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Anna and James - travelling the classic Cairo to Cape Town route in our Landcruiser.

Trip Start: 2012-11-03 Trip End: 2013-02-28 .

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In to the cauldron…

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We nearly bought a car without air conditioning. By this stage we had travelled through most of Africa without really needing it, but after the first couple of hours in southern Namibia, surrounded by unbearable heat for most of the…
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Namibian Nomads

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Our arrival in Namibia was inauspicious. Having taken the off road track from near Gunmare in Botswana (quite a bold move in wet season), we bumped and swerved our way to the small shack which marked the border. A brief…
<br><div><span>We’d heard that everyone in Rwanda is terribly polite and this proved to be the case.  The first people we met after the border were these lovely students who came to welcome us to their village and the country as we stopped to take some photos at a lake.  They had been learning English in school and were keen to practise (a lot of the older generation speak French but nobody is particularly keen on France post 1994 so English now seems to be the language to learn).</span></div><div><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-Xiax2Hw5qmE/USYD0dHxdzI/AAAAAAAAEJ0/k34O-KkT1tg/s1600/P1000780.JPG"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-Xiax2Hw5qmE/USYD0dHxdzI/AAAAAAAAEJ0/k34O-KkT1tg/s320/P1000780.JPG" width="320"></a></div><div><span><br></span></div><div><span><br></span></div><div><span>We were even more surprised when we got to Kigali and the roads were beautifully clean and all the motorcycle taxi drivers wore helmets and even carried a spare one for their passengers! </span></div><div><span></span></div><div><p><span><br></span></p></div><div><p><span>In Kigali we met up with Kamanda - a friend of a couple of guys from our work.  He works for Friends of Rwandan Rugby, an NGO that promotes the sport in Rwanda.  Here's their website if you're interested in going out to help with their work as Tom and Rob did.   </span></p><span>http://www.friendsofrwandanrugby.org.uk/da/109570</span></div><div><span><br></span></div><div><span>He took us out for some drinks and music in Kigali, but sadly we couldn't make it out to the women's rugby tournament he was running as James had some tummy troubles.</span></div><div><span><br></span></div><div><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-VT3p4KifLcE/USYFo650OzI/AAAAAAAAEKg/fA6j5bKf2E0/s1600/P1000784.JPG"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-VT3p4KifLcE/USYFo650OzI/AAAAAAAAEKg/fA6j5bKf2E0/s320/P1000784.JPG" width="320"></a></div><br><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-oXkeZXSJGhA/USYFp1_hNqI/AAAAAAAAEKo/8SSBCQSRssA/s1600/P1000787.JPG"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-oXkeZXSJGhA/USYFp1_hNqI/AAAAAAAAEKo/8SSBCQSRssA/s320/P1000787.JPG" width="320"></a></td></tr><tr><td>Rwanda delivering on the 'Land of a Thousand Hills' tagline...</td></tr></tbody></table><br><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-p0J_vp0V7XI/USYFpuNZGuI/AAAAAAAAEKs/3DFdTffVjTA/s1600/P1000793.JPG"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-p0J_vp0V7XI/USYFpuNZGuI/AAAAAAAAEKs/3DFdTffVjTA/s320/P1000793.JPG" width="320"></a></td></tr><tr><td>...although not all the time</td></tr></tbody></table><div><span><br></span></div>

Short stop in Rwanda

Read the original post and follow Heading South for Winter's overland adventures on their website: Heading South for Winter.


