October 06, 2002

9/10/2002 Zanzibar, Tanzania (phill) Okay,

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Okay, I'm alive. Sorry I havn't checked email or posted in so long, Africa
's a bit different. The tour is running at an AMAZING pace and there's just no time to do it. Africa
is brilliant. Repeat, brilliant. A complete turnaruond from every place I've been this year, there's basically no similarity. I'm so glad I did it.

I need to go respond to the important emails, but basically we've come through kenya and TaNZania so far. Our driver got struck down yesterday with Malaria (I'm on my pills don't worry) and everywhere we go is guarded with guns. NOT a safe place, but we're being careful. Did a 3 day safari on the Serenghetti and it was superb, saw Lions, leopards, elephants, rhino, hippo, crocs etc... I can't tell you how cool it was (well, not with the limited time I have!).

I'l post when I get some time, maybe tomorrow but Im supposed to be going to the old slave trade island and Diving. I'll do my best, sorry if I don't email you back today! There was too may and most of them were important!

Posted by Admin at 06:46 AM | Comments (0)

October 09, 2002

1/10/02 Nairobi,. Kenya (Phill) Well,

1/10/02 Nairobi,. Kenya (Phill)

Well, I didn't really see uch of Nairobi. We were pretty much locked up in a compound to keep us safe. I met some crazy coked-out Kenyan's. Rich white kids pretty much, but they were entertaining for a day. Slowly some of the other participants arrived and I really got on well with them. Seems like it's mostly Kiwi's and Aussies that are heading home after having worked in London for a while. They're lots of fun of course, and it's entertaining watching the rivalry between them. Most of the kids I really got a long well with aren't actually on my trip, they're doing the trip all the way to Cape Town and take 5 weeks to do what we do in 3. We all do the same stuff it's just we have longer drives (up to 12 hours per day). The driver and guide are both cool, Brett and V.

I'm partnered up with a kiwi called Stewart. He's been over in the uk playing cricket for 6 months, and we get along well. Our little sub group consists of a scot (me!), 3 kiwi's and 2 aussies. The age range on the trip is from 18 to 38, both of the extreme's are in our group, and funniliy enough the 38 years olds are far less mature than the 18 year old! It's great fun.

Anyway, our first day was a long drive down to Arusha. Crossing the border was good fun, lots of people trying to sell you trinkets and rip you off with fake money. They were trying an old trick where they offer to trade you a slightly torn US $20 for two of your $10's. The twenty's a fake and you get stuck with money you can't use. It's easy to bear though cause if you look at a US 10 or 20 in on the back in the bottom left corner inside the number 20. Look close and you'll see that the shading is actually words. Photocopiers can't copy these words well and on a fake you can't read them clearly.....

Posted by Admin at 01:03 AM | Comments (0)

3/10/02 Serenghetti Nat'l Park, Tanzania

3/10/02 Serenghetti Nat'l Park, TaNZania (phill)

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Well, the drive was LONG, bumpy and dusty. It was amazing, we switched into jeep's we had rented and off we went. The roads are pretty much non-existent on the way here and the dust is overwhelming. You spend have your time coughing and it's AMAZING how much the colour of your skin changes when you shower. There were times when we were driving along this road at 100km/h and you could see nothig outside the car cause of the dust. The driver didn't seem to care even though he admitted he couldn;'t see anything. I think cambodia has numbed me to being scared in cars.

The scenery is changing as we drive in, the planes are actually about 2 km about sea level and parts are relativly green. On the way our jeep manages to break down and we end up cramming into one of the others. Our jeep dissapears off and we wonder if we'll have to continue crammed this way. We camp for the night inside the national park and get the speech on not leaving your tent during the night since there will be animals wandering through the camp. Quite scary actually. During dinner the smell attracts a hyena which comes really close. We manage to scare it off with our torches. It was cool though. We're all sitting around, caked in dust and chatting when we hear noises. Crazy.

