Heine's Ramblings and Rumblings


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Lesotho Snow Trip

Click on any image for slideshow

Read the full trip report here

Some of these pictures are mine , the rest were posted on The Overland Forum


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2012/02 Tembe Elephant Lodge/Tartaruga Camp Ponta Malongane/Mbuluzi Reserve

Bud and Cath Morris organised this trip as a valentine’s weekend, so if you’re expecting to read a hard core trip report, then you’re going to be disappointed.

I thought it would be a good shake down for Bo in any case so we decided to drive ourselves as opposed to going with Phillip Sprules as originally intended.

Day one Wednesday 7 February

We left at about 3.30 in the morning ,destination Tembe Elephant Reserve , just north of Pongola

The initial going was very slow due to extremely thick fog and plenty of road works on the N17 . We stopped for breakfast at the Wimpy in Pongola and then headed on to Tembe , arriving just before lunch.

In the afternoon, we went for a game drive in the vehicles provided , but unfortunately didn’t see much .

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Our accommodation

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Inside the tent

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One of the lounges

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The most important building – the bar

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Another lounge

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Dining area

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An (oil)slick (copyright Phillip Sprules) of landys (Hennie,Craig and Bud)

Day Two Thursday 8 February

Got up early for another game drive . Had a lot more luck thus time and managed to see 4 lion , 2 rhino and some elephants around the same waterhole .

Game Viewer

Lion

Lion 2

Rhino

(Pics courtesy Phillip Sprules)

Returned to camp for breakfast and spent the rest of the day around the pool as it was pretty hot .

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Pretty warm

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Visitor at the pool

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Campfire

Day Three and Four Friday 9 /Saturday 10 February

Left after a late breakfast for Tartaruga which is just north of Ponta Molangane . The border crossing was very quick and easy , and didn’t take us more than fifteen minutes which was a nice surprise .

But Mandy was also ripped off by the visa guy. As she is travelling on a UK passport , she had to pay about R700 for a visa. He then said that the computer was broken so he couldn’t issue her with a receipt . I didn’t think to check her passport , and when we left Moz on Sunday (via a different border post) , I discovered that no visa had been issued in her passport. Fortunately , after much debating the immigrations official stamped her passport and let her through . Not sure what would have happened if we had been pulled over by the cops somewhere .

Spent the next two days pub crawling and shopping,as the sea was too rough for the dive boat to launch .

Come to see

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Come to see restaurant and bar

Rum robots

Where we invented Rum Robots. From left to right : Rum and Rasberry, Rum and Fanta Pineapple , Rum and Creme Soda .

Instant hangover guaranteed . Also my tongue and throat felt like I’d swallowed hot potatoes the next day

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Outside Fernando’s bar

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Where we bumped into this bunch

Below are some shots of our accommodation at Tartaruga

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Tent deck

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Our tent

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The inside

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The bathroom

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Firepit

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Swimming pool

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Communal dining area and kitchen / pantry

Day Five Sunday 11 February

Some of the group headed home , but we continued on to Mbuluzi Game Reserve in Swaziland , where we stayed in one of the lodges overnight .

Due to quite a lot of rain overnight , we had some interesting driving up until the border

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Our fearless leader

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Some people will knit anywhere

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Some pictures of Ingwe Lodge

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Day Six Monday 12 February

We left the rest behind to explorer Mbuluzi and Hlane as we had to head home

I would like to thank Bud and Cath for organising this very special (if soft) trip , which gave us a good mix of surf and turf and was only just over 1400 km of travelling. Also the accommodation was excellent for what we paid.

I must make sure our next trip is hard-core bush camping , so that we don’t get too used to how the rich and famous do it


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Possible itenary for our next trip (Reproduced without permission from Mike Bands)

As the short reports I sent regularly from my cellphone from Namibia did not all reach you guys I have complied a complete report as follows:

Arrived Ai Ai Sunday for 2 nights, roads great, very little traffic, campsite half full. Visited Hobas, campsite good. Viewed canyon. Visited Canyon Roadhouse, very nice, a must see, great campsite too. Next, Aus via the Northen bank of the Orange River through the R’veld and Rosh Pinah, great. Camped at Klein Aus Vista at Aus. Very good.