We’d heard that everyone in Rwanda is terribly polite and this proved to be the case.  The first people we met after the border were these lovely students who came to welcome us to their village and the country as…
<br><div><span>The officials on the border gave us a pretty easy ride into Uganda (each border seems to have got easier as we’ve headed further south) and didn’t even bother to look at the car, so we were able to make our way to Jinja the same day.  It’s the first major town past the border, but we were particularly excited to go there as it’s the source of the White Nile.  Having followed the Nile right from where it empties into the sea, along through Egypt and Sudan, seen the confluence of the Niles at Khartoum and then followed the Blue Nile into Ethiopia, it was good to get to the southernmost point of the other brand as well.  The only key bit of the river we haven’t made it to is the White Nile stretch between Uganda and Sudan – we’ll have to see how South Sudan pans out before we can make it there.</span></div><div><span><br></span></div><div><span>The country looked pretty similar to the tropical west of Kenya, but there were a few key differences – enough bicycles to give Cambridge a run for its money, central/west African style clothes for the ladies with big puffy sleeves and, suddenly, LOADS of female backpackers.  I don’t think we saw a male <i>muzungu </i>for the first three hours we were there.  Apparently there are lots of volunteer programmes in Uganda, and maybe girls are just nicer.</span></div><div><span><br></span></div><div><span>We stayed at a beautiful campsite at the confusingly named Bujugali Falls, which aren’t falls at all since a major hyrdroelectric dam has been built.  The falls and rapids have now moved further upriver and it was there we headed for some white water rafting.  (For any parents reading, it was very, very safe I promise!).  It was my first experience so I was pretty scared beforehand, but as soon as we started I loved it – probably because the water was lovely and warm.  Given we’ve driven so many miles along the Nile and sailed down it a couple of times it was good to finally be in it, right at the source.</span></div><div><span><br></span></div><div></div><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-MDgElzXP8Jw/USX50OqlyXI/AAAAAAAAEHA/V7nLHiJHckU/s1600/P1020996.JPG"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-MDgElzXP8Jw/USX50OqlyXI/AAAAAAAAEHA/V7nLHiJHckU/s320/P1020996.JPG" width="320"></a></td></tr><tr><td>Campsite at Bujagali Falls</td></tr></tbody></table><div><span><br></span></div><div><span>We picked up some useful tips for our journey ahead from the manager of the campsite, who turned out to be an ex-overland truck driver – best roads, best campsites, best restaurants in Cape Town, how to get through certain borders (give the border guards dirty magazines), where to find the best deserted beaches...</span><span>  </span><span>Then, we (ie James) did a couple of pretty tough days of driving to get us across to Kampala to get mountain gorilla permits and then out to the fabulously named Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.</span><span>  </span><span>Having enjoyed pretty nice tar roads most of the way, the last stretch into Bwindi was a bit scary – a rough road with some steep drop offs onto farmland and then into incredibly think jungle as we entered the park.</span><span>  </span><span>There had also obviously been some rain as shortly before we reached the park HQ we found a car with several vicars stuck in the mud.</span><span>  </span><span>The Beast hauled them out pretty easily, so we hope they got back to the main road before dark.</span></div><div><span><br></span></div><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-4kBmeJthODM/USX6kwHfPLI/AAAAAAAAEHI/BcmZGR44oT8/s1600/P1000763.JPG"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-4kBmeJthODM/USX6kwHfPLI/AAAAAAAAEHI/BcmZGR44oT8/s320/P1000763.JPG" width="320"></a></td></tr><tr><td>Bwindi Impenetrable National Park</td></tr></tbody></table><div><span>Maybe our good deed was rewarded, as we had the most amazing mountain gorilla tracking experience the next day.</span><span>  </span><span>There are about 10 habituated gorilla families in Bwindi</span><span>  </span><span>(the others are in Rwanda and the DRC) and you get assigned to visit one of them.</span><span>  </span><span>The rangers know where they saw the gorillas the previous day but they can be pretty far away or hard to find, so we had heard that people could be trekking for up to 5 or 6 hours in search of them.</span><span>  </span><span>Looking at the mountains covered in thick rainforest we weren’t exactly surprised.</span><span>  </span><span>Fortunately, the Bitukura family who we had permits to visit turned out to be hanging out about an hour away from park HQ so we had a sweaty but fairly short trek to get there.</span><span>  </span><span>A couple of trackers had gone ahead and were in radio contact with our ranger, who suddenly led us off the track into thick bush, cutting a path through with a machete where necessary.</span><span>  </span><span>A few minutes later we were brought to a stop and had to put our sticks down and get our cameras out.</span><span>  </span><span>And then there they were!</span></div><div><span><br></span></div><div><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-x2ay_jtzmiY/USX9viYNSjI/AAAAAAAAEIQ/J2QyOO6L4J8/s1600/P1000760.JPG"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-x2ay_jtzmiY/USX9viYNSjI/AAAAAAAAEIQ/J2QyOO6L4J8/s320/P1000760.JPG" width="240"></a></div><br><div></div><div><span>The first three we saw were a couple of juveniles and one infant playing pretty boisterously.  </span></div><div><span><br></span></div><div><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-DzRye8Qu7Xs/USX8S3S697I/AAAAAAAAEH0/gH8ymkHNLCo/s1600/P1000703.JPG"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-DzRye8Qu7Xs/USX8S3S697I/AAAAAAAAEH0/gH8ymkHNLCo/s320/P1000703.JPG" width="320"></a></div><div><br></div><div><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-i8iZK8tKWdY/USX8OI8GuhI/AAAAAAAAEHU/wFUvLzLOLhY/s1600/P1000692.JPG"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-i8iZK8tKWdY/USX8OI8GuhI/AAAAAAAAEHU/wFUvLzLOLhY/s320/P1000692.JPG" width="320"></a></div><div><span><br></span></div><div><span>You’re supposed to stay at least 7 or 8m away in case you give them some horrible disease, but one of them broke off to come and have a good look at us.  He came right up to me so I tried to look down and not make eye contact as we’d been told – although I reckon I probably could have taken him.  </span></div><div><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-_DNx55IqprQ/USX8RjqOxSI/AAAAAAAAEHs/9nEgDC_yhhc/s1600/P1030004.JPG"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-_DNx55IqprQ/USX8RjqOxSI/AAAAAAAAEHs/9nEgDC_yhhc/s320/P1030004.JPG" width="320"></a></div><br><div><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-gakIkadzMxQ/USX8ZFb7cVI/AAAAAAAAEH8/fEZdu7AndCU/s1600/P1030006.JPG"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-gakIkadzMxQ/USX8ZFb7cVI/AAAAAAAAEH8/fEZdu7AndCU/s320/P1030006.JPG" width="320"></a></div><div><span><br></span></div><div><span>That definitely wasn’t the case with the massive silverbacks who gradually emerged from the trees.  They were pretty intimidating but seemed to be in a pretty good mood and didn’t even mind the little ones coming and jumping on them a bit.  </span></div><div><span><br></span></div><div><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-FtyeebAkq6Q/USX8vJKL62I/AAAAAAAAEIE/yX74cwVpeBs/s1600/P1030044.JPG"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-FtyeebAkq6Q/USX8vJKL62I/AAAAAAAAEIE/yX74cwVpeBs/s320/P1030044.JPG" width="320"></a></div><div><span><br></span></div><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-RR4oPENWNk8/USX-RHkzUwI/AAAAAAAAEIY/g6s-4dxTXzo/s1600/P1000759.JPG"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-RR4oPENWNk8/USX-RHkzUwI/AAAAAAAAEIY/g6s-4dxTXzo/s320/P1000759.JPG" width="240"></a></td></tr><tr><td>This chap is known as The Judge - what you can't tell from the photo is that he was constantly letting rip with massive farts...