When we set up our tents, the normal spaciousness we leave between them is gone, tents are practically going up on top of each other! Of course, noone admitted fear being the reason! :) I stopped drinking liquids at about 6pm so I knew I woulnd't have to go pee during the night! I mean when lions are that close you don't want to leave your pack!

Posted by Admin at 01:12 AM | Comments (0)

5/10/02 Serenghetti Nat'l Park, Tanzania

5/10/02 Serenghetti Nat'l Park, Tanzania (phill)

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Yesterday we got our jeep back and went off in search of wildlife. We woke up about 6am becuase most of the animals are active mainly in the morning. Within seconds of leavign our camp we're face to face with some Giraffe's. It's amazing to see these creatures up close and actually share eye contact with them. We snap tons of pictures and head on. As we go we stop to see Hippo's in the water with birds on them, tons of Gazelle's and wilderbeste's. The first big sighting though is a Leopard up in a tree. These re quite rare to see and none of the other jeeps (outside of the 3 in our convoy) got to see one the whole time. On we go and find elephants. EWlephants are actually the top killer of human's surprisingly enough. The whole time I'm checking in my wildlife book about which animal we're looking at. Our guide has taken a KEEN interest in my book (Levi's his name, all Africa
n's we meet seem to have a western brand as a name!). Our first sighting of a Lioness was totally brillient, but as we approached we could see the Lion chilling in the sun too. They were devouring a gazelle although we didn't get to see it killed.

Throughout the day we came within feet (truely) of some of the worlds most dangerous animals. At one point a lion got so close that we hid inside the truck. I mean it was almost within touching distance, how cool is that!

Afgter the Serenghetti we went to the Ngororo Crater (mispelled but I'm in a rush!). Here we finally saw the last of the big 5: the Rhino. We also got to see a Hyena attack a group of about 1000 zebra's and come out empty handed!

Okay, out of time. Sorry!

Posted by Admin at 01:20 AM | Comments (0)

October 20, 2002

20/10/2002 Lusaka, Zambia (Phill) Okay,

20/10/2002 Lusaka, Zambia (Phill)


Okay, just a note to say I'm alive. Sorry no more today, Victoria Falls tomorrow and apparently email. Lots to say, went climbing with some friends and one of them fell off the cliff! Only broken bones though, I got away with some pretty deep gashes throughout my legs. Not good. Dove in Lake Malawi, that was cool. More tomorrow..

Posted by Admin at 03:57 AM | Comments (0)

October 21, 2002

21/10/2002 Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe (Phill)

21/10/2002 Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe (Phill)

okay I'll have to use summaries of everything so far, so much has happened!

ZaNZibar, TaNZania.

ZaNZibar is an island just off the coast of TaNZania. Basically it was the headquarters for Slavery. Great thing eh? Astonishingly they havn't overtouristed this concept which is respectable in a country that seems to try to do anything to cater to tourists. I took a boat trip to the holding island for the slaves which was a bit intense. The quarters they slept in was simply dispicable. Worse still, the descriptions of how they were loaded into shelves laying down above the previous shelf is terrible. Unable to move for the 6-8 week voyage and without any time to situp and walk around, most died in transit. Terrible stuff.

I was planning on Diving in ZaNZibar but couldn't talk the guy down in price so I didn't. Seems like they don't understand the concept of bartering for services here. I mean he told me there were only two people on his boat and that's why he couldn't barter, but I explained that's exactly why he should. The costs are the same for 3 for 2, so I would bring his average cost down significantly. He didn't budge, and neither did I.

