Africa: 789

Moleskine entry: August 7th, 2009

Thank the lord for the wonder that is the iTrip. The journey from Botswana to Zimbabwe just got a million times better thanks to the addition of some Kings of Leon.

Stan, our driver, is cool.

My passport is filling up, the amount of times we’ve crossed the border it just crazy.

SA, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia (strangely quite comforting to be back there), and back to Botswana again.

Now we’re en route to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.

Bring. It. On.

Air, land and sea

Moleskine entry: August 6th, 2009

Plane: England -> South Africa
Plane: South Africa -> Zambia
Bus: Zambia -> Chobe River
Boat: Chobe River -> Botswana (for 45mins)
4×4: Botswana -> Chobe River
Boat: Chobe River -> Namibia

When we were told this challenge was to ride the Zambezi, all of the information we had been given (before our itineraries arrived), implied that we were to be staying in Zambia.

As it turned out, we were actually to spend the majority of our time in Zimbabwe. Not before however, we returned to Namibia for one night of relaxation at the Ichingo Chobe River Lodge, situated right on the banks of the Chobe River itself.

Tonight’s treat? Speedboat Safari.
I’ll hopefully get some good photos… I can’t believe how much I’m really enjoying this camera.

My mate, Marmite

How do you feel about Marmite?

Me, I love it. In fact I could eat it with a SPOON.
Obviously, some people hate it. I mean REALLY hate it.

But what if, just imagine, you’d gone through your whole life without ever trying it. Ever.

Well, one morning, out in the middle of Damaraland, that’s exactly what we discovered Manzoor had done.

Something which, of course, we had to rectify…

It wouldn’t be a NaVloPoMo post without tipping you off about someone else’s efforts…
So why not go give one of Benny Crime’s videos a whirl.

You’ll never feel the same again…


Windsocks and toilets

“Houston. We have a problem.”

It would seem that the 30-day video marathon that is NaVloPoMo has arrived slap, bang in the middle of the first decent writing stride I’ve had in donkeys.

This is largely in part thanks to the wealth of written content I have hidden away in my new best friend and travelling partner, my moleskine.

Alas, as video cannot be held inside its tender pages, the ‘tales from my moleskine‘ series may have to take a back seat for the time being.

We’ll pick it back up again in December. Promise.

If you’ve missed it all so far and fancy a dive, by all means, just click on the word moleskine and you’ll be magically transported. However, if instead you’d rather stick around and see what ocular treats I have lined up for you today, then please, make yourself comfy… We’re off to Africa.

The date is July 8th, we – the first batch of Lucozade Winners and I – had left Damaraland that morning and boarded our own private Cessna to fly up to a place called Haartmann Valley. From there on in, it’ll be a three hour drive to our next camp. Eesh.

It’s pretty remote, but we’re told it’s paradise.

This short video, put together soon after we arrived, hopefully gives you some kind of insight at just how remote ‘remote’ is when you’re in Africa.

Hat tip to @reyes who duly pointed out the base for this month’s shenanigans.

Coming home from Namibia

Rejoining the ‘Notes from my Moleskine‘ series, we round up the final three pages from the first Lucozade Challenge: Sandboarding in Nambia.

—– Shofat, Manzoor, Sam, Me, Foyce and Suhel —–

Moleskine entry: July 12th, 2009

I’m home, at last…

We were all supposed to be back Saturday (today is Sunday), but early morning fog meant we couldn’t land in Walvis Bay and so we missed our connection. 24hrs in Windhoek, the Namibian capital, ensued. Forget the delay, the most hilarious thing I saw in those 24hrs was our pilot, Elsa, texting the control tower telling them she couldn’t see them

I digress, the important part is:

I am home.


Learnings & Memories

: Four kids from Brum can be all the company you’ll ever need for an extreme sports holiday to Africa.

: The stars. They still amaze me.

: A midnight meteor shower over the plains of Damaraland – breathtaking.

: Shofat walking (and subsequently falling) into the swimming pool in Serra Cafeme.

: Dries. Sandboarding. Brilliant.

: Must buy a circular polariser for the camera.

: Satphones can be incredibly useful and yet incredibly infuriating at the same time.

: Lions. Outside the tent.

: Quad-biking at dusk.

: Taking so many photos – a joy.

: Power! She needs more power Cap’n!


The winners for stage two have been drawn and the competition for stage three opens real soon. Between now and then however, I’ll be Cattle Ranching through Wyoming. I’ve never ridden a horse before, let’s see how that works out…

Before I close the book on stage one mind, I need to make sure I write something about Eric & Raymond.

These were the two guys that held our hands and showed us the way the whole time we were there in Namibia. Without them it would’ve a been very, very boring trip and probably quite rubbish too.

Gents, I tip my hat. Thank you, both of you. You made it all worthwhile.

Notes from Namibia

Moleskine entry: July 9th, 2009

I’ve never flown this far South before. Cape Town is 10hrs straight down. Damaraland, Namibia 2hrs back up again.

The stars are very different here.

Last night we slept out under the skies, in the middle of a half-million hectare concession, where people, wildlife and animals all co-exist together. Rhino, Springbok, Zebra, Giraffe, Leopard, Cheetah, Elephant and Ostrich. We’re told there’s no real danger, but we’re quiet all the same.

On the way out, Eric – our guide – remarks that the stripes of a Zebra are as unique as that of a human fingerprint.

“Zebras have human fingerprints?”…asks a not-really-listening Suhel.
“Yes Suhel, Zebras have human fingerprints.”

We laugh, uncontrollably.

Lions walked past through our camp, right past them. There are paw prints outside my door. I heard them late, out there in the dark, purring their deep, low grumble. Not quite a growl, not quite a roar but still… that sound.

A glimpse through the window revealed nothing. I could see the light from a distant toilet-tent knocking gently in the trees, but that is all. The moonlight, so bright out here in the middle of nowhere, shines down clearly, basking all in pale illumination.  But I see nothing.

Still, I hear them mumble.