</td></tr></tbody></table><div><span><br></span></div><div><span>We were only allowed to spend an hour there but it really did feel special (there are only about 800 mountain gorillas in the world), although it was sad you couldn’t go and play with them as the kids looked like they were having a lot of fun.</span></div><div><span><br></span></div><div><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-tYEp9HPPsxM/USYAf6-PCqI/AAAAAAAAEJE/5sF8bIACvPg/s1600/P1000713.JPG"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-tYEp9HPPsxM/USYAf6-PCqI/AAAAAAAAEJE/5sF8bIACvPg/s320/P1000713.JPG" width="320"></a></div><div><span><br></span></div><div><span>As we left the park the heavens opened and a huge rainstorm started so we were pretty relieved that we had found the gorilla family so rapidly.  This was the first real rain of our trip so it was a bit of a shock.  Having been used to perfect/scorching sunshine most of the way, we got a bit miserable when we turned up at lovely Lake Bunyoni and couldn’t really go out as it rained all the time.  We decided to head for the border instead and had a spectacular drive through volcanoes and past mountain lakes into Rwanda.</span></div><div><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-OW2GGIMu5xs/USYCH6BlceI/AAAAAAAAEJg/5IoH7kwpQTM/s1600/P1000769.JPG"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-OW2GGIMu5xs/USYCH6BlceI/AAAAAAAAEJg/5IoH7kwpQTM/s320/P1000769.JPG" width="320"></a></div><br><div><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-qzjJLZOgdMo/USYCKRUOTZI/AAAAAAAAEJo/GiYpP6xWfwI/s1600/P1000774.JPG"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-qzjJLZOgdMo/USYCKRUOTZI/AAAAAAAAEJo/GiYpP6xWfwI/s320/P1000774.JPG" width="320"></a></div><div><span><br></span></div>

Ugandan Discussions

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The officials on the border gave us a pretty easy ride into Uganda (each border seems to have got easier as we’ve headed further south) and didn’t even bother to look at the car, so we were able to make…
<br><div>The Masai warriors of south western Kenya are famous for their ability to go from a deep sleep to battle ready in a matter of seconds. Since this is a trait I am always claiming I share with the Masai, it was pretty essential that we go to visit their homeland in the Mara reserve, to see whether we had any more features in common. The fact that it is also home to all of the ‘big 5’ game, is another matter.</div><div><br></div><div>I’d always assumed the Masai Mara would be a hyper-accessible tourist trap, but when 80km from the park the road turned into (horribly corrugated) gravel and eventually dirt track and groups of Zebra and Giraffe started wandering around past us on the side of road, I changed my tune.</div><div><br></div><div>We arrived at Arusha Camp, just outside the park gates as it was getting dark, only to be chased up the road by a local Masai. It’s pretty common in Africa when you arrive in a place that someone will follow you, trying to give you directions to somewhere which you already know, and then try to get a tip from you for the privilege. Thinking this was the usual drill, we waved, and pressed on to the camp. Only when we arrived, after making him chase us for about a kilometre, did we realise that this was Edward, the guide that our camp had arranged for us to show us around the park (though in the event, he was no less dodgy than we had first assumed!)</div><div><br></div><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-es7AkJSgQvg/URp5TK0kvHI/AAAAAAAAEFg/FojtAUzc0u8/s1600/P1020950.JPG"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-es7AkJSgQvg/URp5TK0kvHI/AAAAAAAAEFg/FojtAUzc0u8/s320/P1020950.JPG" width="320"></a></td></tr><tr><td>Edward checks out the hippos</td></tr></tbody></table><div>We left for the park at dawn, after a painful 5am alarm, but we were straight into the action. Edward may have been trying to ‘make an arrangement’ with us for reduced park fees (paid direct to him, of course), but he really knew where the animals liked to hang out. We turned off the road, 15 mins into the park, and were straight on top of 4 lionesses. Edward wasn’t sufficiently impressed with this though, and urged us to press on (the sight of The Beast cruising through the Mara with a Masai warrior sticking out of the sun roof giving directions is one I really wish I’d gotten a photo of). He was right.</div><div><br></div><div>We pushed on, past distant elephant and giraffe in search of a leopard (the most difficult of the big 5 to see). As we approached a likely site, we were suddenly confronted by a family of cheetah, on the hunt, being followed by hyena, looking for what they might leave behind. Breathtaking; but all too easy for Edward. He screamed at me to drive on.</div><div><br></div><div><br></div><div>Finally we reached the leopard’s tree, where he had dragged a dead impala up the day before and gazed at the elusive leopard for 10 mins through his shrubby hide. Very cool.</div><div><br></div><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-dvfpZiRtgL4/URp6gA6FqfI/AAAAAAAAEFo/NFtVYvl8zh4/s1600/P1020882.JPG"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-dvfpZiRtgL4/URp6gA6FqfI/AAAAAAAAEFo/NFtVYvl8zh4/s320/P1020882.JPG" width="320"></a></td></tr><tr><td>Look very closely, and you can see a Leopard</td></tr></tbody></table><div><br></div><div>Still, Edward drove us on, it was back to the cheetah now, to follow the hunt. We stalked them for half an hour, saw them climb trees for a better look, saw the occasional burst of speed, but sadly no kill.</div><div><br></div><div><br></div><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-ecgt89xfj4E/URp7b5L1ygI/AAAAAAAAEFw/9edmMyjSo1U/s1600/P1020915.JPG"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-ecgt89xfj4E/URp7b5L1ygI/AAAAAAAAEFw/9edmMyjSo1U/s320/P1020915.JPG" width="320"></a></td></tr><tr><td>Cheetah in a tree</td></tr></tbody></table><div><br></div><div><br></div><div>From there, we then went on to find a group of 4 young male lions who had killed a hippo the day before and were lazing under a tree looking very full.</div><div><br></div><div>It was by then about 10am, and we had seen so much!</div><div><br></div><div>In the Mara, you’re not supposed to leave the car ever, outside of the guarded picnic spots. As ever, Edward knew better, and took us to a shaded spot, where the river was full of hippos, and insisted it was safe. After some initial scepticism, we both left the car, and eventually, tired after the early start and the morning’s excitement, went to sleep under the tree, hoping not to become a lion’s prey (just as well I’m always so battle ready!)</div><div><br></div><div>Once the heat of the day had passed we headed out once more, taking on the terrible Mara roads, but being lucky enough to come across a group of 100+ elephants. We got as close as we dared (encouraging a bit of ear flapping from one big female, at which we promptly retreated!) and headed out of the park, exhausted but happy. What a day!</div><div><br></div><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-HvVwYVEiSEg/URp8Pb5P8QI/AAAAAAAAEF4/9gwFp06TTsc/s1600/P1020985.JPG"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-HvVwYVEiSEg/URp8Pb5P8QI/AAAAAAAAEF4/9gwFp06TTsc/s320/P1020985.JPG" width="320"></a></td></tr><tr><td>Elephants!</td></tr></tbody></table><div><br></div><div><br></div><div>After our Safari, it was time to make for the border. The upcoming elections in Kenya have been causing trouble as people protest against corruption, and rebel against a government which does nothing for them. </div><div>This takes the police away from the road, and constantly has us wondering what might be up ahead as we drive around. After 2 days on the road, the safety of Uganda awaited...</div>