Left there next morning for Luderitz  and saw about 200 wild horses en route. No wind at Shark Island. Tomorrow Kolmaskop.

After a cool and windless night at Shark Island we did the interesting Kolmanskop tour then left for Duwisib via the scenic D707, a secondary road in need of grading. We camped at Duwiseb the night, very nice campsite with good ablutions.
Then we drove to Tsauchab River Camp. Excellent private campsites on the river with the best bathrooms yet seen at a campsite. Left there and on the way to Sesriem, visited their Wild Fig forest which also has a very nice campsite. Arrived at Sossus Oasis where we are camping the next two days. It’s very windy and hot here. Campsites nice. Woke up to a completely overcast and cold day, very bad for photography. Went to the Vlei however which still has a lot of water. Very nice. A lot of water in the depression across the dune from the Deadvlei as well.

From Sesriem we went to the Namib Naukluft Mountain Zebta Park. Campsites reasonable. Nice mountain scenery with lots of mountain Zebras, Kudu, Klipsringer, birds korhaan etc.

Next day a very scenic drive to Solitaire where we had a huge chunk of apple pie, right out of the oven. Very nice. Then the busy road to Windhoek until we turned of to Mirabeb. This is a group of huge rocks in the middle of the flat desert, all covered in yellow grass after the good rains. There are a number of campsites around the rocky hills with longdrops only. Then we carried on to the D2186, which runs along the Kuiseb to Windhoek. There are huge dunes all along the SW side of the river and flat desert on the other side. Amazing and beautiful to see. This road is a bit rough, about 60km/h travelling.

We slept at Langstrand that night, rather disappointing. There doesn’t seem to have been any upkeep the last years and there were contractors staying there and using the bathrooms of course. The traffic was also very noisy.  The bar at the end of the jetty was closed. We had supper at a good restaurant called Burning Shore.

Spent the next three nights  at Sophia dale campsite, 12 km outside Swakop. It is a good enough place, but very dusty. Visted Walvis, rode quads over the dunes and did Swakop. A new Food lovers Market opened there that day and has the same good food at the same prices as Pretoria. Meat is cheaper. Cymot/Greensports has all the camping stuff as well.

Left Sophia Dale on Saturday morning in a terrible duststorm. Drove to Spitzkoppe against the howling east wind and climbing a thousand meters. Bad for fuel consumption. Spitzkoppe was very nice, camped under big trees against the huge rocks out of the wind. Only facilities are a lot of longdrops. Many flies, probably breeding in the open longdrops. Campsites all full by evening.
Left Sunday morning for Aba Huab against the wind again with dust storms predicted over the Namib and 35 degrees at Swakop.
Halfway to Uis we were met by a ‘Road closed’ sign, where the D1931 joins the D1930, so we had to take the 1931 detour of about 50 km. A quite rough road through some nice landscapes though
At Uis we heard that the bridge over the Omaruru was damaged therefore the closed road. Four wheel drives were however reported to be able to cross. The garage at Uis marked on t4a as out of service has been rebuilt and is back in service.
Arriving at Aba Huab we got the ‘exclusive’ camp site. Own bathroom, huge trees on river bank. Very nice. Very noisy African disco nearby in the evenings.
Monday, very hot, reached 32, did Twyfelfontein, organ pipes & burnt mountain.

Left Aba-Huab Tuesday and drove the Petrified Forest route. Visited the official site and saw huge petrified trees, a worthwhile place to see. Bought nice cake at the German bakery in Outjo
Camped at Etosha Safari Camp just before Anderson gate. Very nice camping, thick green lawns, good bathrooms etc. At sunset Overlander trucks/busses arrived as usual with the passengers overrunning the place.