As you drive on the truck it's pretty wierd, looking out the window as kids appear out of nowhere and wave or flick you off. Whenever you stop you get tons of kids and people beging for money. We stop in the morning on the side of the road for breakfast and out of nowhere (literally you can see no village or people when you stop) appear people waiting for our scraps. Sometimes it/s frustrating but it's very ignorant of me to think that way. Trying to eat your watermelon with someone desperately eyeing it up from meters away. We waste almost no food so most of the time we have nothing to give the people. We stopped after ZaNZibar in the shadows of Mt Kiliminjaro, an awesome sight. You could just see the snowcaps sticking out from the clouds.

kande Beach, Malawi 12/10/2002

Okay, I have a wee adventure story to share. On saturday morning, myself, Neil and Wes (english lads) decided to follow in Livingstone's footsteps and climb a mountain. Along with 3 little kids we started teh ascent. After a couple of hours in the blistering heat we lost the path, or it lost us. Eventually we were physically pushing our shoulderblades through 2 to 3 meter tall grass. The grass was simply slicing through our skin since it was so dry. Determined (or stubborn) we battled on and eventually conquered our way to the top. As we surveyed and patted ourselves on the back (and our 3 friends sold us postcards) we looked for an easier way back down. There wern't many options and once again on the downward trend we lost the path. Neill took to sliding down the loose surface on his arse but we all suddenly stopped when we were confronted with a cliff we had climbed on the way up. The edge was obvious since there was a lowly tree hanging over it desperatly. Wes was leading and he edged closer to the tree to see if we could scale the wall. He shouted back that he thought it was possible and so over I went. Unfortunately, when I got to the edge a loud crack was followed by me watching wes fall about 30 to 40 feet down the sheer edge. Luckily, or unluckily, his fall was partly slowed when he hit a rock ledge halfway down. Somehow he managed to stay upright the entire time which probably saved his back from being broken and landed in a seated postition. He was sitting below stunned and not answering our calls very intelligently but there was no way we could get to him. We had to find another way down which took about 20 minutes. When we finally got to him he was pretty much split open in multiple places, he had removed a 1/2 foot long branch from his thigh and was watching his wrist swell.

We got him up and started heading back down to find a doctor. Typical Wes he was ver apoligetic for causing us any inconvenience (seriously) and we headed to the base. It took a goof few hours of dwindling sunlight to reach the bottom since we still had more cliffs to clib down. At one point I was physically providing a ladder for wes to come down using my shoulders and hands. Crazy. We did make it back down only to find the local doctors closed and we had to get him a lift for the h0our drive to the nearest doctor. After some xrays in a very ill equiped hospital he returned casted up but in good spirits.

Posted by Admin at 08:55 AM | Comments (0)

22/10/2002 Vic Falls, Zimbabwe (phill)

22/10/2002 Vic Falls, Zimbabwe (phill)

South Luanga, Zambia

We came to SL for another safari, this one was a bit different since it included a night safari. Not as famous as the Serenghetti but still special in it's own right this place sounded great. We were camping right on the edge of the national park and I had heard from other overlanders going the opposite direction about tents being attacked etc... The camp is right on the path of the Elephants and Hippo's who come here to graze at night, so that was a bit scary. Once again we all set our tents up VERY close to one another. I didn't get much sleep, we could hear hippo's and lion's roaring in the distance and I woke many times to see very large shadows just outside my tent. Bit to much of a wussie to check them out though, although we were supposed to remain totally still. I managed to fall back asleep for a couple of hours.

in the morning our trash had been destroyed by Hyena's and Elephants and there were massive footprints all around! We went on our day safari and saw the typical Giraffe's, Lion's etc.. no more leaopards which is what I wanted to see. The night safari was a bit of a dissapointment anyway, no leopards! Saw the same as the day safari except it was dark! We all loaded into open jeeps (nowhere to hide this time) and drove around with a massive flashlight looking for eye reflections. Anyway, it was worth the money but I was hoping for more.