Ready for Battle

Read the original post and follow Heading South for Winter's overland adventures on their website: Heading South for Winter.


The Masai warriors of south western Kenya are famous for their ability to go from a deep sleep to battle ready in a matter of seconds. Since this is a trait I am always claiming I share with the Masai,…
<br><div>Nairobi was a huge reverse culture shock. After emerging from the wilds of Lake Turkana, landing in one of Africa’s richest cities took us quite by surprise (I even had to remind Anna not to squat behind a bush, because she was only 10m from the bathroom!)</div><div><br></div><div>For all you hear about Nairobi and its dangers, I must confess, it is one of the nicest cities I have been to. The climate is near perfect (it seems to be sunny and 28 degrees every day), there are beautiful houses all over the leafy suburbs, and it has the most incredible shopping malls / supermarkets. We were now in the southern hemisphere, and it seems back in civilisation.We took full opportunity to indulge ourselves, including a good stock up on fresh milk, and baked beans and our first pork / bacon since leaving Europe.</div><div><br></div><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-7HwkAGbETi0/UQrDs2Gck3I/AAAAAAAAEEE/HdcelY6_Ni0/s1600/P1020761.JPG"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-7HwkAGbETi0/UQrDs2Gck3I/AAAAAAAAEEE/HdcelY6_Ni0/s320/P1020761.JPG" width="240"></a></td></tr><tr><td>Made it to the equator!</td></tr></tbody></table><div><br></div><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-4PPs1qllqAY/UQrEHF2Xa_I/AAAAAAAAEEc/7UlOF60NvJU/s1600/P1020785.JPG"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-4PPs1qllqAY/UQrEHF2Xa_I/AAAAAAAAEEc/7UlOF60NvJU/s320/P1020785.JPG" width="320"></a></td></tr><tr><td>We even made time to stop at Lord Baden-Powell's grave. Cue classic Beadle shot!</td></tr></tbody></table><div><br></div><div>We stayed at the famous Jungle Junction, where overlanders flock at what is a bit of a pinch point for the East African route. There is a near constant exchange of information going on between those heading north and those heading south, and it gave us chance to plan the rest of our trip (we really need to get moving!), and fix a few niggles on the car.</div><div><br></div><div>Unfortunately it was also where we said goodbye to some of our travel companions, who we’ll now be travelling too fast for: the Turkana gang of Floris and Anneke (thanks for keeping us entertained and aviarily informed), and Marcello and Karen (thanks for keeping us very well fed and watered!); and also Omar and Abdullah who we’ve bumped into variously through our trip and have been full of fun, gentle jibes and great advice (who unfortunately have been forced to end their trip early because of visa issues).</div><div><br></div><br><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-xME2F3C0O1Y/UQrEFW8vRjI/AAAAAAAAEEU/oW-B3yWC_lQ/s1600/SAM_1579.JPG"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-xME2F3C0O1Y/UQrEFW8vRjI/AAAAAAAAEEU/oW-B3yWC_lQ/s320/SAM_1579.JPG" width="320"></a></td></tr><tr><td>Floris and Anneke take in the sunset on NYE in Lalibela</td></tr></tbody></table><table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-uQO06ahK6-U/UQrFFshJk4I/AAAAAAAAEEs/uWy61V_Jocw/s1600/P1020651.JPG"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-uQO06ahK6-U/UQrFFshJk4I/AAAAAAAAEEs/uWy61V_Jocw/s320/P1020651.JPG" width="320"></a></td></tr><tr><td>Marcello hides from Warthogs in Arba Minch</td></tr></tbody></table><div><br></div><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-YL3KqOrX32k/UQrFW7nxCkI/AAAAAAAAEE0/sKr1f_yLpAY/s1600/P1020464.JPG"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-YL3KqOrX32k/UQrFW7nxCkI/AAAAAAAAEE0/sKr1f_yLpAY/s320/P1020464.JPG" width="320"></a></td></tr><tr><td>Arriving in Sudan with Abdullah and Omar</td></tr></tbody></table><br><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-GjwwapYOk2k/UQrFkB3DIdI/AAAAAAAAEFA/eTBgtPzA0WA/s1600/P1020575.JPG"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-GjwwapYOk2k/UQrFkB3DIdI/AAAAAAAAEFA/eTBgtPzA0WA/s320/P1020575.JPG" width="320"></a></td></tr><tr><td>The gang in Lalibela</td></tr></tbody></table><br><div>From Nairobi, we headed two hours north to Lake Naivasha or ‘Happy Valley’, playground of the rich and privileged in the 1920s and 30s, and one of the most pleasant places I’ve ever been. You drop into the valley where the lake sits to stunning views and then drive along the lake until you reach one of its beautiful campsites (in our case Fisherman’s). On arrival, you are greeted by wallowing hippos everywhere, and after some sundowners on the veranda, by them grazing 10m from your tent (fortunately the other side of an electric fence.)</div><div><br></div><table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-ZAq_3sWvTrU/UQrECXGn_dI/AAAAAAAAEEM/dNbRfs7XsrI/s1600/P1020824.JPG"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-ZAq_3sWvTrU/UQrECXGn_dI/AAAAAAAAEEM/dNbRfs7XsrI/s320/P1020824.JPG" width="320"></a></td></tr><tr><td>Hippos!</td></tr></tbody></table><div><br></div><div><br></div><div>Our morning lake cruise was littered with 100s of birds, in huge variety, and of course more hippos. Amusingly were also party to a press interview, given during the tour by our guide who also doubles as technical director for Kenya’s leading football club. They have recently bought a Brazilian player on the basis of a youtube video of a young skinny chap strutting his stuff in the Brazilian lower leagues; what they seem to have got is a fat old guy who’s been playing as a semi-pro in Bangladesh. Unsurprisingly, they’re sending him home.</div><div><br></div><table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-AYJ-RDixKZc/UQrFkACaUMI/AAAAAAAAEE8/q1wycR86ylI/s1600/P1020835.JPG"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-AYJ-RDixKZc/UQrFkACaUMI/AAAAAAAAEE8/q1wycR86ylI/s320/P1020835.JPG" width="320"></a></td></tr><tr><td>Great bird photography - giant Kingfisher!</td></tr></tbody></table><div><br></div><div>Our only regret was that we couldn’t stay longer in Navasha, but fortunately things weren’t too grim, it was time to head to the Masai Mara!</div>