Next morning entered Etosha and drove to the Moringa forest (Sprokieswoud) to find most of the trees flattened, presumably by elephants, as a camped off piece of the forest is ok. Saw black Rhino, lions and hundreds of other animals at Okondeka.
Saw 8 lions and lots of game at Nebrowni.
Next two nights camped at Halali, campsites very small, very dusty and overcrowded.
This morning saw lots of water, game and lions at Goas. Elephant herd came to drink at Nuamses.
The pan is still full of water at Etosha Llookout with big flocks of Pied Avochet and Lesser Flamingo. A very nice place.
Thursday evevening two herds of elephants at Halali’s waterhole. Sunset over the ellies. Very beautiful. Friday, Namutoni. Campsite more or less grassed, no fine powdery soil like Halali, ablutions in poor state. Saw lots of Damara dikdik on the Dikdik drive.
Saturday left for Waterberg, had great cake and coffee at Sindano Court Cafe in Tsumeb, then to Hobas meteorite via the Grootfontein road. It’s an amazing chunk of approx 80% iron and 15% nickel. Well worth seeing. Carried on to Waterberg via Rietfontein on the D2512, a good gravel road travelling through bushveld and cattle farms approaching Waterberg from the N East.
Some of W’berg’s campsites are grassed under huge trees with good refurbished bathrooms. Spent the morning botanizing and birding and lazed about in the afternoon.

As we prefer the roads less travelled we left Waterberg for Windhoek via the C30 to Hochfeld where we had the best capuccinos in Namibia at the local lodge/restaurant/store/filling station. From there we turned onto the D2166 then the M53 to Arebbusch in Windhoek. Nice quiet roads through cattle country. The camp sites at Arebbush are fine powdery soil with shadeports and the ablutions are good. The traffic is very noisy though. That night went to Joe’s for supper. A remarkable place for a great meal. Next morning saw the sights of Windhoek, then packed up left for Gobabis. Nice campsites here at Goba Goba Lodge. Next night slept at Kalahari Rest camp, nice place then home to Pretoria.
Mike Bands.

 

 


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Silverstone July 2011

Tuesday 12th

Spent a quite morning in anticipation of the long flight home that evening. Got to Heathrow at about 4 PM and flew out at 7 . Didn’t sleep at all on the plane .

I really think I could fall in love with rural England . The people and the sense of history are awesome.

Thanks to Mo and Roger for the accommodation and the use of a car . Hope to do the same again next year

 


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Silverstone July 2011

Monday 11th

We decided to give London a miss and went and did some local sightseeing instead . Had quite a nice English (duh) breakfast in Haynes and then went to a few other local villages

Went into a Staples store on a whim and saw a very nice android tablet with detachable keyboard . Spent a few hours driving around comparing prices , didn’t realise how big Milton Keynes is .


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Silverstone July 2011

Sunday 10th

Below is a race summary that I took off a F1 blog

Fernando Alonso won a thrilling British Grand Prix at Silverstone ahead of the Red Bull pair Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber.

Vettel lost the lead to Alonso when his second pit stop went disastrously wrong. He lost further time behind Lewis Hamilton and could not bridge the gap to the Ferrari driver.

It was Alonso’s first win of the season, the 27th of his career and his second at Silverstone. Earlier in the day he had driven the Ferrari which won this race 60 years ago and he was proud to have delivered the win on such an important anniversary, which underlines how long Ferrari have been in F1.

“It’s difficult to know what would have happened without the problem of Sebastian. It’s not easy to overtake so for sure the pit stop problem helped,” said Alonso.

There was heavy rainfall in the hour before the race start, particularly around the old pits building and the complex of corners leading to Copse.

So wet was the track, with Perez losing control on the formation lap, the intermediate tyre was the only choice for the start.

Sebastian Vettel won the start against his team mate the pole sitter Mark Webber. Vettel got a perfect getaway, while Webber bogged down. Starts have been a consistent problem for Webber all season and the initiative he had gained in qualifying was lost in the first 200 metres of the race.

Button got a good start up to fourth from fifth on the grid., as did Lewis Hamilton, who made up four places on the opening lap.

Schumacher was the first to take the soft slick tyres on lap 11, he was forced to stop after sliding into Kobayashi and losing his nose cone.

As he set fastest sector times, Button switched too, with Alonso and Webber coming in a lap later,as did Hamilton.

Vettel had the luxury of taking an extra lap before making his stop. Vettel had a 6 second lead before the stops and afterwards it was down to 3.3 seconds.

