A Travellerspoint blog

Throffin in Mozam........

Another two-three months down and it is time to update the blog again. So what has changed about me? I now am a blond due to the sun and my hair is past my ears. I am also starting to look like a local due to my sun tan.

So, where was I when I last updated my blog? Harare., Zimbabwe. It turned out to be a cool time due to some cool people and some cool camping in the northern wilderness mountains of Zimbabwe. I met several guys staying in the hostel who had been chatting to a guy called George about a new lodge he had been building in the north of Zimbabwe and he wanted us to be the first to visit (at no cost). It was about a three hour drive to get there (I think I slept for 2 of them). We were up a mountain, in the middle of nowhere. The closest village was about a 30-40min drive from us. It was beautiful. We camped in little ‘A’ frame huts, went for a trek to the waterfall, got back late so we tried to cook on the fire and drunk wine and beer. We all sat round putting the world to rights. It was great.

Then, back to Harare…. What a difference. Back to the Mozambique Embassy, only to be rejected for the visa I need so I decided to move on to the border and try my luck. It was a 4:30am start with a lift to the centre to catch the combi-bus. That took a few extra hours as he blew the engine up so we had to catch another one as they passed. Then a shared taxi with 7 people in it to the border. Through the border and on to another combi to a town called Chimaio. Just my luck, it was pissing it down. I popped in to a small cafe and the guy who owned it gave me some help with where I had to go next. Another Combi to a crossroads in an area called Inchobe where I would have to hitch the next 600k. The light was dropping and I was getting a tad worried I would be sleeping by the side of the road again. Finally a guy with his two daughters and baby son picked me up. We finally worked out a price, 500mzn (about £9). They were a lovely family they even fed me dinner in the car. The kids had a very small amount of English and the dad had none. My Portuguese has a lot of fine tuning to be done. I finally got to Maxixe at about 1am and the first boat across the water to where I needed to get to was 5:30, hmmm. So I found a bench to sleep on. Not a very nice bench either. So after no sleep at 5am I jumped on a rickety old boat for a very choppy ride to Inhambane. Then finally another hour long combi (called a chappa in Mozambique) to Barra. That was a hard 24 hour journey.

So I finally arrived at the dive centre. I had my own room in a read shack and I got to unpack my bag. God that felt good. I met some really good friends here, Nick and Kurt, Jezza and Caro, Chris and Annie, and of course Predi. I got on with pretty much everyone there. The diving was amazing. Better than any other diving I had ever done before. Mantas, sharks, whale sharks, stingrays, morays, frogfish, lionfish, paper fish..... The list just keeps going on and on

So I was pretty settled by now and was enjoying the work although we were getting up at 5:15am and finishing work at 4:30-5pm then a few beers, a shower, food, a few more beers and then it was time for bed. This was the general day to day routine.

Christmas day. We had all been drinking quite heavily the night before so everyone was a tad quiet first thing we had a few dives going on and then we were finished. The dive was great. I dived with Sok and my Santa hat. We all finished work and got ready for Christmas celebrations round the pool. Good food (that was a huge luxury), lots of drink and Santa. Good old Rob, an Englishman with the loudest laugh and voice for that, took that role. Everyone had to pick a name out of the hat and spend no more than 100mzn (£1.75ish) and it had to be useless. Very amusing. I got a mango stone. Yep, the stone from the inside of a mango. I think mine was the most useless. I will defiantly be doing Christmas on the beach again.

New years eve..... I don't really remember much about that one. 11 people in a car to get to Tofo. The boot wasn't the most pleasant ride. Midnight was spent on the beach with Nick and Kurt then on to a beach club where we partied till about 7am then 11 of us got back in to Richie's car to find other bars back in Barra. Everything was closed so we went back to the dive centre with a rake of beers by the pool. I finally crashed at about 10:30am. Up again at 3pm for beers at the bar (and tequila). Ooops, big mistake. The 2nd Jan was a hard day.

Barra got quiet after about the 6th when all the south Africans went back to work. We were still diving every day so I was still happy. Then a few new guys joined the team. One in particular, Tine, a beautiful girl from Belgium. The rest of that story, I will let you guess at.

Tete with no buses to Zambia and my trusty thumb was failing me. So I spent the night on a campsite and got chatting to a south African couple. They were off to Malawi the next morning. So I jumped in with them. And here I am. I have been round two city's here on my way to Zambia (tomorrow) as I will be coming back to Malawi in 3-4weeks to meet up with Tine to travel Malawi with her.

I will update again in a couple of months.

Miss you all (ish).

Ben and Sok xxx

P.s Sok is fine and says 'Hi'

Posted by benhowe2 08:30 Comments (0)

What a bastard!

So what has been happening since my last update? I didn't expect the next update to come so soon but as you will see, it's been an interesting 2 days.