Living the High Life

Read the original post and follow Heading South for Winter's overland adventures on their website: Heading South for Winter.


Nairobi was a huge reverse culture shock. After emerging from the wilds of Lake Turkana, landing in one of Africa’s richest cities took us quite by surprise (I even had to remind Anna not to squat behind a bush, because…
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Crossing into Kenya

Read the original post and follow Heading South for Winter's overland adventures on their website: Heading South for Winter.


How best to get between Kenya and Ethiopia is a subject of constant debate amongst overlanders.  The traditional route has been via Moyale and Marsabit in north eastern Kenya.  The main advantage is that it’s a proper border, an actual…
<div></div><br><div><span>We had pretty high expectations going into Ethiopia, as various friends had been there and raved about it, but throughout all of our trip we really weren’t disappointed.  As we headed south from Addis, every drive continued to be absolutely stunning – which was fortunate as we had quite a long distance to cover to get down to the Kenyan border.</span></div><div><span><br></span></div><div><span>Our first leg was following the Rift Valley down to Arba Minch.  The roads were the usual challenge of livestock and child dodging, but the landscape really changed from highlands, to savannah, up into rainforested hills and then down into the classic red soil African valleys.</span></div><div><span><br></span></div><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-HAdv5Ul2CnY/UP2VDBM21UI/AAAAAAAAD50/fnJJ9ARyWxg/s1600/P1000271.JPG"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-HAdv5Ul2CnY/UP2VDBM21UI/AAAAAAAAD50/fnJJ9ARyWxg/s320/P1000271.JPG" width="320"></a></td></tr><tr><td>Rift Valley south of Addis</td></tr></tbody></table><br><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-2dZU5Lh_cKc/UP2VBOMnIII/AAAAAAAAD5s/79ELHeF7twI/s1600/P1000303.JPG"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-2dZU5Lh_cKc/UP2VBOMnIII/AAAAAAAAD5s/79ELHeF7twI/s320/P1000303.JPG" width="320"></a></td></tr><tr><td>Forest and red soil</td></tr></tbody></table><div> <a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-wwWv7nwbEsE/UP2VDsn9LKI/AAAAAAAAD54/85v1nf6T7_Y/s1600/P1000295.JPG"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-wwWv7nwbEsE/UP2VDsn9LKI/AAAAAAAAD54/85v1nf6T7_Y/s320/P1000295.JPG" width="320"></a></div><br><div><span><br></span></div><div><span>Arba Minch itself is in a pretty amazing location.  We stayed at a campsite overlooking ‘The Bridge of God’, a thin strip of land between two Rift Valley lakes.  Not sure if it’s obvious from the photo, but the two lakes are totally different colours as the northern one has a reddish tinge from the mineral rich mountains that feed it.</span></div><div><span><br></span></div><div><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-ebxoVe5hLWw/UP2WTVPqKbI/AAAAAAAAD6Q/P7bETsxzh48/s1600/P1000323.JPG"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-ebxoVe5hLWw/UP2WTVPqKbI/AAAAAAAAD6Q/P7bETsxzh48/s320/P1000323.JPG" width="320"></a></div><br><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-5336cl0Sdoo/UP2WVuhsf4I/AAAAAAAAD6Y/UqyZlGC6DTo/s1600/P1000321.JPG"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-5336cl0Sdoo/UP2WVuhsf4I/AAAAAAAAD6Y/UqyZlGC6DTo/s320/P1000321.JPG" width="320"></a></td></tr><tr><td>It really is pretty red in real life</td></tr></tbody></table><div><span><br></span></div><div><span>We shared our campsite with a lot of Ethiopian Christmas revellers and three fairly friendly warthogs.</span></div><div><span><br></span></div><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-wrW_CMmlKns/UP2Yea-xolI/AAAAAAAAD6s/BxTsZ6g6YDs/s1600/P1020656.JPG"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-wrW_CMmlKns/UP2Yea-xolI/AAAAAAAAD6s/BxTsZ6g6YDs/s320/P1020656.JPG" width="320"></a></td></tr><tr><td>Definitely not nervous</td></tr></tbody></table><br><div><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-q3xD3J00s-U/UP2Yf5Po4BI/AAAAAAAAD6w/ciIWNYahF-I/s1600/P1020659.JPG"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-q3xD3J00s-U/UP2Yf5Po4BI/AAAAAAAAD6w/ciIWNYahF-I/s320/P1020659.JPG" width="320"></a></div><div><span><br></span></div><div><span>Heading up into the mountains we visited the villages of the Dorze, highlanders famous for weaving.  We had a really fun day seeing how they build their huts (very tall but shrinking over the years as the termites gradually eat them) and learning how to make the local bread (fake banana plant buried in the ground and left to ferment for several weeks – fairly ‘interesting’ taste).</span></div><div><span><br></span></div><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-X1tkNjyccbc/UP2Z_mcqwKI/AAAAAAAAD7I/ry97-VNSR7E/s1600/P1000329.JPG"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-X1tkNjyccbc/UP2Z_mcqwKI/AAAAAAAAD7I/ry97-VNSR7E/s320/P1000329.JPG" width="320"></a></td></tr><tr><td>Bread fermented underground - nicer than it sounds</td></tr></tbody></table><div><span><br></span></div><div><span>The last area of Ethiopia we visited was the Omo Valley, which is famous for its distinctive tribes, partly due to Don McCullin’s photos of them. </span></div><div><span><br></span></div><div><span>http://contact.photoshelter.com/gallery/Don-McCullin-In-Africa-Book/G0000fyBUOGk32ik/C0000czlAAq16AeA</span></div><div><span><br></span></div><div><span>The remoteness of the area has preserved a lot of local traditions and distinctive dress - although the all pervasive football shirt was definitely being incorporated into a lot of the traditional outfits!  Some customs sounded pretty entertaining (running along the backs of bulls before you’re allowed to get married), some less so (whipping your female relatives), but we put on our cultural relativity hats and headed off.</span></div><div><span><br></span></div><div><span>We’d heard the experience of travelling the area could be a bit weird and ‘human zoo’ because of all the tourism, and while that was definitely the case in some places it really wasn’t in others.  </span></div><div><span>We drove into the valley past the usual stunning landscapes and stopped in a town called Key Afer as it was market day the next day.  Having spent most of the evening playing with the kids from our campsite, we ended up with several tiny (and very serious) tour guides for our visit. </span></div><div><span><br></span></div><div><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-d_GyGgqj2Mw/UP2dDtz91FI/AAAAAAAAD8U/EHoytBYrRao/s1600/P1000358.JPG"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-d_GyGgqj2Mw/UP2dDtz91FI/AAAAAAAAD8U/EHoytBYrRao/s320/P1000358.JPG" width="320"></a></div><div><span><br></span></div><div><span>First stop was the livestock market.  It’s just getting warmed up, in these photos but the guys rocking mini skirts, headbands and utility vests are from the Banna tribe, who we think are probably the coolest.</span></div><div><span><br></span></div><div><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-R--i_xbV5yM/UP2bYDwaPAI/AAAAAAAAD7c/LA8aNCelG6Y/s1600/P1000356.JPG"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-R--i_xbV5yM/UP2bYDwaPAI/AAAAAAAAD7c/LA8aNCelG6Y/s320/P1000356.JPG" width="320"></a></div><br><div><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-wJSoLUGJPNg/UP2bYj9EkTI/AAAAAAAAD7k/4Ub0aWBVnm0/s1600/SAM_1654.JPG"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-wJSoLUGJPNg/UP2bYj9EkTI/AAAAAAAAD7k/4Ub0aWBVnm0/s320/SAM_1654.JPG" width="320"></a></div><br><div><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-zGfp27i4LWI/UP2bY4uqMKI/AAAAAAAAD7o/7T3PQE2gW4Y/s1600/P1000352.JPG"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-zGfp27i4LWI/UP2bY4uqMKI/AAAAAAAAD7o/7T3PQE2gW4Y/s320/P1000352.JPG" width="320"></a></div><br><div><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-Kdnagcq8RAo/UP2beZuK_EI/AAAAAAAAD70/zmAx-jR21z8/s1600/SAM_1655.JPG"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-Kdnagcq8RAo/UP2beZuK_EI/AAAAAAAAD70/zmAx-jR21z8/s320/SAM_1655.JPG" width="320"></a></div><div><span><br></span></div><div><span>The main market was for fruit and veg (although the electronics stall was attracting the most attention).  In the market and on all the road approaching it were masses of people from different tribes – more Banna, Ari in grass skirts, Hamer ladies with ochre coloured hair and calabashes on their heads – it really was like walking into a different world.</span></div><div><span><br></span></div><br><div><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-jnzzAtaRwS0/UP2dHrrAacI/AAAAAAAAD8c/26fpWOmFssA/s1600/P1000367.JPG"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-jnzzAtaRwS0/UP2dHrrAacI/AAAAAAAAD8c/26fpWOmFssA/s320/P1000367.JPG" width="240"></a></div><br><div><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Lt3l1fFnTlI/UP2dLeQ_dDI/AAAAAAAAD8k/7rufu3pim7U/s1600/P1000365.JPG"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Lt3l1fFnTlI/UP2dLeQ_dDI/AAAAAAAAD8k/7rufu3pim7U/s320/P1000365.JPG" width="320"></a></div><br><div><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-dxPMZZqXNws/UP2dQtYMutI/AAAAAAAAD8s/eL4Gv_0yZvQ/s1600/P1000368.JPG"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-dxPMZZqXNws/UP2dQtYMutI/AAAAAAAAD8s/eL4Gv_0yZvQ/s320/P1000368.JPG" width="320"></a></div><div><span><br></span></div><div><span>Next day however, we came up against some of the grimmer impacts of tourism in the valley.  We had driven into the Mago National Park and camped for the night right in the forest.  The local elephants stayed away, but we had visits from Colobus monkeys and a troop of baboons.</span></div><div><span><br></span></div><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-2jYr3XSXd1I/UP2eoTV-dtI/AAAAAAAAD9E/qUajQBF75_c/s1600/P1000408.JPG"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-2jYr3XSXd1I/UP2eoTV-dtI/AAAAAAAAD9E/qUajQBF75_c/s320/P1000408.JPG" width="320"></a></td></tr><tr><td>Road to the park</td></tr></tbody></table> <br><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-L5Twl5ECJeI/UP2e8ShE_6I/AAAAAAAAD9s/NlASsppHNgw/s1600/P1000433.JPG"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-L5Twl5ECJeI/UP2e8ShE_6I/AAAAAAAAD9s/NlASsppHNgw/s320/P1000433.JPG" width="320"></a></td></tr><tr><td>Some visitors</td></tr></tbody></table><div><span><br></span></div><div><span>We decided to visit some of the villages of the Mursi in the park – famous for the lip plates that a lot of the women wear.  It was a pretty depressing experience though, as the guides from the nearest big town (Jinja) just seem to bus tourists out and stick them in front of the locals to take photos, with zero effort to translate or create any exchange between the visitors and the villagers.  Everyone just stands there demanding money and a lot of the guys seemed to be high/drunk.  Probably a great case study of how it can all go wrong, but left us feeling pretty sad.</span></div><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-oWUN5YlLyGY/UP2e3MztzDI/AAAAAAAAD9c/K8SbqzyyKlY/s1600/P1020685.JPG"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-oWUN5YlLyGY/UP2e3MztzDI/AAAAAAAAD9c/K8SbqzyyKlY/s320/P1020685.JPG" width="240"></a></td></tr><tr><td>Cool photo but generally feeling a lot of tourist guilt!</td></tr></tbody></table><div><span></span><br><span></span></div><div><span>We definitely preferred just driving across the region and meeting everybody in the towns or on the roads – that really was unforgettable and it was amazing to see so many places that were </span></div><div><span>just totally alien to anything we were used to.</span></div><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-ZvbiTRPAZDs/UP2epCKEhCI/AAAAAAAAD9I/yI2MgZc9rrM/s1600/P1000377.JPG"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-ZvbiTRPAZDs/UP2epCKEhCI/AAAAAAAAD9I/yI2MgZc9rrM/s320/P1000377.JPG" width="320"></a></td></tr><tr><td>Ari (I think) women on the way to market</td></tr></tbody></table><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-nYuFO7-hcEQ/UP2fEWehv4I/AAAAAAAAD90/g24nD9KaIZw/s1600/SAM_1656.JPG"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-nYuFO7-hcEQ/UP2fEWehv4I/AAAAAAAAD90/g24nD9KaIZw/s320/SAM_1656.JPG" width="320"></a></td></tr><tr><td>Mursi mum</td></tr></tbody></table><div><span></span><br><span></span></div><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-lEGQ_zL94s0/UP2e7D6m2iI/AAAAAAAAD9k/MJFjIL4mBDo/s1600/P1020688.JPG"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-lEGQ_zL94s0/UP2e7D6m2iI/AAAAAAAAD9k/MJFjIL4mBDo/s320/P1020688.JPG" width="320"></a></td></tr><tr><td>Mago National Park in the rain</td></tr></tbody></table><div><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-2I8M06EqPfM/UP2eq9I1ikI/AAAAAAAAD9U/UZgMnnb2epg/s1600/P1000385.JPG"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-2I8M06EqPfM/UP2eq9I1ikI/AAAAAAAAD9U/UZgMnnb2epg/s320/P1000385.JPG" width="320"></a></div><div><span><br></span></div>

Tribe Time

Read the original post and follow Heading South for Winter's overland adventures on their website: Heading South for Winter.


We had pretty high expectations going into Ethiopia, as various friends had been there and raved about it, but throughout all of our trip we really weren’t disappointed.  As we headed south from Addis, every drive continued to be absolutely…
It was a minor miracle, when travel weary after a hard 5 days crossing Sudan, we rolled into a small hostel in the mountain town of Gondar to found that Ali had managed to meet us there. So vague and unconfirmed were our plans, I had had my doubts, but...

Hitting the Highlands

Read the original post and follow Heading South for Winter's overland adventures on their website: Heading South for Winter.