Vic Falls 21/10
Arrived in Vic Falls today after getting through the shady border controls. Actually they've all been shady, always out to rip you of and lie continuously. Luckily Brett who's in charge know's exactly what hes doing (3 years of doin this trip now) and doesn't get pushed around easily. He's a good guy, kiwi though :)

My first task was to skip the booze cruise that all my truck mates went on and go find a way to cape town. There's tons of drinking on this trip and really it's not my scene. I've been feeling a bit chlostrophobic (sorry spelling..) but everyone's nice and fun to hang out with. I did do a big drinking night last week when Brett organized a fancy dress thing. Basically you had to go to the market and buy an outfit ($2 limit) for some other personn on the trip. All the guys got dresses of course, I ended up with a fetching green nightie. There were lots of people in the camp that night (another overland truck) and so it was very easy to start converstation! Good night.

Think I've found a truck to Cape Town on Thrusday for $30 which is MUCH less than the $300 for a flight. Basically the tour trucks generally go one direction and then have to drive all the way back to the start empty, so I hunted all the sights today and chatted to all the truck drivers and think I've got one. Need to go meet with them now.

Posted by Admin at 09:05 AM | Comments (0)

October 23, 2002

23/10/2002 Vic Falls, Zimbabwe (Phill)

23/10/2002 Vic Falls, Zimbabwe (Phill)

Yesterday I went accross to see the truely awesome Victoria Falls. VF is one of the 7 natural wonders of the world and it's no surprise. The mist coming up from the falls was brilliant for cooling yourself off in the sun. The views down the gorge was totally cool too. Very impressed, although I couldn't help think that today I'd be throwing myself off that same gorge!

Up early today and said goodbye to our driving team and truck. Afterwards we loaded onto a jeep and crossed the border back into Zambia for the Gorge Swing. The Gorge Swing is 111m up in the air and you basically get harnessed in and step off the edge. It's like bungee (you actually free fall longer than the equivalent bungee) and then the rope catches and swings you accross the ground. The company said you hit approx 140km/h and come within a meter of the tree tops and they wern't wrong! Before the swing we did a flying fox accross the gorge. Basically they have steel cables running the width and you strap in and run towards the edge and simply jump. The wires carry you accross to the other side. Very cool. After that we did absailing which is jumping down the side of a cliff backwards and then Rap Jumping which is running down a cliff edge looking down the whole way, scary. The Gorge Swing of course was the highlight. You can do it either facing forwards, backwards or doing the so-called 'Death-Drop' which is when you fly down upside down. No prizes for guessing which one I chose.... Very cool, I was very much petrified and having sky-Diving and bungee flashbacks! It's the same fear. In fact, I'd venture to say that bungee was scarier but mainly cause I had never done anything like that before.

Anyway, I survived and am now safely home. Waking up tomorrow at 5am for the 24 hour drive to Cape Town. Should be fun :)

Posted by Admin at 09:40 AM | Comments (0)

October 26, 2002

26/10/2002 Cape Town, South Africa

26/10/2002 Cape Town, South Africa
(Phill)

This is getting insane, too many countries! I'm now on my 46th country this year! My passport is looking totally worn out.

The truck ride was okay, we left at 5am and drove directly through the country of Botswana. The truck wa actually from a competing company that was being reutrned empty to Cape Town. On board were a couple of guides from the company and a driver, all South Africa
n and I ended up talking to one of them, David, most of the way. We drove from 5am to midnight and then slept in the truck at a truck stop in Johanessburg (sp?) and set back off at 5am arriving late last night after midnight. Problem is that I didn't have a place reserved to stay and Cape Town is NOT a safe city. Luckily Lawrence the driver got me to the main hostel street and walked me to a hostel. Definately a rough area.

I went straight to bed and woke up late this morning. When I went downstairs this morning to find out what I could walk and see today I was strongly advised not to walk anywhere. "it's not safe, you need to catch a taxi with on of our recommended services, don't get one on the street". Bit worrying :)

Anyway, I'm almost fully awake now and I'm off to explore. I've pretty much learned where not to walk so I should be okay. Still don't know what my plans are for the next 10 days. My Aunt Sandra is going to be in Joberg in a few days time and my friend Pip is stationed in Mozambique which are both options. I do want to go cage Diving with great white sharks though which is in Durban and perhaps take a bus to Namibia to go sand-board in the world's largest desert. So who knows!