Let's start with the day after I sent the last update. I get up at normal time 5am sunrise, I went for a swim in the river (they had crock nets to stop them coming in) and went to use the net to transfer some money as I am spending money quicker than I ever imagined. So I get to town and try to take out some money. Nope, card won't work in both of the cashpoints in town. Hmmmm, so I try to phone the bank via Skype but the net is too slow here. I had changed about $120 so I thought I would get across to Bulawayo in Zimbabwe as it should be easier to find good Internet in a town.

The bus, hmmm, this thing must have been built before the war and it had had a hard life. It sat maybe 45 people, there must have been 65-70, all with luggage that they had gone to Botswana to buy and bring back to Zimbabwe. Although it was crushed, it was a journey I really enjoyed. The locals all wanted to talk to me, or share their food with me, or a 'local' cigarette. So I was quite chilled for allot of the trip.

I arrive at the hostel. This is going to be the first time I have a bed for 3 weeks. As much as I love my tent, I was looking forward to this one. Oh how it disappointed me. I went for dinner in a cheap cafe, and got back to bed. I sat on the bed reading for 20 min but I had started to itch, then really itch. Bed bugs. "Noooooo! Don't ruin this for me, I was so looking forward to this". So I had to sleep on the floor. :-(

Next day I went to try my other bank card at the ATM, it only allowed me to have $40, I had $70 in total. So I went to find internet. I sat talking to my bank for over an hour, they had canceled my card as a debit of £1701.91 had come out in Namibia. Not me. We finally worked out that over the past months they had been taking a small amount out each day and then one big amount, total, £2584.84!!! Sorry for this language Mum but, fucking bastards! So it wasn't me spending the money so fast after all

With one card cancelled and the other worthless. I called 'Daddy' and asked him to go and put some money in to my second account. That he did. I will not find out if the second card will work till tomorrow.

So I decide to get the train to vic falls as it will be easier and full of tourists that could hitch a lift to Harare. I get my bags ready for 3k walk to station with 25kilo on my back, and the heavens opened. I was soaked through and so was everything in my bag. Can today get any worse? Yes it can.

Due to the storm, all the power has been knocked out in the town. The train can't leave until the power is back. So the choice was, stand in the rain or get eaten alive by the Mosquitos in the train? I was already wet so, let's stay wet. The train finally left 3 hours late 'africa time' they call it and I fell asleep within 10min. And here I am sat in a train writing this now at 5am sat on the doorway floor with my legs hanging out of the train watching the wildlife as we ride through the national park. There is a good side to everything.

The strange thing is, none of this has stressed me out. I have been smiling all the way through my challenges. We will see if I can get hold of money when I eventually get to vic falls. And if not. I have a tent and a loaf of bread to keep me happy.

Next update. My second card is working. Phew!

So I got to vic falls. Have met a really funny guy called Paul and German girl called Yvonne. I didn't do any activities with Paul but I have to mention him as he just has all the energy and enthusiasm in the world inside his sideshow bob hair.

Yvonne and I went to the falls and walked up and down for a few hours. They are amazing to see in real life. But the best thing I saw was a double rainbow, but not just any double rainbow. This one had the top rainbow upside down.... Nice, you don't see that every day. The next few days were a bit of a chill out and I met a girl from Cornwall. Then the big one, the mighty Zambezi river rapids on a raft. That was great. We got thrown everywhere. They say it is one of the 3 rivers you msg do if you are in to rafting.

I then took a 15hour bus ride to Harare. I met a group of people who were invited to the north of the country to be the first people to stay in a new lodge up in the mountains. It was beautiful, we were staying in tiny A-frame huts. Cooking on a fire and consuming as much red wine as we possibly could fit inside ourselves.

That was yesterday and today I have been in to the centre of Harare..... Hmmm, I see why they call it mini Joburg now. I am having some trouble with my Mozambique visa at the moment so could be here for a few days.

I would like to also thank all the people who offered to help me in my time of need. Thank you all.

I will update soon.

Wish us luck.

Ben and Sok

;-)

Posted by benhowe2 08:30 Comments (0)

Two months in to Sok and my global adventure.

Hi everyone,

Hope you are all well and about to enjoy another day in the office. I'm writing this sat under a pitch black sky, next to a small fire (that I just cooked the fish I caught at lunch time) and my tent. Listening to hippo grunting and crocks no more than 50m away from me. I think I will stick to my office thanks.

Please pass this on to anyone I have missed, I have loads of addresses missing or incorrect like James Murray etc. Please ask them to email me back with the correct email address.

Just thought I would send out a quick update to let you all know what I have been up to as I have finally got wifi that works with my iphone. Please just let me know if you don't want to be included in any future updates.

So, where to begin? Dubai- thanks to my wonderful hosts I had a great 4 days in Dubai and Abu dhabi. Very relaxed to clubbing at a headkandi night on the beach with the Atlantis hotel as the backdrop. Thanks again Jenna and Elliot.