It was a minor miracle, when travel weary after a hard 5 days crossing Sudan, we rolled into a small hostel in the mountain town of Gondar to found that Ali had managed to meet us there. So vague and…
<br><div><span>As Anna described in the last post, we’d been under near constant tension during our stay in Aswan, worried that we wouldn’t get ourselves on to the weekly Aswan – Wadi Halfa ferry. As we dragged ourselves through the hordes of Sudanese people making the trek home, before finally carving ourselves out a spot in the ‘2<sup>nd</sup> class cabins’ (ie on the deck), it was like a heavy weight had been lifted off our shoulders. We were on the move once more.</span></div><div><span><br></span></div><div><span>Another heavy weight (ie The Beast) looked even less comfortable on its ride to Wadi Halfa after the barge was fully loaded. Driving a car that big, on to and off a platform that small kindled a kind of fear I will never forget!</span></div><div><span><br></span></div><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-vO32qy8L7hc/UOGAjnaxIAI/AAAAAAAADaA/vCUqILPpWDE/s1600/IMG_1616.JPG"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-vO32qy8L7hc/UOGAjnaxIAI/AAAAAAAADaA/vCUqILPpWDE/s320/IMG_1616.JPG" width="239"></a></td></tr><tr><td>The beast crammed in on the barge from Aswan to Wadi Halfa</td></tr></tbody></table><div><br></div><div><span><br></span></div><div><span>Sadly this marked the end of our time hanging out with Mahmoud (a friend we’d made at the port) and his chickens / goats / turkeys / pigeons who rather strangely live in a shed right in the middle of Aswan– he even managed to host a fairwell bbq for us  </span></div><div><span><br></span></div><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-IUyYGK3mQ3g/UOGBqd2E5hI/AAAAAAAADaQ/J9Gh5sS9sQw/s1600/P1020428.JPG"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-IUyYGK3mQ3g/UOGBqd2E5hI/AAAAAAAADaQ/J9Gh5sS9sQw/s320/P1020428.JPG" width="320"></a></td></tr><tr><td>Farewell BBQ in the chicken shed</td></tr></tbody></table><div><br></div><div><span><br></span></div><div><span>Despite all the palaver of getting yourself on the ferry, the trip is incredible. There’s no light for miles around, so the stars are incredible, and the journey was made all the more sweet by the laid back Sudanese lute music, which sung us softly to sleep at night, and was generally the sound track of our journey.</span></div><div><span><br></span></div><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-aALsh8ROFgw/UOGCer1L0ZI/AAAAAAAADac/27d7EekjKdo/s1600/P1020458.JPG"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-aALsh8ROFgw/UOGCer1L0ZI/AAAAAAAADac/27d7EekjKdo/s320/P1020458.JPG" width="320"></a></td></tr><tr><td>Beautiful Sudanese singing</td></tr></tbody></table><div><br></div><div><span><br></span></div><div><span>It’s also a great opportunity to meet other overlanders, sharing information, planning routes and indulging ourselves in some talk of home. In our case, we met overlander celebrity (his own billing) Omar Mansour, the first Egyptian to ride Cairo to Cape Town who along with his travel buddy Abdullah kept us highly entertained for the journey and beyond; and also 4 Brits – (Crazy) Tim and Sharon who are travelling by bicycle, and Rich and Tom who are travelling with two WWII Triumph motorbikes which seem to go through a litre of oil a day</span></div><div><span><br></span></div><div><span>On arrival we also met a few people coming the other way. I found these guys really humbling to meet because they had already achieved everything that we have set out to do (and have the war stories to prove it). They mostly look dusty, but I think that’s just Sudan.</span></div><div><span><br></span></div><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-gkRNsH3K6RE/UOGF066TvnI/AAAAAAAADaw/vLj2XmNfVnE/s1600/P1020465.JPG"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-gkRNsH3K6RE/UOGF066TvnI/AAAAAAAADaw/vLj2XmNfVnE/s320/P1020465.JPG" width="320"></a></td></tr><tr><td>Leaving Wadi Halfa with Omar and Abdullah</td></tr></tbody></table><br><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-x9oC6YbE65c/UOGF8Cw_BJI/AAAAAAAADa4/VV0P2PCRQwA/s1600/IMG_1619.JPG"><img border="0" height="239" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-x9oC6YbE65c/UOGF8Cw_BJI/AAAAAAAADa4/VV0P2PCRQwA/s320/IMG_1619.JPG" width="320"></a></td></tr><tr><td>Rich pleased to have his bike back - a very nice WWII Triumph</td></tr></tbody></table><div><br></div><div><span><br></span></div><div><span>Egypt is so full of tourists it can fell like an extension of Europe, but now, in Sudan we really know we’re in Africa. Wadi Halfa in particular, feels like the kind of town you find at the end of the world. Isolated, dusty, windswept and stripped to the bone. As I walked through the town with our desert supplies slung over my shoulder, the sun waning  and the mellow tones of the Sudanese folk music ringing out from the pool hall I was passing. I couldn’t help like feeling this is what I came for. In a good way, I couldn’t feel like I’m further from home....</span></div>

Finally…!!

Read the original post and follow Heading South for Winter's overland adventures on their website: Heading South for Winter.


As Anna described in the last post, we’d been under near constant tension during our stay in Aswan, worried that we wouldn’t get ourselves on to the weekly Aswan – Wadi Halfa ferry. As we dragged ourselves through the hordes…
<br><div><span>We finished our Western Desert tour with a final leg into Luxor, followed by a rather lacklustre police escort who gave up after about half an hour.  The days of proper police escorts around Egypt seem to be over, fortunately.  Suddenly emerging out of the desert to find so many trees, flowers and farmland gives you a real sense of how the Nile transforms the land here – and how dependent most of Egypt is upon it.</span></div><div><span><br></span></div><div><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-BbHh6voPHXM/UNYCpowKL4I/AAAAAAAADYA/LdkOj60LJic/s1600/P1020337.JPG"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-BbHh6voPHXM/UNYCpowKL4I/AAAAAAAADYA/LdkOj60LJic/s320/P1020337.JPG" width="320"></a></div><div><span><br></span></div><div><span><br></span></div><div><span>Luxor is tomb / temple / tourist central due to the City of the Dead on the West Bank with the Valley of the Kings, Queens, Colossi etc and the temples on the East Bank.  We spent a day enjoying (me) / enduring (James by the end of the day) all of the sights, dodging the tourist tat touts and picking up a cheeky bit of black market diesel.  The standard next stop on the route is to head down to Aswan to get the ferry to Sudan but we decided to make a bit of a detour across the mountains to the Red Sea for some diving at Port Safaga.  A couple of days of relaxing on a boat and diving amongst coral gardens with the odd turtle and shoal of tuna were a good change from desert driving.  Sadly, it did mean that James had to lose his moustache to stop his mask from leaking – he’d been enjoying the compliments from fellow moustachioed Egyptian men.</span></div><div><span><br></span></div><div><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-YkQboCcsw5w/UNYD2IDwFDI/AAAAAAAADYQ/HEzWQVPtrK8/s1600/P1020352.JPG"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-YkQboCcsw5w/UNYD2IDwFDI/AAAAAAAADYQ/HEzWQVPtrK8/s320/P1020352.JPG" width="320"></a></div><div><br></div><div><span>The road down to Aswan along the Nile is very picturesque – farms, mud villages, clouds of brightly coloured flowers, the odd donkey to dodge.</span></div><div><span><br></span></div><div><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-zv5av00fNtU/UNYE3oHlLbI/AAAAAAAADYc/hoimLH1dpnc/s1600/P1020346.JPG"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-zv5av00fNtU/UNYE3oHlLbI/AAAAAAAADYc/hoimLH1dpnc/s320/P1020346.JPG" width="320"></a></div><div><span><br></span></div><div><span>However, massive queues of tractors and trucks for fuel are also key features.  We never did entirely find out why exactly there were such bad shortages.  The incredibly low, subsidised price (10p per litre!) seems to be something to do with it, with potential explanations including ‘we smuggle it all out to more expensive countries to sell at a margin’, ‘the government is trying to distract people from politics to create shortages’, ‘the political/economic troubles have changed the government’s credit rating so it’s more expensive for them to buy fuel and the subsidy is unsustainable’.  Whatever the reason, most drivers could barely believe what fuel costs in Europe – “how does anybody run a taxi?”.  It seemed to get most people a lot more exercised than the referendum on the constitution, which mainly provoked grunts or sighs.</span></div>

South along the Nile

Read the original post and follow Heading South for Winter's overland adventures on their website: Heading South for Winter.