Posted by Admin at 02:11 AM | Comments (0)

October 29, 2002

29/10/2002 Cape Town, South Africa

29/10/2002 Cape Town, South Africa
(Phill)

Well, I'm walking with a limp. Twisted my knee in a crazy way today. S'pose I should start at this morning. Well, today was the Sand-Boarding day. Basically it's just like Snow Boarding except on sand. The sport uses the same equipment etc... you simply walk up the massive sand dune and strap in and off you go. Snow Boarding is of course synonymous with broken legs and ankles. Since the other two people knew how to board the cool Swedish Instructor spent the first 30 minutes or so making sure I was learning okay, which I was. The easy slopes were dead easy, it wasn't till I graduated to the massive dunes that I got in trouble. You know me, bit overconfident sometimes, particularly in sports. Off I go down this hill, board nicely waxed, picking up lots of speed and I try and cut right and the front of the board digs into the sand, my head plants into the ground and my board twists over my body. It definately hurt, but with all the people watching and cheering I had to get up and bow and walk the rest of the hill. Sat out for a bit of course.

Anyway, it didn't hurt enough to keep me off the slopes and I did manage to get decently good at it. I was hurting enough to pass on the jump we built though, I knew that wouldn't be good!

Once I actually got in the truck to drive back I could definately feel the pain, now it's pretty hard to put any weight on it. Tomorrow is shark Diving though, so if the shark gets through the cage I won't be able to swim very far :)

Great day though, oh yeah, my camera is destroyed too, full of sand. That's probably not good for it!

Posted by Admin at 07:53 AM | Comments (0)

October 31, 2002

31/10/2002 Cape Town, South Africa

31/10/2002 Cape Town, South Africa
(Phill)

I'm barely hobbling along the streets these days, my knee is pretty much seized! Yesterday we got up early to go and play with great white sharks. It's about a 2 hour drive to the shark site but on the way we did stop to watch whales hanging out in a bay. It's amazing to just stand on the shore and watch these MASSIVE beasts just chillin'. We also got to see quite a few whales beaching (jumping out of the water) and that was very Free Willyish!

Unfortunately there were massive winds in the Cape yesterday and after we got to the site the trip was cancelled. Quite honestly it was probably a good thing since my body was falling apart that day. The infections in my leg aren't exactly going away (from the cliff falling day) and my right knee isn't exactly bending. On top of this I can't raise my arms up much! Not good! We rescheduled the dive for Saturday though, so I'm excited about that. The cage you hang out in isn't exactly thick though, but worrying!

I spent last night with a group of nice Danish and English and went to a place called the Drum Cafe. Basically they give you a bongo drum and you sit in a big circle playing it. Really good fun!

Today was the wine tour. I woke up and my knee was still pretty bad, a bit better though. So the bus picks us all up and heads out, there's a couple from Scotland, Dom and Suzzie. Can you believe Dom actually lives on Millport! We couldn't find any common childhood friends but we did spend quite a bit of time making fun of the Neds from Largs! More importantly he pointed out that Celtic is playing Blackburn tonight! So we'll be meeting up with some English lads for that!

The wine tour was good, granted it was a thinly disguised excuse to get drunk. We went to 4 big vineyards and tried all sorts of wines. I even spat a few of them out (like you're supposed to), but only the ones I didn't like. Cool stuff. ALthough the ride home was a bit insane! Suzzie managed to be sick all over the driver and then all over the floor, too much wine! Don't think I'll be drinking wine for a while!

Bought my flight from Cape Town to Joburg on the Africa
n equivalent of RyanAir. $50 for the flight, not bad!

Okay, Celtic game in 2 hours, must go meditate and prepare :)

Incidently, I wasn't the Scottish boy killed on the bus crash. I havn't even heard about it, just the concerned emails.

Posted by Admin at 08:33 AM | Comments (0)