Then on to Africa! South Africa to start with. Wow, what a country. I will be going back. I started in Joburg but not allot to tell about that. In fact, it is not a good place to be on your own. So my plan was to get the train to cape town.... Nope, they canceled that line two weeks before. Hmmmm, looks like the only plan I had has been turned upside down. Durban then. Durban was one big party. The barman at the hostel was a pisshead. So I joined him for 4 days. I still have blank memories from there.

Next I moved on to one of my favourite parts of my trip so far. Coffee bay. I loved that place. In fact, I ended up staying an extra two nights. I had surfing lessons (£3.90 for a two hour lesson) that I obviously need as I have cracked two ribs during surfing according to a doctor. Hiking, watching the sun go down from a cliff top (only seen it come up once, that was because I hadn't gone to bed yet) the sea etc It was also where I met most of the people I would be traveling with through to cape town. Next few stops weren't that great as we had allot of rain for about a week. The next big thing for me was 'storms river'. The highest bungy off a bridge in the world.... 216m.... 3, 2, 1, BUNGYYYYYY. That was goooood!

I met with 3 girls in storms river who I traveled with for a few days more and then met again in Cape Town. We stopped in a place called Knysna where we did a tour of the town and went for the best steak I have ever had. Cooked to perfection. Well, I say cooked, hot on the outside, still moooing on the inside.

There were one or two more stops on the way through but I won't bore you all too much. Cape Town, what a great place. I ended up staying here for 3 extra days also (I got drunk and slept through my alarm so missed my bus). There is so much to do in CT, most southern point of Africa, table mountain, long street, the harbour, Simons town etc. But the big one for me was cage diving with the great White shark. What an awesome creature. We also got a pair of Wales come past as a bonus.

Next stop for me was Namibia. I got a 21 hour bus to Winhoek then got a 5 hour bus to Swakopmund. Basically, a town in the middle of a desert. So, in the desert, the last thing I expect to do is snowboarding. Yep, sandboarding is great. And it didn't hurt when I fell over (those who went skiing with me know I spent more time on my arse than my feet with a board).

Next I teamed up with an American girl to go to the north to Etosha park. We rented a car and were able to drive ourselves through the park. We saw thousand of zebra, elephants, springbok, giraffes, kudu and loads more all on the first day. We also saw some rhino but they were quite far away. That night we lit a fire and cooked dinner (a meat feast) before moving to the water hole. The place we were staying in the middle of the park had set up a raised seating area over looking the watering whole. When we got there two rhinos had just arrived, mother and child. They were no more than 25m away from me. Then after we had spotted hyenas, zebra and again, many more. The next day we drove back through the park and as we were driving along, a male lion wandered out in front of us. Followed by a female and then the alpha male. Shit, he was big. That day we saw seven lions in all including three females sleeping under a tree 10m away from our car.

From there I have hitch hiked across to Botswana as there was no direct route on public transport. I have met some really interesting people while hitching.

So Botswana, what friendly people. You can't pass anybody on the street without them saying hi. So first stop was Chobe national park. The hotel I camped in was the plushest place so far. Beautiful surroundings, the main area was built in to the trees, swimming pool, bar etc. So first morning I went in to the park on a tour at 5am for 4 hours. The guide took us to an area where they had seen a leopard kill the night before. And she was still there in the tree for us. She was no more than 20m away from us. She then jumped down and climbed the next tree to go and finish last nights dinner (we think it was a springbok but not enough left to tell). That was worth the £18 it cost me just for that. We also bumped in to a herd of elephants on the way back that must have been 100 strong. The next morning I was leaving, so a fully grown male wild bore (this is in the hotel grounds) decided to try to get in to my tent as I was sleeping. That is a f-ing scary experience. The only reason it stopped was as one of the security guards shot it with a slingshot.

Next on to the Okavango delta. The safari highlight. After the 9 hour bus journey I booked 3 nights in the delta. 6am got in to the mokoro (canoe carved from a ebony tree) with the poler and my guide and off we go 1.5 hours in the heat to the camp site. Now, when I say camp site, I mean a tree covered area in the African bush about 50k from the closest electricity. Just me and the mokoro poler. Set up camp. Lit the fire to warn off the wildlife etc. Then when it cools down a tad we went for a 4 hour walk. I was walking along side elephant, giraffe, hippo, zebra, baboon, buffalo, wild bore and although we didn't see them, lions, leopard, hyena etc. That was a great feeling. We did two walks a day like this. I recommend it to all.

Im now making my way over to Zimbabwe on another long bus journey. I hope to hear from some of you soon. And remember, just let me know if you want to come and meet up at some point. I'm in Africa until about march/April. I will try to upload some photos soon but the Internet is crap here.

Look forward to seeing some responses.

Ben xx

Posted by benhowe2 08:28 Comments (0)

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