We finished our Western Desert tour with a final leg into Luxor, followed by a rather lacklustre police escort who gave up after about half an hour.  The days of proper police escorts around Egypt seem to be over, fortunately. …
<br><div>We left the insane traffic of Cairo behind last Monday morning, and headed out on the Western Desert Road, where we hopped from oasis to oasis, making a long loop around to Luxor. The instructions we were given about the route sounded a bit Lord of the Rings - "go across the Black Desert to the Crystal Mountain and then into the White Desert" - and it was a rather like visiting another planet.  Some of the most stunning scenery of our trip so far and totally deserted most of the time.  I'd describe the White Desert as the most amazing place I’ve been, but never heard of before I got there! The photos we’ve attached below don’t do it the slightest bit of justice.</div><div><br></div><div>This was our first chance to try out some off road driving - with mixed success.  In the White and Black deserts the sand is compacted hard (with the odd squidgy bit to keep things interesting), so the Landcrusier could handle it all pretty easily.  We spent a couple of days bashing around in the dunes and discovering some incredible places, seen by very few. It also allowed us to do our first proper night of wild camping (some practise for Sudan), where we just had to pick a spot in the desert and pitch our tent. The silence was like a sound of its own, especially after Cairo (and its 5 am calls to prayer).</div><div><br></div><div>Unfortunately all this off roading made us a little over confident, and we managed to get stuck in deep sand the next morning, turning off to take a cool photo. Cue half an hour of digging, and gradually reversing out using our sand ladders. Very impressed with how it all worked in anger though. James and Anna 2 : Sinky Sand 1!</div><div><br></div><div>One issue out here through is the fuel shortages (which seem more or less constant) with huge tailbacks of farm trucks waiting overnight sometimes to get some fuel. Thankfully, as tourists we’ve been allowed to skip the queues, but it must be a massive pain for anyone living here.  We were really surprised how kind everyone in the queue has been about letting us in - but I guess we're only filling up a car rather than two tractors and six jerry cans.  Plus, we probably add to the general entertainment of fights and barricades by taxi drivers.<br><br><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-hT7X3YTL8ek/UM3XwMij-ZI/AAAAAAAADXA/-oq_mBXKJ2I/s1600/P1020300.JPG"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-hT7X3YTL8ek/UM3XwMij-ZI/AAAAAAAADXA/-oq_mBXKJ2I/s1600/P1020300.JPG" height="240" width="320"></a></td></tr><tr><td>Our first night wild camping in the Western Desert. We just drove 20 mins off the road and picked our spot!</td></tr></tbody></table><br><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-BlEnm-FIDR8/UM3i76JDuDI/AAAAAAAADXQ/E28FFQKcW0Y/s1600/P1020314.JPG"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-BlEnm-FIDR8/UM3i76JDuDI/AAAAAAAADXQ/E28FFQKcW0Y/s1600/P1020314.JPG" height="240" width="320"></a></td></tr><tr><td>Stunning vistas in the White Desert </td></tr></tbody></table><br><div><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-xidvJAmQPS4/UM3mMk-cy-I/AAAAAAAADXg/1LhKgj_OQWA/s1600/P1020318.JPG"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-xidvJAmQPS4/UM3mMk-cy-I/AAAAAAAADXg/1LhKgj_OQWA/s1600/P1020318.JPG" height="240" width="320"></a></div><br><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-EiYT29QUjl4/UM3pcUnWfkI/AAAAAAAADXw/M3VIXiueI8A/s1600/P1020332.JPG"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-EiYT29QUjl4/UM3pcUnWfkI/AAAAAAAADXw/M3VIXiueI8A/s1600/P1020332.JPG" height="240" width="320"></a></td></tr><tr><td>Anna digs us out after some over adventurous off roading. We'd spent much of the previous day off road,  on hard packed sand having loads of fun, but got over confident an got stuck in some soft stuff. Shovels and sand ladders to the ready!</td></tr></tbody></table><br></div>

Driving on the Moon

Read the original post and follow Heading South for Winter's overland adventures on their website: Heading South for Winter.


We left the insane traffic of Cairo behind last Monday morning, and headed out on the Western Desert Road, where we hopped from oasis to oasis, making a long loop around to Luxor. The instructions we were given about the…
<br><div><i><span>We have finally landed in Africa, after a 24 hour ferry from Turkey to Egypt. We now face a barrage of administration to get the car through customs, after what was a surprising ferry trip....<p></p></span></i></div><div><span><br></span></div><div><span>If we had done this trip 2 years ago, we would have driven on from here, through Syria, and into Jordan before meeting Africa in Egypt: instead we have had to catch the ferry and sail south passing this, and other, trouble by. If we needed a reminder of the fact it came in the form of the score of Syrian families who met us at the port.  This livened up the ferry trip as we had to be on the alert to stop toddlers from hurling themselves off the dock or under HGVs, but it also gave us a chance to talk to those who had some English (our Arabic being currently limited to hello, thank you and let’s go!)</span></div><div><span><br></span></div><div><span>They are travelling to Egypt to look for work, perhaps with the help of family already there, or some just on the off chance. They say that everyone is catching up with people they know, exchanging stories of where the fighting is worst, and crossing off names of those who have died.  We’ve seen a lot of sign language of planes dropping bombs and houses collapsing.</span></div><div><span><br></span></div><div><span>Amer, a multi-lingual HR director for a large supermarket chain before the trouble has told me how all business has dissolved now. There are no safe parts of the country, the only goods available are imports, and inflation is rife. Worse, banks won’t allow anyone access to their money.</span></div><div><span><br></span></div><div><span>Still, these families have hope. They have enough cash to make this expensive trip, and buy their way across the borders. The thought of the many left behind has made this an incredibly humbling bit of the journey, and made us all the more grateful for the excitement that now lies ahead.</span></div><div><span><br></span></div><div><span>We now sit in Port Damietta, at the gateway to our Africa trip proper. This is where the trip really begins...</span></div><div><span><br></span></div><div><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-pRrNs47THOI/UKtMqYIxyuI/AAAAAAAADVg/JiP-p5amUDc/s1600/IMG_1568.JPG"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-pRrNs47THOI/UKtMqYIxyuI/AAAAAAAADVg/JiP-p5amUDc/s320/IMG_1568.JPG" width="239"></a></div><div><span>The Beast waits for the ferry at Iskenderun</span></div><div><span><br></span></div>

Sailing Past Trouble

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We have finally landed in Africa, after a 24 hour ferry from Turkey to Egypt. We now face a barrage of administration to get the car through customs, after what was a surprising ferry trip…. If we had done this…
<br><div><span>Having indulged ourselves in Istanbul and shivered our way through the ‘fairy chimneys’ of Cappadocia, we accelerated on down a spanking new motorway through stunning mountain ranges and arrived in Iskenderun, the port for the ferry to Egypt.</span></div><div><span><br></span></div><div><span>Hmmm – something familiar about this place we thought.  Why yes!</span></div><div><span><br></span></div><div><i><span>“During the Crusades, three Knights of the First Crusade discovered the Holy Grail and stayed with it in the Temple of the Sun. When two of the knights left for Europe, they left behind two markers that led to the Grail's location, listing Alexandretta [now Iskenderun] as the starting point...In 1938, after discovering the second marker in Venice, Indiana Jones sent Marcus Brody ahead to Iskenderun to meet up with Sallah and start the search for the Holy Grail while Jones went with Elsa Schneider to rescue Henry Jones, Sr.. Brody and Sallah met up at the train station, but Brody was kidnapped by Nazi agents, who took the map. Days later, Sallah met up with Jones and his father in the town, and drove them out to the desert, where they spied Walter Donovan's convoy and attempted a rescue”<p></p></span></i></div><div><span><br></span></div><div><span>Thank you Indiana Jones Wiki.</span></div><div><span><br></span></div><div><span>We liked Iskenderun. Maybe because it is 10 degrees warmer than where we’ve come from, but it had a feel of freedom about it, which I think only comes in towns distant from their administrative centre. It is comfortable in its own personality, subtlety influenced by the outside world through its large port, and friendly to fault.</span><br><span><br></span><br><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-uqYfJwTmE6k/UKtGqPRSCeI/AAAAAAAADVQ/RXphx1r-_Ig/s1600/indy.jpg"><img border="0" height="228" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-uqYfJwTmE6k/UKtGqPRSCeI/AAAAAAAADVQ/RXphx1r-_Ig/s320/indy.jpg" width="320"></a></td></tr><tr><td>James and I arrive in Iskenderun</td></tr></tbody></table><span><br></span></div>

Indy!