The McLaren worked well on slick tyres on a damp track; Button passed Massa for P5 and shortly afterwards Hamilton passed Alonso on the wettest part of the circuit for third place.

Webber closed up on his team mate on the slick tyres.

Hamilton’s tyres began to drop off and Alonso was able to repass him using DRS on the Wellington Straight.

Paul Di Resta was going very well in seventh place, lapping faster than the cars behind including Rosberg’s Mercedes, but a disastrous stop on lap 26 cost him a lot of time. The team was ready for Sutil. Then Di Resta’s race was ruined by contact with a Toro Rosso.

A disastrous stop for Vettel also cost him the lead to Alonso. On a track still damp in parts the lesson was that old tyres up to temperature were faster than brand new tyres. Alonso and Hamilton used this to undercut Webber and when Vettel had his problem, both men found themselves ahead of the world champion.

As Alonso drove away from them, Vettel was faster than Hamilton and had to try to make a pass.

Alonso was almost two seconds a lap faster than Hamilton around lap 32. Still Vettel didn’t try a move on Hamilton.

Red Bull had to wait until lap 37 to pit Vettel –because any earlier and he may not have made the finish –and he duly undercut Hamilton for second place.

Alonso pitted a lap later and maintained his 10 second lead. Button pitted at the same time but his front right wheel not wasn’t attached and he had to stop the car at the pit exit.

The new interpretation on Engine mapping for blown diffusers meant a change in fuel consumption for the race and with 15 laps to go Hamilton had to go into fuel saving mode, allowing Webber to close on him and pass for a podium place with five laps to go.

At the front Alonso was able to continue to drive away from Vettel, who fell into the clutches of Webber at the end. But the Australian was told by the team to ‘maintain the gap’ and did not try a pass.

Meanwhile Toro Rosso’s Jaime Alguersuari got into the points from the lower third of the grid for the third race in a row.

BRITISH GRAND PRIX, Silverstone, 52 laps

1. Alonso Ferrari 1h28:41.194

1. Vettel Red Bull + 16.511

1. Webber Red Bull + 16.947

1. Hamilton McLaren + 28.986

1. Massa Ferrari + 29.010

1. Rosberg Mercedes + 1:00.665

1. Perez Sauber + 1:05.590

1. Heidfeld Renault + 1:15.542

1. Schumacher Mercedes + 1:17.912

10. Alguersuari Toro Rosso + 1:19.108

11. Sutil Force India + 1:19.712

12. Petrov Renault + 1:20.600

13. Barrichello Williams + 1 lap

14. Maldonado Williams + 1 lap

15. Di Resta Force India + 1 lap

16. Glock Virgin + 2 laps

17. D’Ambrosio Virgin + 2 laps

18. Liuzzi HRT + 2 laps

19. Ricciardo HRT + 3 laps

It was a full day with the Red Arrows present as well

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Blue skies for a change - but it didn't last

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Red Arrows - more , better pics to follow

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Phillip's thoughts on Ferrari

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The day really took it out of Dena


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Silverstone July 2011

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Saturday 9 July

Left 45 mins later than planned, but due to some stunning driving by Mandy (which might get her arrested when the video is viewed) we made it in time to see the end of GP3 qualifying. The weather is also better so far with a dry track. F1 third practice next. Watch this space.

Practice went off without any rain. The cars were almost 20 secs quicker than yesterday which made it a lot louder 🙂

I was amazed at the speed differential between the top and bottom teams

Qualifying went OK, with just a bit of rain, but McClaren didn’t do that we’ll despite all the local support 😦

Stayed for the GP2 race as well which was quite good


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Silverstone July 2011

Friday 8 July

Freezing cold so far. Managed to see the last 45 min of practice 1. Quite slow because of the wet track. The GP2 cars where a full 5 secs quicker because the track was dry

Rained again for most of practice 2

It was raining again when we left

I would suggest hiring a fanvision console for the race weekend

Hopefully we will have better weather tomorrow

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Our view

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McClaren Supporters Club Seffrican Chapter

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Stands emptying out because of the rain

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More people leaving

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Fanvision console

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The last of the hardcore fans leaving (Dena, Phillip and Mandy)