tmr, stamp out here, and do another coastal ride on lake malawi into malawi. Might regret taking on the mountains again but should be much more interesting than the 130km tar ride to chiponde. Not so sure about signal so next update might only happen in Malawi.


  1. For those confused all the August'e in one blog except for one
    Remind me of my studies...... all the rules except this one

    Luckily the grandad have not lost the plot.

    Keith thank you for everything.

  2. Hoi poloi!! Somr al te frai om so greeld postpuzzles kry om te go fish figure.. ,kani wag om ali stories uiti konyn se bek t hoor wannir hy terug@tuisgat isi* mnet i inloer bdskapi om te se ahoy yo gsig word gmis so ja flapflapflap* my sterre ganou w hul maitjis mis ha..hopi te veel trokke vnand ni*ek wens vjou bai oats&heuning*traladidaa*