Read the original post and follow Heading South for Winter's overland adventures on their website: Heading South for Winter.


Having indulged ourselves in Istanbul and shivered our way through the ‘fairy chimneys’ of Cappadocia, we accelerated on down a spanking new motorway through stunning mountain ranges and arrived in Iskenderun, the port for the ferry to Egypt. Hmmm –…
<br><div><i>Slavonski Brod, Croatia to Ankara, Turkey (c.1,800 Km)<p></p></i></div><div><i><br></i></div><div>Today we rolled on into Asia, marking the completion of the European leg of our journey. Having whipped across the Balkans, we even managed to give the Beast a day off in view of the Bosphorous and give ourselves up to the delights of Istanbul.  </div><div><br></div><div>The biggest change on this leg, has been that we’ve started camping...</div><div><br></div><div><b>Key traveller tip:</b><i>it is too cold to camp in Europe in November unless you're feeling tough!</i></div><div><i><br></i></div><div>Nevertheless, we need the practise and the motel bills were stacking up, so we’ve rolled out the long johns.</div><div><br></div><div>Our first night under canvas was oddly in the garden of an Englishman who has settled in southern Bulgaria (it was a campsite, we didn’t just invite ourselves) There, we braved the roof tent for the first time, with mixed success. It’s really very comfortable, but very much built for African climes, and a shivering night ensued.</div><div><br></div><div>Our procession through slightly odd camp sites continues: staying in the car park of a football club by the sea front in Istanbul was pretty unusual (they played football for more hours that we were awake, so there was always someone watching the car!) and now we find ourselves parked out the back of the Turkish answer to Center Parks.</div><div><br></div><div>After gifting ourselves a day off, today was a slog behind the wheel (especially given only James is insured here), so we’ll keep observations on the countries we visited brief</div><div></div><div></div><ul><li>Serbians have an unquenchable thirst to see pictures of Novak Djockovic</li><li>Serbia is rather how we imagine the 1970s - a bit dull, full of terrible food and smelling of fags</li><li>Sofia has cafes and bars cooler than we should ever be allowed in to</li><li>Istanbul is a great place to spend money</li></ul><div><br></div><div><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-qfkA35qDoYs/UKKkRHVTSgI/AAAAAAAADUk/bEPzX9lIm2o/s1600/P1020214.JPG"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-qfkA35qDoYs/UKKkRHVTSgI/AAAAAAAADUk/bEPzX9lIm2o/s320/P1020214.JPG" width="320"></a></div><br><div><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-EN8GG-MYfwU/UKKkvd6JUaI/AAAAAAAADUw/msRuPIvCPeM/s1600/P1020219.JPG"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-EN8GG-MYfwU/UKKkvd6JUaI/AAAAAAAADUw/msRuPIvCPeM/s320/P1020219.JPG" width="320"></a></div><br><div><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-QOuEhecd4qg/UKKlZ2XTg8I/AAAAAAAADU4/ZYaq-bIg8mI/s1600/P1020225.JPG"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-QOuEhecd4qg/UKKlZ2XTg8I/AAAAAAAADU4/ZYaq-bIg8mI/s320/P1020225.JPG" width="320"></a></div><div><br></div><div><br></div><div><br></div><br><br>

Crossing a Continent

Read the original post and follow Heading South for Winter's overland adventures on their website: Heading South for Winter.


Slavonski Brod, Croatia to Ankara, Turkey (c.1,800 Km) Today we rolled on into Asia, marking the completion of the European leg of our journey. Having whipped across the Balkans, we even managed to give the Beast a day off in…
<br><div><i><span>Cambridge, UK to Slavonski Brod, Croatia (c.2,000 Km)<p></p></span></i></div><div><i><span><br></span></i></div><div><span>Following a couple of days of manic packing (thanks to both of our sets of parents for last minute assistance!) we are now finally on the move!  We set out in the wee hours from Anna’s parents’ in Cambridge, and have spent the last 5 days crossing an incredibly wet Europe. There is limited excitement to report, since we’re putting our foot down (well, as much as you can in a car weighing nearly 3 tonnes!), to give us more time in Africa.<p></p></span></div><div><span><br></span></div><div><span>However, we have managed to spice up the beginning of our trip, by detours to see friends living on the continent. We had a great night out in Paris with Jess and her ‘married friends’, followed by a lovely dinner with Alex and Steffi near Munich, where we met their very new son Raphael.<p></p></span></div><div><span><br></span></div><div><span>Since then it has been hard yards, briefly interrupted by the stunning scenery of the Austrian Alps, northern Slovenia and Lake Bled; a wander through the quirky back streets of Ljubljana; and our stop for the night tonight at a gorgeous vineyard in eastern Croatia.<p></p></span></div><div><span><br></span></div><div><span>The roads have been amazing thus far, and the borders simple, let’s see how things change as we head further into the Balkans over the next couple of days...<p></p></span></div><div><span><br></span></div><div><span>PS for those ski nuts out there, I can confirm it has been snowing in the Alps</span><p></p></div><div><span><br></span></div><div><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-RISwFxxiBlk/UJwM13h9YvI/AAAAAAAADSI/cKK3vnCDLKs/s1600/Anna+in+Snow.jpg"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-RISwFxxiBlk/UJwM13h9YvI/AAAAAAAADSI/cKK3vnCDLKs/s320/Anna+in+Snow.jpg" width="320"></a></div><br><div><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-yBhatnpLHac/UJwM4fmclRI/AAAAAAAADSQ/wrSB-R-jH1Y/s1600/Anna+Driving.jpg"><img border="0" height="239" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-yBhatnpLHac/UJwM4fmclRI/AAAAAAAADSQ/wrSB-R-jH1Y/s320/Anna+Driving.jpg" width="320"></a></div>Anna proves she can drive!<br><div><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-BKW6WebQfBI/UJwM6kQGibI/AAAAAAAADSY/ajUkPS6eUt0/s1600/James+in+Slovenian+Moutains.jpg"><img border="0" height="239" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-BKW6WebQfBI/UJwM6kQGibI/AAAAAAAADSY/ajUkPS6eUt0/s320/James+in+Slovenian+Moutains.jpg" width="320"></a></div><div><span><br></span></div><div><span>James in the Slovenian mountains</span></div><div><span><br></span></div>

Friends Old and New

Read the original post and follow Heading South for Winter's overland adventures on their website: Heading South for Winter.


Cambridge, UK to Slavonski Brod, Croatia (c.2,000 Km) Following a couple of days of manic packing (thanks to both of our sets of parents for last minute assistance!) we are now finally on the move!  We set out in the…
We've finally got the car back from the garage. Very exciting!This weekend we hit the home straight with out trip preparation heading to North Wales for an off road driving course.The car was incredible! Really capable on the muddy stuff. Anna even got...

Taking it OFF road…

Read the original post and follow Heading South for Winter's overland adventures on their website: Heading South for Winter.


We’ve finally got the car back from the garage. Very exciting! This weekend we hit the home straight with out trip preparation heading to North Wales for an off road driving course. The car was incredible! Really capable on the…

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